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There was a full house of 40 teams at Needham Market for the event which was being hosted by Suffolk.

The entry included representatives from Bedfordshire, Essex, Cambridgeshire, Durham, Hertfordshire, Norfolk, Suffolk, and Sunderland, almost a full contingent of ECBA counties.

The teams were divided into 8 groups of 5, with the top 2 from each group qualifying for the knockout stages.

Group 1
(Suffolk) dominated the group, winning all 4 games, with second place going to Reepham A (Norfolk), whose 2 wins and 26 shots were just good enough to see them through.

Group 2
went through their games undefeated, witn 3 wins and a draw, top to the group. Runners-Up were Clophill (Bedfordshire), who won 3 and lost 1.

Group 3
Olwen Gray
(Durham/Suffolk) won all 4 games, to win the group comfortably. Herts B’s 5 points was enough for second place.

Group 4
Herts A
and Claydon B (Suffolk) both won 3 and lost 1 game, Herts A’s 37 shots made them group winners.

Group 5
didn’t lose a game, although they did draw one game, the others the won 6-5, 6-4 & 6-5, which would be the definition of doing just enough, but it won them the group. Second place when to Rayne A (Essex), who finished on 6 points.

Group 6
Brockley/Gt Blakenham
(Suffolk) were clear winners of the group, finishing on a maximum 8 points, while Ellesmere (Cambridgeshire), with 2 wins and a draw, did enough to finish runners-up.

Group 7
Knodishall A
(Suffolk), won the group thanks to 3 wins and a loss, while Hintlesham A (Suffolk) finished just one point behind.

Group 8
Knodishall B
(Suffolk) won all 4 games, finishing comfortably clear of Withersfield (Suffolk), who had two wins, one drawn, and one narrow loss.

Knockout Rounds
Round 1
Herts B
were already 6-1 up against Cockfield, after 3 ends, and went on to win 9-5.

After taking 1 on the first end, Olwen Gray lost the next 5 ends to Claydon B, who finished 7-2 winners.

Herts A were ahead from the start against Rayne A, and ran out comfortable winners, 12-2.

Cambs/Durham picked up 4 on the first end against Ellesmere, and then proceeded to drop 3 on the next end, but the next 3 ends saw them go out to an 11-3 lead, and although Ellesmere brought it back to a respectable 11-8 at the end, the result was never in doubt.

After 3 ends Hintlesham A were 4-1 up against Brockley/Gt Blakenham, but it was level on the next, and B/G took the last 2 ends to take a 7-5 win.

Withersfield pretty much wrapped up their game against Knodishall A, on the first end, taking a rare full house of 6 shots, and finishing 13-4 winners.

Knodishall B started well against Reepham A, but went from 4-0 up to 4-5 down, before rallying to take the last 3 ends, and win 7-5.

In a very tight game between Belstead and Clophill, the deciding end was the only one where there was a score of more than 1 shot. It went to Clophill, who won the game 5-3.

Quarter Finals
The all Herts match (A v B) saw A take a decisive 4 on the second end, after which it was close, but they were never headed, winning 7-5.

Claydon B never allowed Cambs/Durham to get a look in, locking them out every end, and with a 10-0 lead after 6 ends, a halt was called to the game.

Having pulled out a 4 shot lead, Withersfield lost it all in one end to Clophill, but they rallied and went on to hold for a 6-5 win.

Brockley/Gt Blakenham started slowly against Knodishall B, but a run of 8 shots in 3 ends saw them take a comfortable 9-3 win.

Brockley/Gt Blakenham
were off to a flyer against Withersfield B, they took 6 on the first end, and were 10-0 up after 3 ends, and were able to stave off a mini comeback, to finish 11-5 winners.

Claydon B were off to a good start against Herts A, 4-0 up after 2 ends and never looked back, winning 9-3.

Claydon B
(Sue & Steve Isles and Andy Pooley) v Brockley/Gt Blakenham (Jaxon McKenna, Steven Cain & Neil Jolly)

End 1 - Steve gets to the jack and Claydon hold 2, Neil gets it back to 1, Andy gets second again, and then Neil, playing with weight snatches the end. 1-0 to B/G
End 2 - Steven is the first one to get close, but Steve betters him. Neil, again with weight, plays the shot wood out, giving B/G 3, Andy has room to draw in, he finishes a little short, but is sure to get second with his last wood. B/G lead 2-0.
End 3 - Again Steve is in there to take when the situation was starting to look serious, but Neil takes that one away with another positive wood. Neither skip can do anything with their last wood, and it’s another 2 to B/G, who now lead 4-0.
End 4 - Two good openers from Sue, with the jack long, one of them hangs in there right until the end, to get Claydon off the mark, not a moment too soon. 4-1.
End 5 - Steven takes the jack to the back of the mat, going from 2 down to 1 up, but Steve is entirely up to the job of reaching it, drawing through a narrowish gap to sit on the jack in the corner. Andy can’t add to it, 1 more to Claydon, and it’s 4-2 to B/G.
End 6 - The B/G woods are piling up, but Andy gets in for a measure. He does nothing with his second wood, leaving Neil with the chance to take Claydon’s best wood out. But he overplays it, pushing the jack back, where 2 Claydon woods are waiting. It’s all square at 4-4.
End 7 - B/G hold the early advantage, but Claydon have an all important back wood, as the jack is moved further and further back. Andy does exactly what he needs to do with his first, moving the jack back onto their back wood to hold 2, and with the way to it all but blocked. Even so he’s up into the head, cutting Claydon down to 1. Andy’s last wood turns out to be less of a draw and more of a blocker, in fact he manages to all but block both hands. But Neil will find a way. He plays weight, gets the wick he was looking for, hits the jack and sends the shot wood back far enough to hold, and snatch a 5-4 victory.

Many thanks to all who entered, and particularly to the very large number of people who stayed to watch the final, and who were no doubt glad they did.

Winners - Brockley/Gt Blakenham

Runners-Up - Claydon

updated 05/09/22