Champion of Champions
The 2009 ECBA Champion
of Champions event was held over the weekend of 13th-14th June
at the Norbreck Castle Hotel, Blackpool.
The champions from each
of the member counties, in the Singles, Pairs , Triples and Rinks,
competed against one another to decide who would be this year's
The earliest stages
of the Singles competition saw the closest running of any of
the championships. With each team having played 2 games, everyone
had dropped at least 1 point. The early leaders were South Tyneside
and Sunderland, both on 3 points, while just 1 point behind were
seven other teams.
The top two continued their
unbeaten ways in game three, moving on to 5 points, while the
chasing pack had thinned dramatically to just Northumberland
and Suffolk, both having taken 2 wins each of their 3 games.
On into game 4 and Sunderland
were the first to crack, losing to Northumberland, who now moved
up to second, behind a still unbeaten South Tyneside who now
enjoyed a 1 point lead.
However second and third
positions were swapped once again as Northumberland lost. They
were now joined on 6 points by Cambridgeshire and Suffolk, as
Saturday's play ended. Sunderland were 1 point ahead of those
3 teams, on 7 points as they won, while South Tyneside were now
a full 2 points clear at the top, having taken 9 out of 10 points
on the day.
Moving on into Sunday's
play, and having achieved a clear advantage it looked as if the
title was South Tyneside's to lose, but things were to change
with the very first games of the day as Cambridgeshire took their
4th consecutive win with victory over the overnight leaders.
The rest of the chasing teams also won and once again the Singles
was back to being the most closely contested of the championships.
South Tyneside were now joined on 9 points by Sunderland, while
Cambridgeshire, Northumberland and Suffolk were all just 1 point
behind the joint leaders.
Having come together again
it was not long before the leading pack thinned once more. Round
6 saw wins for Sunderland and Northumberland who were now on
11 and 10 points respectively, while the other 3 contenders all
lost and fell away from the lead.
Having led through Sunday,
it was now Sunderland's turn to falter as they lost to Cambridgeshire
who were making a habit of knocking back the leaders. For the
first time it was Northumberland that took the top spot, moving
on to 12 points, one point clear.
Despite only just having
taken the lead Northumberland enjoyed not just a 1 point lead,
but a huge 16
shot advantage over Sunderland,
which meant that unless something quite remarkable happened a
draw would be sufficient for Northumberland to take the title.
As it was, the final game,
ironically against South Tyneside, who had made so much of the
early running, saw a win for Northumberland, taking them to 14
points and leaving them 1 point ahead of Sunderland who also
finished with a win. Meanwhile Durham and Cambridgeshire played
each other in the game which would settle 3rd place, a position
which went to Durham with their victory and ended a good day
for them which had seen them start all the way back in 8th place.
for all the results
Ian Clark (Northumberland)
the team making the early running in the Pairs. Only 2 games
in and they were the only team to have won both games, a perfect
record which remained intact as they also won their 3rd game.
Just a point behind and still undefeated, were Suffolk.
It was the same story for
Cambridgeshire in their fourth game, another win to maintain
their 100% record, but their lead had now extended to 2 points
as Suffolk lost and fell behind both Hertfordshire and Sunderland
who were each now on 6 points.
It was not until Saturday's
final game that Cambridgeshire made a slip, losing their perfect
record with a draw against Suffolk. Their lead was now only 1
point as Hertfordshire won to go a clear second on 8 points,
followed by Northumberland on 7.
Unfortunately Sunday did
not start well for the erstwhile leaders as they lost to Sunderland
and fell behind the new leaders Hertfordshire. Northumberland
also won to join Cambridgeshire on 9 points and move into contention.
their winning streak into game 7. They were now on 12 points,
followed by Northumberland, 1 point back and Suffolk and Sunderland
who also had wins and were now on 10 points.
However things were all
about to change as Hertfordshire suffered defeat at the hands
of a Cambridgeshire team who were coming off 2 back-to-back losses,
while there was also a loss for Northumberland at the hands of
Norfolk. All of which meant that Suffolk were now elevated to
first place, having won again, and were now on 12 points, ahead
of Hertfordshire on shots, while Cambridgeshire were suddenly
back in contention, joining Northumberland just 1 point behind
the top 2 teams.
Close though it was Suffolk
had a healthy 9 shot advantage over Hertfordshire and knew that
any win was
all but certain to secure
them the title. However their final opponents, Sunderland, had
other ideas, as they secured the tie and scuppered Suffolk's
had fallen well behind in their game against Essex, which meant
that Northumberland had the chance to sneak through. But although
Northumberland did indeed win to finish on 13 points, Hertfordshire
dug deep to come back and win their game at the last gasp and
take the title with a final tally of 14 points, leaving Suffolk
and Sunderland in 3rd and 4th places respectively, each on 12
for all the results
Craig Hearn & Mary
The early leaders in the Triples competition were Cambridgeshire,
just ahead of Sunderland on shots, both teams having won their
first 2 games. But a loss for Cambridgeshire in their third game
allowed Sunderland to take the lead as they maintained their
The fourth round of games
saw things change back as Sunderland lost, slipping down to second,
behind Cambridgeshire on shots. Both teams were now on 6 points,
with Durham and Suffolk close behind on 5 points.
Saturday's fifth and final
round of games saw Sunderland win to finish the day on 8 points,
while Cambridgeshire lost, leaving them on 6 points, along with
Essex and Northumberland.
Sunday's opening round
of games saw Sunderland continue with their winning ways, moving
on to 10 points, while of their 3 closest rivals only Essex were
able to gain any points, their win taking them to 8 points and
a clear second place.
Round seven gave Sunderland
their 6th win of the weekend, while Essex moved on to 10 points.
Meanwhile Suffolk and Norfolk each of whom had had disappointing
Saturdays, had won both of their Sunday games and were now 3rd
and 4th on 9 and 8 points respectively.
The penultimate round of
games proved crucial as Sunderland won again to move on to 14
while their closest rivals
Essex and Suffolk played one another. It was a game which would
go the way of Suffolk, pushing them up into second place, but
it also left Sunderland with what was, with just one game to
go, an unassailable 3 point lead.
In the end Sunderland needed
the buffer which they had worked so hard for as they came up
against and lost to a resurgent Norfolk who were able to secure
3rd place. Second place went to Suffolk who finished with another
win to give them 13 points, one short of Sunderland's tally.
Essex also finished with a win to take them to 12 points, although
they didn't have enough shots to overtake Norfolk and ended up
in 4th place.
for all the results
Allan Howe, Neal Ridley
& Eve Warren
Hertfordshire and Suffolk were the two teams making the early
running in the Fours as the two teams won both of their first
2 games. But it was Hertfordshire who were clear leaders by the
end of the third round of games, beating Suffolk to move on to
6 points, 2 clear of Suffolk, Norfolk and Durham.
And in the fourth round
it was now Durham's turn to fall victim to Hertfordshire, albeit
by the narrowest of margins. Norfolk won their third game to
now move into a clear second place, still 2 points back from
The fifth and final round
of Saturday's play brought yet another win for Hertfordshire,
allowing them to end the day with a 100% record, the only team
in any of the competitions to be able to do so. And with Norfolk
losing, they now had a 4 point advantage, with Durham joining
Norfolk on 6 points.
The start of Sunday saw
Hertfordshire take their record to 6 wins out of 6. Meanwhile
Durham were in a clear second place, some 4 points adrift, with
Suffolk and Cambridgeshire 1 point further back in third place.
It took all the way up
until game 7 for Hertfordshire to finally slip, losing to Cambridgeshire
moved up to second place
on 9 points, along with Durham, but both teams were still 3 points
behind the leaders with only 2 games left to go.
One more win was going
to do it for Hertfordshire and that was just what they did, taking
themselves to 14 points and the title, with Cambridgeshire now
in a clear second place on 11 points, while Sunderland had gone
to 3rd on 10 points, following 3 straight wins.
Luckily, with the title
already in their pockets Hertfordshire could afford to lose their
last game, which they duly did, narrowly, to Norfolk. Even so
they still came home 2 points clear of Cambridgeshire, while
Durham just edged out Sunderland to finish 3rd.
for all the results
Rob Washbrooke, Neil Tuckey,
Martin Jenness & Sandra Gammage (Hertfordshire)
With only one round of games completed Sunderland had already
leapt out into an early lead, 4 wins out of 4 already putting
them 3 points ahead of the best of the rest in the form of Suffolk.
However their perfect record
was not to last long as they gained only 3 points in the next
round, albeit sufficient to stay a single point ahead of Suffolk.
And it was a lead which they were able to hang on to with 3 rounds
completed, having moved their tally onto 17 points with Suffolk
on 16 and Cambridgeshire moving into 3rd on 14 points.
It was then the turn of
Cambridgeshire to make their move as the top two faltered in
the 4th round. They took 7 points out of a possible 8 to move
onto 21 points and now led Sunderland by virtue of their superior
shots. Hertfordshire now moved into third on 20 points having
just taken 4 wins out of 4.
Saturday's final games
saw the same 3 teams finishing at the top, although their respective
positions had now changed. Hertfordshire and Cambridgeshire were
lying on 26 points with Sunderland just 1 point behind.
However, as on Saturday,
Sunderland once again came out firing all guns at the start of
the next day's play. The maximum 8 points from round 6 took them
to the top once more, on 33 points. Hertfordshire were just 1
point back, while both Suffolk and Cambridgeshire had moved onto
30 points and were still in contention.
The seventh round saw Sunderland
maintain their breakneck pace with another 4 wins, while everyone
else faltered. They had moved onto 41 points and were now a full
5 points clear of Hertfordshire with Suffolk one more point further
Remarkably, although the
leaders could only manage 4 points in the event's penultimate
round, they nonetheless managed to increase their lead, now 6
points clear of Suffolk and 7 ahead of Cambridgeshire, the only
two teams who had any sort of chance of catching Sunderland.
It was going to require
a remarkable turn around for Sunderland to lose, but that didn't
happen, at least not
for the leaders as they
finished on 50 points, 6 clear of the nearest oppostion, who
turned out to be neither of the teams who had been closest before
the round began.
In fact it was Northumberland
who suddenly leapt up from 5th to finish as runners-up. Their
maximum haul of 8 points was enough to take them past Hertfordshire,
Suffolk and Cambridgeshire, in one fell swoop.
Behind the eventual winners
the contest for the runner-up slot was very closely fought, with
six counties covered by a mere 5 points, which only goes to show
how impressive Sunderland's performance was, with none of their
teams failing to finish outside the top 4 of their particular
for all the results
Martin Campbell, Lavinia
Colin Young, Kevin Hutchinson,
Alan Sharp, Olwen Grey, Tom Haram,
Allan Howe, Neal Ridley & Eve Warren
This was another successful
weekend with all 10 counties represented in all of the disciplines.
There were quite a few new faces representing
their clubs and counties and this was very refreshing to see.
The singles was won by Ian Clark from
Northumberland, this was a very tight discipline and any one
of three players went into the last game with a possibility of
winning but Ian managed to win his game to take the title. By
winning the singles Ian has now won in all of the disciplines.
The pairs were won by Mary Cobbold and
Craig Hearn from Hertfordshire, again this went right to the
wire with the Northumberland pair very much in the frame.
Sometimes experience can be a formidable
weapon and Craig has been in these positions on more than one
occasion and very ably supported by his bowling partner Mary
went on to win their last game while Northumberland lost theirs.
It is worth noting that Craig has also won in every discipline.
The triples were won by Eve Warren,
Allan Howe and Neil Ridley from Sunderland, the Suffolk triple
gave them a good run for their money and made it yet another
exciting final round of games. Again there was an abundance of
experience in the Sunderland triple and they managed to hold
off the challenge and go on to win.
The rinks were won by Rob Washbrook,
Neil Tuckey, Martin Jenness and Sandra Gammage from Hertfordshire.
This was the only discipline where there were two clear points
between the winners and runners up but looking at the scores
it was still very close.
The team competition was won by Sunderland
with 50 points a very good team effort.
All of the games seemed to be played
in a good friendly atmosphere and despite not having as many
regular county players there the standard of bowling remained
as high as ever.
We look forward to next year and wish
all bowlers the best of luck in their quest to qualify for the
2010 Champion of Champions.
courtesy of Shirley Watkins