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ECBA Carpet Bowls Festival 2016
Monday 9th to Friday 13th May 2016

For the 13th running of the Festival of Bowls there was something a little special in store, with our first ever overseas visitors which included a contingent from Norway in the form of 2 Rinks and 2 Pairs and even more remarkably from New Zealand with fours players who competed in each of the disciplines.

And if any of them had any concerns about whether or not they would be competitive, any such worries were soon put to rest.


The Singles competition began with 122 competitors was played on a straight knockout basis, starting with the first round on Monday afternoon which took us down to the last 64.

The competition picked up again on Tuesday afternoon and was played down to the last four.

Shirley Wood (Durham) v Ann Hathaway (Suffolk)

Ann started off with one each on the first couple of ends, but Shirley was in front on the next, drawing away to a 5-2 lead after 5 ends. However Ann levelled the game on the next end, only for Shirley to restore her 3 shot lead on the 7th end. With the clock running down the 8th was the final end, Ann took it, but only a single shot as Shirley took the game 8-6.

Martin Campbell (Sunderland) v Christine Spencer (Norfolk)
Martin took the first end and continued to edge away from Christine for all but 2 ends of the game. He was 3 up after 2 ends, 7-1 after 5 ends and with an end to go had an unassailable 9-2 lead at which point an end was called to the match.

Michael Laydon (Sunderland) v Pauline Charleton (Durham)
Michael took the first 3 ends, gaining himself a 4-0 lead, but Pauline struck back and levelled the game over the next 2 ends. However any momentum Pauline had gain was quickly halted by Micheal as he scored impressively over the next 3 ends with 3-3-2 to put the game out of Shirley's reach at 12-4 with an end still to go.

Jane Debattista (Norfolk) v Paul Daniels (Suffolk)
The closest game of the round was between Jane and Paul although it didn't look as if it would be early on. Jane began strongly with 3 on the first and it took until the 7th before he could level the game, only for Jane to take one on the 8th to go into the final end 6-5 up. And with Jane holding Paul made use of the final wood, drawing in to rest Jane's best, levelling the game and taking them into an extra end.

With the jack moved out to the side Paul dropped his second wood on the front of it, Jane couldn't move it but had the back wood. Paul's third wood matched his second and gave it a little protection. Again Jane couldn't disrupt the shot woods and unwilling to risk another draw Paul dropped his final wood short to more or less block a running shot, and pushing her final wood a little wider again Jane just went past the head and Paul was left with an 8-6 win.

Paul Daniels v Michael Laydon

Although Michael didn't pick up the mat immediately, as Paul took the first end and one shot, he was on it from the next end, finding the required line and weight to take the next end and the lead which he never relinquished. Bit by bit he drew away until an end was called to the game with a end still to play, by which time Michael had an unassailable 10-2 lead.

Martin Campbell v Shirley Wood
And it was a similar story for Martin Campbell as he took on Shirley Wood. Shirley was barely able to get a look in, as Martin moved away from his opponent bit by bit, eventually building a lead sufficient to see the game ended before full time, with Martin 11-2 in the lead.

Michael Laydon v Martin Campbell

Not for the first time it was an all Sunderland Singles final.

It was a steady start for Martin, taking one on each of the first two ends, but Michael turned it around with 3 on the next. However that reversal was short lived. Martin took all 4 on the fourth to take a lead which he was not to relinquish. The closest it got was 6-4, but Martin picked up the next 3 ends, scoring 3, 1 and 3 to lead 13-4 and with only one end to go Michael conceeded defeat and seeing Martin to his 5th Singles title at the Festival.

You can view copy of all the results here.


There were 85 teams competing in the Pairs, across 17 groups.

The group winners and 15 best runners-up would qualify for the knockout rounds, amongst whom were both New Zealand pairs, Avon Compton & Nigel Warnes and Trevor & Linda Rayner (who won their group) and one of the two Norwegian pairs, Johnny Ruuth & Frank Sorqvist, all of whom had been remarkably quick to adapt to English rules (and if you'd like to see how much of an adjustment is required, here's video of Avon Compton).

Johnny and Frank didn't make it past the First Round, but they put up a great fight against Michael Laydon & Jaxon McKenna, only just losing 7-4.

Meanwhile Trevor and Linda made it into the last 16, but sadly didn't make it any further.

However Avon and Nigel were still in when it came down to the last 8.

Avon Compton & Nigel Warnes (New Zealand) v Mick Fisher & Gillian Wilson (Norfolk)

The New Zealand pair picked up one on the first end, but 3 for the opposition on the next and one more after that left them 4-1 down, but slowly they pulled themselves back into the game.

And in a game in which every shot would count, some very close ends and more than one measure meant that the game was never going to go the distance. Avon and Nigel took one on the fourth, levelled the game with 2 on the fifth, added one more on the 6th and led by one going into what would be the final end. And having fought so hard to get back they weren't going to let it go. They hung on in there, adding one more, taking a 6-4 win for a Semi-Final place.

Paul & Rita Daniels (Suffolk) v Neil & Carol West (Suffolk)
Neil & Carol were the first off the mark with 2 on the first end, but a run of 4 ends in favour of the Daniels' saw them take a handy lead, crucially taking 3 on the 4th end and leading 6-2 after 5.

But it wasn't all over yet, the Wests were back within 2 shots with a 2 on the 6th, although the lead was back up to 3 as the Paul & Rita took the 7th. The timer ran out during the 8th end and although that end went in Neil & Carol's favour they could only muster 2 shots, leaving the Daniels' to just hang on for a 7-6 win.

Doreen & John Leonard (Durham) v Sally Goodrich & Ally Hobbs (Suffolk)
This was a game which swung too and fro and needless to say there was never much in it right up to the very end.

Sally and Ally only won one of the first 5 ends, but it was a 3 shot count and they found themselves only 5-3 down to Doreen and John. The Suffolk girls picked up one more to close the gap on the next and on the 7th picked up 2 to take the lead. The clock ran down on them during the 8th end and it was a close one, very close, in fact they couldn't be seperated, there was no score and Sally & Ally were through 6-5.

John Joy & Marion Bull (Norfolk) v Colin Knox & Gerald Sutton (Norfolk)
Right from the start Colin and Gerald set the seal on the game. One on the first end was followed by a pair of threes to see them nicely ahead. John and Marion came back with a 3, but any hopes if really challenging were dashed on the nexy end as Colin and Gerald picked up all 4 shots. They now led 11-3.

The lead looked insurmountable and so it proved to be, John and Joy won the next 3 ends, but only picked up ones and a two. They needed all 4 on the last end, but that was never realistic and Colin and Gerald went through with a 12-7 win.

Colin Knox & Gerald Sutton v Sally Goodrich & Ally Hobbs

Although there was never much in it between the two teams, this came down to which of the teams was going to score more consistently.

For Colin and Gerald, as it turned out the second and fifth ends were highlights, scoring 2 on each of those and on each occasion putting themselves into the lead. But everything changed on the run in to the end of the game. Sally and Ally reversed the lead on the next end, took 1 on the seventh and sealed the game with 3 on the 8th to put the game out of the Norfolk pair's reach, winning 9-4.

Paul & Rita Daniels v Avon Compton & Nigel Warnes
Avon & Nigel made the better start, using a short jack to their advantage and taking the first 2 ends to lead 3-0. However, Paul & Rita took the next and moved to a longer jack, winning the next 2 ends to go 5-3 ahead. But their momentum was halted and the advantage reversed. The New Zealanders levelled in the 6th end and went back ahead, by just one shot, with 2 ends to go. But the Daniels' had it back to level at 6-6 and so it was into a final end showdown.

Again it was a longer jack, Nigel struggled to find the length, dropping short, but Rita was no closer although, crucially she was behind the jack. However with his first Paul found the jack, dropping just in front. Avon tried to move the jack with his first but dropped short and inside. Paul's second was around the back to cover any movement on the jack and all that was left was a perfect draw for Avon and sadly he couldn't quite make it.

The final result was a 7-6 win for Rita & Paul, but the All Blacks had put up a tremendous performance all through the week and would have been deserving finalists.

Sally Goodrich & Ally Hobbs v Paul & Rita Daniels
A good start in this all Suffolk final for Sally and Ally as they picked up two, however the lead swung in the opposition's favour on the next with a 3, only for the girls to take another 2 and lead 4-3.

Paul and Rita levelled up on the 4th end, but Sally and Ally were back ahead on the next by the 6th end had a 2 shot lead. But once again there was a reversal, a crucial 3 for the Daniels' gave them the lead for the first time since the 2nd end, although that didn't last for long as, with one shot to the opposition, it was all square once again at 7-7 as they went into the last end.

It was not long before the jack was on the move, back and off to the side. Sally and Ally held shot as the skips came to bowl. Sally was short and to the inside with her first. Paul had a better line but was also short, however he now had 2 woods in the right place to be pushed in for shot. With a draw for something closer on the other hand out of the question Sally did the only sensible thing and played a blocker. It went wide and stayed there, cutting out the possibility of a draw, but leaving just enough of a gap for a running shot. Paul's wood was on target, pushing his own short wood through, on to the shot wood, pushing that out and staying in for a 3 shot count to take the game and the title.

You can view copy of all the results here.


There were 44 teams playing in 9 groups from which the winners and 7 best runners-up would qualify for the Knockout Stages.

Group 1
The team of Goodrich-Hobbs-Jolly took four comfortable wins to top the group with 8 points, while the Baynes-MacDonald team lost just once, finishing on 6 points to also qualify.

However it could have been different for the runners-up, they only just edged out the team of New Zealanders who, if the result had been reversed would have gone through.

Group 2
It was four substantial wins for the team of Debattista-Woodley which left the top of the group with maximum points, having amassed a remarkable 60 shots across their 4 games. Second place, and qualification, went to Barraclough-Joy-Summers who lost just the one game.

Despite suffering three defeats, the Norwegian team of Aaserud-Graarud-Paulsen-Solbrekke were delighted to pick up one very hard fought 5-3 win.

Group 3
It was a close fought thing between Barnett-Miller-Slowther and Iskett-Parnell-Shepherd who each won three times, but the former team, with 41 shots just edged out the latter who finishe on 38 shots. Both teams qualified.

Group 4
The Hurr-Masters team took the group with 3 wins and a draw, one point ahead of Ball-Johnson-Ward who would also make it through to the next round.

Group 5
With 4 wins out of 4 it was Laud-Swan-Whittaker who eased their way to the group win, while Collins-Long, with just one loss also went through, as runners-up.

The remaining teams in the group all had one win, including the Norwegian team of Andresen-Eng-Kroglund-Stubberudlien, much to the delight of their supporters.

Group 6
Three teams finished on 5 points, and with all the runner-up spots going to teams with 6 points, only the group winners would go through. It was all going to come down to shots.

Third place went to Jordan-Richardson-Tanner, on 33 shots. They were only 3 shots behind the teams ahead of them. With 36 shots for and 27 against Jones-Pullar were extremely unlucky to miss out to Campbell-Laydon-McKenna-Young who were through as a result of having conceded just 3 shots fewer.

Group 7
The most remarkable of all the groups as all 5 teams won twice and lost twice. And so it would all come down to shots with only the winners able to qualify.

For 4 of the teams it was very close, being covered by just 3 shots, but in the clear lead, 12 shots better than their nearest rivals were the Knox Sutton team.

Group 8
The undefeated Catchpole-Fisher-Wilson team topped the group with 3 wins and a draw. The runners-up were also undefeated, Cousins-Daniels won twice and drew twice, but that was enouh to get them through.

Group 9
Only 4 teams were competing in the group, with each team receiving an 8-0 win in place of the missing game to balance things out with the other groups.

And it was another close one with 3 teams finishing on 6 points. Just missing out in 3rd place were the team of Hathaway-Hurley-West because a single shot better than them were Butler-Squares-Webb, while the group winners, 6 shots better still were Clarke-Bowen-Frost.

With Round 1 completed it was down to the last 8 and the Quarter Finals.

Paul & Sue Cousins and Paul & Rita Daniels (Suffolk) v Jim & Janet Squares, Mick Webb & Anne Butler (Cambridgeshire)
The Suffolk team started well with 2 shots, but in an extremely close game, that was as far ahead as either team got. The lead was down to one on the next and with 2 shots, Bulter-Squares-Webb were ahead on the third. After that it was one shot per end all the way, Cousins-Daniels edged ahead only for the opposition to repeatedly draw level. It needed an extra end to separate the teams, which just went the way of Cousins-Daniels as they won 6-5.

Kathy & Norman Shepherd, Jenny Parnell and Annette Iskett (Norfolk/West Sussex) v Gillian Wilson, Mick Fisher and Joyce & Glyn Catchpole (Norfolk)
The team of Iskett-Parnell-Shepherd won the first end and although the game was levelled they were still ahead, 3-2 after 4 ends. But it was at that point that the game turned. Catchpole-Fisher-Wilson took 3 to lead for the first time and followed that with another 3 on the 6th. The clock ran down with an end still to be played, but by that time Catchpole-Fisher-Wilson were comfortably 9-3 ahead.

Graham & Gaye Swan, Dee Whittaker and Barbara Laud (Cambridgeshire) v Harold & Patricia Ball, Betty Johnson and Sylvia Ward (Bedfordshire/Essex)
The Cambridgeshire team opened with one on the first end, but the writing was already on the wall on the next end as Ball-Johnson-Ward took 3, which they repeated on the third along with another one on the 4th end to open up a handy 7-1 lead. Laud-Swan-Whittaker began to chip into the lead picking up one on each of the next 3 ends, but time was running out and Ball-Johnson-Ward did more than hang on, winning the final end to take a 9-4 win.

Rosemary & Colin Knox and Phyllis & Gerald Sutton (Norfolk) v David & Julie Hurr and Peter & Kay Masters (Suffolk)
The team from Norfolk were off to a good start and were 3-0 up two ends in. Hurr-Masters took one back on end 3 but it was the next end that was crucial to the outcome of the game as the Suffolk team took 5 shots to grab the lead. And it turned out to be enough. They went into the last end still 3 up and although Knox-Sutton won the end, they could only get 2 shots, close, but not close enough as they lost 6-7.

Paul & Sue Cousins and Paul & Rita Daniels v Gillian Wilson, Mick Fisher and Joyce & Glyn Catchpole

Two on the first end for Cousins-Daniels was a good start, but bit by bit Catchpole-Fisher-Wilson came back and drew ahead. Going into the final end they were 2 ahead and it was clear that there was no way that they were going to let the game go at this late stage as, with the jack not far from the back of the carpet and holding one, the skip refused the defensive option and drew another shot in and remove any realisitic possibility for the opposition, to win 7-3.

Harold & Patricia Ball, Betty Johnson and Sylvia Ward v David & Julie Hurr and Peter & Kay Masters
It was a steady start for Hurr-Masters as they took the first 3 ends to build a 4-0 lead. Ball-Johnson-Ward pulled 2 shots back on the next, but Hurr-Masters put their stamp on the match with 3 on the fifth and after that it was just a matter of carefully managing the situation which they did. Only one shot was scored on each of the last 3 ends as Hurr-Masters made it through to the final with a 9-3 win.

Gillian Wilson, Mick Fisher and Joyce & Glyn Catchpole v
David & Julie Hurr and Peter & Kay Masters

Fittingly for a final, the match was a close as you would hope, although it took a while for Hurr-Masters to get going. Catchpole-Fisher-Wilson were off to the best start, picking up a single shot on each of the first 3 ends. But Hurr-Masters were on the board on the next end with 2. The next 3 ends were unevenly shared in favour of the Norfolk team, but only one shot and end was being scored.

That left Catchpole-Fisher-Wilson with a 5-3 lead going into the last end. Not much of a lead, but in a close game it might be enough. With the skips left to bowl Hurr-Masters were holding, but only a single shot and with a ton of woods at the front of the head, but there was a small gap on a straight line. Mick Fisher couldn't find the line, but Peter Masters did, drawing a perfect wood in for second. Again the Norfolk skip couldn't find the line and the way was left open for Peter to repeat the shot, but having fought back this far and with a chance that he might throw the end away if his wood was a little over weight, he picked the other side for his final wood, settling for an extra end.

As the end developed the jack was pushed back and to the side, Catchpole-Fisher-Wilson held and a the woods were dropping short and in front of the line of fire. Short of a wild fluke there was no way that Hurr-Masters were going to be able to recover the situation and so it turned out. They couldn't find a way in and the title was secured for Catchpole-Fisher-Wilson 7-5.

You can view copy of all the results here.

Everyone agreed that this year's event was extremely enjoyable for which we have to thank, in no small part, our overseas vistors. The enormous enthusiasm shown by the Norwegian bowlers and their supporters and the quality of the New Zealanders who were unquestionably a match for players with great deal more experience of the format than they had added a huge amount to the Festival.

We already have a commitment from Norway to attend again next year and in greater numbers (they also anticipate the Sweden will be interested). This year only a few of them actually bowled with the majority concerned that they would not be competitive, but those worries were quickly laid to rest when they saw how enjoyable the experience was for those that did play, so we can certainly expect increased numbers next year.

In addition the New Zealanders are eager to make a return at some point in the future and they in turn expect that there could well be interest from Australia.

We are already looking forward to next year's event, bookings for which are now being taken, more details are available here.

Photographs of the winners can be found here.

List of previous winners.

updated 13/05/16