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ECBA Carpet Bowls Festival 2017
Monday 8th to Friday 12th May 2017

Following on from last year's success there was a big jump in the entry for this year's event with more than 220 people playing across the 3 different disciplines including another large contingent from Norway and one brave soul who made it all the way back here again from New Zealand.


We started off with 131 players in the Singles who were whittled down to the last 8 for the final session of a very long day on Wednesday.

Paul Cousins (Suffolk) v Michael Laydon (Sunderland)

The game started well but slowly for Paul as he picked up a couple of singles on the first 2 ends, he then stretched his lead with a two and then another two to look relatively comfortable at 6-0 up after 4 ends. However Michael stopped the rot with one on the fifth and then began to chip away at the lead. There was another one on the next end and then 2 on the 7th to bring him to within 2. The 8th end would have been the penultimate one but the whistle was blown as it proceeded to cut the game short. Michael would need 2 to take it to an extra end, but although he had one Paul did enough to keep it to that and held on for a 6-5 win.

Colin Yarham (Norfolk) v Colin Knox (Norfolk)
The first 3 ends saw the lead go back and forth as first Mr Yarham picked up 2, Mr Knox came back with 3 only for Mr Yarham to gain another 2 to go back into a 4-3 lead. But after that it was all one way traffic. Former winner Mr Knox took another three and then a 1, and led 7-4, but the 6th end pretty much put the seal on the game as he added another 4. The game ended at 8 ends with an emphatic 13-4 win for Colin Knox.

Neil Jolly (Suffolk) v Sue Gilder (Suffolk)
Having already had to battle his way past two of his Suffolk teammates Neil now found himself up against another one. It was honours even after 2 ends with both having picked up a single, but the 3rd end saw Sue add 3 to her tally and after that it was all one way traffic, a couple of singles over the next 2 ends took her out to a 6-1 lead, but another 3 one the next sounded the death knell for Neil and with 2 ends still to go Sue had an unbeatable 10-1 lead to see her through to the Semis.

Rita Daniels (Suffolk) v Phyllis Sutton (Norfolk)
After Phyllis opened with a single Rita hit back over the next 2 ends to lead 3-1. However Phyllis was even on the next end and another 2 on the 5th gave her the lead. The 6th was however the decisive end, Phyllis took a full house to lead 9-3 and having to force the issue Rita dropped another 3 on the 7th and the game was over, Phyllis winning 12-3.

Just before the lunch break on Thursday the Quarter Finals winners were back again to decide who would be competing for the trophy later in the day.

Phyllis Sutton (Norfolk) v Paul Cousins (Suffolk)
In a game where neither player managed to establish much of a lead it was all going to come down to the very last end. It was 1-1 after 2 ends and Paul took the lead on the next with a 2 only for Phyllis to draw level and then take a 4-3 lead. Paul levelled but Phyllis took a couple of singles. It was only a 2 shot lead but already the game was down to the last end. Paul needed more than one but that was all Phyllis allowed him as she just edged the game 6-5.

Sue Gilder (Suffolk) v Colin Knox (Norfolk)
Although Sue opened with one on the first end it was Colin who took the next 3, only a shot apiece but he had the lead and the momentum. However that was arrested as Sue drew level on the next, but Colin was 4-3 up after 6 ends. Again Sue levelled and then hit Colin with a 3 just as the whistle was blown, hitting the front for the first time since the first end and winning 7-4.

Phyllis Sutton (Norfolk) v Sue Gilder (Suffolk)

For the first time in the history of the Festival it was going to be a lady who would take the trophy home.
End 1 – Phyllis goes from 3 down to 1 up with her final wood, moving the jack into the open, but Sue simply draws shot with her last to lead 1-0.
End 2 – Sue snatches shot with her final wood but Phyllis can't quite get it back. 2-0
End 3 – Phyllis pushes the jack back and Sue immediately drops in behind, then in front, her last wood is a good 18 inches short and not counting until Phyllis pushes it up for a third. 5-0
End 4 – Phyllis is not bowling badly by any means but Sue is finding the jack wherever it's moved to and takes another 2. 7-0
End 5 – This time Phyllis punches the jack through to the back to hold 3, but Sue draws shot once again. 8-0
End 6 – Two relatively wayward woods from Sue are made up for with her third, Phyllis has to try and force the situation but ends up dropping all 4. 12-0
End 7 – Sue's second wood drops onto the front of the jack and again Phyllis has to try something and almost inevitably takes the jack off and the game is over. 14-0

With 2 ends still to go the game was over. Phyllis had not bowled badly but it had been a superb display by Sue who took a well deserved win.


A total of 104 Pairs started out playing in 21 groups with the group winners and 11 best runners-up making it through to Thursday afternoon's Knockout Stages.

Kathy Shepherd & Jenny Parnell (Norfolk) v Mick & Shirley Watkins (Suffolk)

The Norfolk pair were off to a great start, winning the first three ends with 1, 3 and 1 to lead 5-0. However the Watkins gritted their teeth and inched their way back with a 1, a 2, another 2 to draw level and then 1 more to lead. But with 2 ends to go their progress was arrested and the game was all square at 6-6. Whoever held their nerve would progress and it was Mick & Shirley, taking a single to win the game 7-6.

Peter & Doris Frost (Norfolk) v Joe & Jane Debattista (Norfolk)
Another game where an early lead was quashed and it all came down to the last end. After dropping one on the first Joe & Jane pulled out a 5-1 lead over the next 3 ends. The it was the Frost's turn, a 3 and a 1 brought the game level and one more put Peter & Doris in the lead but the Debattista's made it 6-6 on the penultimate end and hung on to a single on the 9th to win 7-6.

Michael Laydon & Martin Campbell (Sunderland) v Ann Denton & Cherry Brock (Bedfordshire)
Despite the fact the the game would be played out over 9 ends with only one end down it looked very much as if the writing was already on the wall as Mikey & Martin took a full house. They added one on the next before the Bedfordshire ladies got on the board with a 2. But the Sunderland lads added 4 more over the next 2 ends to lead 9-2 after 5. Ann & Cherry took one back but 3 on the 7th taking them to an unassailable 12-3 lead gave Michael & Martin the game. The match was played out and the ladies took the final 2 ends as it finished 12-6.

Harold & Patricia Ball (Bedfordshire) v Neil Jolly & Jim Goodrich (Suffolk)
The first 5 ends saw the lead seesaw as Harold & Patricia led by 2, then Neil & Jim took that same lead themselves before it was all level. However it was the next 2 ends which pretty much settled things. A 3 followed by another 2 for the Suffolk pair propelled them into a 9-4 lead with 2 to go. They kept the Balls down to just a single to carry a comfortable 4 shot lead into the last end. All Neil & Jim needed was to control the end, but the actually took another 2 to come home 11-5 winners.

Michael Laydon & Martin Campbell (Sunderland) v Joe & Jane Debattista (Norfolk)

Joe & Jane made the most their local support as they took a run of 4 ends won to lead 5-1 after 5. However the Sunderland pair weren't about to lie down and were immediately back to 4-5. But that lead was back out to 3 again as Joe & Jane took 2 and despite losing 1 were 7-5 up with just an end to play. However the were on the back foot all the way through that last end and right the way down to the last wood. It needed something special from Joe as he swapped his hand for the last shot of the game after an unsuccessful first attempt and somehow turned the oppositions best wood out to hold and pick up what had looked like an unlikely win only seconds before, 8-5.

Mick & Shirley Watkins (Suffolk) v Neil Jolly & Jim Goodrich (Suffolk)
The two Suffolk teams took this one all the way down to the wire and beyond. The Watkins had the best of the first few ends, winning 4 out of 5 but only holding a 5-3 lead. Neil & Jim weren't winning many but they made it count when they did and the 6th end gave them another 3 to take the lead. After that it was back and forth, Mick & Shirley levelled, Neil & Jim went 1 ahead and on the 9th end the Watkins' tied the game up again. Time for sudden death and it was Neil & Jim who did it, they'd only won 3 out of 9 ends in regular play but got it when it really mattered to win 9-7.

Joe & Jane Debattista (Norfolk) v Neil Jolly & Jim Goodrich (Suffolk)
Another Norfolk/Suffolk final.
End 1 – Neil drops onto the front of the jack and then blocks to keep it. 1-0
End 2 – Jane's shot wood is tipped over by Neil and it's close. He drops in for shot with his second but Joe moves it out for 2. 2-1 to Joe & Jane.
End 3 – Jim's first is spot on, Joe plays it out to hold and Neil dead draws to level the game 2-2.
End 4 – Jane is close in and Neil joins her with his two, Joe misses the head and although it's close, Neil & Jim take 2 to regain the lead. 4-2.
End 5 – A slightly loose end sees Neil holding one. He drops in a second and Joe removes one. 5-2
End 6 – Jim is close but Jane beats him. Neil takes that on out, but Joe gets the jack free to hold 2 and makes it 3 with his last to get level again. 5-5
End 7 – Jim in on the jack and Joe takes that one off, then moves it. It needs a measure but Joe & Jane take the lead 6-5.
End 8 – Neil holds, Joe hits the jack but it rebounds back and he's still one down. 6-6
End 9 – Jane has one just on front and one just behind but somehow Neil finds a way in. Joe misses and Neil blocks. Joe's last wood needs to hit something, but he's just too wide. 7-6 to Jim & Neil.


55 Rinks started out on Tuesday morning, playing in 11 groups with the winners and 5 runners-up going into Thursday's knockout games.

Bill & Christine Dickenson and Peter & Doris Frost (Northumberland/Norfolk) v Michael Laydon, Martin Campbell, Colin Young and Lavinia McGahan (Sunderland)

The Sunderland team started well by picking up a couple on each of the first 2 ends. They were pegged back with a 3 on the next but that was as close as the Dickenson/Frost team got. Mickey's team pushed the lead back up to 6-3 over 2 more ends and were still 6-4 ahead going into the last with the luxury of last wood, picking up 1 more to win 7-4

Sue & Andy Gilder and Mick & Shirley Watkins (Suffolk) v Sue & Peter Jones and Laurence & Sarah Pullar (Cambridgeshire)
The game started very nicely for the Suffolk team and a 3 on the 4th end saw them 5-1 ahead with 3 to go. Even dropping 1 each on the next two gave them the comfort of a 2 shot lead going into the last. But it wouldn't be enough. Sue Gilder bowled her last wood 3 down but couldn't improve the situation and from an unlikely position the Cambridgeshire team pulled off a huge comeback to win 6-5.

George & Susan Savage and Sue & Tony Meredith (Bedfordshire) v Gerald & Phyllis Sutton and Colin & Rosemary Knox (Norfolk)
The first 6 ends were all close with the Norfolk team having just edged themselves out to the narrowest of leads at 4-3 with one end to go. The Savage/Meredith team had been right there up to this point but suffered a disaster at the worst possible moment. The situation got worse as the final end progressed and they could do nothing to prevent the Sutton/Knox team picking up 5 shots to finish with what looked like a comfortable 9-3 win but which was far from that.

Paul & Sue Cousins, Ken Drane & Sylvia Vaughan (Suffolk) v Paul, Rita & Mike Daniels and Avon Compton (Suffolk/New Zealand)
Unsurprisingly at this stage of the proceedings it was another close game and with 2 ends to go it was all square at 3-3, but the next was decisive. With the jack driven back the combination Suffolk/New Zealand team had the jack surrounded, nothing very close but everything was positioned in such a way that it was hard for the opposition to get in and they couldn't. They picked up a 4 to suddenly leap ahead and were able to control the final end, picking up another 2 to make it a 9-3 win, but nowhere near as decisive as it looked according to the final scoreboard.

Michael Laydon, Martin Campbell, Colin Young and Lavinia McGahan (Sunderland) v Sue & Peter Jones and Laurence & Sarah Pullar (Cambridgeshire)

After a single for the Cambridgeshire team on the first their opposition took control. A 1, a 3 and another 1 gave the Sunderland teams a nice 5-1 lead. The Jones/Pullar team got 1 back on the next but 2 for Michael's team on the 6th sealed it. they added another 3 on the last to take a 10-2 win.

Gerald & Phyllis Sutton and Colin & Rosemary Knox (Norfolk) v Paul, Rita & Mike Daniels and Avon Compton (Suffolk/New Zealand)
A nice little 3-0 lead 2 ends in for Avon's team was washed away over the next 2 ends and with 4 ends down it was all square at 3-3. However the 5th end would prove to be the crucial one as the Daniels/Compton team restored that 3 shot lead in one fell swoop. They added one more on the next to hold a 4 shot advantage going into the last. They knew what they had to do and did just that, dropping the end, but only by a single shot to win 7-4.

Michael Laydon, Martin Campbell, Colin Young and Lavinia McGahan (Sunderland) v Paul, Rita & Mike Daniels and Avon Compton (Suffolk/New Zealand)

From the first end it was clear that this was going to be a fight that would go all the way. The first end saw the shot wood swapping back and forth as Avon took it, Mickey played that one away and Avon came back with his last to win the end. The second end saw the Suffolk/NZ team take another single, with neither skip able to improve their situation, to lead 2-0.

The third end might have seen the game get away from the Sunderland rink as the jack was driven back close to the edge of the mat and Avon's team were holding two or three. However it was still open and Paul did what was needed in getting up to the jack, but just brushed it. For a moment it looked like it would hang on and if it had it would have been extremely difficult for the opposition to get the end back, but it just fell off and instead of extending the lead suddenly the game was all square again.

The fourth end again saw the jack moved back, It sat in the box with a barrier of woods in front and one of each colour about a foot distant. Paul and Mickey were both a touch too heavy with woods which would have taken shot if they hadn't only just teetered off the end, so it came down to a measure which just went to Avon's team, putting them back ahead by a shot.

The fifth end had the jack around the edge of the box hidden behind a Sunderland wood and no one able to get close enough to change the one shot which they took to once again level the game.

The penultimate end again saw the jack on the move, just around the long spot with Suffolk/NZ holding. Two woods dropped in on the line prevented a drawing shot and with so many woods in the way Mickey was unable to get through and the one shot was retained to put Avon's rink back ahead by one.

The seventh end saw Suffolk/NZ push one of their woods up just in front of the jack which was already deep, Sunderland had a trio of woods up against the opposition wood. It would need something special to get shot, but with the situation as it was there was no option but to try. As it was Mickey caught a little too much of his own wood up in the head and there was nothing to stop the jack from running off the end to give Avon's team the game 6-3.

It had been another highly competitive but equally friendly event with, it should go without saying, some top class bowling. And it's most gratifying to note that by the end of the week there were already more than 180 places booked for next year's event when we are very pleased to say that we are anticipating that we will be joined by yet more competitors from both the Scandinavian countries as well as the return of a team from New Zealand and one from Australia.

All of that means that this international representation will add an extra element to the week's bowling, more about which we will be announcing as the time gets nearer.

In the meantime many thanks to everyone who joined us and we look forward to seeing you there next year.

Photographs of the prize winners can be found here.

Our thanks go to Greg Harlow for presenting the prizes which were kindly donated by Potters.

List of previous winners.

updated 12/05/17