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2018 Carpet Bowls International
England v New Zealand v Norway

This year's Festival at Potters saw the first ever Carpet Bowls International, a tri-nations event between the hosts and teams from New Zealand and Norway.

The event took place during the Tuesday and Wednesday evenings of the Festival and with these games not finishing until gone 10.30, that meant it was a very long couple of days bowling for those involved.

Each country provided 2 blocks and each block would play against each of their opponent team's blocks, so there would be 2 games each evening.

While Norway were always bound to be the underdogs, New Zealand put up a formidable team whose 8 players had won a total of 38 national titles between them and were always going to be serious contenders.

The teams were as follows:

England 1
Neil Jolly
Paul Daniels
Sally Goodrich
Ally Hobbs

England 2
Michael Laydon
Sue Gilder
Jane Debattista
Martin Campbell

New Zealand 1
Grant l'Ami
Avon Compton
Gary Low
Teri Anderson

New Zealand 1
Ashley Diamond
Paul Wright
Sheree Holmes
Suzanne Mackie

Norway 1
Arne Bjerke
Rolf Stubberudlien
Kolbein Kroglund
Finn Andresen

Norway 2
Odd Taiet
Nina Taiet
Khmel Tamara
Trond Bekke

Tuesday - Session 1
England 1
2-11 New Zealand 1
It was a good start for New Zealand who took control of the game, winning ends 3 to 8 and never allowing England to gain a foothold in the game.

England 2 14-3 Norway 2
After a slow start England picked up 9 shots over ends 3,4 and 5 and never looked back after that.

New Zealand 2 8-3 Norway 1
This turned out to be Norway's best match of the event, even though they still went down. New Zealand had moved into an 8-1 lead after 6 ends, but Norway prevented them from scoring in the remaining ends.

Tuesday - Session 2
England 2
17-3 Norway 1
Norway 1 were showing themselves to be the pick of their 2 teams as they led after 2 ends. Even at 4 ends they were only 3-2 down, but at that point England put their foot on the gas and ran away, finishing with a 5 on the last end.

England 1 7-5 New Zealand 2
This was as close a game as you could wish for with the momentum swinging first one way and then the other. New Zealand led 3-1 but a couple of ends later England were 5-3 up and with 2 ends to go it was all square. However a couple of shots on the penultimate end gave England a small buffer and on the last with a wood from each side resting on the jack England did exactly what was needed and blocked up to prevent their opponents from scoring.

New Zealand 1 22-2 Norway 2
What really separated the teams here were a couple of big scoring ends, a 5 on the second and a 7 on the 5th had New Zealand 14-1 ahead after just 5 ends and they finished off with 7 shots over ends 8 and 9.

Overall that left New Zealand in the overnight lead, although not by much, both teams had 6 points but the Kiwis had a 6 shot advantage, while Norway had yet to open their account.

Wednesday - Session 1
England 1
20-0 Norway 2
England knew that they were going to need shots as well as wins and that's what they did, shutting their opponents out of the game completely.

New Zealand 1 20-3 Norway 1
While England 1 were kept down to just 3 shots on the closing 3 ends of their game, New Zealand 1 made the most of their final 3 ends to take 9 shots and keep pace with England.

England 2 5-6 New Zealand 2
Very much a game of two halves, New Zealand won the first 5 ends to lead 6-0 and then clung on as England finally started to score, unfortunately they ran out of ends.

Wednesday - Session 2
England 2
2-9 New Zealand 1
Just as before England were slow to start, New Zealand took control of the game and 6 ends in were 8-0 ahead and by that stage there was no way back for England.

New Zealand 15-1 Norway
Again New Zealand won the opening half dozen ends, moving to an 11-0 lead and were never in trouble.

England 1 12-4 Norway 1
For the best part of the game this was a close affair, 2-2 after 3 ends, and still only 4-2 to England after 5. However a 4 on end 6 pushed them nicely ahead and pretty much saw them home.

With only one game lost over the two nights the win went to New Zealand who finished up on 14 points, 4 ahead of England, while understandably Norway struggled against this level of opposition.

It was a well deserved win for the Kiwis who displayed their class throughout the week and could quite easily have gone home with every trophy on offer.

Plans are already under way for them to return with their full squad in 2022 by which time we hope to have more countries involved to enable us to expand the event.

You can find all the results here.

And Trevor Rayner's footage of the matches can be viewed here.