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ECBA Carpet Bowls Festival 2023
Monday 8th to Friday 12th May

This year saw the return of a number of overseas players, Avon came all the way over from New Zealand once again, and we had a group of 10, including 8 competitors, from Norway.


We started out with around 60 competitors in the Singles, which is run on a straight knockout basis, which was whittled all the way down to the last 8:

Quarter Finals
MIke Dowse v Charley Newby

Although Charley took one on the first end, the next 4 ends were won by Mike, edging away to a 5-1 lead after 5 ends. Charley picked up a couple of shots on the penultimate end, but could only get a single on the last as Mike hung on to win 5-4.

Carl Pearson v Pete Runnacles
Pete picked up a single on each of the first three ends, and was 4-1 ahead with 3 ends to go. But that lead was wiped out on the 6th end as Carl picked up 3, and then, on a very tight measure got another on on the last end to complete his comeback, winning 5-4.

Lisa Edmead v Shirley Tilbrook
It was just one shot an end for the first 6 ends, with Shirley just with her nose in front at 4-2. Lisa was still in with a chance, but the final end belonged completely to Shirley, she picked up a full house to win the game 8-2, which makes it look like a more comfortable win than it really was.

Adam Wilson v Neil Jolly
After 2 relatively high scoring ends, it was 3-3, but having won the second end, those were the last shots Adam would collect, as Neil won the next 4 ends, to end the game at 10-3 with an end to go.

Neil Jolly v Carl Pearson

Neil took the advantage immediately by picking up 3 on the first end, and while Carl won one shot back on the next end, Neil repeated his first end success with another 3, to lead 6-1 after 3 ends. With one more end gone, Carl was 7-1 down, but not yet quite out, he pulled back 2 on the 5th end, and then another 2, to go into the final end just 2 behind. But at this point Neil stopped his opponent's flow, taking the end to finish out the winner, 8-5.

Shirley Tilbrook v Mike Dowse
Mike took the early lead with 2 on the first, but Shirley took the next 3 ends to lead 4-2. Mike levelled the game on the 5th end, and though he lost the 6th, it was only by a single shot, so it was still all to play for. However Shirley's relentless accuracy paid off as she took that final end, to win the game 8-4.

Neil Jolly (Suffolk) v Shirley Tilbrrok (Suffolk)
It was a bright start for Shirley as she took the first 2 ends, but it was only by one shot on each, so a 3 on the 3rd for Neil suddenly swung the game his way. He increased that lead by one on the next, but Shirley levelled the game 4-4 on the 5th end. He then had his nose back in front with one on the penultimate end, before making the most of having the first wood. His final shot left Shirley with nothing much to play at, and he took 2, to win the game 7-4, taking the title for the second time.

You can watch the game here.

Neil Jolly and Shirley Tilbrook


The round robin games for the Pairs were played out on Wednesday, the winners of each of the ten groups would qualify for the last 16, and would be joined by the 6 winners of the preliminary round games between the runners-up and 2 best third placed teams.

Group 1
As might have been expected, Ian Clark & Carl Pearson dominated the group, picking up 4 comfortable wins. Behind them it ended up with 3 teams all tied on 4 points, the best of which, on shots, were Trevor & Susan Edge.

Group 2
Adam Wilson & Michael Laydon
had little trouble, picking up wins in all 4 of their games, while following them home in a clear second place were reigning champions Stuart McNeil & Lisa Edmead, who lost just once.

Group 3
Sally Goodrich & Ally Hobbs
were not troubled greatly, romping home to the group win with 4 victories, while, as with Group 1, 3 teams vied for second place, having won 2 and lost 2, and of which Val Game & Paul Daniels edged out the others on shots.

Group 4
Peter & Sue Jones
picked up maximum points, to take the group win, while Arthur Wingfield & Gerald Sutton only lost once, to finish a clear second, while Peter Webster & Rod Heal's 4 points and 30 shots was good enough for them to take one of the 2 best third-placed spots in the knockout rounds.

Group 5
Two very clear cut qualifiers here, as 3 of the five teams won only once. Paul & Sue Cousins won all their games, while Chris & Shirley Tilbrook lost only the one, to comfortably qualify.

Group 6
Barry Padfield & Mike Dowse
were comfortably through as group winners, on maximum points, while David & Stephen Templeton were safely through having lost just the once.

Group 7
Mick Fisher & Ray Collins
went undefeated to win the group, dropping just one point to the eventual runners-up, Neil Jolly & Jim Goodrich, who made in through in second on 5 points.

Group 8
Steven Wilson & Martin Campbell
breezed their way through the group, winning all their games, and racking up 52 shots. Second place went to Pam Crawford & Marion Joy, who lost just once, and 4 points and 36 shots was enough for Peter & Doris Frost to take one of the best 3rd placed spots.

Group 9
Jenny Sanderson & Lavinia McGahan
were clear group winners, picking up maximum points, while Clint & Emma Watling, with 3 wins and a single loss, followed them home in second.

Group 10
David Clemmet & Angela Newling
faced litte in the way of resistance in their group, winning all their games. Second place went to Pete & Rita Runnacles who lost just once.

The 3 Norwegian teams didn't have a huge amount of luck, but Inger Johanne Olsen & Tor Andersen did take one win in their group, which in the context of all the results, was quite an achievement.

Knockout Rounds
Quarter Finals

Sue & Paul Cousins
versus Chris & Shirley Tilbrook saw the score aleady up to 4-3 after only 3 ends, with the Tilbooks having the lead. But after that the Cousins' were unrelenting, they hit the lead next end, and picked up 4 on the 5th, which pretty much ended the game. The Cousins finished up 11-4 winners.

Against Steven Wilson & Martin Campbell, Jenny Sanderson & Lavinia McGahan barely got a look in. They were only able to pick up a single shot, on the 4th end, by which time Steven and Martin had already scored 4. A halt was called to the game with an end still to go, and the lads holding an unbeatable 8-1 lead.

Ian Clark & Carl Pearson were off to a strong start against Neil Jolly & Jim Goodrich, and led 4-1 with 4 ends played. But Neil & Jim came on strong at the end, they levelled the game on the 5th end, picked up another 3 on the next, and finished off with 2 on the last to win 9-4.

The closest game of the round saw Stuart McNeil & Lisa Edmead lead early on, but Peter & Sue Jones come back and lead for the first time, going into the final end, 4-3. But it was Stuart & Lisa that came out on top, taking 2 at the end, to win 5-4.

Neil Jolly & Jim Goodrich
held the early advantage over reigning champions Stuart McNeil & Lisa Edmead, leading 3-0 after 2 ends, but Stuart & Lisa dominated for the remained of the game, picking up a run of 2, 4, 2 and 2 shots on consecutive ends, to win 10-3 with an end to spare.

A topsy-turvey game between Sue & Paul Cousins and Steven Wilson & Martin Campbell saw Steven & Martin pick up a 4 on the 4th end to lead for the first time, only to drop the same score on the very next end. But that loss didn't rattle them, as they regained the lead ont he next end with a 2, and sealed victory with another 2 on the last, to win 9-6.

Stuart McNeil & Lisa Edmead (Suffolk)
v Steven Wilson & Martin Campbell (Sunderland)
This was a repeat of last year's final, which saw Stuart & Lisa take the win, but very quickly the result looked as if it was heading in the opposite direction this year, as Steven & Martin picked up 4 on the 2nd end, to lead 5-0.

Stuart & Lisa chipped back a couple of shots over the next 2 ends, before the lead went back out to 4 shots, with 2 ends to go. However Stuart & Lisa gave themselves a chance with 2 on the penultimate end. They'd need at least 2 on the last end, but while they won the end, they were restricted to just the one shot, as Steven & Martin held on to a 6-5 victory, and take revenge for last year's defeat.

You can watch the game here.

Martin Campbell & Steven Wilson

Lisa Edmead & Stuart McNeil

Jim Goodrich & Neil Jolly

Sue & Paul Cousins


The week's competition started on Tuesday with the Rinks group games. There were 5 groups, the winners of which automatically qualified for the Quarter Finals, to be played on Thursday. The remaining 3 teams for the last 8 would come from the group runners-up and the best 3rd placed team.

Group 1
Two well-matched teams dominated the group, Agnew-McNeil-Edmead, and Frost-Edge, each won all their games, except the one they played against each other, which was drawn. In the end it was only 3 shots that seperated the them, with Frost-Edge taking the group win.

Group 2
won all their games to win the group comfortably, with the runner-up spot going to Templeton-Clark-Pearson, who won two games, and drew one.

Group 3
Another group with saw two teams tied on 7 points. Watling-Compton-Young, with 33 shots beat Webbley-Greaves-Webb-Butler into second place, by 7 shots.

Group 4
Comfortable group winners here, were Tilbrook-Game-Daniels, who picked up maximum points from their 4 games, and had the group win tied up before playing their final game. They finished 3 points clear of Collins-FIsher-Long, while 3rd placed Stark-Crawford-Joy, with 4 points and 30 shots scraped through as the best 3rd placed team (by a couple of shots).

Group 5
came though their games with 4 wins, to top the group, although two of those victories were by just the odd shot. One of those narrow victories came agaonst Laydon-Wilson-Campbell, who won their three remaining games, to finish second.

Norwegian Teams
Unfortunately neither of the Norwegian rinks were able to win a game, but both came very close to doing so against highly fancied teams.

Trond Bekke, Børre Johansen, Lisbeth Yssenmoen-Inger and Inger Johanne Olsen were ahead until the last end against eventual group winners Watling-Compton-Young, before being edged out to a 6-7 loss.

And Tor Andersen, Øistein Andersen, Ole Petter Lier and Viggo Espensen came very close to causing a major upset against last year's winners Laydon-Wilson-Campbell. They had their their noses in front for most of the game, b ut just faded at the end, losing 5-7.

Knockout Stages
Quarter Finals

swept aside Frost-Edge not even giving their opposition the satisfaction of taking a single end, winning the game 9-0.

Similarly Clemmet-Newling-McGahan-Sanderson weren't allowed to get a look in against Agnew-McNeil-Edmead, were comfortable 11-0 winners.

After winning the first end, Webbley-Greaves-Webb-Butler, fell behind against Tilbrook-Game-Daniels, whose 4 on the third end meant that they always held a comfortable advantage, as they won 11-3.

And it was exactly the same score as Watling-Compton-Young took on Templeton-Clark-Pearson. Although the latter team held a 3-1 lead after 3 ends, the former leveled the game next end, and then broke the back of it with 5 shots on the 5th end.

, took the first couple of ends against Watling-Compton-Young and never relinquished their lead. By the 5th end they were 8-1 ahead, and were able to control the game thereafter, finally winning 8-5.

Easily the closest game of the knockout stages to this point was Goodrich-Hobbs-Jolly against Agnew-McNeil-Edmead. There was never more than a couple of shots in it, but after the 4th end Goodrich-Hobbs-Jolly just about kept their noses in front, to win 5-3.

Neil Jolly, Ally Hobbs and Jim & Sally Goodrich (Suffolk)
v Paul Daniels, Valerie Game and Chris & Shirley Tilbrook (Suffolk)

The one thing you don't want in a final is a one-sided game, and that could not be said of any of the matches in the final stage of the event, most particularly the Rinks final.

It was a macth that was nip and tuck from start to finish, with never more than one shot in it at any stage. The scoring went 1-0, 1-1, 1-2, 2-2, 2-3, 4-3, and on the final end it went all square at 4-4, requiring an extra end to settle things.

And it looked like Tilbrook-Game-Daniels had it wrapped up, holding 3, and with a blocker that was perfectly placed to stop the running shot at the head. But not to stop the perfect draw, which needed to be within an inch of the jack, without any movement at all, and that was exactly what Neil pulled off, to take a miraculous win.

You can watch the game here.

Neil Jolly, Ally Hobbs and Jim & Sally Goodrich

Paul Daniels, Valerie Game and Chris & Shirley Tilbrook

Sam & Trish Agnew, Lisa Edmead & Stuart McNeil

Colin Young, Emma & Clint Watling and Avon Compton

Many thanks to everyone who joined us, and congratulations to all the winners, and we hope to see you all again next year.

You can view the entire week's results here.