This weekend saw the first two national competitions in the ESMBA calendar. The mixed fours and the over 55’s pairs took place at Solihull. Sixty- four teams entered for each event representing twenty-four counties. The first section of the competitions was played as sixteen groups of four teams playing a round robin. The first two teams in each group went through to a straight knockout consisting of five rounds.
Saturday the 07th March
Hertfordshire entered four teams on the Saturday, in the mixed fours 2 bowl competition. All matches were played over eight ends.
Audrey Fowler, Brian Fowler, Jill Quarterman and Robin Quarterman played as Hertfordshire 1. Their first game was tough, against a very strong Gloucestershire 1, that included England players. Although they lost, they managed to hold the score to 3 - 7. Their next game was against East Sussex 1. Here they had a good win of 11 - 3. Their last game of the round robin stage was against Suffolk 1. This was another tough game which they lost 3 – 9, placing them third in their group.
Alexis Mack, Dennis Mack, Margaret Hare and Alan Hare played as Hertfordshire 2. Their first game was against Humberside 2. In an exciting first game they took a good win of 9 – 5. Their second game was against Northants 3. This was a tough game which ended in a loss of 4 – 9. Their last game was against Hampshire 4 who they beat by an impressive 11 – 4, placing them second in their group and through to the next stage of the competition.
Jeanette Gayler, Tony Gayler, Jan Rodgers and Peter Grifiths played as Hertfordshire 3. Their first game against Northants 1 did not take place as Northants 1 did not attend. Their next game was against Dorset 2. In a closely fought match the last bowl of the last end gave Hertfordshire the win 6 – 5. Their last game was against a strong Worcester 1 which they lost 3 – 10. In a tight group with all three teams all scoring 4 points for a win and a bye the positions were decided on shot difference. With a shot difference of plus 2 Hertfordshire found themselves in third place. Note:- Each of the three teams were awarded 2 points and 8 shots for the missing games against Northants.
Pauline Taylor, Brian McGivern, Mary Chadd and Alan Spicer played as Hertfordshire 4. Their first game was against Oxfordshire 2. In a closely fought game they just missed out losing 7 – 8. Their second game was against Kent 1. In another closely fought match the final score was 6 – 8. Their last game was against Dorset 4, this was much more successful winning 13 – 4 placing them third in their group.
Alexis Mack, Dennis Mack, Margaret Hare and Alan Hare having come second in their group, proceeded to play Devon 2 in the first round of the knockouts. Devon 2 were the winners of Group 11 having won 2 of their round robin games. In a close match, Hertfordshire took a win of 9 – 7 to go through to the next round. In the second round of the knockouts they were drawn against Hampshire 3 who were winners of group 3, having won 2 and drawn 1 of their round robin games. In a very exciting and closely fought match Hertfordshire narrowly missed out on a quarter final place, with the final score 6 – 7. Well done Alexis, Dennis, Margaret and Alan.
Sunday the 08th March
Hertfordshire entered three teams competing on the Sunday in the over 55’s 2 bowl competition. All matches were played over ten ends.
Alan Spicer and Brian McGivern played as Hertfordshire 1. Their first game was against East Sussex 3. In a match of mixed fortunes they lost on the last end 8 – 10. Their second game was against Oxfordshire 2 in another close game they just had the upper hand winning 7 – 6. Their last game was against Essex 1. In their third close game of the round they were narrowly beaten 9 – 11. Essex 1 won all three of their matches to top the table with 6 points. The other three teams all had one win each, so once again the second place was decided on shot difference. With a shot difference of -1 Oxfordshire 2 got second place, Brian and Alan narrowly missing out taking third place with a shot difference of -3.
Toni Gearing and Bill Gearing played as Hertfordshire 2. Their first game was against a very strong North Yorks 1 with the result 1 – 14. Their second game was against Dorset 1. In another tough match they lost 2 – 12. In their third game against Derbyshire 1, Toni and Bill took an early lead going on to win 9 – 5, placing them third in their group
Alexis Mack and Dennis Mack played as Hertfordshire 3. Their first game was against Surrey 2. In an impressive match Alexis and Dennis won with a final score of 19 – 4. Their second game against Oxfordshire 3 did not take place as the Oxfordshire team failed to attend the meeting. In their third (or is that second) game against Surrey 2 they were closely matched, losing 6 – 8, placing them second in their group and through to the next stage of the competition. Note:- Each of the three teams were awarded 2 points and 10 shots for the missing games against Oxfordshire.
In the first round of the knockouts Alexis and Dennis were drawn against Cambridgeshire 1 who were the winners of group 11. Alexis and Dennis had a good game consistently out bowling the opposition. They won the match 9 – 5. In the second round of the competition they were drawn against Norfolk 2 who were the winners of group 3. Alexis and Dennis played well and took control of the game winning 10 – 4. Alexis and Dennis were now through to the quarter finals. In the quarter finals Alexis and Dennis were drawn against Martyn Dubb and Ian Ford of Hampshire 3. In an exciting game Alexis and Dennis fought hard but eventually lost this quarter final 6 – 9. Martyn and Ian went on to win their Semi Final and were eventual runners up in the competition. Well done Alexis and Dennis, the only Hertfordshire team to make a quarter final this weekend.
A good weekend was had by all competitors and supporters.
Well done to all players from Hertfordshire who did their county proud.