UPPER WAVENEY FEDERATION LEAGUE 2017 DIVISION 1

 

 

 

 

 Upp Waveney 24 08 2017

CONNAUGHT v STRADBROKE & DISTRICT

Connaught won at Stradbroke & District on Thursday 24 August by 70-60 and 6-1

Rink 3 Mick Utting, Mike Minshull and Steve Barclay lost 7-27 against M Ellis

Rink 4 Paul McDonald, Bob Oatway and Derek Liles won 15-14 against T Leftley

Rink 5 Kevin Noble, Mark Watson and John Winup won 24-10 against J Dann

Rink 7 Geoff Randle, Roy Taylor and Graham Benefer win 24-9 against N Whatling

Rink 3 witnessed a total demolition of the Connaught players by Mary Ellis at skip and two excellent players at lead and 2 (the lady at lead, M Murray, having an especially good game). The home players knew every inch of their rink and seemed to play weight or draw at will. Connaught switched around a bit but to no avail. 4-26 down after 15 ends they did manage to almost double their score over the last three ends. None of the Connaught bowlers had any excuse afterwards, accepting that they had been out bowled

Rink 4 was the tightest of matches, with 9 ends each and Connaught going into the last end 2 up but managing to hold their opponents to a single shot for a 15-14 win. However, as Paul McDonald commented afterwards, it hardly seemed like a win because Connaught played against only two players throughout. A misunderstanding meant that a Stradbroke regular did not arrive but T Leftley at skip and J Alderton at lead really rose to the occasion with accurate bowling throughout. Connaught just did enough with 9 woods against 6 to snatch the win. In fairness 3 against 2 is never enjoyable for either side and matches can become distorted, a slaughter at one extreme or the 2 players winning it as nearly happened tonight. The Connaught players are not the type to muck around - they were trying hard but also admitted that their opponents had bowled very well

Rink 5 saw a solid Connaught win. A 4 on end 3 and a 5 on end 6 helped to a 13-1 lead. Stradbroke came back from time to time but were always contained. Connaught won the first half by 13-5 and the second by 11-5, winning 11 ends to 7 overall. A good team effort with John leading very well first half before his opponent found it. This battle was more even after that. Kevin admitted to just 7 good woods all night. We have to say that 3 of these were sublime, including two long range draws on the last end to move his side from 4 down to 2 up. Mark Watson simply bowled excellently all night and is an ideal player at 2 - he rarely leaves the skip in real trouble

Rink 7 saw  Connaught win by almost an identical score. The pattern was a bit different - just 10-6 up after nine ends, helped by a 5 on end 7, but a dominating second half with a 14-3 margin including a 2 to Stradbroke on the last end. A case of three players who always concentrate very hard and who at 2 and skip read the head well. Graham is now an excellent lead and his drawing ability is showing up well in UW competitions in pairs and singles. Roy is similar to Mark Watson at 2 in being a solid presence who usually does something positive. Geoff retains all his enthusiasm for the game and technique enables him to play very accurately. True to form he was last to finish and was still visiting the head on end 18 in almost total darkness!

Connaught secured a 6-1, perhaps a trifle luckily, to finish on a high. The latest league tables confirm that we are likely to finish third. However, 13 wins against 5 losses is our best return in Div 1. The two defeats against Long Stratton, although narrow, ruined hopes of anything better and the two defeats against Gissing and one against Diss show that we just fall short at present against those sides. The occasional upset (the only side to beat Diss in the league) and that's about it - but we will keep plugging away. Of major interest now is whether Gissing, with Diss having played all their matches, can get 12 (?) points from their last two games to pip Diss to the title. Another very pleasant post-match session at Stradbroke who entertain well and always provide a lovely spread

 

 

CONNAUGHT v GISSING

Connaught lost at home to Gissing on Thursday 17 August by 49-70 and 2-5

Rink 2 Kevin Noble, Mark Watson and Peter Hambling lost 14-20 against S Thompson

Rink 3 Paul McDonald, Bob Oatway and Jon Horslen won 17-14 against P Whymark

Rink 4 Mick Utting, Mike Minshull and Steve Barclay won 13-12 against P Forster

Rink 6 Sheila Bragg, Roy Taylor and Graham Benefer lost 5-24 against G Forster

This is another report constructed from the scorecards

On Rink 2 Connaught scored 5 on end 5 to get themselves ahead at 6-5 and extended the lead to 10-7 after 9 ends. Gissing came well and truly back with a 5-end winning sequence of 3, 1, 1, 5 and 1 and Connaught were 10-18 down. A 3 to Connaught on end 15 revived hopes a little but the match was played out quietly with 1 x 1 to Connaught and 2 x 1 to Gissing. The scorecard shows that Connaught won just 6 of the 18 ends while 8 of Gissing's 12 winning ends were by a single shot

On Rink 3 Connaught won 11 ends to 7 but were contained to 7 x 1 and 3 x 2. The one exception was a 4 on end 9 for a lead of 11-6 which in the end proved decisive. Gissing managed 2 x 3 and 3 x 2 among their winning ends and pulled up to 13-13 after 14 ends but Connaught nerves prevailed. The outcome of a match is decided by various factors but Paul NcDonald in, it is believed, his first start as a skip for Connaught in a competitive match, clearly held his own. And Paul Whymark is a more than useful player as an opposing skip

Rink 4 saw the closest match of the evening with each side winning 9 ends and Connaught clinging on by one shot. Connaught had a good 1, 3 and 1 start but Gissing came to level the match for the first time at 9-9 after 14 ends. A 3 and 1 to Connaught gave a useful margin of 13-9 after 16 ends but Gissing still caused some flutters with a 1 and 2 finish

Rink 5 saw the only one-sided match of the evening as Connaught subsided to heavy 5-24 defeat. 0-11 down after 6 ends Connaught simply could not get into the match and a dropped 5 on end 12 compounded the misery as the margin widened to 2-20. The last six ends were completed without dramatics as Connaught managed to contain to 3-4. Not much to say, really, except that Gissing obviously played very well against a Connaught triple which had been winning consistently. The ups and downs of sport!

Congratulations to Gissing on a win which must keep them on track to retain the league title. For Connaught a good effort in winning two rinks but the 3 points for overall shots were essential to both sides and Gissing had the depth to secure them.

CONNAUGHT v DICKLEBURGH

Connaught won at Dickleburgh on Thursday 10 August by 62-61 and 4-3

This report is done almost entirely from the scorecards and contains no observations on specific aspects of play.

Rink 2 Geoff Randle, Mark Watson and Graham Benefer lost 15-17 against D Shimell

Rink 3 Mick Utting, Steve Barclay and Derek Liles lost 12-16 against G Seaman

Rink 4 Roy Taylor, Ken Ramsbottom and Jon Horslen won 24-13 against L Young

Rink 5 Kevin Noble, David Flatt and Peter Hambling lost 11-15 against P Wright

Rink 2 saw one of those nip and tuck matches in which Geoff Randle so often features. 0-6 down after b3 ends Connaught clawed back well to lead 7-6 after 6 ends. After that there wre never more than 2 shots in it. Connaught scored 3 on end 16 to lead 15-13 but then promptly dropped a 3. A single shot on the last end gave Dickleburgh a 2-shot win

On Rink 3 Connaughte were 1-7 down after 5 ends but gradually pulled back, 8-9 after 11 ends, 10-11 after 14 ends and 12-13 after 17 ends. There was to be no fairy tale ending as Dickleburgh scored 3 on the last end for a 4-shot win

Rink 4 saw Connaught's one victory of the evening in an emphatic win for Roy Taylor's triple. 0-4 down after 3 ends Connaught then won the next 6 ends to lead 13-4 and extended this to to 20-7 after 14 ends and 24-10 after 17 ends. They also dropped 3 on the last end but this did not detract from a good team performance which earned their side the 3 points for overall shots

On Rink 5 Connaught established early control to lead 6-1 after 5 ends and 11-5 after 11 ends. Dickleburgh then came back well to win the last 7 ends by 10-0 (1 x 4 and 6 x 1). The last end apparently ended in much drama as Hambling and Noble ensured that this match was the last to finish. With onlookers very anxious Kevin Noble was advised not to bowl his last wood, the last of the match, because Connaught were 1 up overall.

This was the narrowest of victories, with nerves stretched as the four Connaught rinks dropped 8 shots between therm on the last end to turn 62-53 into 62-61. A 1-6 defeat was not far off although on another night both Geoff and Mick might have snatched a last-end victory. Well done again to Roy and Co for their win but also well done to the losing triples for keeping things tight. Dickleburgh is not an easy venue at present and the home club also have some very useful players

 

CONNAUGHT v STRADBROKE & DISTRICT

Connaught beat Stradbroke & District at home on Friday 4 August by 90-50 and 6-1 in a re-arranged match

Rink 2 Sheila Bragg, Roy Taylor and Paul McDonald won 26-14 against M Ellis

Rink 3 David Flatt, Bob Oatway and Jon Horslen lost 14-17 against D Cattermole

Rink 4 Geoff Randle, Ken Ramsbottom and Steve Barclay won 28-8 against N Whatling

Rink 5 Kevin Noble, Mark Watson and George Sheridan won 22-11 against J Dann

On Rink 2 Connaught gave themselves an early margin with a 5 on the first end and surged ahead to the point of leading 18-2 after 8 ends, helped by another 5 on end 8. 3s were exchanged and Connaught led 21-5 after 10 ends. The all-female Stradbroke triple then dug in very well and had the better of the last 8 ends although Connaught's overall margin was comfortable enough. As in the game the previous evening both sides struggled at times with the precision of line required but equally there were some excellent woods bowled throughout

On Rink 3 the sides won 9 ends each but a 6 dropped by Connaught on end 3 proved fatal in an otherwise low-scoring match. Connaught's 4 on end 14 did not quite compensate. After dropping that 6 Connaught were always behind. They edged up to 6-8 after 7 ends but then dropped back to 6-14 after 10 ends. Connaught had the better of it from then on but could not quite claw back the shots. Jon and Bob beat themselves up somewhat afterwards, feeling they could have played better, but did not really fall behind their opposite numbers who were no mugs. The equality up front was not quite matched at skip where David Flatt was facing David Cattermole, a regular Suffolk county skip and a class player. The Stradbroke skip with some stunningly accurate woods saved his side on quite a few occasions aalthough David Flatt did not have a bad game. In this league we will play from time to time against individuals who are a class or two above what we have

On Rink 4 a solid-looking and experienced Connaught triple, enthusiastically led by Geoff Randle, had a slowish start and were hedl to 5-5 after 5 ends. After that we can only record that the home triple took complete control and marched on to 20-6 after 11 ends. The rate of scoring slowed but Connaught concentrated to the end. Ken Ramsbottom had a particularly sluggish start but once he joined the game (his own words) the home triple was just too strong on the night. Steve led very well, Ken consolidated and Geoff further consolidated. Geoff's rink was again the last to finish. Ramsbottom was an obvious contributor but also Geoff as a skip insists on total concentration from beginning to end and was not going to allow any relaxation

On Rink 5 a determined and competent Stradbroke triple held Connaught well first half with the home side leading by just 9-8. Despite some reasonable ends George was finding it a bit tricky at lead and Mark and Kevin had to fight hard to stay in touch. Connaught upped their game from then on and 3s on ends 12 and 13 put them 17-9 up and comfortably ahead. Connaught continued to have the edge in a hard-fought finish. Stradbroke really applied themselves to make a game of it. Kevin showed improved form after recent lapses and obviously was relaxed and comfortable with Mark at 2. Sadly, Mark cannot play 2 to every skip all the time!

Stradbroke had some trouble fielding a side but realised they had to turn up after requesting this re-arrangement. It can be difficult with limited playing numbers. They still fought hard, and as the report indicates have some talented players. Connaught concentrated well and apparently now go top of the league, 2 points ahead of Diss and 6 ahead of Gissing. However, Diss have one game in hand and Gissing two games in hand. We have Gissing to play at home and must work hard in that one. Dickleburgh and Stradbroke, both away, will not be easy games. The betting must still be on a Diss v Gissing battle to the end with Connaught an honourable third

 

CONNAUGHT v BEECHES

Connaught beat Beeches at home on Thursday 3 August by 68-55 and 6-1

Rink 2 Kevin Noble, David Flatt and Peter Hambling lost 14-21 against D Douglas

Rink 3 Mick Utting, Bob Oatway and Richard Adcock won 15-13 against R Wilkins

Rink 4 Sheila Bragg, Roy Taylor and Graham Benefer won 25-8 against A Broughton

Rink 5 Geoff Randle, Mark watson and Paul McDonald won 14-13 aginst R Roberts

On Rink 2 the Connaught players struggled to stay in touch first half but despite dropping 4 on end 3 were in the match at 5-9 after 9 ends. A dropped 3 and 4 then put them 5-16 down but they pulled 4 back on end 12. A losing sequence of 2, 2 and 1 saw Connaught 9-21 down after 15 ends but a priceless 5 shots were clawed back over the final three ends. To their credit all the Connaught players obviously were aware of the overall match situation, and although losing did play hard for their side. Rink 2 bowled very smoothly in terms of pace but has some challenging runs demanding much precision in line and weight. As often happens the visiting players had no fear and simply bowled. The skip, D Douglas, had a good delivery and conventional drawing style which saved his side on several occasions. Nice to welcome Colin Stevenson, well-known to Connaught from short mat games against Hempnall

Rink 3 saw Connaught drop a 3 and 4 en route to a 3-9 deficit after 7 ends. 4 shots were regained on end 8 and end 9 was a no-score. 7-9 down at half way Connaught then scored 6 x 1 and 1 x 2 against 2 x 2 in a very tight finish. The last end was very tense with some close drawing on both sides. Beeches were holding 1 for a 14-14 draw with a wood 3 inches from the jack when Mick Utting drew in very precisely for shot with his last wood. The Beeches skip could not get in and Connaught had won by 2 shots. Richard played his part with some good ends and is coming to terms with the intensity required at this level. Bob had a solid and positive game and Mick again showed the benefit of recent coaching from Geoff Randle. Mick realised he had to slow down and become more proficient on the draw and Geoff's technical adjustments to Mick's delivery have worked well

On Rink 4 Connaught were in a tense battle early on and a dropped 4 on end 6 did not help them. After 10 ends the score was 8-8 and it was anybody's match. Connaught egded ahead with 3 x 1 for a lead of 11 x 8 and then the floodgates opened as 14 shots were scored over the last 5 ends (1 x 4, 3 x 3 and 1 x 1). From a distance it was hard to discern why a competent Beeches triple lost the last 8 ends of the match and subsided towards the end. Perhaps the answer is in the increased tightness and pressure up front from Graham and Roy and in Sheila's rich vein of form. The day after winning 21-2 at Diss against Angela Bailey in the UW Ladies Singles she again played with precision and accuracy. The triple has won recently at both Gissing and Diss and is in fine form.

On Rink 5 we saw another of those Geoff Randle late night dramas in a match in which each side won 9 ends and in which only 1s and 2s were scored. Paul McDonald, easing his way back to bowling after over-long summer holidays, had a solid game and Mark as ever was very reliable at 2. Geoff also played steadily and all three Connaught players had to concentrate to withstand a very capable visiting triple. The drama came in semi-darkness on the last end in the last match to finish (Geoff had even beaten Hanbling and Noble to achieve that distinction). Geoff had to bowl his last wood with Connaught 3 down and losing the match. He had only one shot - a bit of running to come in off a side wood - and he did it. The Beeches skip could not get in and Connaught had won by 1.  

After 10 ends on all rinks Connaught were level on three of them and losing on the other. The overall shots deficit was 29-36 but thanks to Sheila's rink, and to Kevin's for steadying, Connaught surged through. It was apparent towards the end that Connaught would get the 3 points for overall shots, but if Mick and Geoff had not bowled those last-end winning woods Beeches would have got 3.5 points on the night against 4.5. Beeches are a good side and can count themselves rather unlucky but as ever took it all in good part

 

CONNAUGHT v DISS

Connaught lost at Diss on Thursday 27 July by 46-87 and 1-6

Rink 2 Kevin Noble, John Winup and Derek Liles lost 7-28 against I Dunnett

Rink 3 Sheila Bragg, Roy Taylor and Graham Benefer won 21-19 against M Howard

Rink 4 Mick Utting, Ken Ramsbottom and Steve Barclay lost 12-17 against E Feavearyear

Rink 5 Geoff Randle, Mark Watson and Jon Horslen lost 6-23 against E Rawsthorne

Rink 2 saw a frankly miserable performance from a listless Connaught triple against competent opposition. At 3-6 down after 5 ends Connaught were just about in it but then unravelled when dropping 6 and 5 on successive ends. 3-17 down, the Connaught triple then slowed the rate of loss by containing Diss to mainly single shots while snatching an end here or there. A dropped 4 on end 15 compounded the pain later on. Derek had a bad night, losing his delivery and wobbling most woods short while an over-anxious John was inconsistent. Kevin rarely bowls well at Diss and seemed to bow to the inevitable. All the Diss players concentrated hard throughout and credit to them. But Connaught - unacceptable

Conversely, on Rink 3 Connaught fought hard throughout and reaped the reward despite at times seeming to have blown it. A steady start gave Connaught a 4-2 lead after three ends but 2 x 3 were then dropped. Recovery was boosted with a 5 on end 8 and Connaught led 13-10 after 11 ends. Disaster struck with 2 x 4 dropped and a deficit of 13-18 but the visitors came back with a sequence of 3, 1, 1 and 3 to lead 21-18 after 17 ends. Diss were contained to a single shot on the last end thanks to Sheila taking the jack through with a running backhand. Everybody played well for each other and Sheila personally is having a tremendous season

Rink 4 saw another good contest in which Connaught faced a very strong Diss triple (Errol Feavearyear at skip, Aaron Stimson at 2 and Eddie Lanchester at lead). Connaught dug in well as the sides shared the ends 9-9. The difference was that Connaught dropped 4s on ends 10 (after being 5-5 at 9 ends) and 16 while being contained to 7 x 1, 1 x 2 and 1 x 3. There seemed to be a fair amount of noise and animation on this rink, all good-natured as both sides confirmed it was a cracking match in which everybody played well. 

Connaught had another heavy defeat on Rink 5. 5 shots were dropped on end 4 and 4 on end 6 as the losing margin became 1-15 after 7 ends and extended to 2-21 after 14 ends. A 3 on end 14 provided much relief! Scorecard analysis shows that from 1-13 down after 6 ends Connaught at least contained Diss to singles shots and 2 x 2. Geoff and Mark did swap positions and this may have helped stem the tide. To a man the Connaught players maintained afterwards that they did not play badly and were always trying hard but that Diss played exceptionally well. Diss again looked strong on paper, with Eric Rawsthorne at skip, Derek Rookyard at 2 and a very competent lead in M Whatling (a new player?).

Connaught had to lick wounds after this defeat. Losing is acceptable if you fight hard and maintain standards - most Connaught players did but some must look at themselves. At or near full-strength and playing well Diss can be a formidable side in this league - as they were on the night. At less than full-strength they can be vulnerable as they were at Connaught earlier in the season. The league is now settling down to a Gissing v Diss battle, one that could go to the wire, with Connaught having to hold off Long Stratton for 3rd spot

CONNAUGHT v BEDINGFIELD

Connaught won at Bedingfield on Friday 22 July by 78-58 and 5.5-1.5

Rink 2 Mick Utting, Bob Oatway and Steve Barclay lost 15-16 against C Saunders

Rink 3 David Flatt, Ken Ramsbottom and Peter Hambling won 16-12 against D Saunders

Rink 4 Roy Taylor, Mike Minshull and John Winup won 26-9 against M Chittock

Rink 5 Kevin Noble, Mark Watson and Jon Horslen drew 21-21 against V Martin

Rink 2 was very tight throughout, with each side winning nine ends and with the shots difference always being within spitting distance. Apart from a 4 to Bedingfield on end 10 and a 3 to Connaught on end 15, the teams scored in 1s and 2s only. This match was always going to the wire as Connaught levelled at 14-14 after 16 ends. A 2 to Bedingfield on end 17 was followed by much excitement on the last end as Connaught could score a single shot only.

Rink 3 saw another close match with Connaught's only real lapse being a dropped 4 on end 7 which helped lead to a 5-8 deficit after 9 ends. After that the visiting triple gradually took control by winning a series of hard-fought ends to lead 16-9 after 16 ends. Bedingfield came back with 1 and 2 but Connaught held on well. All three Connaught players applied themselves well in a good team effort and it was pleasing to see David Flatt, after a short absence, back to steady form. This match of course finished last by some distance, with Hambling's rhythms of play and Ramsbottom's prolonged dissertations at 2 to David Flatt

Connaught won well on Rink 4 after a slowish start which saw them go 2-8 down after 7 ends. A 3 to Connaught on end 8 gave some relief but a previous decision for Roy and Mike to swap positions still went ahead. A communications issue lay behind this. Still a bit inexperienced, Mike is very diffident in his head-reading and Roy was receiving little guidance as the head changed. Conversely he is a natural bowler who can bring off super shots under direction. The change worked dramatically well with a 7 on end 9 followed by a 3, 2 and 3 for a 20-8 lead after 12 ends. Connaught dropped 1 on end 13 but saw out the match by winning the last 5 ends. John bowled very accurately at lead and Roy is a fine 2. Mike bowled very well as the triple pulled together

Rink 5 saw an extraordinary match. Connaught stormed ahead to lead 14-5 after 8 ends, were pulled back to 14-12 after 11 ends but reasserted themselves to lead 21-12 after 15 ends. A single shot to Bedingfield on end 16 was neither here nor there. The real drama started on end 17 when Connaught dropped 6. Bedingfield had managed to get the jack into an awkward position and held a good 4 as the skips went to bowl. As things turned out Kevin could have settled for 4 down and still a 4-shot lead. He went for broke and 6 down was the result. On the last end a rather shell-shocked visiting triple were 3 down and 1 down overall but Kevin, with the last wood of the match, came in for 3rd to get the draw. The Connaught triple confessed to some inconsistency but said that Bedingfield bowled well, especially at skip, in a match where quite a few heavy woods were sent down

Bedingfield's green actually is in Southolt, a hamlet of some 70 souls, and is not that easy to find. The green itself is very large, has a reasonable pace and wide swing on some rinks. A good test for a visiting side as Bedingfield bowl well on it. Connaught went down 2-5 last year and were pleased with this year's result in a very competitive but always good-natured match. Sometimes too much of a soft touch, Connaught were gratified to be told by some Bedingfield players "you are a very competitive side"!

CONNAUGHT v GISSING

Connaught lost at Gissing on Monday 17 July by 53-83 and 1-6

Rink 1 Geoff Randle, Mark Watson and Jon Horslen lost 9-18 against P Whymark

Rink 2 Sheila Bragg, Roy Taylor and Graham Benefer won 15-11 against G Forster

Rink 3 Kevin Noble, Bob Oatway and John Winup lost 11-24 against S Thompson

Rink 4 Mick Utting, Derek Liles and Peter Hambling lost 18-30 against R Knights

Rink 1 saw Connaught lead by just 4-2 after 5 very tight ends but then lose the next five ends to go 4-13 down. Connaught then edged the last 8 ends by 5-4. For most of the match Connaught were Gissing's equals but had a bad spell as the home side raised their game. However, the visiting triple did battle away to keep things tight and a 4 conceded on end 9 was the only score above 1 or 2 in the entire match

Rink 2 was Connaught's one success story as Sheila Bragg skipped her triple to a hard-earned win. Connaught were 3-8 down after 8 ends but won six ends on the trot to lead 10-8 after 14 ends. Gissing levelled at 10-10 on the next end but Connaught clinched the match with a 4 on end 16 and with tight play over the last two ends. Sheila personally had one of her finest matches, with the Gissing players giving her due credit afterwards, and was well-supported by Roy and Graham in the one Connaught triple which concentrated for 18 ends

On Rink 4 Connaught dropped 3 on the first end but then took control for a spell to lead 10-4 after 8 ends. An unfortunate 2 was given away on end 9 and thereafter the wheels came off. Connaught did score 1 on end 11 to lead 11-8 but scored nothing thereafter while conceding 4 on end 15 and 3 on end 16 among the 16 shots dropped on 7 successive ends. Full credit to Gissing for digging in well and refusing to give up. A strangely subdued Connaught triple, having won the upfront contest for half the match, were reduced to occasional good individual shots at lead and 2 as pressure was put on while Kevin admitted to an off night

On Rink 5 the scorecard defies rational analysis and this report does not have the benefit of discussion with the losing triple. Connaught dropped 3, 5 and 2 to go 0-10 down after 3 ends but then fought back to lead 13-12 after 9 ends. Then,crazily, 5 shots were dropped on end 10 and 4 on end 11 with another 5 dropped on end 13 as Connaught went 14-26 down. Again credit to Gissing for turning the screw, but what on earth was happening?

Missing just Paul McDonald, on holiday in the States, Connaught fielded the strongest side they could but were found badly lacking on the night as frailties emerged under pressure from the strong Gissing side. Simon Thompson, the Gissing captain, was kind enough to say that the score did not reflect the match. Wrong, Simon, it did. You have to stay with Gissing for all the match, as Sheila's triple did, and not just two thirds of it as the other Connaught triples did  

CONNAUGHT v LONG STRATTON

Connaught lost at home we against Long Stratton on Monday 10 July by 66-70 and 2-5

Rink 2 Roy Taylor, Bob Oatway and Richard Adcock lost 13-22 against J Merrison

Rink 3 Kevin Noble, Mark Watson and Graham Benefer won 24-12 against R Webster

Rink 4 Sheila Bragg, Ken Ramsbottom and Jon Horslen lost 14-23 against K Staff

Rink 5 Mick Utting, Derek Liles and Peter Hambling won 15-13 against L Thompson


On Rink 2 Connaught won just 7 of the 18 ends although managing to score 6 x 2. They contained well generally in the 11 ends lost but a dropped 5 on end 8 and a dropped 6 on end 14 magnified their losing margin. In truth they were facing a seasoned and experienced triple who always seemed to have the edge. This was especially so up front where Richard and Bob struggled to find the right weight on the draw. The Stratton players always seemed to adjust that bit better and were always unlikely to drop a 5 or a 6. One felt sorry for Roy who battled bravely but under considerable pressure

On Rink 3 Connaught had a good start to lead 7-0 after four ends but found themselves 7-8 down after 8 ends. A 4 and 5 to Connaught nore than redressed the balance and Connaught went on to win quite comfortably. The Connaught triple had a solid look about it, with Graham now a very useful lead and Mark Watson established as one of those "come to" and dependable players. Added to that Kevin Noble is in fine and confident form and has the knack of encouraging his players. Different skips and different styles

On Rink 4 one has to credit the Stratton players for a fine performance against a home triple which played by no means badly. Connaught were just 7-9 down after nine ends but 8-20 down after 15 ends before a 1 and a 5 lifted them to 14-20. A dropped 3 on the last end proved important to overall shots. Jon Horslen had a very reasonable game at lead but became increasingly frustrated as his woods were taken out. Ken was not at his best but played solidly enough even though he found that his lady opponent was a very accurate and sensible player. At skip Sheila maintained her fine form but the Stratton skip, Karl Staff, had an excellent game. Frustrating for Connaught, this was a good match to watch as very accurate home woods just lost out to a better draw or were scattered by a heavy wood

Rink 5 saw one almighty scrap. 4-10 down after 7 ends and 7-12 down after 9 ends, Connaught simply crawled their way back in an extraordinary final 9 ends winning 8 of them by a single shot to Stratton's one by a single shot for a win by 15-13. Connaught were inaccurate in the first half as Stratton found the green quickly to settle well. However, Peter Hambling and Derek Liles are very dogged players who refuse to give in and Mick Utting, as well as remaining calm, provides that difference in his ability to bowl a heavy wood. The Stratton players were very useful and did not fold but were just edged out. The ending was typically Hambling, in gathering gloom with the other matches finished but drama to come. A much debated and re-taken measure on the last end just went Connaught's way

Connaught have now lost twice by 2-5 to Long Stratton after extremely hard games. In both of them Long Stratton were slightly better to earn the 3 points for overall shots. At full-strength they are a tough and useful side. A rueful Connaught captain, although in very good form, left himself out and had to wonder whether he would have made a difference. All speculative and it does not matter. A good match and a good evening afterwards although the same Connaught captain, asked by Mick Utting to mention some internal matters, made a slightly over-long speech likened by his opposite number to the Sermon on the Mount!

CONNAUGHT v WORTHAM

Connaught beat Wortham at home on Thursday 6 July by 101-49 and 7-0

Rink 2 Roy Taylor, Kevin Noble and George Sheridan won 29-9 against A Garnham

Rink 3 Sheila Bragg, Bob Oatway and Derek Liles won 22-14 against C Gooderham 

Rink 4 Mick Utting, Mike Minshull and Steve Barclay won 23-12 against S Drake, 

Rink 5 Geoff Randle, Mark Watson and Jon Horslen won 27-14 against R Pursehouse

On Rink 2 Connaught led 22-0 after 10 ends. That level could not last and Wortham came back a bit as, aided by 4 on end 17, they won the last 8 ends by 9-7. George had slightly the edge at lead although neither he nor his opposite number found the line consistently. The main difference was at 2 where Kevin Noble, perhaps smarting after a below par display the previous night at Pulham Market, had a superb match both on the draw and with well-judged weight. For once Roy was not under pressure and played very solidly against a useful skip

Rink 3 followed a similar pattern with Connaught leading 14-2 after 9 ends but losing the second half by 8-12. A dropped 5 on end 13 did not help and at that point Wortham had reduced the lead to 14-10. However a 2 and 1 gave Connaught breathing space before the 5 was retrieved on end 17 and the match was put out of sight. Good performances by all three Connaught players. Derek was accurate at lead and Bob backed up well. Opposed to one of the well-known skips in the Upper Waveney League, Sheila again showed that she is in a rich vein of form with a sequence of very accurate woods - sometimes under considerable pressure

Rink 4 saw Connaught lead 10-2 after 5 ends before being pegged back to 13-8 after 9 ends. Connaught had the better of the second half which they won by 9-4. Again praise to all three Connaught players for playing very steadily and with good concentration against a useful triple. Mick skips in a calm and unfussy manner: he does not panic and does not berate his players when they bowl a bad wood. That is showing in a series of steady results

On Rink 5 Connaught were devastating from the outset and led 20-3 after 10 ends. Wortham came back well after that to reduce the lead to 22-10 after 15 ends. 3 and 2 to Connaught before a 4 to Wortham on the last gave the visitors some respectability. The play at lead and 2 from Jon and Mark was excellent in that opening spell and Geoff, as well as marshalling the triple well in his usual enthusiastic manner, bowled many excellent woods on his own account. Wortham fielded some useful players in their triple and were bound to come back a bit. However, the impression was given that Connaught lost their concentration just a little

This was an unexpected result, certainly in terms of the shots difference. After several defeats over the years against Wortham Connaught had managed to break the sequence with a 5-2 win at Wortham earlier in the season but tonight was of a different order. Wortham fielded probably a stronger side on paper but across all rinks had a bad start to go many shots down. To their credit they steadied and came back but only on Sheila's rink did they get within sight for a period. Well done to Connaught. Wortham took it all very well and the sides socialised happily afterwards

CONNAUGHT v LONG STRATTON

Connaught lost at Long Stratton on Thursday 29 June by 57-68 and 2-5

Rink 2 David Flatt, Bob Oatway and Derek Liles won 17-14 against R Webster

Rink 3 Roy Taylor, Kevin Noble and Jon Horslen won 18-11 against J Morrison

Rink 4 Mick Utting, Ken Ramsbottom and Steve Barclay lost 10-22 against L Thompson

Rink 5 Geoff Randle, Mark Watson and Graham Benefer lost 12-21 against D Baker


On Rink 2 the Connaught triple had a 2, 2, 1 and 4 winning sequence on ends 7-10 to take a lead of 12-7 and the margin was maintained at 13-8 after 12 ends. A change of fortune saw Connaught slip to 13-14 down after 15 ends before a 1, 2 and 1 finish brought them a hard-fought win

Rink 3 witnessed a similar type of game to that on Rink 2. Connaught found themselves 8-11 down after 12 ends, having won 6 of those ends but having conceded 2 x 3 while being contained to 1s and 2s. At that point Roy and Kevin swapped position and Connaught won the last 6 ends by 10-0 for a useful win

On Rink 4 Connaught won just 5 of the first 14 ends but were just behind at 10-11 by dint of scoring a 5 on end 7 and of containing the opposition reasonably well. Then the floodgates opened with a vengeance, sadly with Connaught in retreat. 5, 1, 2 and 3 were conceded over the last four ends for a disappointing result

On Rink 5 Connaught, a strong triple on paper, were never really in the match. 1-8 down after 7 ends Geoff and Mark swapped positions but this did not work. Stratton accumulated steadily, interrupted only by a Connaught 4 on end 13, and Connaught were 8-21 down after 16 ends. A 1 and 3 finish brought Connaught the relief of double figures!

This report has been culled from the scorecards with some comment from a few players. Connaught were bound to lose at some point and Long Stratton were always capable of winning against them. The Connaught players said that Stratton fielded a useful side which played very positively and as a result seemed to get just that more rub of the green. If you are up and in sight something is always likely to happen! For once Connaught's depth could not secure the 3 points for overall shots


CONNAUGHT v BEDINGFIELD

Connaught beat Bedingfield at home on Friday 23 June by 89-49 and 6-1

Rink 2 Roy Taylor. Kevin Noble and Richard Adcick lost 14-21 against C Saunders

Rink 3 David Flatt, Mark Watson and George Sheridan won 25-12 against D Saunders

Rink 4 Mick Utting, Bob Oatway and Steve Barclay won 21-9 against L Bull

Rink 5 Geoff Randle, Jon Horslen and Graham Benefer won 29-7 against T Saunders


Rink 2 saw Connaught not playing badly but coming second to a very useful Bedingfield triple in which the skip, C Saunders was outstanding throughout. In general the visitors found weight and line just that bit better. At 5-14 down after 10 ends Roy and Kevin swapped positions and a 1, 2 and 3 winning sequence pulled the home triple up to 11-14. False hopes because 1, 1 and fatally 5 were conceded before Connaught managed a 1 and 2 finish. Sometimes your opponents are just too good on the night but credit to the home triple for battling away

Rink 3 saw Connaught never losing the lead after scoring 2 on the first end. The lead was 8-2 after 5 ends but the visitors dug in to reduce the lead to 9-6 after 9 ends. A 5 to Connaught gave some breathing space. Just as well because a 2 and 3 to thr visitors made Connaught wobble a bit at 14-11. Then the home triple took control with a 5-end winning sequence and scoring 11 shots including a 5 on end 15. George at lead had quite a useful game game and Mark at 2 showed what a good player he has become by playing excellent woods under pressure from steady players at lead and 2. David Flatt had probably his best UW game of the season at skip, sometimes a trifle wayward but more often playing accurate straight woods using controlled weight

Rink 4 welcomed an old friend from Diss in Lenny Bull who has also played Federation for years at Bedingfield. The scorecard makes interesting reading. Connaught won 10 ends against 8 but managed 6 on end 4 and 5 on end 14 in a match which saw just 1s and 2s otherwise scored. Without those two ends the score was just 10-9! Another solid showing from the Connaught players against opposition which never gave up. Mick Utting's power did prove a difference with one drive hammering the jack into the ditch. In EBA the shot would have been worth quite a bit more but measuring-in rules etc meant Connaught scored just the 1

Rink 5 saw a big Connaught win launched by 6 on the first end and further heavy scoring taking the home triple to 17-1 after 6 ends. Partly by swapping positions and partly because that level of scoring was not going to be maintained, Bedingfield thereafter made a fist of it. However, Connaught were always in the ascendancy as their three players maintained concentration to the end. All had excellent games. Graham got on top at lead, Jon has proved an excellent acquisition for the club at lead or 2 and Geoff is having a fine season in an environment he plainly enjoys

Another useful win for Connaught against a Bedingfield side which may feel that the overall shots difference was an unfair reflection. On Rinks 3, 4 and 5 the home side seemed to manage those big-scoring ends which put them out of sight while the losing rink generally managed to contain. Bedingfield were good and cheerful company afterwards and certainly seemed to enjoy their visit despite the longish drive

CONNAUGHT v DICKLEBURGH

Connaught won at home against Dickleburgh on Thursday 8 June by 74-51 and 6-1

Rink 2 David Flatt, Bob Oatway and Jon Horslen won 14-13 against D Shimell

Rink 3 Geoff Randle, Mike Minshull and Peter Hambling won 23-9 against M Leedeer

Rink 4 Sheila Bragg, Mark Watson and Graham Benefer lost 12-19 against S Norman

Rink 5 Roy Taylor, Kevin Noble and Paul McDonald won 25-10 against L Young

Rink 2 saw the closest match of the evening. Connaught started well with a 3 but gradually were pegged back. Connaught still held on to a lead until a dropped 3 on end 14 put them 10-11 down. After 17 ends the deficit had been increased to 11-13 but good bowling saw Connaught score 3 on the last end to snatch a win. All 6 players had their moments but found that the lines required precision. Most ends saw a mix of loose shots offset by some brilliant individual woods and it really was anybody's match until the very end

On Rink 3 Connaught were 1-3 down after three ends but then turned the screw a bit by winning 5 of the next 6 ends with 2 x 2, 2 x 3 and 1 x 4. With a 15-4 lead after 9 ends Connaught continued to bowl tightly as Dickleburgh steadied and came back. The score over the last 9 ends was just 8-5 to Connaught. Peter and Mike both had useful games at lead and 2 and said afterwards that Geoff had an excellent match. If they ever faltered he always seemed to get in and save or win

Connaught had two successive ends of madness on Rink 4 when conceding 4 on end 6 and then 6 on end 7 to go 4-13 down. There were stories of the jack being taken through etc when Connaught were holding well but whatever the circumstances those ends proved decisive and also a 3 was dropped on end 13. Dickleburgh won just 8 ends against Connaught's 10 but scored 13 of their 19 shots over three ends. By way of contrast Connaught were contained to 2 x 2 and 8 x 1. The Connaught players said that Trevor Leeder, at lead for the visitors, had a superb game, that the lady at 2 was very steady and that the skip became very accurate second half. Graham and Mark, who swapped positions to little avail, also said that Sheila had a good game personally. Well done to Dickleburgh and also to the home triple for not caving in after ends 6 and 7

Rink 5 saw Connaught accumulate steadily until leading 15-3 after 12 ends. A wobble occurred on the next end when Dickleburgh scored 5 but Connaught asserted themselves immediately to finish the match on a high. The Connaught players, who form an experienced triple, were pleased with what they thought was a solid team effort

Connaught again were pleased with a win against a useful side. Dickleburgh have done well generally as a club this season and have managed to recruit some experienced players. Connaught's all-round depth saw then through but squad strength will be tested from now on as holidays and county friendlies etc. on the EBA circuit start to take their toll of players. A good social evening between two sides who know each other well. Lorna, the Dickleburgh captain, praised the green in her speech as did others of their players in conversation

CONNAUGHT v BEECHES

Connaught won at Beeches on Thursday 1 June by 69-47 and 7-0

Rink 3 David Flatt, John Winup and Jon Horslen won 15-10 against A Broughton

Rink 4 Sheila Bragg, Ken Ramsbottom and Graham Benefer won 16-10 against K Day

Rink 5 Geoff Randle, Mike Minshull and Steve Barclay won 17-16 against R Roberts

Rink 6 Roy Taylor, Kevin Noble and Paul McDonald won 21-11 against D Douglas

On Rink 3 Connaught had a 2 and 3 start and never lost the lead after that although they could never extend the lead against a stubborn triple which bowled tightly. In fact the game developed into a battle between the leads and 2s in a series of very close ends and Jon Horslen and John Winup just about secured enough advantage for David Flatt to hold off an experienced and canny skip. Jon Horslen undoubtedly had his best game in Connaught colours and showed that lead is probably his best position

Rink 4 provided a very similar game with an almost identical winning score by the visitors. Connaught did manage a 4 on end 8 and this was important to the outcome in a match seeing only 1s and 2s on the other ends. A good digging in effort by Connaught against another useful triple and all three Connaught players can be pleased with their performance

Rink 5 provided a totally different type of game and indeed one which became quite extraordinary. Connaught could do nothing at the start against accurate play and were 0-11 down after 6 ends and 1-15 down after 8 ends. At this point Geoff swapped positions with Mike and the game changed dramatically. Firstly Steve did find his best form at lead and this made a huge difference. Secondly Geoff with his straighter-bowling woods had more room at 2 to get into the head and thirdly Mike at skip could use his swinging woods to consolidate. Connaught won 9 of the last 10 ends, dropping only a single shot on end 14. At that point they were still down, by 11-16, but a 1, 3, 1 and 1 finish saw them home to a remarkable win

Rink 6 saw a strong-looking Connaught triple struggling a bit in a match which was very tight first half (8-7 to Connaught) and after 11 ends Connaught led by just 9-8. Connaught then scored 5 on end 12 and 5 on end 14 to take a 19-10 lead. 2 x 1 to each side over the last 4 ends as the match reverted to type. Again a good performance by all the Connaught players against competent players. Indeed one of the Beeches players was heard to say afterwards "we were up against a useful triple tonight".

After 9 ends on all four rinks Connaught were 26-33 down, being annihilated on Rink 5 and in tough battles on the others. The team is resilient and played well on all rinks to come through second half. Commiserations to Beeches who rightly will think they deserved a bit more from the match. They played well against a side which at present is in good form (long may it last!). Congratulations to Beeches on the green which bowled very well and thank you to Beeches for their hospitality in those lovely surroundings

CONNAUGHT v DISS 'A'

Connaught won at home against Diss 'A' on Thursday 25 May by 66-51 and 5-2

Rink 2 Roy Taylor, Mike Minshull and Paul McDonald lost 10-15 against P Alderton

Rink 3 Mick Utting, Sheila Bragg and Graham Benefer win 26-6 against R Frostick

Rink 4 Geoff Randle, Jon Horslen and Peter Hambling won 18-13 against I Dunnett

Rink 5 Kevin Noble, Mark Watson and Derek Liles lost 12-17 against E Feaveraryear

Rink 2 saw a very close contest throughout, with only 1s and 2s being scored except on end 6 when Diss managed a 4 to put Connaught 3-6 down. That end proved crucial in the overall context. Connaught did pull up to 9-9 after 12 ends but then went down 1-6 in a tense battle over the final 6 ends. Paul McDonald beat himself up afterwards but, although coming second to Phyllis Earrye a seasoned lead who found the green unerringly as the match went on, was never far away. Mike Minshull, in excellent form of late, found the accurate David Harrison just that more attuned to the right pace and line. He still had some very good woods. Roy Taylor again had a good game against a useful skip but usually was under pressure to save. His change with Mike later on helped to stabilise things. A good effort

Rink 3 saw the Connaught players combine very well to secure a big win which ensured Connaught had 3 points for overall shots. After dropping 2 on the first end Connaught scored 4 and 2 before dropping 1 to be 6-3 up. Connaught then won every end from 5 to 15 inclusive before dropping 3 on end 16. A 1 and 3 finish gave them the 26-6 win. Graham Benefer is becoming a huge comfort at lead, be it in a 4 or a triple, because he either secures the advantage or is very close with all his woods. Sheila, opposing an old adversary in Angela Bailey, was in one of her killer moods and had an excellent match on the draw or with a bit of running. Mick did what he does, usually in or near the head and rarely short, but has added a bit of drawing caution to his game. He still gave Sheila kittens on occasion. Diss did not play badly, and as Mick said afterwards the rub of the green always went Connaught's way. Often the case when a side is winning by some margin

On Rink 4 Connaught always had the edge without quite getting away. Good and steady play by all three saw the home side edge ahead to a lead of 13-4 after 10 ends. Two shots were dropped on end 11 and 1 regained on end 12 for a 14-6 lead. Spectators were reasonably comfortable. Then the Randle/Hambling propensity for drama, to which Jon Horslen is making his own contribution, came to the fore. A 1 and 3 x 2 were dropped on successive ends and the lead was reduced to 14-13 after 16 ends. Game on, but Connaught came through a nervous final two ends with a 1 and a 3 for a 5-shot win. The Diss players were no mugs and by changing playing positions and sometimes mat position managed to get to Connaught a little up front and upset their rhythm. Geoff played very steadily once more and importantly is enjoying his bowls in the side

On Rink 5 one feared for Connaught a little when seeing Errol Feaveraryear and Aaron Stimpson in the Diss ranks. By and large Connaught do not have players as good individually and simply must dig in against them. Keep it tight and do not go for glory. Connaught achieved this by winning 9 of the 18 ends and just about staying in touch. The home side won 6 of the first 9 ends but dropped 4s on ends 6 and 8 helped put them 8-9 down This became 8-15 after 13 ends before Connaught came back to take the last 5 ends by 4-2. All the Connaught players did well, with Derek a very steady lead, Mark always consistent and level-headed and Kevin now into the swing of things and playing confidently. The game swung on small margins with Connaught holding a good 5 on two ends but with Errol producing superb draws to take shot

This was a good evening's bowling and gave Connaught a rare win against Diss 'A'. Diss were short of four good players playing in EBA county competitions but still fielded a useful-looking side. Connaught were missing David Flatt and Bob Oatway but had Steve Barclay, Ken Ramsbottom and John Winup in reserve; in their much of a muchness squad these 5 players would neither have strengthened nor weakened the side fielded. You play who you play and it is all on the night. Diss publicly and one to one praised the green and this was pleasing. A good night socially, with food, raffle and bar all going well

CONNAUGHT v PULHAM MARKET

Connaught won at Pulham Market on Thursday 18 May by 53-26 and 6-1 in a match reduced to 12 ends on account of rain

Rink 1 Mick Utting, Steve Barclay and Derek Liles won 13-5 against D Burns

Rink 2 Kevin Noble, Mark Watson and George Sheridan lost 7-8 against A Thomson

Rink 4 Geoff Randle, Mike Minshull and Paul McDonald won 17-4 against P Brown

Rink 5 Sheila Bragg, Bob Oatway and Graham Benefer won 16-9 against R Browne

On Rink 1 the Connaught triple won just 7 ends against 5 but built up a useful shots margin by dint of very tight play. After dropping 1 on ends 1 Connaught then scored 5 followed by 3 x 1 for a useful 8-1 lead after 5 ends. The game became more even after that but the Connaught players maintained concentration. Well done to all three

Rink 2 saw a very close contest throughout as Connaught were contained to 7 x 1 but dropped 1 x 2 and 1 x 3 as well as 3 x 1. George Sheridan was a bit too narrow at times as lead but usually was "up" and held his own. Mark Watson had his usual very solid game at 2 and bowled some excellent controlled weight woods on a narrow line. Kevin Noble was facing probably the most talented player on either side in Alex Thompson who saved his side time and time again and who said afterwards that he had found form for the first time this season. Kevin by no means played badly and in a full-length match Alex might not have maintained his level. But he certainly did the damage over 12 ends

On Rink 4 Connaught had a heavy-scoring finish to win 17-4 in a match which saw them win a succession of single shot ends to lead by just 9-1 after 9 ends. The final 3 ends saw the dam breached by both sides. Connaught were the steadier unit throughout. Paul McDonald expressed dissatisfaction with his own game but to the observer he was not far off line and importantly rarely bowled short. Both Mike Minshull and Geoff Randle had splendid games. Mike drew consistently whatever the length required and has that priceless knack of being able to adjust after a bad wood. His captain had expressed concern to Geoff Randle that he was not playing enough matches but for the second time this week Geoff had the answer! Line and pace were excellent and as ever he led his triple enthusiastically

On Rink 5 Sheila Bragg's triple had a blistering start to lead 14-1 after 5 ends. The drier conditions at this stage suited the Connaught players who all found length and line very well. As the rain became heavier Pulham applied themselves well with some heavy woods for a 2, 1 and 3 winning sequence. The last four ends saw each side score 2 x 1. Again all the Connaught players had good games and concentrated hard.
The non-playing Connaught captain had a better evening than anybody as he watched the game from the luxury of the clubhouse doorway! The conditions at the outset were grey and drab and the forecast was not good. Agreement was reached to get 12 ends in come what may but to take a final decision on length of match before the 12 ends were reached. In the event the decision was an easy one and welcomed by all 24 players as the rain became steadily heavier. There was also a good green to protect. A useful win for Connaught who pleased their captain by digging in and concentrating hard from the start in a match likely to be curtailed! Thank you to Pulham for their hospitality in their always-welcoming clubhouse

CONNAUGHT v BEDINGFIELD

The match against Bedingfield, scheduled to take place on Thursday 11 May had to be re-arranged as Bedingfield were unable to raise a side. The match will now take place on Friday 23 June 6.45pm

CONNAUGHT v LONG STRATTON

The match scheduled to take place on Thursday 27 April did not take place as Long Stratton, through a misunderstanding, turned up to play on Tuesday 25 April. The match has been re-arranged for Monday 10 July

CONNAUGHT v WORTHAM

Connaught won at Wortham on Thursday 4 May by 82-58 and 5-2

Rink 2 David Flatt (skip), Bob Oatway (2) and Derek Liles (lead) won 35-7 against J Bromley

Rink 3 Roy Taylor, Mark Watson and John Winup lost 11-16 against R Pursehouse

Rink 4 Sheila Bragg, Jon Horslen and Peter Hambling won 24-13 against S Wilby

Rink 5 Mick Utting, Steve Barclay and Paul McDonald lost 12-22 against D Frost

On Rink 2 David Flatt's triple had a huge win, losing just 4 ends and scoring 5 on end 7, 4 on end 11 and 7 on end 13. It was one of those games in which a strong-looking Connaught triple struck top form and, on their own admission, had all the luck going on top of that. It often happens that everything works when you are winning well. That being said the Connaught players had to perform and they did that very well with a mix of accurate drawing and pace when necessary

On Rink 3 there was a very different type of match, always close and usually with very tight heads. Connaught won just 6 of the ends against Wortham's 12 but contained their opponents to 9 x 1, 2 x 2 and 1 x 3. After 13 ends Connaught were leading 11-9 (6 ends against 7) but then dropped a 3 on end 14 and 4 x 1 on the remaining ends. All these five concluding ends were very tightly-fought and not a question of Connaught buckling. John Winup and Mark Watson had solid games for Connaught throughout but their opponents, while more wayward, often managed that killer wood. Richard Pursehouse, for Wortham, is one of the more competent skips on the circuit. We knew what we were up against on end 2. Connaught held a tight 5, all within 6-18 inches from the jack, but Richard threaded through one forehand and one backhand to take an unlikely 2. To his credit Roy stuck to it well and bowled some super woods on his own account

On Rink 4 Sheila Bragg's triple were in a match which for much of the match was very similar to that on Rink 2. Tightly-fought and nothing in it, with the score a near symmetry of 13-13 after 13 ends. Then Connaught took control by winning the last 5 ends and scoring 11 shots in the process. For Connaught Peter Hambling was another steady lead and Jon Horslen at 2 showed up well in his first match for the club and on a green where he had first learnt the game. Sheila had shown up well at practice and was in good form on the night. Skipping in Geoff Randle's absence she has caused another selection headache! Wortham battled hard but the impression was that they were forced into a running wood game especially in that finish

On Rink 5 Connaught faced a bit of a blitzkrieg at the start and went 1-13 down after 7 ends including a dropped 5 on end 5. A recovery then took place and a 3 on end 8 followed by a 4 on end 11 helped take the score to 10-15 after 11 ends. That was as close as it got because Wortham scored 7-2 over the last 7 ends. The Connaught players lost to a stronger home triple on the night but did well to rally in playing their part in the overall shots win

The evening was cold but thankfully dry. Credit to both teams for turning up well on time, enabling a 6.30 start and a full 18 ends. Wortham had twice done the double over Connaught and the visitors were pleased to get this first win against them. Over the first 9 ends the aggregate score was just 38-35 to Connaught but second half swelled to 44-23 in a strong finish. Wortham obviously have worked very hard on their green and are to be congratulated on it. Like

Connaught they missed out on a match last week but this was an enjoyable start for both teams