The club plays friendly matches in Norfolk and every two years embarks on a tour, usually somewhere on the South Coast. The match against Colchester was something in between, a one-day trip by coach to a venue some 60 miles away (quite a venture for some seasoned Norfolk people!).

We had made the arrangement as a result of entertaining Colchester last season when they were touring Norfolk and finding that we enjoyed each other’s company.

We left Attleborough at 1000 and took a fairly scenic route but still arrived earlier than planned at about 1130. Although our hosts were a little surprised they took it all in their stride and Tom Frankland, Colchester President, was on hand to greet everybody personally. The bar was open and soon doing brisk business and before long we settled down to a very tasty pre-match buffet (lovely bread).

More business for the bar but some Connaught players started to hold back a little – it had been a long morning! The match got under way on time but not without some drama. The usually very efficient Mick Utting had forgotten his whites! We had David Flatt in reserve and changed but a Colchester member managed to find a pair of drawstring cricket trousers which just about fitted the ample Utting waist. A bit short and half-mast, with grey bowling shoes, but Mick was on parade! It should also be recorded that Richard Adcock, who had spent the journey down consuming bananas, also forgot his white shoes and played in grey shoes.

The match was sociable but competitive – just about the right mix – and amazingly close. Incredible that two clubs can choose players from lists and make up rinks which in every case produced a closeish game. Connaught won 99-94 on overall shots

Rink 1 Kevin Noble, Graham Benefer, Catherine Branch and Ann Bayes 18-15 against S Nudds

Rink 2 Mick Utting, Joe Li-Rocchi, Alison Rush and Jenny Moon 19-17 against M French

Rink 3 Roy Taylor, Colin Barton, David Warne and Pat Barton 10-19 against M Wheeler

Rink 4 Mike Parsons, Bill Adcock, Pat Benefer and Diana Adcock 19-21 against R Seath

Rink 5 Sylvia Parsons, Paul McDonald, Carole Taylor and Richard Adcock 19-8 against Y Pain

Rink 6 Mike Minshull, Steve Barclay, Vera Moore and Carolina Li-Rocchi 14-14 against N Manning

More refreshment in the bar and then a very substantial and welcome hot meal. Martin French, Colchester Captain, and John Winup, Connaught President, presided over the post-match toasts, pleasantries and presentations, and the raffle. All went very well. The coach party before setting off held its own raffle, efficiently organised by Dennis Branch, which helped defray some of the expenses.

During the match both sides fielded their mascots and Bernard, for Connaught, stayed all the time with Roy Taylor and his losing rink. Bernard had been entrusted to new member, Jenny Moon, who soon sussed out a post-match attempt to kidnap him.

The Colchester club is based in Ardleigh and comprises an extensive and comfortable clubhouse, with a good green and ample terracing and surrounds. The club entertained us superbly and its members worked very hard throughout the day to make our visit enjoyable. Thank you to Colchester and a warm welcome when you visit Connaught next year.

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