Connaught lost at Pulham Market on Wednesday 5 July by 61-69 in a 2nd Round Cup Match

Rink 1 John Overton, Colin Barton and Phil Wilson lost 8-21 against B Hume

Rink 2 Kevin Noble, John Winup and George Sheridan lost 10-15 against R Browne

Rink 4 Mike Minshull, Bill Adcock and Barry Westwood lost 14-25 against I Miller

Rink 5 Sheila Bragg, Jon Horslen and Richard Adcock won 29-8 against H Smith

On Rink 1 Phil Wilson and Colin Barton found that the two lady players against them were far too accurate in a fine example of up front play. John Overton, opposed by a competent skip anyway, really had little to play with and was forced into bowling heavy woods which mainly were unsuccessful

On Rink 2 Connaught managed to keep their noses in front for 11 ends of very tight play and at that stage led 8-4. Then the match changed as Roger Browne, the Pulham captain, found his line and weight at skip and was aided by tighter play at lead and 2. From 8-4 up Connaught went to 8-15 down after 17 ends before a 2 on the last end gave them some relief. John Winup at 2 held them together with certainly his best game of the season. George blew hot and cold at lead and Kevin admitted to a bad night against a very capable player

On Rink 4 Connaught lost the first four ends each by a single shot before dropping 5 and 4 to go 0-13 down after 6 ends. Connaught won the last 12 ends by 14-12 and established some sort of respectability but never looked like getting very close as another display of excellent skipping kept them at bay

On Rink 5 Connaught had an excellent win and aided by 5 on end 8 and 4 on end 10 held a lead of 15-8 after 11 ends. Connaught then tightened the screw by winning the last 7 ends and adding a further 14 shots. Two factors led to the win, firstly Richard and Jon played very well to win up front and secondly Sheila, in fine form at present, proved herself the equal of those Pulham skips who gad destroyed Connaught on the other rinks

Both sides fielded scratch sides to some extent in an effort to get the match played on a Wednesday evening. Connaught, despite an EBA 'A' fixture the same evening, did not have a bad side and were able to bring in EBA 'B' players to plug the gaps. However, several of the visiting players discovered the facts of bowling life against a Pulham side which played their green well and whose skips had excellent games. However, it is not often that a side winning one rink by 29-8 will lose a match on overall shots and Sheila's triple rightly will be scratching their heads. All was bonhomie and good nature afterwards as Pulham entertained excellently as usual


Connaught beat Beeches at home on Monday 15 May by 74-64 in a 1st round cup match

Rink 2 Roy Taylor, Bob Oatway and John Winup won 24-10 against R Vincent

Rink 3 David Flatt, Mark Watson and Richard Adcock lost 12-22 against R Roberts

Rink 4 Geoff Randle, Jon Horslen and Peter Hambling won 21-11 against A Broughton

Rink 5 Kevin Noble, Ken Ramsbottom and Graham Benefer lost 17-21 against M Fuller

Rink 2 became pivotal to Connaught's overall shots win as the home triple were able to win 12 ends, scoring a 6, 4 and 3 in the process, while losing just 6 and conceding 2 x 1 and 4 x 2. However, the match was never as one-sided as the score suggests. It was a real scrap. John Winup and Bob Oatway had good individual shots throughout and had reasonable games without being as consistent as they would have wished. The same went for all three Beeches players, who changed playing positions quite a bit but who usually found line a bit difficult. Roy Taylor was a big difference on the night having one of his best games in club colours. He found weight and line much better than anyone and often produced a telling shot under severe pressure. Well done, Roy

Rink 3 was a struggle for Connaught who, despite winning 8 ends to 10, went down by 10 shots. Crucially the triple conceded 5 on end 2, 4 on end 3 and 5 on end 16 when the triple had pulled up to 12-15 and when the match overall was becoming quite tight. Head-building and finding second wood are key in all forms of bowls and especially so in an overall shots match. Richard Adcock made his UW debut, finding the match very enjoyable but a step or two up in intensity from what he is used to. He dug in to bowl well enough as the match went on, encouraged by David Flatt a skip who does not believe in screaming and shouting. Mark and David battled away against useful opposing players

Rink 4 was one of those nip and tuck encounters, with Connaught behind at the outset but gradually pulling back until they led 12-10 after 13 ends. At this point Connaught were able to exert pressure with a 2, 2 and 1 sequence followed by a 4 on end 17 after three superb woods from Jon Horslen. This match fell two ends behind the others, partly owing to the latish arrival of two Beeches players and partly to the famed ruminations of Hambling and Randle. These two usually manage drama in the pitch dark and so it happened. When this rink started their last two ends the other matches had finished with overall shots equal. Connaught's lead of 7 shots on Rink 4 after 16 ends made a home win likely, barring disaster, but that 4 on end 17 brought welcome relief. Overall steadiness and tight heads against another three useful players brought Connaught home. Geoff Randle in his first match this season produced some key draws at skip.

Rink 5 saw a bad start for the home side who went 0-7 down after 3 ends and who were always behind from then on. Things were looking a bit grim at 7-15 down after 8 ends but a 5 on end 9 and a 2 on end 10 changed the game considerably as Connaught pulled up to 14-15 . Another 3 dropped and a no-score end saw Connaught 14-18 down after 12 ends. The last six ends were fiercely fought and very tight with each side scoring 3 x 1. The Connaught players, also facing a useful triple, rued that slow start but deserve credit for digging in well. All three played their part and Ken Ramsbottom at 2 was important in his head-reading and awareness of the overall match situation. Kevin Noble responded well to this by bowling well on the draw and not going for the spectacular.

A good, tough match against a side which bounced straight back from Div 2 last year after unexpected relegation in 2015. Beeches have some good and experienced players. Connaught's depth just about prevailed. After rain during the day the surface of the green was still very smooth and a credit to those preparing it. The dampness made weight rather difficult for most players who tended to under-cook and then over-cook, one shortish, one longish and one about right. Lines were OK for the good bowler but left little margin for error. Connaught will now be away to the winners of the Hoxne v Pulham Market match

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