Peter Wright and Claire Herbert won their first County Pairs Championship on Sunday 5th February at Ross Bowling Club, continuing what has been an impressive run of form for the duo in pairs competition following their victory in the Over 55 Championship earlier in the season.
15 pairs entered the competition across four mats, split into three groups of four and one group of three. The group stages saw some varied results (including a 16-0 loss for the eventual winners!) across many close matches, with two teams from each group making it through to the Quarter-Finals.
The knockout games saw the trend of close games continue, with three of the four games being decided by two shots or less. The St Martin’s duo of Rhys Palmer & Jim Knowles booked their place in the Semi-Finals following a fantastic game against Dominic Rogers’ team (Woolhope) that saw the former win 8-6 over the 10 ends. A similarly close game took place between Peter Wright and Tony Vitale’s teams (Ross). At the halfway stage, Vitale’s duo were 6-3 up but a determined Herbert and Wright fought back to claim the victory with a two on the final end. On the third mat, the Gorsley Chapel team of Dean Rudman & Joe Loveys held off a late comeback from Jo Millington (St Martin’s) & Shirley Cox (Woolhope) to win 11-9. The final match saw Anthony Rogers (Woolhope), teaming up with Sophie Heather-Warner (Gorsley), unable to keep the momentum going following his singles victory the previous day, losing to David Millington-Jones’ Ross team 13-6.
At the semi-final stage, we knew that we were guaranteed to see a new duo lift the trophy. The first match saw Palmer and Knowles look to book their place in what would have been St Martin’s first County Championship final. However, on this occasion it was not meant to be as Gorlsey’s Rudman and Loveys produced a strong performance, running out 11-2 winners. The other match saw a tense game between the two remaining Ross teams, where Wright and Herbert once again came from behind to win 10-7, with the 35 minute time limit elapsing just before the 10th end could be started.
The final had large meaning for both teams as Joe Loveys looked to claim his fourth County Pairs Championship in as many years, having won the previous three alongside Woolhope’s John Mills, whilst Wright and Herbert wanted to make it a clean sweep of HSMBA pairs titles on offer in one season. A nip and tuck game saw neither side take control until a two from the Ross duo in the sixth end- making the score 7-3- left Rudman and Loveys with too much to do in the final four ends, as the game ended 9-6, meaning that room would need to be made in the Ross trophy cabinet.
Competition Organiser Becci Cox would like to extend her thanks to all bowlers who entered over the weekend as well as those who helped the competitions run smoothly on the day. For further information on HSMBA competitions, please contact Becci (firstname.lastname@example.org) or visit the HSMBA competitions pages.