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THE NESMBA CHAMPIONSHIPS - 2006

THE FINALS

The Teesdale Leisure Centre in a wet and miserable Barnard Castle was once again the venue for these annual championships. Because the NESMBA still has no elected Competition Secretary, the same administrative arrangements were followed as last year with David Rutt doing all the preparatory ground work but leaving the running of affairs over the weekend to others. These fell mainly on the shoulders of Chairman Ken Stout who was assisted by Secretary Warren Rylands and Shirley Rhodes amongst others. David, in his introductory welcome, confirmed that this was to be his very last involvement in the organisation of these Championships and that the member counties of the NESMBA must find a new Competition Secretary to take over the responsibility for 2007. 

Our own team this year was 44 strong comprising 5 Singles, 4 Pairs, 5 Triples and 4 Fours all of whom had reached the final stages of our own County Championships held earlier in the year (see Roll of Honour for names of all qualifiers).

On Saturday morning in the Fours, Geoff Whitehead's team had a good start winning all three of their round robin games by good margins (16-1, 16-0 and 11-5). However they could not maintain this form enough to win their preliminary KO game in which they went down 5-10 to Darren Cooksons four - the eventual runners up. On the basis of one win and a draw Brian Jones four also progressed to the prelims, but he likewise could not go any further after a 3-11 defeat.

In the afternoon, in the Singles only Simon Holtby got through the round robin after winning all three games. After a 10-6 win in the prelims he then went on to meet John Kinghorn from Durham in the Quarter Finals. John, who was having a good run from the comfort (?) of his wheelchair was however no match for Simon who put him out 15-9. In the Semis, Simons next scalp was that of the 2004 Champion - Ivan Lunn from Derbyshire. Simons consistent and accurate drawing skills helped him to coast to a tremendous 14-1 win with two ends still remaining. Simons opponent in the Final was Steve Danby from Humberside, one of the most consistent Singles players in the north of England (and a Finalist in 2004). Because Steve was also in the Triples Final, Simon had to wait until 11.15 pm before he could make his bid for the title. He then continued to play very well but Steve (having just won the Triples title) just had the edge over him and Simon was disappointed to go down finally by 6-11. A great performance none the less and our counties best of the whole weekend (see PhotoGallery).

The Pairs on Sunday also proved to be a good one for North Yorkshire with Richard Clark/Dennis Jarvis and Mick/Anne Ridge both reaching the Semi-Finals. After winning two of their round robin games, Richard & Dennis stole their preliminary game by 9-8 thanks to a great final wood from Richard who was lying 2 down at the time - eliciting a huge cheer from the North Yorkshire onlookers (normally such a restrained crowd!). A convincing 12-5 win over the 2004 finalists Terry/Maureen Flint from Derbyshire followed before they bowed out in their Semi 5-13 to Humbersides Colin/Angela Milson. Meanwhile Mick and Anne had also won two of their round robin games and then had a 9-5 win in their prelim. A very convincing 19-3 victory followed in their Quarter Final game against Merseysides Derek Watkinson/Chris Willetts. They finally came unstuck in their Semi against ex England player Peter Lord and Hazel Lewis from Lancashire by 6-9.   

In the Triples during Sunday afternoon it was only Alan Banthorpes trio with two round robin wins who kept our hopes alive but after a narrow 8-9 defeat in his prelim. we had nobody left for the final stages.          

The eventual winners were as follows.

Singles    - Steve Danby (Humberside) beat Simon Holtby (N Yorks) 11-6

Pairs       -  Peter Lord/Hazel Lewis (Lancashire) beat Colin & Angela Milson (Humberside) 12-5

Triples    - A Miles/G Stoyles/M Lavan (W Yorks) beat J & A Thornhill/B Whitworth (Lancashire) 8-5

Fours      - D & E Coultas/D Rutt/S Danby (Humberside) beat D, B & H Cookson/P King (W Yorks)

Shield    - Best overall county was won by Humberside with 12 points (Lancashire 11, Stockport 10, West Yorkshire 6, North Yorkshire 5, Derbyshire 5, Durham 1, Merseyside 1)

The official umpires on Saturday were Derek Williams (see PhotoGallery) and Roger Green (North Yorkshire) and on Sunday were Noel Clark (North Yorkshire) and Chris Watson (Humberside).