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ESMBA NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS 2007

 

Total ESMBA National entry = 137 : 18 Singles ; 14 Pairs ; 9 Triples ; 6 Fours ; 8 Mixed Fours ; (8 Juniors separate competition)

 

THE HEATS

The SINGLES Heats - January 6th 2007 - See County Singles Championships

The PAIRS Heats - December 2nd 2006 - See County Pairs Championships    

The TRIPLES Heats - January 7th 2007 - See County Triples Championships

The FOURS Heats - December 3rd 2006 - See County Fours Championships

The UNDER 18s Heats - November 18th 2006 - See County Junior Championships

The MIXED FOURS Heats - January 20th 2007 - The qualifiers for all the above 5 disciplines  were decided during this years County Championships at Swinton (which for the first time doubled up as National Heats). The Mixed Fours however was a separate "National Heats" competition held at Bubwith. After last years disappointing entry of only two teams (meaning NO places at the Finals), this year a record entry of 8 teams gave us TWO places at the Finals for the first time.

All entrants initially played three games in two round robin groups of four with the top two in each playing in a Semi Final. In the first of these, Hilda Thomas, Len & Pam Bradley and Brian Ellis played Barry Simmonite, John Bunting, Margaret Mellors and Margaret Moore, both fours having won two of their initial games. Hildas team won this convincingly by 15-3. In the other, Derek & Pat Beardsley and Brian & Pat Jones, who had also won two of their round robin games, came up against Roger Green, Rose Haynes and Gareth & Jacinta Townend who had won all 3 of their games so far only conceding 2 single shots along the way. They had a much tougher game against Dereks four however but managed to go through 8-6. They then secured a 15-7 win over Hildas four in the Final.

With two places on offer, both Finalists qualified to go to the National Finals. However, Hildas team, had played with a substitute who had not been notified and were disqualified. (They had in fact not fully realised that there was an obligation to attend the Finals, should they qualify, and were therefore not too disappointed). Their place in the Finals will therefore be taken by Derek Beardsleys four.

 

THE FINALS

SUMMARY

This year saw our largest ever entry into the National Heats resulting in two places in each discipline of the finals (12 teams). Of these, 6 failed to progress beyond the initial round robin stage. Of the others, Arthur Jackson/John Bunting (Pairs) and David & Joseph Newsome/Ben Render/Richard Lochman (Fours) reached the last 32; Alex Robinson (U18 Singles) and Geoff/Ann Whitehead (Pairs) reached the last 16; Gareth Townend (Singles) reached the Quarter Finals whilst Rose Haynes/Roger Green/Gareth & Jacinta Townend (Mixed Fours) reached the Semi Finals. 

(Please page down for full reports on each discipline)

MIXED FOURS Saturday 17th March 2007

(8 ends) These were held at the Caroline Chisholm School (Wooton, Northants) where the 32 finalists were as usual organised in 8 groups of 4 for the initial round robin stage. Derek & Pat Beardsley and Brian & Pat Jones (on their first visit to a National Final) started well with a 10-6 win over Hampshire3. In their second game they just went down on the last end by a single shot (6-7) to Warwickshire2. In their last game, they played well but lost 4-12 to a strong Norfolk2 rink.  Meanwhile, Roger Green, Rose Haynes and Gareth & Jacinta Townend had clocked up wins against Gloucestershire (9-5) and Surrey2 (13-4) before dropping their third game 8-11 to Worcestershire. However this was enough to get them through into the last 16 where an 10-7 win over Norfolk1 took them on into the Quarter Finals. Here they faced up to Norfolk2 (who had just beaten our other four - see above). This was a tough match. Lying shot for the game with Jacintas wood directly behind the jack and touching, the opposing skip played a superb weighted shot to squeeze the jack off the mat for a replayed last end. However our four kept their heads and played a good end giving Norfolk no more options to get out of jail and winning 9-5. So our four now found themselves in the Semi-Final. Drawn against West Sussex1, they started badly dropping a 5 on the second end. However, they kept plodding away but still found themselves needing a 3 on the last end for a draw. When this look impossible, killing the end gave them a second chance but again they found themselves under pressure with no option but to try and kill the end again. This time it did not work out with the jack ending in the ditch just a foot from an opposition's toucher with no option but to concede the game. In spite of knowing they could have played better and reached the Final, our four were still very pleased with their good effort. Gareth now looks forward to next day when he will be having a crack at the National Under 18s title. (PhotoGallery)     

U18 SINGLES Sunday 18th March 2007

(11 ends) Held the day after the Mixed Fours at the same location, the format was identical - 8 groups of 4 with winners and runners up going into the last 16, then QF, SF and Final. Our two finalists were Gareth Townend making his 6th appearance whilst for this years County Junior Champion, Alex Robinson, it was his first trip to the finals. Although Gareth was drawn in a tough group, he was very disappointed not to progress into the KO stage after two defeats - 7-10 to Lancashires Joseph Higginbotham-Jones and 9-12 to Jason Smith from Kent. He can get some comfort however from beating East Sussex's Andrew Beard (a Finalist in both 2004 and 2005) by 10-8. Although losing 19-7 to Andrew Brown from Oxford, Alex had wins against  Samantha Puttock from Hampshire (11-6) and also Logan Shanks from Lancashire (11-7) earning him a place in the last 16. Here he came up against Robert Elmore, Cambridgeshire No 1 Junior and last years National Champion who gave him a tough game winning 11-3. Robert then went on to this years Final. 

Gareth now has a short time to reflect and gear himself up for the National Singles next week (see below)

SINGLES Thursday 29th March 2007 - Kettering

(11 ends) Both Gareth Townend and Mick Ridge were paying their first visit to Kettering as Singles qualifiers for North Yorkshire, although both had attended the Finals on previous occasions in other disciplines (Mick  when representing Derbyshire).

Mick found himself drawn in a group that contained both Simon Pridham (Devon) the 2005 National Triples Champion and a Finalist in last years Fours, and also Jon Pitcher (Warwickshire) a Finalist in the 2005 Fours. Mick played well to limit both his defeats against these two by just two shots. These two experienced players then both went on to reach the Final (which was won by Simon). In his last (and what should have been his easiest) game, Mick then lost out 3-17 to Hertfordshire's Tony Gaylor so progressed no further.

Gareth meanwhile, although losing 6-14 to England's Gary Best won his other two round robin games, 8-7 against Hayley Jackson and 13-7 against Mark Jones, to take him into the last 32. Here he continued to play well, beating Hampshires Peter Jenkins 15-7 and then Chris Willies from the West Midlands 11-9. This took Gareth into the Quarter Finals, a great achievement and the best ever for North Yorkshire in Singles. Here he finally went down 6-9  after a good battle against Shropshire's number 1, Chris Williams.

PAIRS Friday 30th March 2007 - Kettering

(10 ends) Both our Pairs, Geoff and Ann Whitehead and Arthur Jackson and John Bunting, got through to the last 32 after winning 2 of their 3 round robin games. The latter, after initially losing 2-15 at the hands of Norfolk's top Pair, Kim & Steve Bridge then beat Oxfordshire's David Simms & Dennis Wilson 10-6 and finally the England Captain, Stewart Lowe and his wife Pauline by 14-11. They were then drawn against the eventual Pairs winners, Michael Keevil & Dave Wiggins (Oxfordshire) and went out 3-15. Geoff & Anne  also lost their first game (against Norfolk's No2 Pair, Andrew Wooden & Ian MacLean) by 5-10 before a good 16-4 win over Bob Griffin & Adam Freeman (Warwickshire) and a 10-5 defeat of Lee Lowery & Peter Dunkley (West Midlands) took them into the knockout. Here, a further good 13-3 win followed over former Triples Champions Mark Lancaster and Kyle McGowan (West Sussex) taking the Whiteheads into the last 16. Just like Arthur/John in the previous round they found themselves playing the eventual winners from Oxfordshire who just pipped them on the last end by 7-5.

FOURS Saturday 31st March 2007 - Kettering

(8 ends) For Geoff & Ann Whitehead,Geoff Dye and Roger Green this year was a disappointment after last years record run to the Semi-Final. They started well with a 12-5 defeat of Wiltshire but after leading 6-3 with only two ends to go against Hertfordshire they managed to drop a 5 and failed to recover on the last end losing 6-9. Needing to win their last game, they once again managed to let it slip away by losing 2 shots on the last end to go out by 7-8 (after a measure) to Gloucestershire after leading the match from the start. Our other Four included newcomers (to the Finals) Ben Render & Richard Lochman playing with David & Joseph Newsome. They did not let a 4-6 defeat against Oxfordshire in their first game rattle them and went on to beat Humberside's top Four by 9-5 and then West Sussex also by 9-5. This last win was all the more remarkable when considering that West Sussex had just despatched Humberside by a massive 27-1. One expects the opposition to get tougher as one progresses in the Nationals but perhaps our young(ish) Four were a little unfortunate to find themselves up against the top England Four of Chris Shakeshaft, Allan Williams, Chris Williams and Chris Grocott (also World Singles Champion) and although they fought well they were somewhat outclassed by consistent and accurate drawing to eventually go out 2-11.

TRIPLES Sunday 1st April 2007 - Kettering

(9 ends) Geoff & Ann Whitehead and Geoff Dye were making their 3rd consecutive visit as our Triples qualifiers and were joined by Mick & Anne Ridge and Bob Crowther making their first visit as our representatives. Neither was able to make much impact against tough opposition. The former lost all 3 matches in a group that all contained either England players or former National Champions and although playing well were outclassed, losing 2-9 (Devon1), 4-10 (Kent) and 5-11 (Somerset1). Mick's trio started well with a decisive 14-1 win over Humberside4 then had a narrow 7-5 defeat against Dorset1 (1998 Fours winners) before losing their final game 7-12 against West Sussex3.