AREA 30 ladies pairs champions for the past three years, Sue Cooke and Alex Jacobs, will represent North Wilts again this season in the final stages of the women’s national indoor pairs championships.
Winners of the ladies national pairs crown with a 22-14 success over City of Ely in March 2010, Cooke and Jacobs had to work hard to book a third consecutive visit to the latter stages (last 16) at Melton & District in April last Sunday.
The duo were staring defeat in the face in the inter-area pairs final at Clarrie Dunbar (Frome) when trailing 17-11 after 17 ends and only four ends remaining. However, they staged a remarkable comeback to grab a 20-17 victory on the 21st and last end.
They were behind for most of the match against Jill Humphries and Carol Parsons (Donyatt, Ilminster) trailing 5-2 at five ends, 7-5 at ten and 13-11 at 15. They went further adrift losing 17-11 at 17.
But then Cooke and Jacobs turned the match completely on its head with a superb fight back scoring another nine shots and not conceding any to claim victory out of the jaws of defeat.
They collected counts of three and two to cut the gap to only 17-16 at 19 and then went in front for the very first time with a two on end 20 and sealed victory with another two on the last end to get out of jail.
Cooke and Jacobs move forward to the last 16 of the national pairs at Melton Mowbray on April 5 and will play the winners of the inter-area final between Area 13 Norwich or Area 14 Diss & District (Norfolk).
The pair, with Jean Collier, had missed out in the first inter-area in the O50s Two Wood Triples the previous day.
They lost 18-11 at Taunton Deane to the trio of Wendy Marchant, Sue Evans and Diane Routley who made home rink advantage pay off.
Jacobs’ triple trailed 5-1 after five ends and 8-5 at ten. They managed to get within a shot of their Taunton Deane opponents but then dropped back again and finally lost 18-11.
Cooke and Jacobs are still running in one other national indoor championship event – national fours - together with Val Molton and Janet Hardie.
They won the Area 30 fours title and have reached the first inter-area final back at Taunton Deane on Sunday (February 16) where they face Kirsty Hembrow’s home foursome.
If successful Jacob’s quartet will move forward to the second inter-area final against the winners from the Devon and Cornwall sections - just one step away from a quarter-final spot and final stages at Melton & District on April 7 – immediately after the national pairs final stages.
Meanwhile, North Ladies are through to the last eight of the Yetton Plate, women’s national inter-club team championship against Arun, Sussex.
They booked their place in the quarter-finals with an 86-61 victory over South Hams (Kingsbridge, Devon) three weeks ago in the last 16 tie played at Taunton Deane.
Now they will face Arun (Bognor Regis, Sussex), who beat Loddon Vale (Basingstoke) 78-58 in their delayed last 16 match, this Saturday, February 15 on a neutral green again but this time at East Dorset (Christchurch) at 10am.
North Wilts are making a rare appearance this season in the Yetton Plate, but have reached the quarter-finals once before in this competition but lost out in the last eight to Crystal Palace.
For the quarter-final against Arun, North Wilts make one change to the side that beat South Hams with Ann Roberts-Phare, who was unavailable, coming into the side in place of Gillian Lillicrap who reverts to reserve.
But there are two positional changes with Roberts-Phare going to lead in Alex Jacobs rink with Isabel Dawson switching to number two in Fizz Mace’s four in place of Lillicrap.
A semi-final spot against either Clacton or Camberley on March 1 is the prize for the winner of the North Wilts/Arun tie.
Rink 1: Ann Roberts-Phare, Jane Taylor, Irene Button & Alex Jacobs. Rink 2: Molly Manning, Viv Baskerville, Barbara Shepheard & Janet Hardie. Rink 3: Norma Rowden, Jean Collier, Val Molton & Sue Cooke. Rink 4: Jan Tombs, Isabel Dawson, Kath Lloyd & Fizz Mace.
Reserves: Gillian Lillicrap and Margaret Walker.
MORE BOWLS NEWS IN THIS WEEK'S GAZETTE & HERALD, OUT ON THURSDAY