Martlets Short Mat Bowls Club dominate Sussex tournaments

Sussex short mat singles champion Chris Rolph
Sussex short mat singles champion Chris Rolph

The Martlets Short Mat Bowls Club have completed a remarkable clean sweep of all Sussex titles after Chris Rolph was crowned Singles champion.

Already the County Pairs, Triples and Fours champions for 2012/13, the Billingshurst-based club wrapped-up the Division 1 title last week before Rolph won the Singles championship with an 11-6 defeat of Infinity SMBC’s Dan Blackman in a ten end final at Westergate.

And five years after the club’s formation, it has completed a relentless march to the top of short mat bowls in Sussex.

Chris said: “We put it down to a good camaraderie, we play in a light hearted fashion, but we are totally serious when we get on the mat.

“We are very competitive as a club, but play with a smile on our faces.”

The small club, which has just 15 members, had already won the Fours title through Chris Blackman,Rolph, Jack Rollings and Marc Lancaster; the Triples courtesy of Barrie Fitch, Mel Lillywhite and Lancaster; and the Doubles through Rolph and John Brown.

The season was also capped-off by a second succession Division 1 triumph, with a 6-0 defeat of Bognor.

Marion Rolph, Chris Rolph, Chris Blackman and Jack Rollings saw off a commendable fightback from Bognor’s visiting rink, skipped by Brian Mills, to hold on for a 24-22 win, and on the other mat, John Brown, Barrie Fitch, Mel Lillywhite and Marc Lancaster won 19-14 to guarantee a successful defence. Dennis Caiger, Julie Day and Ivan Salmon also won a friendly mat, 19-17.

Chris says the coaching from Malcolm Rollings had made a huge impact on what is still a young club. He added: “He is very good, he takes it seriously and you can see the people he has taught, in their delivery and the way they play. Hopefully we can continue developing new talent.”

The Martlets may not have it all their own way next season however. The Infinity Short Mat Bowls Club is made up of the leading young talent from across Sussex, and after forming three years ago, have enjoyed a meteoric rise up the ranks to secure promotion to Division 1. Chris added: “They will be the threat, but we’d like to think we are better.”