Andrew Easy and Nicky Brett helped to give Cambridgeshire the edge as they comfortably saw off Norfolk 117-88 in the first round of the Liberty Trophy at City of Ely.
Bowling on their home rink, skips Easy and Brett pulled off emphatic 17 and 15-shot victories respectively to ensure the hosts had the breathing space they needed to book their place in the next round away to Northamptonshire in January.
Easy helmed a quartet featuring clubmate Ed Elmore and St Neots pair Simon Leader and Lewis Baker to a 26-9 win while England international Brett, fresh from winning the Co-Operative Funeralcare Scottish International Open, helped Huntingdon trio Harry Ward, Lindsay Swannell and Tristan Morton win 28-15.
Ely’s Stuart Popple also came out on top by eight shots as Cambs and Norfolk were triumphant on three rinks apiece.
County senior vice-president Graham Cousins was delighted with the result, admitting it would have been a closer affair had it not been for the margins of success of Easy and Brett, Norfolk conceding defeat with a couple of rinks still to finish.
He said: “It was a good result and there was some excellent bowling, not just from Cambridgeshire but Norfolk as well.
“The big difference was the two rinks of Andrew Easy and Nicky Brett over the six rinks.
“It was close on the other four rinks, but having someone like Nicky Brett helps to get you out of trouble sometimes and Andrew Easy played very well and had a good win.
“We brought some new bowlers in as well and I thought Lewis Baker came in and did particularly well.”
But Cambs will have to make do without Brett for the next game as the tie clashes with the world championships.
Results: M Marsden, D Moss, I Brown, S Popple (all City of Ely) won 21-13; J Lambert (St Neots), I McWhinney (Ely), M Jackman (March), A Ware (Ely) lost 19-14; S Leader, L Baker (both St Neots), E Elmore, A Easy (both Ely) won 26-9; R Elmore (Ely), J Randall, J Harford (both Peterborough), R Tomlinson (St Neots) lost 16-15; M Pankhurst (Chesterton), J Barker (St Neots), J Newson (Peterborough), A Walton (St Neots) lost 16-13; H Ward, L Swannell, T Morton (all Huntingdon), N Brett (Ely) won 28-15.