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Soham by season:
The indoor Golf Croquet pairs tournament took place at the Ross Peers Sports Centre on March 14th/15th with a total of 14 teams from 9 clubs taking part. The recent popularity of the event meant that 4 clubs wishing to participate had to be put on a reserve list, should a club drop out. No one did, so priority will be given to them in November. On Saturday it was obvious that low handicapped players struggled in a timed match, the Sudbury pair finding it impossible to overcome the number of bisques against them. The winning team that day was Tony Wells and Tony Stammers from Leighton Linslade, closely followed by Peter Ross and Tony Cooper from Letchworth.
Sunday provided a closer contest with the first 3 places depending on the outcome of the final game. Once again, three generations of the Race family from Hunstanton were involved, with 13-year old Timothy partnering his grandmother as their 'B' team. Eventual winners were the Hunstanton 'A' team of Jeff Race and his partner Mary. Letchworth, with a different pairing from Saturday, were second, with Stony Stratford, experiencing the carpet surface for the first time, a creditable third.
At last! It's happened! The Races are not taking the Saturday trophy home. The mantelpiece must be heaving a sigh of relief! Mind you it was close with Peterborough beating Hunstanton +3 only in the final game to decide the winner. Well done Peterborough. You must be getting the hang of this game! It's great to get a new name on the Cornelius Cup. Congratulations as well to Colchester 1, the only team to beat Peterborough (+3), their two losses being to Hunstanton (-2T) and, surprisingly, Colchester 2 by the wider margin of -6. Special thanks must also go to Colin Hemming who conjured a Colchester 2 team out of a hat when it seemed that the Tournament would have to survive with 6 teams. Thank you Jane and Cheryl. Good too to see a couple of the crop of high bisquers from Letchworth teaming up and giving a good account of themselves. It's a lot easier to play with a strong partner who can tell you what to do. The rest of us tried and, I hope, had a good time. Once again, it proved very difficult to get 7 teams to take part on the Saturday and, once again, the handicap restriction had to be lifted in order to make it possible. Food for thought for next year.
|Peterborough||Adrian Kirby (2½) & Wendy Dominguez (9)||5/6|
|Hunstanton||Jeff Race (½) & Tim Race (18)||5/6|
|Colchester 1||Colin Hemming (1½) & Georgeen Hemming (20)||4/6|
|'NorAlb'||Neil Chalmers (6) & Terry Mahoney (3)||3/6|
|Letchworth||Peter Ross (18) & David Clancey (18)||2/6|
|'Newstanton'||Mike Porter (1½) & Ken Wheeler (3)||1/6|
|Colchester 2||Jane Collier (11) & Cheryl Stevenson (8)||1/6|
We were very pleased to welcome Patricia Duke-Cox, the Chairman of the CA, participating for her first time indoors. The competition was a bit stiff, but she and Mike Bowser with Hunstanton hats on won the battle of the underdogs (just) beating Colchester by +1 on time in their last game. However Colchester can be very proud of being the only team to beat the winners, Letchworth, by the very respectable margin of +7. Mike and Peter from Ipswich maintained their usual high standard and took second place by dint of beating the third placed team, Ipstanton, pretty soundly by +12. It's a long time since a team required to make mandatory peels has taken part and it was interesting to watch the masters at work, but it didn't always work out! (Jeff was keen to practice peels and Philip was looking for a partner - so, a marriage made in heaven.) I am indebted to the teams who obligingly won (or lost) one or more of their games in well under the 50 minutes allowed to permit the Tournament to be completed and the hall vacated well before the 6.00 p.m. deadline. Newport deserve mention having the honour of performing the only whitewash of the day over Ipswich no less, no doubt where some of the time-saving came from. Norwich, as so often has been the case in years gone by, held the middle ground losing only to Ipstanton and Letchworth while beating Ipswich and drawing with Colchester. Patricia changed hats and, as Chairman of the CA presented the Millennium Cup to Letchworth. She said she had enjoyed her day of AC and would be playing GC in March. Just as well Letchworth won the cup again as they might get a discount on having it engraved for this year AND last year!
|Letchworth||David Tutt (½) & Ian Mantle (4)||5/6|
|Ipswich||Mike Percival (½) & Peter Allnutt (5)||4/6|
|'Ipstanton'||Philip Eardley (0) & Jeff Race (½)||4/6|
|Norwich||Terrey Sparks (3½) & Feargal Smith (3½)||3½/6|
|Newport||Andrew Gregory (0) & Arthur Flutter (9)||2/6|
|Colchester||Nick Steiner (10) & Jane Collier (11)||1½/6|
|Hunstanton||Mike Bowser (7) & Patricia Duke-Cox (8)||1/6|
On a more sombre note, we have been advised that the Ross Peers Sports Centre is planning to expand its gym facilities in which case we will no longer be able to store the carpet on their premises. Transporting the carpet to and from the hall will be impracticable and too expensive. We are therefore looking for an alternative venue with the capability to store the carpet for next season. Somewhere in the Soham/Bury area would seem preferable to keep the facility fairly central. If anybody knows of a sports hall, village hall, school hall, airfield etc. that might be a possibility, please let me know. So far the only offer is Lynnsport at Kings Lynn, hardly central.
The Race Family continued on their winning way despite conceding a drawn game to their opponents when it became clear that they had not changed their bisque allowance to take account of the introduction of a maximum handicap of 18 when calculating the number of bisques due. Unfortunately the restriction of total handicaps to 13 or above for the Saturday proved impossible to implement and a couple of teams with lower handicaps had to be included to achieve the required 7 teams. Competition was still pretty close however.
|Hunstanton||Jeff Race (½) & Tim Race (18)||5/6|
|Colchester||Colin Hemming (1½) & Al Brown (9)||4/6|
|'Norchester'||Neil Chalmers (6) & David Haslam (7)||4/6|
|Letchworth 1||Nick Mounfield (18) & Peter Ross (18)||3/6|
|Letchworth 2||Ian Mantle (4) & David Clancey (18)||3/6|
|'Burywich'||John Robinette (5) & Terrey Sparks (3½)||2/6|
|Meldreth||Alec Osborne (12) & Janet Pope (18)||0/6|
Half the Race Family with the strong support of Bryan Saddington kept the Hunstanton flag flying for the second time this week-end, winning by the same 5/6 score as yesterday though without getting the bisques wrong! It was good to welcome Peterborough again, particularly when they lost to Hunstanton by +1 on time in Hunstanton's last game so saving the manager the hassle of resolving a 5-way tie for first place had they won. Commiserations go to both Newport teams who came close in a couple of games each and one of them could have scored a win when they played each other in the final game of the Tournament. However, perhaps honour was satisfied when it had to be cancelled as we were running well behind the clock and the hall has to be cleared by 6.00 p.m. on Sundays.
|Hunstanton||Jeff Race (½) & Bryan Saddington (6)||5/6|
|Ipswich||Mike Percival (½) & Peter Allnutt (5)||4/6|
|Letchworth||David Tutt (½) & Ian Mantle (4)||4/6|
|Norwich||Terrey Sparks (3½) & Feargal Smith (3½)||4/6|
|Peterborough||Adrian Kirby (2½) & Wendy Dominguez (9)||3/6|
|Newport 1||Andrew Gregory (0) & Arthur Flutter (9)||0/5|
|Newport 2||Bernard Yallop (12) & Ron Atkinson (12)||0/5|
The indoor weekend saw two days of closely contested games, the carpet surface proving a challenge for experienced players as well as newcomers. Seven teams from around the Anglia region competed against each other on Saturday. Colchester took an early lead, winning their first three games, whilst Leighton Linslade and Hunstanton 'B' struggled to gain points. The Hunstanton 'A' team of Jeff and Tim Race demonstrated tactical play and a range of spectacular shots and won more games than they lost, but their total handicaps were against them on the day as the games were timed. They had to settle for third place. Letchworth played consistently throughout the day and proved to be worthy winners, just ahead of Colchester at the close.
Again on Sunday another seven teams took part, Bury St Edmunds, Letchworth, Leighton Linslade, Newport and Norwich all showing promise by winning in the early rounds. As the day progressed the two teams from Newport out-fought and out hustled their opponents to move ahead in the points. But it was the Newport 'B' team who were not fazed under pressure, who won the final game and the tournament.
It has long been agreed that some ways must be found to limit the overall amount of time lost during and between games, particularly on Sundays with its cut-off time of 6.00 p.m. and to attract a wider range of handicaps to Soham. As regards the first aim, a few minor tweaks to the rules were tried out which seem to have been received without too much controversy and also seem to have generated some time savings. The three rule adjustments involved were a) dispensing with the short croquet wiring law and applying the normal full croquet law; b) confirming the use of 'Belgian Baulks' (shortened baulks extending from corners 1 and 3 to hoops 1 and 3 respectively to make things a bit more difficult for low handicappers) and c) varying the arrangements for changing over the clocks (too long-winded to include here!). A need for a few minor modifications and clarifications to this, the most revolutionary change became apparent during field testing as it were, and these will be incorporated for the January and February tournaments. In addition, time-keepers were appointed in advance and listed on the programme so that everybody knew when they were running a clock. I operated as a non-playing 'manager' to try to ensure things kept moving and to sort out any problems, fortunately very few, without disturbing the flow of play. Both days' programmes were successfully completed within acceptable time frames and it was noticeable that no wiring lifts had to be adjudicated, a common cause of delay with the short croquet lift law.
As regards the second aim, 9 players with handicaps of 10 or above including 2 ladies, a very welcome addition to our numbers, took part over the two days. As far as I could tell, they all enjoyed their day at Soham. Let's hope they all become regulars. Particular mention should be made of Letchworth who produced 2 teams each comprising a low and high handicap player on each day. It was suggested that a restricted entry tournament on Saturday (12 or more, say, total) and an open entry on the Sunday might prove to be attractive. This is almost back to the 'X and Y' concept of years gone by, except that a 12+ team could enter the 'Open' tournament if they wished, and, from this week-end's evidence, could do very well. I plan to try to arrange this for the January Tournaments.
Now to results. Saturday saw the Brace of Races (Jeff and son Tim, of Hunstanton) triumph yet again winning all six of their games, their last being a whitewash of Ipnor (Mike Percival and Feargal Smith). After putting his ball into play, Feargal took no further part! Runners-up were Letchworth 2 comprising Ian Mantle and David Clancey who came through so quietly that I didn't really realise until they had won their last game against Letchworth 1 that they had won 5/6 losing only to Hunstanton. The MCP Mallets Shield, whose whereabouts had been uncertain, fortunately turned up on Saturday making a presentation to Hunstanton possible.
|Hunstanton||Jeff Race (½) & Tim Race (18)||6/6|
|Letchworth 2||Ian Mantle (4) & David Clancey (18)||5/6|
|Newport||Jim Potter (3½) & Bernard Yallop (12)||3½/6|
|Colchester||Colin Hemming (1½) & Georgeen Hemming (20)||3/6|
|'Colchdown'||Jane Collier (11) & Jonathan Toye (9)||2/6|
|'Ipnor'||Mike Percival (½) & Feargal Smith (4)||1/6|
|Letchworth 1||George Woolhouse (1) & David Gough (18)||½/6|
Sunday saw what appeared to be a stronger field assembled, the competition being decided in the penultimate game between Ipswich (Mike Percival and Peter Allnutt both of whom it was great to see back, fit and well after their respective health problems) and Colchester (David Haslam and Nick Steiner, a mature rapid improver in his second season playing off 10!). Whoever won would win the tournament 5/6. Fortunately Ipswich won as I didn't have a trophy to present, Mike having forgotten on both days to bring the trophies that he was holding! Colchester's loss allowed Letchworth 2 (Jeremy Scott and Nick Mounfield reputedly playing his first ever game of Association Croquet) to steal the runner-up's spot by defeating Letchworth 1 to claim 4½ wins compared with Colchester's 4. All very tense.
|Ipswich||Mike Percival (½) & Peter Allnutt (5)||5/6|
|Letchworth 2||Jeremy Scott (5) & Nick Mounfield (18)||4½/6|
|Colchester||David Haslam (7) & Nick Steiner (10)||4/6|
|Hunstanton||Jeff Race (½) & Bryan Saddington (6)||3½/6|
|Letchworth 1||David Tutt (½) & Peter Ross (24)||3/6|
|'Ipnor'||Martin Leach (2½) & Terrey Sparks (3½)||1/6|
|St. Albans||Terry Mahoney (3½) & David Kitson (7)||0/6|