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Soham by season:
Jim Potter & Fran Lambert Newport were first away from the block winning three and drawing one of their first four games. However, their form fizzled away, losing their last two games and finishing on a creditable 3.5 points. On the other hand the Hunstanton pair of Jeff Race and Peter Brown, despite a shaky start, gradually improved their play to take second place with a 4 point total. However, the Bygrave two consisting of Duncan Hector and Gabrielle Higgins, despite being required to complete 3 mandatory peels, dominated the day's play running out the overall winners amassing a 4.5 total.
Special mention goes to Jeff Race for the finish of the season. Running the penult hoop with brown and with his partner ball being on rover and situated for the peel, he placed the white ball just behind the rover hoop, he then took roquet and croquet from the pink from which he then roqueted the green and jawsed this ball from the croquet. He then jumped the rover hoop with his brown, took croquet from the pink at the same time completing a canon peel on the green ball which was hidden from the peg, further to this he played a canon from the white placing the green to the side of the rover hoop from which he rushed this ball to complete the peg out to a deserved amount of applause from the appreciating audience.
|Bygrave||Duncan Hector & Gabrielle Higgins||4½/6||1|
|Hunstanton||Jeff Race & Peter Brown||4/6||2|
|Colchester 1||Colin & Georgeen Hemming||3½/6||3|
|Newport||Jim Potter & Fran Lambert||3½/6||4|
|St. Albans||Terry Mahoney & Heather Bennett||3/6||5|
|Norfolk Boys||Terrey Sparks & Jonathan Toye||1½/6||6|
|Colchester 2||Ann Brookes & Jane Collier||1/6||7|
After a couple of months away from the indoor carpet, the Fulford pair Rob and Susan made a welcome return to defend the trophy that they won last year. After a shaky start and a scrappy draw against the Northampton pairing of Nick Evans and James Skelton they suddenly returned to form and during their remaining games picked up five impressive wins to to retain the trophy despite a valiant fight by both Northampton and Hunstanton to overhaul them.
|Colchester||Rob & Susan Fulford||5½/6||1|
|Hunstanton||Terrey Sparks & Bryan Saddington||4/6||2|
|Northampton||Nick Evans & James Skelton||4/6||3|
|Peterborough||Adrian Kirby & Roly Iddison||3½/6||4|
|St. Albans||Terry Mahoney & Heather Bennett||2½/6||5|
|Suffolk Boys||Mike Percival & Peter Allnutt||1½/6||6|
|Bygrave||Peter Whiting & Paul Sinclair||0/6||7|
It was back to normal club speed doubles on the Sunday where 7 club entries fought it out for The Cornelius Cup. Playing a round robin format, last year's winners St. Albans seemed determined to hold onto the trophy, winning their first 5 games by steamrolling over the opposition so that by the time it came to the final game the outcome was certain and they could not be overtaken. The Cornelius Cup was theirs for another year.
|St. Albans||Chris Frost & Heather Bennett||5/6||1|
|Letchworth||Nick Mounfield & Terry Mahoney||4/6||2|
|Hunstanton||Jeff Race & Bryan Saddington||3½/6||3|
|Colchester||David Haslam & Rich Waterman||3½/6||4|
|Ipswich||Martin French & Philip Eardley||3/6||5|
|Pinchbeck||Terrey Sparks & Mike Bowser||2/6||6|
|Newport||Bernard Yallop & Fran Lambert||0/6||7|
The game on Valentine's Day was progressive speed doubles. For the benefit of those unfamiliar with this variant, it means that after each game you swap partners (like a progressive barn dance). Not very appropriate, come to think of it, for a day meant to be for celebrating couples sticking together, but hugely enjoyable nonetheless.
The day got off to a flying start, with the first game finishing in only about half an hour, with Mike Percival and Jane Collier beating Terrey Sparks and Lydia Vaux +14. The second game didn't take much longer, Nick Steiner and Peter Brown winning +7 against Jeff Race and Georgeen Hemming. At this rate we would all have been heading home by early afternoon! Things settled down to a more normal speed, though, as the day progressed, and as is usual with these progressive events, there was a lot of camaraderie both on and off the court.
Both the high-handicap and the low-handicap blocks were strongly contested, with the results in doubt right up to the end of play. The clear winner in the High handicap block was Roly Iddison, with 4 wins out of 5; Heather Bennett and Jane Collier were both on 3½ wins, and Heather won the 2nd place with one more win within time. The Low Handicap block was won by the ever-reliable Terry Mahoney with 4 wins, and second place was taken by Adrian Kirby on 3½.
The format allows for a play-off of the block winners vs the block runners-up, but in the event everyone was well-satisfied at the end of five rounds and we all went home happy.Report by Colin Hemming, photo by Terrey Sparks
|Hunstanton||Jeff Race & Bryan Saddington||5/5||1|
|Ipswich||Martin French & Philip Eardley||4/5||2|
|Colchester 1||Colin & Georgeen Hemming||3½/5||3|
|Colchester 3||David Haslam & Keith Saunders||3½/5||4|
|St. Albans||Terry Mahoney & Heather Bennett||2/5||5|
|Bygrave||Duncan Hector & Sheila Haggett||2/5||6|
|Colchester 2||Jane Collier & Lydia Vaux||0/5||7|
|Newport||Bernard Yallop & Fran Lambert||0/5||8|
It was back to normal on the Sunday with 8 club pairs of various mixed ability and handicaps partaking in Association speed doubles. The regular old warhorses from Hunstanton consisting of Jeff Race and Bryan Saddington, although being hotly pursued by the Ipswich pair of Martin French and Philip Eardley, were in unbeatable form and swept through the field winning all their games. Meanwhile despite not winning a game and despite a gritty performance, newcomers from the Newport Club Bernard Yallop and Fran Lambert vowed to return putting to good use the lessons learned that day. Many thanks to the Colchester Club for furnishing 3 team pairings which enabled the day to go smoothly.
It was testament of the rising standard of play on the indoor carpet that of the 20 games only two failed to finish in time, enabling an earlier than usual vacation of the hall.Report by Terrey Sparks
The first indoor session of the New Year after Christmas consisted of Inter-Counties Golf Croquet pairs, of which six county teams were made up to seven with the addition of an EACF Select pair. Unfortunately the evening before, the Cambridgeshire pair suffered a call off subject to one of them falling to a winter epidemic and was unable to find a replacement. The problem was solved in that as there were always three teams sat out, the Cambridge side would be made up by one of the non-active players and renamed Cambridgeshire Progressive.
The the games were subjected to a 45 minute time limit and were fast and furious, although at the end of the day despite this, due to difficult hoops only 3 of the 21 games played did not go to time.
Hertfordshire set the pace by winning their first three games until losing to Northamptonshire, allowing the rest of the field to catch up. Cambridgeshire and the EACF teams both made steady progress so at the end of the day there were three sides all finishing on 4 wins out of 6 games: Hertfordshire, Cambridgeshire and the EACF team. However, reverting to the 'who beat whom' formula the match was awarded to Hertfordshire having beaten both the other sides.
|Hertfordshire||Duncan Hector & Peter Whiting||4/6||1*|
|Cambridgeshire||Terrey Sparks & A.N.O.||4/6||2*|
|EACF Select||David Crawford & Paul Homer||4/6||3*|
|Northamptonshire||Mike Hills, Richard Cain & Jane Stevens||3/6||4*|
|Suffolk||MIke Percival & Peter Allnutt||3/6||5*|
|Essex||Ann Brookes & Jane Collier||2/6||6|
|Norfolk||Pauline & Roy Donner||1/6||7|
It was back to normal speed doubles on the Sunday with both the Colchester and Hunstanton pairs setting a blistering pace, both winning their first four games leaving the rest of the field adrift and struggling to catch up. This meant that if both teams secured a win in their final games this might give the manager a problem determining the winner. However, The Bygrave pairing of Duncan Hector and Peter Whiting, never to be under estimated, managed to secure their third win of the day against Jeff Race and Bryan Saddington of Hunstanton, effectively stopping them in their tracks. Meanwhile the Colchester husband and wife team comprising of Rob and Susan Fulford maintained their 100% record by seeing off Letchworth to take the day.
|Colchester||Robert & Susan Fulford||5/5||1|
|Hunstanton||Jeff Race & Bryan Saddington||4/5||2|
|Bygrave||Duncan Hector & Peter Whiting||3/5||3|
|St. Albans||Terry Mahoney & Heather Bennett||2½/5||4|
|Newport||William Gee & Rachel Rowe||2/5||5|
|Letchworth||Peter Ross & David Clancey||2/5||6|
|Letchester||Nick Mounfield & Nick Steiner||1/5||7|
|Pinchbeck||Terrey Sparks & Charles Ostler||½/5||8|
The Colchester pairing of Jane Collier and Ann Brookes set off at a blistering pace, winning their first two games in fine style. However, they met their nemesis when they were stopped in their tracks meeting club compatriots Colin and Georgeen Hemming who at that stage were also undefeated. Meanwhile the Newport pairing of Jim Potter and newcomer to the indoors carpet Fran Lambert, despite losing their first game, started to make steady progress drawing their next game and finishing in grand style by winning their remaining three to finish on a creditable 3.5 points.
As expected the Hunstanton pair of the old war horse Jeff Race and relative newcomer to the carpet Peter Brown were also in fine form, winning their first three games, and they looked as if they were going to show a clean pair of heels by being undefeated at the end of the day. However, the struggling Peterborough pairing of Roly Iddison and another newcomer to the carpet John Filsak, still looking for their first win, suddenly struck to open up the tournament by seeing off the Hunstanton pair in fine style. This meant if Hunstanton lost their remaining game against Jane & Ann, and Colin & Georgeen won their remaining one, Hunstanton would take the day. To further compound matters, if both teams lost then Newport would sneak through to take the day. However, despite a brave fight a tiring Jane and Ann eventually succumbed by -5 allowing Hunstanton to win overall.
|Hunstanton||Jeff Race & Peter Brown||4/5||1|
|Newport||Jim Potter & Fran Lambert||3½/5||2|
|Colchester 2||Colin & Georgeen Hemming||3/5||3|
|Bygrave||Duncan Hector & Sheila Haggett||2½/5||4|
|Letchworth||Peter Ross & Keith Rhodes||2/5||5|
|Peterborough||Roly Iddison & John Filsak||2/5||6|
|Colchester 1||Jane Collier & Ann Brookes||2/5||7|
|Colstanton||Terrey Sparks & Al Brown||1/5||8|
It was a double triumph for the Letchworth pair Nick Mounfield and Robert Wilkinson who lifted the trophies both on the Saturday and Sunday. This is the first time this has happened in the 25 years that the indoors carpet has been in existence.
Throughout the day no team managed to dominate, and bearing in mind the unusually high number of drawn games, 5 in all, it was no surprise that the final decision was not settled until the final two games. The Letchester hybrid pair made up of Nick Steiner and Peter Ross, who needed to win, met the Hunstanton duo of Jeff Race and newcomer to the indoor arena Peter Brown, to whom they narrowly lost -1 to scupper any chance of finishing in a possible play-off. Meanwhile the Letchworth two played Bygrave 2 comprising Richard Smith and James Hopgood and had a narrow win +4 to finish with 3.5 points, thereby putting paid to both Bygrave 1 and St Albans who both finished on 3 points.
|Letchworth||Nick Mounfield & Robert Wilkinson||3½||1|
|St. Albans||Terry Mahoney & Heather Bennett||3||2*|
|Bygrave 1||Duncan Hector & Gabrielle Higgins||3||3*|
|Letchester||Nick Steiner & Peter Ross||2½||4*|
|Hunstanton||Jeff Race & Peter Brown||2½||5*|
|Colchester||Robert & Susan Fulford||2½||6*|
|Bygrave 2||Richard Smith & James Hopgood||2||7|
|Newport||Jim Potter & Chris van Essen||1||8|
The St. Albans pair of Terry Mahoney and Chris Frost were the early shooting stars, notching up 2.5 points in their first 3 games beating the Letchworth pair on the way, before succumbing to Duncan Hector and Peter Whiting from Bygrave 1. However, Letchworth recovered from this setback and just managed to pip the St. Albans challenge to the post by half a point. This was the day of the super-substitute, in that the non-playing manager was called upon twice to keep the format on track. First, Mike Percival of the Suffolk Boys suffered a 24-hour time lag. Although he knew he was playing he thought it was Saturday and turned up a couple of hours later after a desperate phone call. Next, just before his last game against Hunstanton, Robert Wilkinson had a health scare and it was decided he should visit the emergency clinic in Ely. Again the manager came to the rescue and substituted for Robert with Nick his Letchworth partner and secured a very quick +13 win in just over 20 minutes, a moment before Robert having been given the all clear returned to the sound of mutterings from the Hunstanton pair that their travelling companion might be walking home that night.
|Letchworth||Nick Mounfield & Robert Wilkinson||4||1|
|St. Albans||Terry Mahoney & Chris Frost||3½||2|
|Hunstanton||Jeff Race & Bryan Saddington||3||3*|
|Bygrave 2||Richard Smith & James Hopgood||3||4*|
|Bygrave 1||Duncan Hector & Peter Whiting||3||5*|
|Peterborough||Adrian Kirby & Roly Iddison||1½||6|
|Suffolk Boys||Peter Allnutt & Mike Percival||1||7†|
|Colchester||Colin & Georgeen Hemming||1||8†|
After a short time thinking we were going to have to play with only six teams, the Hemmings broke up to take different partners (amicably, of course), so ending up with two Colchester teams, resulting in the traditional 7-team all-play all block.
The first two games were characterised by long delays. Nothing to do with the players, but the new-fangled clocks (actually, a program running on two laptop computers) decided to misbehave after about a quarter of an hour. Nothing to do with the computer hardware, nor the timer program itself, but all to do with the large number of memory-resident programs running on the machines, a good many of which were trying to communicate with a non-existent internet (Soham is in rural Cambridgeshire!). After this initial problem, each PC behaved well until the end of the day.
The seven teams included, as well as the usual EACF club teams and hybrids, an interloper from without the bounds of the federation in the shape of the Hallam brothers from Nottingham, staying on after the inter-counties contest of the previous day.
The play was well balanced, with the handicap system working well (especially the mandatory peels holding back the Nottingham powerhouse) so that most games were won by a margin of a few points; throughout the day only two games produced a double-digit victory. In the end, despite threats from Northampton and Nottingham, the experienced pair from Hunstanton once again showed their prowess in this form of the game and were winners once again.
|Hunstanton||Jeff Race & Bryan Saddington||6/6||1|
|Northampton||Nick Evans & James Skelton||4/6||2|
|Nottingham||Omied & Sanaa Hallam||3/6||3|
|Letchborough||Nick Mounfield & Roly Iddison||3/6||4|
|Colchester 2||Colin Hemming & Keith Saunders||2/5||5|
|Bygrave||Duncan Hector & Paul Sinclair||1/6||6|
|Colchester 1||Georgeen Hemming & Al Brown||1/5||7|
The winter indoor season started this Saturday with the trialling of a new format. The Inter-Counties Cup was contested by 7 teams which included teams from the eastern counties plus an EACF Select side and visitors from Shropshire.
Playing the all-play-all format, Hertfordshire was off to an almost unassailable start winning 3 of the first 4 games including a tied game, closely chased by both Norfolk and Cambridgeshire winning 2 of their first 4. However, the rampant Herts winning streak was brought to an abrupt halt in their final two games when they lost to both Norfolk and Cambs.
Having completed all their games, both Norfolk and Mid-Anglia stood on 4 wins apiece with Norfolk
holding the advantage with a better total of games won within time. However, Cambridgeshire with 3 wins and a better win
average had to meet the EACF Select side in the last game which would determine who won the day. Despite a valiant
effort EACF were unable to stop the Cambridge pair of Adrian Kirby & Dan Neale from romping home to lift the trophy.
|Cambridgeshire||Adrian Kirby & Dan Neale||4/6*||1|
|Norfolk||Jeff Race & Peter Brown||4/6*||2|
|Mid-Anglia||Jonathan Hills & Peter Allnutt||4/6*||3|
|Hertfordshire||Duncan Hector & Heather Bennett||3½/6||4|
|Salop||Omied & Sanaa Hallam||3½/6||5|
|EACF Select||Terrey Sparks & Jonathan Toye||2/6||6|
|Essex||Colin & Georgeen Hemming & Lydia Vaux||0/6||7|