Manager: Simon Hathrell
The Chairman's Cup
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AC League play-off results by year:
It was wet. Very wet. But croquet players in East Anglia are a hardy breed, and when suitably attired in their wet weather gear nothing was going to deter them. Hardly a murmur of complaint was heard all day - a day in which the afternoon rain was so unrelenting that play at the top club Surbiton not far away was called off completely. The enterprising Gabrielle Higgins even deployed a hot water bottle to keep her seat warm when off the court. No well-prepared player should travel without one, of course.
The three teams of four were all quite closely matched, with only 3½ handicap points separating the aggregate handicaps of all three, and it led to well contested games all day. The morning doubles games were all quite close, with each team chalking up one win: Wrest Park beat Great Dunham, Great Dunham beat Newport and Newport beat Wrest Park. So in the afternoon singles there was everything to play for.
In the encounter between Gabrielle (-1½, Gt Dunham) and Andrew (2, Newport), Andrew managed to burn through all of his 3½ bisques setting up his first break, so at that point the betting favoured Gabrielle. But she had trouble coming to terms with the speed of the slower, rain-soaked courts and failed to capitalise on her opportunities. By the time she finally managed to get a good break under control Andrew had reached peg and 4-back. It looked very much as though Andrew's peg ball was going to be pegged out when Gabrielle had reached 4-back with a laid break. But then disaster struck: out of nowhere she blobbed a simple 4-back hoop off Andrew's 4-back ball - the worst possible time to break down - leaving him with a straightforward finish to win +12.
In the other Great Dunham vs. Newport encounter which was double-banked on the same court, Terrey Sparks reached peg & peg against Fran Lambert while Fran was still a long way behind. But Fran then hit in and subsequently managed to pull off two good breaks to win that encounter by +2.
However, all was not yet lost for Great Dunham. In their other two games, which were both against Wrest Park, Peter Ross used his 6 bisques to secure a comfortable +25 win against David Woolley, and the wily Duncan Hector (½) used his many years of experience to keep control in his game against Bryan Harral (-½). Perhaps the highlight of the latter was a very effective leave by Duncan at the end of his first break to penult, in which Bryan's balls were left cross-wired at hoop 3 while Duncan set up a dolly rush in corner II to hoop 2, the next hoop for his backward ball. Then when Bryan spurned the 20 yard shot and ran away to a corner with one ball, Duncan still had a laid 3-ball break which he duly took to peg, picking up the fourth ball on the way, albeit only managing one of the two remaining peels. But the end wasn't far away, and was soon dealt with.
So at this point Great Dunham and Newport were tied on three games each, with only the two games between Wrest Park and Newport left in play. If Wrest Park won both then it would leave a 3-way tie with all 3 teams on 3 wins each - the manager's nightmare; but James Brind then removed that problem by managing to win a close game against John Bevington, thereby securing the EACF championship for Newport. Richard Keighley was left to salvage a win for Wrest Park in the last game against Chris van Essen - the only game out of the 9 played that day to reach the time limit.
So notwithstanding the weather the day reached a successful conclusion, with congratulations to Newport for winning the Chairman's Cup for the first time.
|Great Dunham||Wrest Park||Newport|
|Gabrielle Higgins (-1½)||Bryan Harral (-½)||James Brind (0)|
|Duncan Hector (½)||John Bevington (1½)||Andrew Gregory (2)|
|Terrey Sparks (3½)||David Woolley (8)||Chris van Essen (7)|
|Peter Ross (14)||Richard Keighley (12)||Fran Lambert (10)|
Area League Play-Off for the Chairman's Cup
The format will be normal 26pt AC games played to handicap rules, with doubles in the morning and singles in the afternoon. Singles games will be double-banked and the duration of each game will be 3¼ hours.
|am:||A1,A3 v B2,B4||B1,B3 v C2,C4||C1,C3 v A2,A4|
|pm:||A1 v C2
A3 v C4
|B1 v A2
B3 v A4
|C1 v B2
C3 v B4
A draw will take place in the morning to determine which teams will be designated A, B or C.