Ken Wheeler Shield results
It was a welcome return to the Ken Wheeler Shield, as it was not played last year, falling victim to the Covid-19 regulations prohibiting social gatherings. Despite adverse weather reports warning of possible downfalls and thunderstorms, the day in the end turned out to be very warm and sunny apart from a minor shower as play got underway.
This year meant a change in format as the event attracted a full entry of 6 county teams, and was constructed to suit the 4 Wrest Park lawns which were in great shape for play. The 6 teams that originally entered were Bedfordshire (2019 holders), Cambridgeshire, Hertfordshire, Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex. Unfortunately Essex had to withdraw at the last moment due to personal problems and were hastily replaced by a scratch EACF Select team rounded up by Brian Havill.
Under the revised format each team was reduced to 3 players with a reserve if they so wished, and to take this reduction into account the minimum team aggregate handicap was also reduced to 5 so as to keep the event a 'B' class event.
Each team of 3 was required to play each other over 5 rounds comprising 1 doubles and 1 singles game, the winners attracting 1 point per game win. This meant that a total of 30 points was available to be shared out. The top 4 teams would then move on to a Gold Medal Round of singles games for which 3 points per game could be added to the team's total. The highest total at the end of the match would be declared the winner.
Play commenced at 10am and, bearing in mind doubles pairs not used to each other, the match proceeded at a determined and at times a slow pace. However, progress it did with the field being led by the EACF for all the first 5 rounds, closely followed by Norfolk & Cambridgeshire. After the end of the fifth round EACF had amassed 8 points followed by Norfolk & Cambridge on 6 points each, and Bedfordshire on a creditable 4 points. At this point Suffolk and Hertfordshire were eliminated from the competition.
Proceeding to the Gold Medal Round, each team played a combination of 3 singles games which attracted 3 points per win added to their team score. The EACF started to falter and only managed to pick up 1 win. However, both the Bedford and Norfolk teams upped their game, each picking up 2 wins and each attracting 6 points. But the real surprise was the ending. With Norfolk on 12 points and the EACF on 11 points it fell to the last game in which David Ball (Bedford) was playing Richard Keighley (EACF). David's Bedford team could not overhaul Norfolk if he won but would stop the EACF Select team winning and hand the final result to Norfolk - which he did, much to the Norfolk team's joy.
A very interesting and competitive day enjoyed by all, with thanks to the Wrest Park Club for allowing the use of their excellent facilities.Report by Terrey Sparks
|Venue||Saturday 24 July at Wrest Park||
The Ken Wheeler Shield
|Entry fees||£27 per team|
|Previous winners (2019)||Bedfordshire|
|Eligibility||To qualify for a county the team member must either be born, reside or be
registered with a club within that county. (For this tournament the county of Bedfordshire includes the
clubs of Northampton and Stony Stratford).
If you are eligible and want to play, please contact the relevant team captain!
the national Inter-Counties Tournament