Nailsea B Class Advanced Weekend 9/10 July 2016
Many regulars returned this year and one new face made up the complement of 16 players - perfect for a B Class event at a 4-lawn club. Conditions were less tricky than usual due to a healthy sward and to hoops set in moistened ground. Thus the hoops were firm and accurately set but not as hostile as on some previous occasions. This led to 24 peg-outs in a total of 40 games with 3 hour time limits and all games double-banked.
The games were mainly very inter-active and provided plenty of spectator interest and entertainment . This was particularly true as 13 of the players were from SWF clubs and the other three were also well known in the local tournament scene.
On Saturday, play was in seeded Blocks of four. In Block 1, Clive Goode ( 0,Nottingham) won all his games but only pegged out once. Block 2 saw Geoff Hughes (2.5, Nailsea) pegging out in all his games, his fastest time being 1h 46min. Jonathan Wolfe (1.5,Taunton) managed 3 wins with a +1T, a +2T and a peg-out. The +1T was a cruel loss for Nailsea's Pat Long (2.5) as she had gambled, giving Jonathan a point quite late in the game by pegging him out. She had won her other two games so that probably cost her a semi-final place. Block 4 was less clear-cut with Robert Moss (1, Bears) and Stephen Custance-Baker (2.5,Taunton) on two wins each. With no time for a play-off, Stephen was declared the Block winner as he had beaten Robert.
For the semi-finals, the Manager wanted to avoid an all Taunton tie and also to reward Geoff for his three peg-outs so pitted Geoff against Stephen and Clive against Jonathan. Geoff and Clive won their games so proceeded to the Final, leaving the Taunton boys to play for third place. Geoff played positively and creatively and won the Margaret Fleming Shield for the second time in three years. Meanwhile, Stephen had a clear win over Jonathan and took the bottle of Rammy Craft ale for third place.
Another knock-out was arranged for those coming second in their Block. Here, Caroline Denny (2.5, Bears) beat Pat Long and Robert Moss beat Sarah Melvin (Bears, 3.5). Caroline then beat Robert in an all Bears consolation final.
The prize for the fastest game (1h 36min) went to Peter Thompson (3) from Hull but he donated his ale to Chris Donovan as a reward for running penult from the north boundary and nearly running rover at the same time. The biggest upset led to an exchange of 19 index points when Robert Upton (7, Dyffryn) beat Chris Donovan (0.5, Budleigh). Robert and Erica Malaiperuman (Nailsea, 6) earn a special mention as the highest handicap players, winning three and two of their 5 games respectively. Robert's handicap dropped to 6.
The sprit throughout the weekend was as cheerful as ever with plenty of self-deprecating humour from those not having success on the lawn. There were no red trousers on show but one of the Dyffryn players wore a red polo shirt which the manager assumed was in celebration of the Welsh success in France. As an avid Burnley and Sam Vokes supporter, she appreciated this gesture and shared the pride.
The manager thanked the Nailsea members for their invaluable contributions to the success of the tournament. Lawn preparation requires considerable effort , as does the production of excellent food and an endless supply of tea, coffee and water. The lawns were mown down to 4mm both mornings before play and the surface was even and running at around 11 Plummers. Although not fast by some standards, it was quick enough to allow the Nailsea hills to do their worst occasionally and deny players their roquets or their hoop approaches.