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Derek Knight (8) from York won the All England Handicap Challenge Cup

[<<] [>>] by Hamish Hall at Nailsea
24th September 2004 (AC - Handicap)

The intermittent rain and showers did little to dampen the atmosphere at Nailsea, the venue for the 2004 All England Handicap Final. The club has improved their lawns immeasurably over the past 5 years, but the prolonged rain earlier in the month militated against fast courts. The handicaps ranged from 4.5 to 18. Happily no outright bandits, but the long bisques still need coaching in their efficient use.

On the Saturday, with 3 hour time limits, there were 4 American blocks of 4. John Smallbone (9), and Mick Haytack (16) continued their improving play, comfortably winning all their games. Likewise Derek Knight, but with only a total of 9 net points, his games were more closely fought, whilst Roland Needham (16), the fourth semi-finalist qualified on the Who beat Whom regulation, narrowly defeating Jim Wallen (18) by 4 on time.

John Scrase (4.5) demonstrated how the game should be played in his game against Robin Delves (12) an outstanding hitter-in but who had a bent on only taking bisques in defence. With 5 minutes to go, John hit in, made 8 points, levelling the score, but with time being called, Robin could only look wryly at his standing bisque as his final shot failed.

Nick Butler (5) and John Scrase were out to avenge an earlier defeat in the Longman, but neither made it through to the semi-finals, which, with only 2 games scheduled for the day, benefited from a 3.25 hour time limit. Both games were fiercely contested, with Derek overcoming John by 3 and Roland defeating Mick by 5. In the final, Roland enjoyed 8 bisques, but with more consistent soundness in his tactics, Derek became the Champion by 7.


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