Bryan Harral, John Wheeler, John Bevington, and George Collinby John Bevington
The autumn campaign resembled that of King Harold nearly a thousand years ago. On Friday 25 September the Wrest Park divisions moved north and encamped overnight, moving out in early morning mist to cross the Pennines and the Mersey and converge on Southport. After defeating the northern challengers they then had to move south a week later, cross the Thames and prepare for battle with Surbiton on their turf. It turned out to be one in the eye for the home club as Wrest Park overturned a 2-1 deficit to make a clean sweep of the afternoon singles and win 5-2.
The scores, Wrest Park names first:
John Wheeler (1½) & John Bevington (1½) lost to Samantha Symonds (1) & John Cosier (2½) -4
Bryan Harral (3) Beat Graham Brightwell (3) +22
George Collin (2½) Beat Andy Dibben (4) +19
John Wheeler (1½) Beat Samantha Symonds (1) +12
John Bevington (1½) Beat John Cosier (2½) +16
George Collin (2½) lost to Graham Brightwell (3) -13
Bryan Harral (3) Beat Andy Dibben (4) +18
The match started at 9.30, which at this time of the year means a heavy dew that seems to cling to blades of grass, balls and mallet heads alike. This can make shots tricky to judge (perhaps a form of aquaplaning occurs?) and you took on big split rolls at your own risk. In the doubles John Bevington made rover to leave peg and penult against the opponent's peg and rover. He then missed the short return roquet to leave his ball in baulk giving away a lift. Don't worry, there's worse to come.
George lost to Graham Brightwell, who played slowly but surely. Bryan Harral (Wrest Park's Player of the Year, no question) lightened the gloom, as ever, by beating Andy Dibben comfortably. As lunch wasn't going to be ready for some time the doubles players were urged to start their singles there and then, as the manager was concerned about the rain forecast for later in the day.
John B's singles against John C began with both players missing the tice and JC shooting back from corner 2 and missing in or near corner 1. JB then rushed partner close to it and looked at the three balls in a row for an age wondering how to manufacture a rush to hoop 1 (no cannons possible). He then either failed to do something he ought to have done or did something he ought not to have done (no, I don't remember which, or what) and, with turn ended, stood idly by as JC went round to 4-back as if on speed. Later JB played a long take-off back to partner and went into lunch with the knowledge that JC had a double that he would inevitably hit. Morale and appetite were at low ebb.
Lunch was enlivened by one of those moments when you have to hold your emotions in check for just a second - one of the plastic chairs split asunder dumping its mature male occupant on the floor. He rose quickly and we could all laugh. Maybe it was that, maybe it was the glass (one, mind) of wine. Anyway, JB dug in on the lawn if not at the table and was first to finish. John Wheeler did the same against Sam, who was dangerous but when she stuck in 4-back, fatally fallible.
George was given the best Incentive when his opponent stuck in hoop 1 off partner when George was laid up, and he took full advantage, going to 4-back and peg in successive breaks. After a brief hiatus he pegged out to clinch the match, and Bryan iced the cake with a +22 win against Andy. Unfortunately, The CA had neglected to bring the trophy so a presentation was not possible.