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Spencer Ell Cup 2004 report

[<<] [>>] by Chris Williams
7th October 2004 (AC - Championships)

Duncan Hector won the 2004 Spencer Ell Cup beating Chris Williams in a play off after they had both ended on 9 wins out of 14. Chris, who had beaten Duncan in both block games, looked to be going out with a 7th turn tp, when he managed to get cross wired before 5 with one peel of a standard tp done. The game then became quite scrappy in the driving rain, before Duncan triumphed by 9 and at 64 became the oldest winner of the Spencer Ell Cup, beating his own record when he won for the first time in 1992.

At one point on the last but one day it looked as if the event may not be completed when the lawns became unplayable and the final round of the day had to be abandoned. In order to complete the event on the last day, with more heavy rain forecast for the afternoon, it was decided to put two and a half hour time limits on the games. It is believed that this is the first time ever that time limits have had to be imposed in an eight.

There were some dramatic moments the afternoon before the event had even started when David Harrison-Wood had to pull out of the Chairman's Salver. Since Chris Williams, the first reserve, had already left for Southport he could not be contacted until early evening. In the mean time Ian Lines, the second reserve, and clear favourite for the Spencer Ell agreed to transfer to Hunstanton, if Chris decided not to be promoted. In the end Chris decided against promotion and Ian duly took his place in the Chairman's Salver which was not starting for another day. Since it was too late to get a reserve from the Treasurer's Tankard, being played in Surbiton, it was decided to see if one of the local Southport members would be able to fill in to make the event back up to eight. Unfortunately Bob Burnett had a number of engagements and so John Haslam, who had played in the 1994 Spencer Ell agreed to fill in. John got off to a cracking start when he beat Chris Williams in the first game in a game with very few errors and followed up with a few good wins in the early rounds.

The early pace setter in the event was Chris Daniels, who was making his debut in an event. Chris, who could hardly miss a thing, had a 2 game lead after the first round with 6 wins out of 7. However this could not last and Chris only won 1 more game. The only others who led in the event were Chris Williams and Duncan Hector. Duncan managed to have a 100% day every day. He either won every game or lost every game and the days alternated. Luckily for him the fourth day, which was turning out to be a 100% loss day, was shortened and so he was able to catch Chris Williams in the final round.

Going into the final day's 3 rounds, it looked as if Chris Williams, who had a 1 game lead over Chris Daniels and a 2 game lead over Duncan Hector, was at least sure of a play off place. In round 12 David Magee hit a last shot against Chris Williams and followed it up by pegging Chris out. Chris got in, managed to stick in penult and eventually lost. In the mean time Chris Daniels lost to Duncan Hector and was now out of it. In round 13 Chris Williams easily beat Chris Daniels and had one hand on the cup when David Magee had a finishing turn against Duncan Hector. If Duncan lost then Chris would have a 2 game lead with one round to go. David, however managed to break down at three back and Duncan won by 3 on time. In round 14 Chris again had a hand on the cup when he looked to be going out against Dave Mundy. However a three yard miss after rover with only the peg out still left to do turned out to be extremely costly, as at the same time Duncan Hector had an easy win over Dave Nick to force a play off.

The weather over the first two days of the event was superb, however the Atlantic depressions were starting to move in and the wind and driving rain came by day three. Play was a bit slow on the first few days, because the hoops were set extremely tight and firm a number of balls stuck in the afternoons and there was very little likelihood of getting in four rounds on any of the days. Amazingly there was only one tp completed in the event, by Chris Williams against Duncan Hector on the second day. There were numerous attempts, but it was felt that with the very tight hoops that it was an achievement at times to just get a ball round.


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