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Nottingham won the Inter-Club, beating Surbiton 5-2

[<<] [>>] by Stephen Mulliner at Surbiton
2nd October 2005 (AC - Inter-Club)

Keith Aiton & James Death beat Stephen Mulliner & Samir Patel +26tp (D, 4th turn)
Marcus Evans beat Tim Wilkins +17
Richard White lost to Shane Davis -17

Aiton beat Mulliner +26tp
Death beat Patel +2
Evans lost to Davis -23qnp
White beat Wilkins +16

Nottingham were worthy winners of the 2005 Inter-Club Championship held at Surbiton as part of Finals Weekend and in glorious sunshine to boot. It is worth remarking that the match began with what may be a record. Only eight turns were required to get three balls to 4b.

Their Presidential top pair of Aiton and Death made short work of the doubles with Aiton hitting Patel's supershot in turn 2 with a firmish roquet and playing a meticulous 2-ball break to 4b (OK, the rush to 2b was a bit rough and a Bamfordian hoop was required) and leaving one ball 6 inches N of C4 and the other in C2. Mulliner hit the C2 ball but took off short to C4 and missed. Death then hit the C4 ball and, aided by successful 7-yard approaches to hoops 1 and 2, completed the triple.

Mulliner showed that he had learned from the doubles by placing his supershot at least 3 feet further north. However, Aiton hit that as well, took off to hoop 1 nicely but took some wire and missed a 14-yarder at the other ball. Mulliner hit the resulting 4-yarder from B baulk but his rush to hoop 1 left a 5-yard take-off and he fell short and had to retire. Aiton hit and went to 4b with a spread. Mulliner was robbed of his long lift and Aiton completed a standard TP, successfully coping with leaving the C4 ball untouched until after hoop 3. He really has improved!

Shane Davis was another victim of lawn robbery when he missed a tiny return roquet after 6 when trying to chip the peelee a little straighter in what should have been a 5th turn TP. From this calamity, Richard White immediately went to 4b but failed hoop 1 with the second ball and Davis seized his chance to take the penult ball to the peg and leave White a very long shot. The truth was slightly more exciting as Shane had accidentally croqueted an enemy ball into hoop 2 while arranging the leave (with the other about 3-yards north of C1!) in a stroke that gave him a long angled rover which he would never have taken on voluntarily. However, with a wiring lift for White if he did nothing, Shane ran the hoop, hit the 15-yarder at the enemy ball near C1, cleaned up the leave and retired to the E boundary. White missed and Davis gained the first point for Surbiton.

Tim Wilkins' relationship with hoop 2 was sufficiently bad to let Marcus Evans (who had also reached 4b on the third turn) off the hook for some typically coltish play - such as taking on (and missing) the 10-yarder into C4 after Wilkins had missed down the E boundary. Evans explained to the puzzled onlookers that he wasn't that good at delayed TPs. The consensus was that it might pay him to practice them! Tim reached 4b but left a bit of a target for Marcus which was hit and Nottingham gained their third point.

Patel and Death had the best (i.e. most interactive) game of the day as the score line suggests. Both sides had chances but, with Death on 2b and rover, Patel ended up with a 2-ball break from 3-back to win and made all the hoops. Sadly he left himself a 3-yard cut to the peg and the SB chose to climb up partner rather then send it anywhere significantly different from where it had started. This left a 10-yard peg-out which Samir declined on the grounds that it was pointing at C3. He chose to lay up on the E boundary with Death's forward ball in C4 - the gallery favoured the dribble with at least one ball off - and put the big question to the oppo. James lifted the 2b ball and hit the C4 ball to complete the break with one peel and thus secure the fourth point and title for Nottingham.

The other games featured an attempted septuple on the opponent by Evans after Davis failed 6. This survived two peels and three hoops and Shane then wrapped up a 4 out of 4 weekend for him with a quin. In the remaining game, White emerged the winner +16.

Ian Vincent's Report

Having traveled to Southwick the previous day, Surbiton entertained Nottingham for the final of the Inter-Club on a gloriously sunny morning. To allow the dew to evaporate, and reduce the risk of the match finishing before lunch, a nominal start time of 11 am had been agreed. After a knockup, play eventually started at 11:15; the Chicken with Triple Peel stuffing went on ten minutes later.

The doubles took precisely four turns. Samir Patel's turn was flawless, playing Blue to a supershot position south-west of the peg. Keith Aiton hit with Red and took a two-ball break to 4-Back, leaving Blue just north of corner 4 and Red in corner 2 (he'd aimed just south, from 40 yds, but claimed to have got some hill). Stephen Mulliner hit Red in corner 2, took off to Blue and missed into corner 4. James Death hit Black in corner 4 and finished at 11:53.

With barely time for the small, but experienced, gallery to charge their glasses, and undeterred by the previous result, Stephen laid a supershot opening in his singles. Keith again hit, approached and ran hoop 1, but missed a 12-yarder to the North boundary, behind 2. Stephen hit, but failed to get in front of hoop 1. Keith went to 4-B with a spread, Stephen narrowly missed the long lift and Keith finished just before 1pm.

Supershot openings were also employed on the adjacent lawn 1. Marcus Evans went to 4-B on the 3rd turn against Tim Wilkins, and Shane Davis likewise against Richard White. Both lifts were missed, but neither player finished from there, taking a number of turns to eventually win +17.

That left Nottingham needing one further win, to take the title for the first time, with James and Samir still in play. With no roquet made before the fourth turn, and no point scored until the eighth, the spectators seemed to be getting better value, though James embarked on a triple in the eleventh, but failed at 2-Back after finially getting the first peel at the fourth attempt. A few turns later, Samir nearly finished with a two ball break from 3-Back, but eschewed a 12 yard pegout attempt, which, if missed, would have sent a ball into baulk. James hit a lift of the same length to finish and enable all concerned to enjoy the excellent lunch; the cook having provisioned generously for players and spectators alike. Thus refueled, Marcus attempted a septuple on Shane's ball in their reverse singles, failing at 4 having done two peals, leaving Shane to finish the manoeuvre. Richard won the final game more conventionally.


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