All England Area Final players and Manager (Photo: Peter Wilson)by Peter Wilson at Pendle & Craven
16 players entered this 5-round Swiss tournament representing Bowdon, Southport, Huddersfield, Bury, Pendle, Woodhall Spa and Fylde. At the eleventh hour an injury prevented Ashby from sending a representative and a reserve from Southport was called in.
On Saturday short spells of sunshine broke through the cloudy gloom throughout the day. The lawns, now settling into their third year, played well. Bronze merit awards were achieved by Justin Brightmore from Bury and Francois Garcia from Bowdon. At the end of the third game Mel Foster and Robert Wilkinson had both won three games and so they met on Sunday morning.
Robert beat Mel and won a silver award in the process putting him as the only player on 4/4 however a group of four players were close on his heals with 3/4.
The final round saw several players in contention for the 3 places on offer in the Roehampton Final. The draw threw up a magnificent final round game - David Eckford from Woodhall Spa (the current holder) who got to peg and peg against Robert on 1 and 3. Robert got in and took a ball to peg and made a good leave. David missed and Robert was off again with another all round break and peg out to take the outright tournament win and trophy. Melanie Foster (Southport) and Andrew Webb (Pendle) won their respective games to take the remaining places.
Five players tied for fourth place. The reserve list in tie break order J. Dennis, J Guthrie, S Cooper, F Garcia (All Bowdon) and D Eckford (Woodhall Spa).
During the tournament any player could be drawn against any other player providing they had not already played each other. Bowdon sent 5 representatives and yet, in none of the five rounds, was a Bowdon player matched against another. What are the chances of that?