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Blacksheep Yorkshire Open Doubles

[<<] [>>] by Tim King at Ripon Spa Hotel
2009-10-11 (GC - Championships)

Block play

Day 1 was marked by beautiful early autumn weather. Fifteen pairs took their places in three blocks. The competition was tough. Block 1 was the closest fought, although, in Block 2, Derek and Eileen Buxton had a notably victory over Sam Thompson and Freda Vitty. In Block 3, Chris & Ray Mounfield were the only unbeaten pair by the end of the day. The results of the blocks would determine the quarter-finalists (including the two 3rd-place pairs with best results). The final positions were as follows:

Block 1: 1st Tim King & Nick Mounfield (3 wins, beat Strover & Strover), 2nd Jock & Paul Strover (3 wins, +1 net hoop points among top three), 3rd Mike O'Brian & Roy Ware (3 wins, -2 net hoop points among top three)

Block 2: 1st Sam Thompson & Freda Vitty (3 wins, beat Sheen & Sheen), 2nd Caro & Chris Sheen (3 wins), 3rd Vlad Stokmars & Allan Wood (2 wins, beat Buxton & Buxton), 4th Derek & Eileen Buxton (2 wins)

Block 3: 1st Chris & Ray Mounfield (4 wins), 2nd Jane Pringle & Fergus Thompson (3 wins), 3rd Derek & Jacqui Old (2 wins)

Stokmars & Wood took the final place in the quarter finals by have a net hoop score of +4 against that of +2 for Old & Old.

Main knockout results

King & Mounfield

Sheen & Sheen
10-6

Mounfield & Mounfield
7-3, 7-0

Mounfield & Mounfield
5-7, 7-6, 7-6

Sheen & Sheen
Stokmars & Wood

Mounfield & Mounfield
10-9

Mounfield & Mounfield
Thompson & Vitty

O'Brian & Ware
10-4

O'Brian & Ware
7-5, 7-5

O'Brian & Ware
Pringle & Thompson

Strover & Strover
10-9

Strover & Strover

Knockout commentary

The quarter-finals were single-banked, Strover & Strover being the first to win, despite a gallant attempt by Pringle & Thompson to come back from 6-9 down. Fergus made a superb clearance of Paul's accurate first approach to the deciding 19th hoop and this created a battle for the hoop but the Strovers just held their nerve.

Mounfield & Mounfield played steadily but never opened up a proper gap over Wood & Stokmars. The went to hoop 19, with the Mounfields having first approach. Ray then contrived to miss the most simple of hoops but Allan failed to take advantage.

O'Brian & Ware were totally dominant in their match, which left the last quarter-final to finish being between King & Mounfield and Sheen & Sheen. The Sheens started well but then fell behind. With Tim in front of hoop 10, Chris ran the hoop from over 20 yards. This changed the game. The next crucial moment was on hoop 14. King & Mounfield were again in control and looking to come back to 7-7. However, Caro ran the 20-yard hoop on this occasion and the end was swift after this.

In the semi-finals, the Mounfields beat the Sheens to bring to an end the brilliant effort of Caro Sheen in her first competitive croquet. O'Brian & Ware had a tougher time in beating the Strovers but also only took two games.

The final was graced by pleasant sunshine, although the wind gradually picked up and eventually brought a chill to the air. O'Brian & Ware started strongly and eventually won the first game 7-5. However, the Mounfields found some better form and took an early lead in the second game. They then had first approach to hoop 13 but Ray failed three very easy attempts to take the winning point. However, when faced with the opportunity to take advantage, Mike had the misfortune of his ball jumping straight over the top of Chris' ball when attempting a close-range clearance. Unfortunately, this was not an uncommon occurrence for the harder-hitting players.

The deciding third game was tense and also a rare example. O'Brian & Ware started, won hoop 1 and then the two pairs traded hoops all the way through the game. Not least, this was because neither Mike and Roy were able to run the odd hoops by a long distance and take control of the next hoop. The tension, tiredness and coolness of the breeze began to take a toll. Then just as O'Brian & Ware looked in control of hoop 12, Chris produced a superb long, angled hoop shot. Mike then made the classic mistake, hitting his black ball short in his approach to hoop 13. The Mounfields built a strong position, leaving Chris with a short rush to put Ray in front of the hoop. Roy then suffered exactly the same fate as Mike; his ball jumped straight over the top when he tried to clear Chris' ball. She played the rush to perfection and Mike was unable to prevent Ray from running the hoop that meant the Mounfields had successfully defended the title.

The Ripon Spa Hotel was in fine shape and the players enjoyed the usual high quality of hospitality.

5th to 8th place play-off results

King & Mounfield (3 wins), Pringle & Thompson (2 wins), Thompson & Vitty (1 win), Stokmars & Wood

Plate results

Derek & Jacqui Old (5 wins), Derek & Eileen Buxton (4 wins), Tony & Joan Hesp (3 wins, beat Flexman & I'Anson), Ted Flexman & Roger I'Anson (3 wins), John Chatterton & Tony Fisher (2 wins, beat Fisher & Mumby, Brent & Longbottom), Val Fisher & Angela Mumby (2 wins, beat Brent & Longbottom), Gill Brent & Rosemary Longbottom (2 wins)



 

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