Stephen Mulliner won the Swiss Championship
Eight players contested the 8th Swiss Open Championship at CERN. Four were locals (Danny Davids, Norman Eatough, Ian Sexton and Dave Underhill). The visitors included John Davis, of Yorkshire and Luxembourg (in that order) and a three-time winner, Robert Essler (from Pendle), Stephen Mulliner (a three-time losing finalist) and Andrew Wise (from Bristol).
The first two days were blessed with sun and temperatures in the mid to high 20s. The lawns were on the slow side except for where the sprinklers could not reach and these parts were bare and very quick. A block of eight was completed with the form-horses Stephen, John, Ian and Norman filling the first four places and progressing to the semi-finals. Stephen and John completed their b-o-3 wins by Sunday evening and thereby set the scene for a b-o-5 final on Monday.
Depressingly, Monday dawned to drizzle and an ominous layer of low cloud enveloping the Jura mountains which dominate the view to the north from the lawns. Both finalists shot well and had no problems each reaching 4-b but John, in attempting a DSL, left the peg ball open to Stephen's backward ball from 8 yards. This was duly hit and Stephen finished +17tp and followed that with a brisk +26tp in game 2. Game 3 was played in increasingly heavy rain and, after Stephen had equalised with a ball to 4-b, John's shot down the East boundary was seriously retarded by the now marsh-like condition of one of the bare patches and came to a halt approximately level with hoop 4 and two yards in from the boundary. Thus assisted, Stephen completed his third triple of the final and finally claimed the prize that had eluded him for three years.
The hospitality was as generous as ever. The SFR 120 entry fee covered everything including lunch and the bar and a quite superb BBQ at the Underhill's home in Coppet on the Saturday night. The combination of a weekend's croquet followed by some sightseeing in Geneva and around the lake or walking in the mountains can be highly recommended.