John Andrews won the Colchester Over 50's Midweek Tournament
The popular Colchester over 50's attracted a full house of 16 players and with an unusually strong field for a handicap event played as an Egyptian. Handicaps ranged from 2 to 16 with several towards the lower end and given the hot, dry conditions the courts were very fast. Day 1 saw John Andrews (hcp 11) back to his old self and leading the way with three straight wins. Several players were on two out of three with the season's most improved performer, Nick Steiner (hcp 3), enjoying three out of four, being beaten only by Terry Mahoney (hcp 2). And so to Day 2 with rather overcast conditions. The morning session went much slower and with rain promised it was the waterproofs being looked for. The usual excellent lunch had barely been finished than the heavens opened and with thunder and lightning raging in the background the courts rapildly turned to lakes. Play wad suspended and various alternative activities sought whilst the waters receded. Some were sceptical when the manager (me) forecast how quickly the water would disappear but were relieved when after two and a half hours it was possible to resume play, even if the speed of the courts was now extremely slow. Consequently most folk enjoyed just 2 games that day.
The leader board on the final morning showed the Rev John Andrews still performing well but having been beaten by Dr Nick Steiner was just in second spot, with Nick the outright leader. However, another five contestants had now entered the race with the delightful Georgeen Hemming (hcp 14) and wearing a Chairman's look alike hat, enjoying her generous allocation of bisques and playing some excellent croquet, the youthful Ron Atkinson (hcp 16) was back to something of his former self after ill-health and the Norfolk wonder, Neil Chalmers (hcp 7) performing with poise and no little success. Not to be outdone the Lincolnshire poacher, Mike Bowser (hcp 6), was also no pushover and on the rails with an increasingly strong push it was good to see the man with the stick, Terrey Sparks, as a realistic threat.
So, with two games to go any one of seven could end up with the treasured Franklin Bowl. John Andrews just outplayed Mike Bowser and thereby ended Mike's challenge. Nick Steiner, meanwhile, was being executed by the lady with the hat, Ron Atkinson fell away against Terrey Sparks whilst NeilChlalmers progressed relentlessly with a fine win over Terry Mahoney.
Another fine roast dinner preceded the final round of matches ( and it is rumoured some after dinner snoozes) with the deciding contests featuring Georgeen against Mike Bowser, Neil Chalmers against John Andrews and with Nick Steiner against his bete noire, Terrey Sparks. Terry won that one thereby ending Nick's challenge and with Georgeen thrashing the unlucky Bowser +23 it was down to two - Georgeen and John. As Georgeen reduced her finger nails to ruin and with everything crossed it looked as if the glittering prize was heading her way. John had been outplayed by Neil - desperate for one more win and a lower handicap - but suddenly it all happened. John pegged out Neil and held on to win by 5. The crowd gasped, Georgeen couldn't believe it and the manager breather a sigh of relief that it didn't require the Hemming tie-break to resolve the outcome. Thanks were extended to all the players for the 63 games played in such good spirit and with very few going to time. Not bad for the geriatrics on show!
1 st John Andrews (124 rating points)
2nd Georgeen Hemming (120)
3rd Terrey Sparks (115)