All by themselves in the Preliminary Round of the Secretary's Shield were Ryde and Letchworth, with the honour of playing last year's winners, Ashby in the first round proper. Nick Mounfield lost the toss carried out at the C.A. Office and so the Letchworth team had to have an extended trip to the seaside. Staying overnight in Portsmouth, they were up bright and early on Friday morning and took an early hovercraft from Southsea over to Ryde, where they went straight into the morning session.
On paper, Letchworth were by far the stronger team with a combined handicap of 9.5 to Ryde's 27, but beware bandits! However the visitors' C and D players kept there cool while the more inexperienced opponents squandered their bisques. Fully needing the 3 .5 hour time limit, Ian Mantle (2) pegged out against Richard Harris (12) with five minutes to spare, and Keith Rhodes (7) was comfortably ahead by 4 on time against Chris Cockroft. Meanwhile the doubles was at a crucial stage with a draw on time. With Ryde apparently comfortably laid up with a rush for four back, Letchworth's Duncan Hector hit in from a good distance, albeit not the opponent's ball intended, but giving him and Nick Mounfield the chance to take the winning hoop. Letchworth were three ahead at lunch so it was time to open the bar.
Suitably refreshed with beer (for some) and salad, afternoon play got going at 1.30. Ryde pushed hard to make a recovery, with Roy Tillcock hitting tremendous form and trouncing Nick Mounfield in 1 hour 20 minutes by 26 to 4. This was closely followed by Philip Kennerley taking his second ball right the way round to peg out 10 ahead in a slightly longer time.
Encouraged by this news, Chris Cockroft and Richard Harris were spurred on to play better and although both were hitting in fairly consistently, they were unable to make the required breaks, so Ian and Keith made sure of Letchworth's success with time to spare.
Full Results - Letchworth names first
Doubles Duncan Hector (-1) & Nick Mounfield (1.5)
Beat Phillip Kennerley (1.5) and Roy Tillcock (3.5) +1AT
Ian Mantle (2) beat Richard Harris (12) +7
Keith Rhodes (7) beat Chris Cockroft (10) +4T
Duncan Hector (-1) lost to Phillip Kennerley (1.5) -10
Nick Mounfield (1.5) lost to Roy Tillcock (3.5) -22
Ian Mantle (2) beat Chris Cockroft (10) +10
Keith Rhodes (7) beat Richard Harris (12) +12