David Maugham won the South of England Championship, beating Mark Avery in the final, +26tp +25tp +26tp
A disappointingly small entry this year was further reduced by the withdrawal of two players due to illness. In addition to a field of regulars, Mark Avery returned after a gap of 18 years, together with two new faces, Gabrielle Higgins and Gavin Carter. This is the third time that the "super-advanced" variations have been trialled at this event and most games, even in the Swiss, employed them. With so few players it was possible to play best-of-five matches from round 2 onwards and, miraculously, the final finished just before 1 p.m. on Sunday - a record!
Each of the four seeds won his quarter-final. Marcus experimented with nonuple leaves but had to be content with triples to win; Rutger preferred sextuple attempts achieving five peels but no finish in the first game, and a genuine quintuple in the third. At one point he confused himself, but not his vigilant opponent, and ran hoop 3 without having run hoop 2 first. Although Marcus and Rutger each gave good accounts of themselves in the emi-finals, David Maugham and Mark Avery contested the final. David proved to be in superb form winning in straight games which all followed a similar pattern: David hit in turn 4 and went to 4-back leaving his hoop 1 ball in corner 2, his other ball in corner 3 and the opponents in contact in or near corner 4. Mark took contact from one of David's balls in turn 5, but was unable to make progress, except in game 2 where, hampered after hoop 1, he missed the escape ball. David hit a long shot in each game and finished with a triple to win the championship for the third time. Overall he hit six out of seven long shots.
Both Gabrielle and Gavin came through strongly in the Swiss, a close-fought final game between them deciding the winner. Gabrielle progressed to peg and 4-back before Gavin hit and pegged Gabrielle out. In the ensuing cat and mouse Gabrielle emerged victorious with Gavin on penultimate
Swiss consolation event - for the Sussex Union Cup
Winner: Gabrielle Higgins 6 wins from 9 games (67%)
6/11 (54%) Gavin Carter
3/6 (50%) Martin French
5/11 (45%) Roger Tribe
3/8 (37%) Graham Gale
3/9 (33%) Dave Kibble
1/6 (17%) Roger Wood
1/7 (14%) Louise Bradforth
Peeling prize: David Maugham (9 TPs, 9 games won)