The nineteenth Charity One-ball Championship, at Winchester on 12th May, was won by Andrew Rutland, the qualifier from the Parsons Green heat, playing off a handicap of 24, having only started playing last year.
22 players gathered at Winchester for the final, after 28 heats had been organised around the country during this very wet Spring. Fittingly the sun shone on the competitors' whites - all to some extent adorned with pink, in recognition of the chosen charity: the Breast Cancer Campaign. £2500 was raised from the 358 players who contested heats and after adding in Gift Aid the charity will benefit by more than £3000.
Handicaps ranged from -1.5 to +24 and for some this was a first ever tournament. Nonetheless we had a brisk start and were able to complete the fourth round of the swiss before lunch. At that point local player Keith Mackenzie-Ross (8) and John Knight (18) of Reigate (contesting his third final), were unbeaten, with eight others on just one loss - including two previous winners, Lionel Tibble (-1.5) and Roger Barnacle (now playing off 6, rather than the 18 of his 2010 victory).
During the afternoon the leaders were played off against one another but Keith retained his unbeaten status up to 7/7. Andrew Rutland, the Parsons Green qualifier emerged as his last rival, on 6/7, while John Knight and Southwick's Robin Wootton (14) - both on 5/7 - fought for 3rd place.
In a thrilling final Keith played very precisely to build a lead but Andrew's five bisques allowed him to claw back the deficit. Andrew's ball was positioned four feet in front of Rover with Keith in front of Penult. Andrew's ball pinged through but what now? His inexperience showed when he stopped behind rover. Now all Keith had to do was run penult hard enough to go beyond Rover and pick him up. He caught a thick wire but still had a shot .... and missed. Andrew trickled up to the peg, Keith missed his last shot from the boundary and it was all over.
Prizes were presented by Michael Goodman, there to support his wife, Pat, who qualified from Dulwich. Michael recalled that the last time he was in Winchester was in the Crown Court. He hastened to add he was not in the dock; he was sitting on the bench, as judge! Engraved goblets were won by Robin Wootton, who was third, and Keith Mackenzie-Ross for his runner-up position. The winner, Andrew Rutland, collected an engraved lead crystal decanter for his magnificent win.