An international field assembled at Southwick for the last Ascot qualifying event of this season. It included three Swedes and one Norwegian in the field of eighteen. Manager Bill Arliss ran the initial stage of the event as two all-play-all blocks of nine, with each game being a single 13-point. Although time limits had to be used to maintain the program, they were fairly liberal and only one game did not reach 7 points. Block B managed to complete all their games by around 5.30 pm but block A with some slightly slower players, completed all games just before 7.00 pm. The reason for trying to complete the blocks on Saturday was to allow eight players to move forward to the knockout stage on the Sunday but in addition to allow sufficient time for a five round fixed Swiss for all those not making the knockout.
After the block games we had four qualifiers from block A. Jonatan Andersson and David Crawford on 7 wins with Peter Balchin on 6 and Goran Norberg on 4. Block B was lead by Martin French with a 100% record of 8 wins with Simon Carlsson on 6 wins, Stella Russell on 5 and John Moore on 4.
For the knockout stage we switched to best of three with no time limits. In the semi final stage two of our Swedish visitor met with Simon Carlson clinching victory over Jonatan Andersson by 7-5 in the third game. Martin French had a slightly easier path to the final with two two straight wins over Goran Nurberg and David Crawford.
Martin started the final well with a 7-3 victory in the first game but Simon came back very strongly. and in Martin's words, hitting everything from everywhere and won 7-2. The final was much closer and level at 5-5 but Martin managed to win the last two points after a lengthy struggle and claim victory.
As we had sufficient time and had planned in advance a straight Swiss for the players not in the knockout, all played in this part and completed all rounds. Steinar Olsen emerged the outright winner with 5 wins from 5 games. From our experience at this event, one would suggest that more thought should be given in similar events to making the plate a much more formal arrangement as regrettably it so often turns in to a non event as players drift away gradually throughout the day.
Although the weather forecast for the weekend was rather horrific, we were lucky and only had about three very short sharp showers with quite a number of sunny periods on the Saturday. However with the previous rain, the ground was rather soft and it was not easy to get firm and difficult hoops.
With Gatwick being relatively close to Southwick and the cheap flights now available, it makes it financially viable for some of our European friends to enter weekend events. It is probably no more expensive than travel from the north of England This is the second year we have had Swedish visitors and they are very welcome.
A final big welcome back to John Moore, John was a leading player in the English team around 2000 but has had a severe illness and a transplant. Not quite back to the old form yet but improving all the time.