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Cheltenham Class Singles Tournament

[<<] [>>] by Michael James at Cheltenham Croquet Club
22 June 2014 (AC)

This was a tournament of five classes, banded by handicap. The top four blocks were Advanced play (though the players in block one decided to play Super Advanced) and block five was Level play. Thirty six players originally entered. Unfortunately however efforts to get four lawns (which were relaid last Autumn) ready for play had to be abandoned on the day before the tournament as the contractors stated that further cutting of the grass to the required height could cause unacceptable damage. This meant that the contest had to be reduced to 30 players (five blocks of six) for the available seven lawns and six local players agreed to stand down. This resulted in 15 matches for each session, so there was a delayed start in each session for one pair (in block 1).

Despite excellent weather throughout a substantial percentage of matches (in all blocks) went close to the 3.25 hour time limit or ended on time. This caused difficulties in fitting in the delayed matches. In block 1 one match in session three had to be pegged down and was not finished until after the end of session five. The players in block 1 decided to complete the tournament in two days (some players had to travel some distance each day to Cheltenham), with three sessions on day two. Four Triple peels were scored in all.

In block one Jaimie Mussi and Richard M Smith made steady progress, winning their first three completed matches, (though the 3rd round match between them had to be pegged down, so that all the fourth round matches could start). In round five Jaimie won again, but Richard lost to Dave Kibble leaving, at this point, Jaimie and Dave on four wins and Richard on three. Hence the pegged down match (with about 1.5 hours to go) effectively became the decider. As time wound down Jaimie built a lead of seven points as dusk fell and the last few minutes were played in minimal light, ending at 10.20pm. Richard failed to hit in after time was called and so Jaimie was the victor in the block with five wins, with Dave securing second place.

On the third day the final game in block two was a battle for minor places as Les Bowker had by this time won his 4 matches and had beaten the only other player (David Mumford), who could draw level with him on wins and did, as Les lost his last match. The other 3 blocks could only be decided after the completion of round five. Block three was won by Amanda Hames-Keward who had four wins, but beat the other player on four wins, Keith Davis. Caroline Denny won block four with five very close results netting four wins, with Brian Havill coming second on three. In block five Denis King ultimately triumphed, with 4 wins, over Angela Martin, who also had four wins, but had lost to Denis.


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