A full field of 16 competed in the fourth annual running of the MARE Cup, Guildford and Godalming's round of the national B-level series. Conditions were excellent on a beautifully sunny and warm day, with G&G's lawns playing well - a testament to the amount of work put into lawn maintenance and improvement over the past year.
The handicap range was from 1 to 8, with a fair smattering of 3-handicap players. The only person to win all three morning games in the four all-play-all groups of four, though, was Richard Carline (7).
The first round of the knockout, after lunch, resulted in the semi-final pairings being Richard Carline (7) v Gavin Taylor (3), and Marian Manning (4) v Louise Taylor (3). A husband v wife final seemed a distinct possibility, but the higher bisquers had other ideas, narrowly winning each of the semi-finals by 7-6. The third/fourth place playoff was a 7-5 win for wife over husband.
With most other games finished, there was a significant audience for a very tight and absorbing final. With the score at 3-3, Richard and Marian put on a tremendous fight for hoop 7, with many fine clearances meaning that the hoop was contested for over 15 minutes, before Richard finally took a 4-3 lead. As often seems to happen after a long tussle, the next hoop was scored quite quickly. Richard 5 Marian 3. But Marian wasn't by any means finished. She took the ninth hoop, then the tenth, then the 11th. When she jawsed a ball in hoop 12, we thought it was all over, but Richard scored the hoop with a jump shot that was so clean that observers on west boundary were completely uncertain of the outcome. Had the ball gone through, or past? Through was the answer. 6-6. Then came the killer blow. Marian played a superb approach to hoop 13, leaving the ball in an eminently runnable position. Richard was unable to displace it and Marian ran the hoop cleanly to take the title.
Congratulations to both players on a gripping game!
1st Marian Manning (Colchester)
2nd Richard Carline (Sussex County)
3rd Louise Taylor (Merton)
4th Gavin Taylor (Merton)