Nailsea B Class Advanced Tournament 8/9 July 2017
Winner: Andrew Wise
After various dropouts and late additions, we had the full complement of 16 players - perfect for four lawns and with 11 different clubs represented. The handicaps ranged from 1 to 4.5 but the four Blocks were seeded on the basis of dynamic grades as these are less volatile, being almost continuous, and also based entirely on Advanced Play. The dynamic grades ranged from 1744 to 1428.
The conditions were challenging from the start and got worse. The lawns were green but sufficiently fast (about 12 Plummers) that most of the players found if quite difficult to get in front of the hoops. However, the firm hoops, although accurately set to a 1/16, were the main problem for most. There was frustration and disbelief as balls bounced back time after time. As the temperature soared towards 30C, the ground dried out even more, the lawns speeded up and the hoops became increasingly unfriendly. While the players at the Opens were sextupling their way round Hurlingham, the Nailsea tournament was somewhat different with peg-outs fairly infrequent. Some players found the right technique and ran the hoops effortlessly but the majority struggled.
The star of the Blocks was Nathan Baker from Fylde (handicap 4 and dg 1548) who won all three matches with two peg-outs. He succumbed, -22, to Andrew Wise (Bristol, handicap 1 and dg 1687) in the semi-final but must be very pleased with his calm performance. The other Block winners, all with two wins, were Andrew Dutton (Woking, 1, 1733), John Wells (Cheltenham, 4, 1487) and Andrew Wise. John Wells played Andrew Dutton in the other semi-final which was slow and low-scoring, John winning +4T. In the Final, Andrew Wise, showed his experience and skill and put enough breaks together to win the match and take the Margaret Fleming Shield.
The runners up in the Blocks were Adam Moliver (Cheltenham, 2.5, 1595), Paul Castell (West Sussex, 1.5, 1686), Sarah Melvin (Dyffryn, 1, 1744) and Peter Nelson (Sidmouth, 5, 1516). In the semi-finals for their consolation event, Peter beat Sarah and Adam beat Paul. Adam then beat Peter in the final to win a bottle of Merlot.
The prize for the fastest win went to Chris O'Byrne (Reigate Priory, 3.5, 1428) with a time of 1h 53min. Frances Ransom (Bristol, 4.5, 1437) caused the biggest upset by taking 16 index points from Paul Castell although Erica Malaiperuman, John Wells and Nathan Baker were close behind taking 15 and 14 points in single matches
The manager thanked the players for their fortitude in the heat and unfamiliar conditions. There was a good spirit throughout and many players expressed appreciation of the opportunity to learn how to run firmer hoops than they usually experience. Others might have preferred to be able to play their usual game! The manager also thanked the Nailsea members who had worked hard to make the tournament a success - lawn maintenance, hoop setting and catering had all been done with the usual Nailsea dedication and hospitality.