Entry for the GC Veterans this year at Southwick reached the maximum of 32 but was reduced on the evening before to 31 by a car accident. Luckily no injuries but a rather damaged car.
Some serious thought was given to the format for the event and the choice made was to start with two large American blocks of 15 and 16. This ensured that all players had a well defined game plan for the first two days and of course it meant that everyone had at least 14 different opponents in the first two days with just the occasional bye. This arrangement appeared to be quite popular amongst the majority of the players. It might be considered that large blocks were difficult to manage but in fact it was just the opposite. The players were presented with an order of play list for the 15 rounds and lawns allocated only for the first round but after that it was find your next opponent and a free lawn and get on with it. Of course we could not allow a very negative player to hold the whole schedule to ransom and a strict time limit of 55 minutes was imposed. However only four in all of the 225 block games failed to reach the magic "7". Apart from a little urging from the manager at the end of round eight on Tuesday evening, we easily completed our target of eight rounds on the first day and seven on the second. Congratulations to all the players for their cooperation, it certainly made the Manager's job much easier and also left a full day for the knockout section.
After completion of the block stages, each block was ranked on results and whilst there were many cases of equal numbers of wins, use of the procedure in the tournament regulations produced a definite listing without having to refer to net points. Players were then split into new groups of eight with the top four from each block joining the championship group. In block A, the top 4 came from the top 5 pre tournament rankings in that block led by Don Beck with 13 wins followed by David Wise (from Down Under), Colin Britt and David Hopkins all with 11 wins. Block B was not so well defined by the rankings with two of the top four coming from the centre of the pre tournament rankings. Top of the group was Liz Farrow with 11 wins followed by Roger Sutton also with 11 wins, Roger Goldring on 10 wins and Dick Strover on 9.
The format for the knockout was a simple eight player knockout with losers scheduled to play losers giving a final three rounds for all players. It was only in the championship group that best of three 13 point games were mandatory in all the main rounds and single 19 point games were used in most of the other groups, especially in the first rounds. However players were given the option of choosing in the lower groups.
In the championship group, the two block winners did not I am afraid reach the next round as the Over 75 Club had a 'field day'. Dick Strover, two times winner of this event managed a two straight victory over Don Beck whilst David Hopkins, also 75+, took three games to overcome Liz Farrow. The other two semi finalist were Colin Brit and David Wise. Dick Strover continued his winning ways with another two straight win over Colin Brit whilst "Hoppy" again took three games but this time losing out to David Wise.
In the final Dick Strover took the first game 7-3 but David came back with a 7-4 win. To gives us all a grandstand finish, they took the final game to hoop 13 with eventual victory to our visitor from Aus, David Wise, also his second win in this competition. (He must like coming over here.) . Chris Sheen. Jon Isaacs and David Gaitley were the winners of groups 2 to 4.