Richard Thompson reports from Cheltenham-
Decided on the Golden Hoop, of the third game of the seventh match.
Despite Cheltenham's Home and Handicap advantage, there was nothing to pick between these two teams, where a Draw would have been a much fairer outcome.
The pattern was established by the opening Doubles with Hamptworth's Richard Dickson (1) and Richard Smith (2) trouncing Forbes (zero) and Thompson (zero), in the first game. The next two games continued to have Hamptworth's pair in control, and none of the four can explain how Cheltenham, ended victorious. On neighbouring lawns, the Opening Singles were shared and the players then enjoyed a lovely, convivial lunch, prepared by the wonderful Eileen Magee.
Lunch completed, the "top" Singles were then shared with little drama, but the reverse Singles had everything. Perversely, the Winners of each first game lost the next two. Sarah Melvin edged out Tim O'Donnell (4), in a tense Golden Hoop battle, with both players having been in the Jaws, at least once before Sarah held her nerve to squeeze Cheltenham into the next round.
The lawns and all playing conditions were wonderful. The dedication and massive effort of Robin Hayes made such a good match, in sporting spirit, possible. Big thanks: Robin.