Tim King won Wrest Park's inaugural GC A-Level Tournament
The pleasure of playing in delightful surroundings on dry and mainly sunny days attracted a full field of 16 top players from around the country. Handicaps ranged from -3 to 2, with the sole exception of Jane Tewson (5) from Long Eaton Park.
The group was split into two blocks of 8 players, who were set the task of completing 7 games on the first day. In Block A, there was an early win for Mike Hills (Northampton) over Tim King (Ashby), but otherwise Tim's progress to the knockout stage proceeded serenely with a total of 6 wins. However, hoop count was necessary to decide who was to join him as 4 players recorded 4 wins each, with only 3 places available. Making the cut were Chris Sheen (Colchester), Jayne Stevens (Northampton and Wrest Park) and Paul Durkin (Long Eaton Park). Missing out, an unfortunate Mike Hills.
In Block B, Les Heard was pleased to record a rare win over his clubmate from Northampton, Lionel Tibble, but this was the only blemish on Lionel's day as he went on to record 6 wins. Second in his group was John Noble (Letchworth) with 5 wins, but hoop count was necessary to give the two remaining places to Raouf Allim (High Wycombe) and Les Heard, both with 4 wins. Peter Nalchin (Dyffryn and Newport) missed out.
With one exception, the Quarter Finals (best of 3 games) followed the form book with Tim King beating Les Heard (7-5, 7-3), John Noble beating Jayne Stevens (7-5, 7-3) and Lionel Tibble, proving too strong for Paul Durkin (7-6, 7-4). However, Raouf Allim surprised Chris Sheen by his calm and accurate play and won 7-6, 7-5.
Raouf's excellent form continued and he took the first game (7-6) in his semi-final against Lionel, but the latter's greater experience prevailed and he won the remaining games 7-5, 7-2. In the other semi-final, Tim King played some outstanding croquet to beat John Noble 7-3, 7-6.
The Final proved to be a masterclass for those watching, and an interesting clash of styles. Tim's crisp and hard-hitting stroke play produced some remarkable clearances and hoop runs. Lionel was relentless with his approach shots from all corners of the court and he adopted a gentler style of stroke-making. Inevitably, the winner was to be the one who made fewer mistakes and who was quick to capitalise on those made by his opponent. This proved to be Tim King, a worthy winner, by 7-5, 7-5.
The Plate competition was won by Chris Sheen.