Nigel Polhill wins Tompkinson Shield 2019
Nigel Polhill won the Tompkinson Shield. He is the first player to have won it thrice.
Craig Winfield was fast out of the blocks, with two triples before lunch. He emerged the only unbeaten player on Saturday. Alas for him, the format did not confer him the advantage he might have had under other regimes.
The Manager happened upon the format two years ago, and having had three goes it seems to work with this quantity and quality of field, and with the benign conditions Edgbaston usually affords. Saturday is played as a Flexible Swiss, then anyone with 50% or better qualifies for Sunday's knockout.
With a sparse field of just ten players, it seemed likely that a convenient four would qualify, but that was foiled when I surprisingly beat Nigel. This meant one quarter-final, and a slight quirk of the format meant this was me and Nigel again. This time Nigel prevailed with his third triple of the event.
Meanwhile in the first semi-final, Craig needed to hit a last shot in order narrowly to beat Richard H Smith. Craig then opted to play a Swiss game while the second semi-final took place. The crowd assures me this was the most exciting game of the event, so here goes. Craig's oppo was first to 4-back, than Craig embarked upon a TPO. This failed, leaving Craig's clips on 1 and peg and oppo's on 2 and rover. Oppo made nothing from the contact, and Craig was soon on a finishing turn, which foundered at hoop 4. Oppo took the opportunity to make rover and peg out Craig's ball. I understand some top chaps now go for something called a 3-ball break, but oppo preferred to nurdle his way round with wired rushes and the odd ladies' peel. In truth Craig was given too many shots, but all were long and all were missed. I believe the crowd liked the game because of Craig's increasing frustration!
Despite this result, Craig earned a reduction to -1. Because of this result, I got my first handicap reduction for twenty-something years.
In the second semi-final Cesar Miranda's attempt to win the Shield three years in a row was ended by Nigel. In the final Craig again hit his last shot, but a couple of uncharacteristic errors were too many against Nigel's solid play.
One noteworthy fact: I consider it a nice tournament if everyone wins a game and everyone loses a game. This is my first doubly nice weekend tourney: everyone won two games, everyone lost two.
By Andrew Gregory
QF: Polhill beat Gregory +16tp
SF: Winfield beat R H Smith +5
SF: Polhill beat Miranda +15
Final: Polhill beat Winfield +18