Edgbaston was the second Club to hold a GC B Class Tournament and has maintained this sequence, with the 13th iteration of the annual Abnalls Trophy being held on 3rd September. Edgbaston was also an enthusiastic founding partner of the National B Class Series, so ably organised by Chris Roberts. Our September date meant a rush for our Qualifier to prepare for the National Final and we felt that there were ample other events in the Series now. We also recognised that the Qualifying events tended to be entered by all the same people, thus depriving slightly lower ranked players of a chance to compete. For these reasons, and with no negativity towards the National Series, we decided to experiment and return the Abnalls Trophy to its original less structured status, outside of the National Series.
Entry was full, though not as much over-subscribed as "Series" years, and we were delighted to welcome many friends of our Club. There was a strong Greek influence, with Manager, Caterer and 8 players from the GC or AC Corfu Tournaments, plus a 9th wishing to go in 2020. The food had a related theme with ample Feta, Haloumi, Olives and the like. Feeling that all Tournaments request Vegetarians to opt out of the standard fare, we reversed the situation by having no meat, though we did include fish, seafood and dairy. This was extremely well-received and no carnivores starved. At the close, Peter led the much-deserved thanks to the "kitchen" of Linda, Rosemary, Sibyl & Trina, whilst also congratulating Paddy on the true excellence of the playing surface.
2018 Champion, Jane Tewson (now with a Handicap that we will keep her out of B Class for 2020) lost the 13th to Richard Skidmore - more of that, to come - in her Block. The other returning Champion (2017), Rob Chatwin, majestically sailed through his Block undefeated. That same Block had three players level on three wins, so a Penalty Shoot Out was contrived, in which Glynis Davies edged out Peter Dennis and Jeff Faulkner for the Semi Final spot.
The two former Champions slugged out a Titanic Semi Final battle with Jane just making the Final again. Richard triumphed over Glynis in the other Semi, leaving a second round re-match as the Final. Richard continued where he had left off and took control to 3:1. Jane's tenacity and the effects of a long drive and gruelling playing day then took over. Jane, whose control of her own ball when clearing was better than all other entrants, then rattled off hoop after hoop to become only the second player ever to retain the Abnalls Trophy.
The atmosphere, playing standard and sportsmanship were of the highest order, with lawns, weather and catering to match. Feedback from 2019 players and previous entrants, plus others with an interest or opinion, will help Edgbaston to decide whether this less rigorous B Class Tournament should be repeated for 2020.