The 16 players who contested this year's Nottingham GC Championship made up one of the strongest entries an Ascot Cup Qualifier has ever seen and included all 6 of the previous individual winners. With players from both blocks complaining they were in the Block of Death, a few players set about proving it.
After dropping his first game 7-5 to JP Moberly, Euan Burridge went on to win every other game, securing second place in Block A despite being seeded fifth. Meanwhile in Block B, Stephen Leonard found himself playing for the top spot in his final block game having been seeded sixth! In an odd twist of fate, he lost his last game by one hoop too many and qualified in fourth place.
On Sunday the knockout began, and the two halves of the draw progressed at very different rates! In the lower half, Euan and Richard Bilton both continued their success in the blocks by securing two quick wins. In the other half, Stephen Leonard broke JP's unbeaten run in the first game and was only narrowly beaten at Hoop 13 in the third whilst Rachel Gee eventually overpowered Ian Burridge in three. The trend continued into the semis. In Richard and Euan's match, Richard again came out top after two quick games, whilst Rachel eventually won against JP in a match that went the full 39 hoops!
And so, the final was set. Beforehand, some worried that Rachel might be tired from her gruelling matches and others that Richard may have gone cold after his sit out. In the end it was Rachel that won out, continuing her formidable tournament form and putting R.Gee on the trophy for the first time (despite having already won it three times previously!).
Meanwhile, James Death beat Alain Giraud and Stephen to win the Bowl and Stuart M. Smith played solidly to win the Plate.
Full results are at: https://croquetscores.com/2020/gc/nottingham-championship/championship-knockout
Report written by Will Gee