Mike Hills wins GC A-Level (0+) (National Series) Final
Mike Hills receiving the A Series trophy from Quiller Barrettby Richard Keighley at Wrest Park
27th September 2022 (GC)
Wrest Park hosted the Final of the A-Level Series, the first occasion on which it was contested on a Blocks and Knockout basis rather than by an accumulation of points throughout the season.
Manager, Les Heard welcomed 16 players representing clubs from almost every Federation area on a bright and sunny morning spoilt by a rather chilly wind. In Block A, top seed Stephen Custance-Baker (Taunton Deane) had a rare poor day and it was left to David Frost (Enfield) and Marc Colson (Budleigh Salterton) to lead the group with 5 wins apiece. The two remaining qualifiers were Andrew Loakes (Camerton & Peasedown) and Duncan Brinkley (Unity) with 4 wins each. An unlucky Thomas Halliday (Enfield) also had 4 wins but missed out on countback by a single hoop.
Block B was more straightforward with both Glynis Davies (Northampton) and Ross Bagni (Leighton Linslade) achieving 6 wins each followed by Mike Hills (Northampton) and David Cornes (Crake Valley) with 4 wins each.
Sunday dawned fine with a gentle breeze for the best of three games Quarter-Finals. Glynis beat Duncan and David Cornes beat David Frost in two straight games, but the remaining matches went to 3 closely contested games with Andrew beating Ross and Mike beating Marc.
The Semi-Finals featured an all-Northampton clash between Mike and Glynis with Mike emerging as the winner. David accounted for Andrew in 2 games. The Final produced a treat for spectators as both Mike and David found their best form. David won the first game 7-6 and came back from 2-5 down in the second game before Mike prevailed at the golden hoop. The deciding game was nip and tuck throughout and the golden hoop was inevitable. Mike Hills ran it from a narrow angle to claim the trophy. In the meantime, Stephen Custance-Baker rallied to win the Plate by beating all his 7 opponents.
Quiller Barrett, the CA President soon to stand down after 13 years of great service, kindly presented the trophy and prizes. He thanked the Wrest Park Club, the manager and the members who had helped to stage and cater for the tournament and he congratulated the players for coming from far and wide to take part. Finally, Les Heard appreciated the help of Robert Archer as scorer and Sandra Cornes for logging the scores on croquetscores.com on which all the detailed results can be found.