Charles Harding won the Pendle B-Level Tournament
It was a damp, drear morning in Pendle last Saturday, where a dozen players gathered to contest the B Level Tourney. Due to the range of handicaps - from 1 for defending champion Neil Adams, up to 4.5 for Mark Simmerson, Liz and Peter Wilson - there was no C level comp. The competitors were drawn from eight different clubs across the north and also displayed a range of experience, from the wily Steve Skelton and steady Brian Medley to the naivety of Mark and the rapidly improving Jed Smolskas, who prowled the lawns in leonine manner, stalking his prey.
The damp conditions made judging the pace of the lawns tricky, but Charles Harding sailed serenely through the first day, recording three comparatively easy wins from his three matches. Neil also went 3 from 3, but had to dig deep to overcome Anthony Miller in his final game of the day, ultimately pegging out to win +6.
The Sunday dawned bright and sunny. Spring was in the air. Suncream was applied. Swifts screamed and buzzards circled. A cuckoo was heard. Neil carried on where he left off, winning his fourth match against Liz Wilson with ease. Charles likewise brushed aside John Henderson. Now the beauty of the Swiss-Amalfi draw came into its own, setting up a head to head between these two in a winner takes all 'final'. Charles, using his vast experience, coolly took the game 23-16 on time and consequently took the title.
Many thanks to the manager Peter Wilson for running the comp and Ken Jones for being the referee. The food was excellent - thanks Liz - complemented by Roger Staples' magnificent fruit salad with added kick.
Despite the loss in the final match, Neil triggered to 0.5 and Jed's three wins saw him drop to 3.5. Both, I am certain, will go lower and both will figure in the sport for years to come. Meanwhile, all hail Charles, King of Pendle and the new Carolingian age.