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Nigel Matthews wins Bury GC A-level (0 plus) National Qualifier

[<<] [>>] by David Cornes at Bury
17th May 2023 (GC)

13 players from far and wide came to Bury to find the lawns in excellent condition under very sunny skies.

The first day saw 7 rounds in the pre-drawn swiss block. Nigel Matthews (Bowdon) won 6 of his 7 matches to top the block. Martyn Seal (Llanfairfechan) and Richard Leach (Bury) won 66% of games to qualify along with John Gilmartin (Bury), Glynis Davies (Northampton) & David Barrett (Bury). This left 4 players with 3 wins out of 7 (43%) to fill the final two knockout places. Based on net hoops Mark Buckley (Leicester) and Edwin Bone (Eynsham) went through.

Sunday morning brought the news that John Gilmartin had to withdraw from the knockout stage due to injuries sustained playing the day before. This presented the tournament manager a challenge which he overcame by promoting Alison Murray (Northampton) from the Plate over Sandra Cornes (Crake Valley) - both Alison and Sandra had identical "net hoops scored" on Saturday but Alison had achieved more "actual hoops scored".

So to the quarter-finals, all one 19-hoops affairs. Alison played superbly well and nearly caused a major upset, only to lose to Nigel 8-10. Glynis was taken to the 19th hoop by David. Richard and Martyn overcame Mark and Edwin, respectively, 10-6.

In the best of 3 semi finals Nigel and Glynis were closely matched with Nigel coming out 7-6, 7-5. In the other semi, Martyn raced into a 1 game lead thrashing Richard 7-2. Richard showed all his dogged determination in coming back to win the next 2 games 7-5, 7-5.

The final was an entertaining and interesting match. Nigel was always in control of game 1 to win 7-4. Richard, then relaxed and played fluently to win the second 7-2. The final game went to the 12th where Nigel managed to "jaws" his ball, Richard attempted the jump but was unsuccessful. Nigel winning the decider 7-5 to take the trophy in his first GC tournament.

In the 3rd and 4th place play-off Martyn Seal beat Glynis 7-6. In the Shield (5th to 8th) Mark Buckley won all three games to claim the title. In the Plate, Sandra Cornes played really solid croquet to win all 6 games to take the prize.

Final Result - 1st - Nigel Matthews (10 points), 2nd - Richard Leach (6pts), 3rd - Martyn Seal (4pts) and 4th - Glynis Davies (2pts).


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