Stephen Mulliner won the East Anglian Championship
Report by Chris Clarke
The East Anglian GC Champs at Colchester became one of 4 "Elite" GC weekends designed to attract a stronger entry this year. The format was changed from single game blocks of 8 to best of 3 blocks of 4 in an attempt to generate more matchplay and replicate formats used in World Championships. The field was suitably strong with three quarter of entrants graded over 2250.
In block A, top seed Harry Fisher lost 6-7, 7-3, 6-7 to Mark Avery and after losing to Rachel Gee in three in round 2 was eliminated. Rachel beat Mark fairly easily to win the block. Ignacio Gross Ariza was fourth, kindly filling in for an injured Dom Nunns.
Stephen Mulliner won block B with 3 wins, continuing his good form from the Spain match and a subsequent demolition of Aston Wade in an Inter-club fixture. Tobi Savage produced a much better standard of play than his performance in Spain, using split standard grip for his positional strokes. Nick Archer took third from Sam Murray.
Block C saw a very strong performance from Jamie Burch, fresh from his heroics in Australia, to win all three matches in straight games. Aston Wade took second very narrowly 7-6 in the decider against Albie Willett who showed plenty of potential that just needs a bit more experience to be able to convert leads. Ian Burridge was fourth.
Richard Bilton won 3 matches in block D with the sort of consistency that eluded him early last season and Euan Burridge was second. Tim Jolliff came third and Tony Butcher fourth.
In the quarter-finals, Tobi beat Rachel in a highly competitive match, Jamie destroyed Euan 7-2, 7-2, Richard pipped Aston 7-6 in the third and Stephen easily beat Mark 7-2, 7-3.
In the semis, Jamie lost his first game of the event 7-2 to Tobi, but recovered to win the next two 7-6, 7-4. Stephen beat Richard in three.
In the final, Stephen produced his best form of the event and Jamie had a couple of patches where his form dipped which was enough to allow Stephen his first win of this event 7-1, 5-7, 7-4.
The Bowl was won by Euan, the Shield by Tony, the Plate by Albie, the Z by Nick and the wooden spoon by Ignacio, meaning about half the field went home with a prize thanks to our generous manager Ian.
The lawns were nice and tighly mown and the Atkins hoop provided sufficient challenge for this early season event. Many thanks to Colchester for providing their facilities not only for this event but also the Elite training day held directly prior to the Championship and to everyone involved in the transportation and setting of the hoops.