Roehampton GC Open Series
The second Roehampton GC Open was won by Stephen Custance-Baker who followed up his win at the Woking Open this week by beating Chris Roberts 10-5 in the final. Stephen is having a purple patch with excellent positioning, good hoop running and generally good shot selection proving too much for his recent opponents.
The weekend started with four blocks of 4, playing best of three matches. Block A was won by the manager Tim Russell, by the skin of his teeth, having lost to Guy Scurfield 2-1 and losing a first game to an inspired Thomas Halliday 1-7. Guy was runner up having lost to Thomas 2-7, 7-2 4-7. Block B was won by the defending champion Chris Roberts with a clean sweep of matches, with last years beaten finalist, Roehampton's Nick Yates runner up. Block C saw Jonny Claxton win all three matches by 2 games to 1, leaving the remaining three players Ian Norris, Dan Pearson and Diana Wilson with one match each. Diana qualified having dispatched Ian in the first match by 2 games to love, leaving her with a better net games result. Block D saw the eventual winner Stephen Custance-Baker win all three matches for the loss of just one game with Duncan Catterall the runner up.
The quarter finals saw Tim gain revenge for last years semi-final defeat to Nick Yates, winning a very tight match which looked lost in the second game 6-7, 7-6, 7-5. Nick had a chance of a 7-5 win in the second game but went for a clearance which he later regretted. Stephen was too strong for Diana winning 7-2, 7-6 but Diana gave a good account of herself in the second game with some fine clearances. In only her second season she has developed into a fine player with a very consistent swing. Jonny came back from a game down to beat Duncan, 5-7, 7-2, 7-5 and Chris Roberts overcame a blistered Guy Scurfield 7-6, 7-4.
The semi finals were both tight affairs. Tim came back from 5-0 down in the first game to win 7-6 with two promotions after hoop 6 and 8. The second game went to the golden hoop too with Stephen putting in a good first ball three yards from the boundary. Tim put in a similar ball and Stephen a third. Tim then cleared Stephen's first ball from the south boundary pushing Stephen's to the north boundary with his ball blocking Stephen's hoop and clearance. Stephen tried an audacious jump which only just failed and Tim then, perhaps going too hard, missed a straight 6 foot shot for the match. He was suitably punished by Stephen in the third game for missing a straightforward jump at 4, pushing Stephen through, and an easy in off at 9, Stephen winning the decider 7-5. A similarly close match between the two hard hitters of Chris and Jonny saw Chris win 7-4, 5-7, 7-5.
Stephen took control early in the final, foreshortened to a best of 19 due to an impending thunderstorm, winning the first 3 hoops. Good positioning and excellent hoop running by Stephen left Chris chasing the game and Stephen collected a well deserved second trophy of the week.
Paul Gunn won the plate winning 5 out of 5 games having worked out that a smooth stroke at the Ultra hoops at Roehampton works better than a forced or hard stroke.
Many thanks to the Roehampton groundstaff for producing their usual immaculate lawns and to Frances Colman for acting as the main referee and helping with the management of the weekend and to Roehampton's star baker, Diana Wilson, who provided players with excellent cakes.