Crake Valley GC Tournaments
Play in progress at Crake Valley (Photo: David Cornes)by David Cornes at Crake Valley
21st June 2023 (GC)
100% success at Crake GC National Qualifiers
Why 100%? 36 entrants from all over England travelled to the most northerly based CA qualifying venue in order to participate in Crake Valley's C, B and A level tournaments (15th to 18th June). The weather was superb, the lawns smooth running with hoops that were challenging but runnable. Many of the players were returning to Crake but some came for their first time, all of them left having enjoyed the facilities, hospitality and friendly yet very competitive play.
On Thursday in the "C Level" Block A, local prospect Paul Galley (Crake Valley) impressively won all 5 games to qualify for the Semi-Finals with Jo-Ann Hughes (Bishop Monkton) finishing second with 4 wins. Block B saw two players each with 4 wins to progress, Sandy Grievson (Chester) and Ian Saunders (Bury). Jo-Ann and Ian won their semi-finals (7-2 & 7-3 respectively).
In the Final (19 point game) Jo-Ann raced into a commanding lead and was 9-3 up after 12 hoops. Ian then staged a tremendous fightback, winning the next 4 hoops to make it 9-7. Jo-Anne dug deep and secured the title on the 17th hoop. Jo-Ann's handicap has reduced to 6 as a result of her success.
On Friday in the "B level" Block A, Tom Grievson (Chester) and Giles Pepperell (Llanfairfechan) won 4 out of 5 games to qualify. In Block B, 2022 winner, Neil Adams (Westmorland) was solid and clinical winning all 5 games with a plus 16 hoop difference. Second place in the Group was between Peter Adams (Guildford) and Frank Sharps (Crake Valley) with Peter edging qualification on Net Hoops. In the Semi-Finals, Tom beat Peter 7-2 and in the other very closely contested game, Neil beat Giles on the "Golden Hoop".
In the Final, both players produced fine play with Neil just winning 10-8 to retain the title. His GC handicap has dropped to 2 as a result of this performance.
Onto the weekend and the "A Level" tournament. There was a late withdrawal and Robert Mumford (Ripon Spa) Handicap 6, kindly agreed to step up a Level, performing well enough that his Index finished intact. In the Blocks Sam Seal (Llanfairfechan) and Charles Sale (Ealing) performed exceptionally well to secure 4 wins each and qualification to the quarter finals. They were joined by top seed of the group, Glynis Davies (Northampton) and Jane Pringle (Auckland)
In Block A, Mark Buckley (Leicester) and Tom Grievson (Chester) were strong to win 4 games each to progress. The remaining two quarter final places were not known until the final game. Going into that round Tony McCann (Croquet Durham) and Giles Pepperell (Llanfairfechan) each had 2 wins. Top seed of this tournament and recent Cheltenham GC Open Championship Winner, Mike Bilton (Gainsborough) had only recorded one win and knew he had to beat Giles in his final game. Drama unfolded with hard fought hoops going both ways. On the deciding hoop Mike used his experience to produce the win needed to qualify on hoop difference. Giles also scrapped through on net hoops.
With the Block top seeds both finishing third it meant for some unpredicted pairings in the Quarter Finals. Jane Pringle beat Mark Buckley (10-8), Mike Bilton beat Charles Sale (10-6), Glynis Davies beat Tom Grievson (10-7) and Giles Pepperell overcame Sam Seal with the same scoreline.
Both Semi Finals went the full distance, best of 3 games, Mike being just too strong in the end against Jane. Glynis was pushed all the way by Giles in a classic (5-7,7-6, 7-6). So the Final saw the top two seeds play each other, although both took an unexpected route to it. Great play followed from both but Glynis prevailed 7-4, 7-5 to take the Trophy (and add to her success at the Crake Ladies Open in September 2022).
Giles took 3rd place and Jane 4th with both players having their handicap reduced to 2 due to their consistent play throughout. In the Plate Alison Murray (Leicester) won 5 out of her 6 games to take the the title and a lovely glass trophy to keep.
The Club thanks all players and spectators for coming to our scenic venue, in the South Lakes and we hope to see you all again soon.