Robert Fulford won the Wrest Park tournament
17th July 2023 (AC)
Following the cancellation of last year's July tournament due to lack of support it was decided to hold the two-day tournament in midweek. This resulted in 14 entries, with handicaps ranging from -2½ to 4½. The top block consisted of all seven minus players and the other block the five with handicaps above zero. This left Mike Hedge and Alex McIntire (both playing off scratch) and as Alex had the higher ranking he went into the top block, which was very much A class with four players heading for the World Championship.
Manager Eric Audsley was unwell but had drawn up the rounds for all-play-all, so Geoff Strutt kindly offered to take over and the potential seven rounds for the top block were played to three-hour time limits in whichever order worked out best. Robert Fulford won all his six games, beginning with a TP against George Collin. This was followed with three more and topped off with a QP against Alex McIntire. Alain Giraud had five wins with three TPs and an STP and Joel Taylor and Nigel Polhill each had two TPs. But the best performance and the prize for the most index points gained went to Alex McIntyre, who won four games and finished with his first ever TP in his last game, the final moments captured on film by clubmate Mike Hedge.
The lower block were allowed an extra half-hour, which assisted Wrest Park secretary Tim Brewer in getting the better of Mike Hedge +1(t) in his first game, and he won the rest to top the block. Mike won his remaining games to be runner-up, ahead of Richard Peperell and John Bevington with two apiece. No TPs here.
Sunshine and showers had been predicted and so it proved, with the rain holding off until the afternoon on both days but abating before close of play and followed by rainbows. Gill Brewer's catering was warmly praised - one player was so impressed with the flapjacks he asked for the recipe. An attempt to offload our stock of out-of-date beer, cider and wine by offering it for free was partially successful. All in all an enjoyable couple of days, with red kites wheeling overhead, and we hope that the tournament provided a good warm-up for those aiming at the top prize next week.
(Photo) Manager Geoff Strutt presents Robert Fulford with the winner's trophy. Also present (clockwise from left) George Collin, Alain Giraud, Stephen Mills, Tim Brewer, Richard Peperell, Hugh Manson, Alex McIntyre, Rod Ashwell, Mike Hedge, Joel Taylor