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Nigel Wulcko Wins The Cheltenham GC C-Level Tournament

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by Ivor Brand (manager) at Cheltenham CC
17th July 2023 (GC)

This tournament always attracts a large entry and so it was again this year. Unfortunately, the ideal number of 24 with reserves droped to an even 20. Therefore, the normal 4 blocks would have meant 'byes' being used and players hanging about. So it was decided to have 5 blocks of 4 with the winner of each block and the 3 best runner ups going through to the knockout stage. These 3 positions were only separated by a single point and even then a nearest the peg (NTP) shoot out was needed between Jill Bateman and Joshua Wise to decide who went through. The plan was that each player had 2 strokes to get as near as possible to the peg from either penalty spot taking alternate shots. The winner was the owner of the nearest ball after the 4th turn. Jill put a good first ball in finishing a couple of feet short. Joshua chose to go from the other penalty point and was shorter. Jill played her second ball in but did not want to disturb her first ball and was therefore short. Joshua also chose to stay on his side and decided not to shoot at Jill's nearset ball but to play for position instead. It was looking like he had made the right decision untill disater struck and he ran into his own ball! So, Jill joined Alistaire Broom and Graham Brooksbank in the Knockout. There were 3 undefeated block winners, Andrew Jackson, Robert Strover and Nigel Wulcko followed by Peter Martell and Nigel Balchin. All results are on Croquet scores.

Those that did not qualify for the knockout went into their respective blocks for their final positions. Block X was won by an undefeated Pauline Wilkinson. Block Y was shared by Shelly Hennell and Carol Wadsworth who decided to watch the final instead of playing their last game. While, Sue Custance-Baker won block Z.

All the quarter finals were tight affaires with two games going to the 13th hoop. In the end, it was Nigel W against Andrew J and Robert S against Alistair B in the semi finals, both of which were won impressively 7-3. So, to the final were Nigel and Alistair traded the first 6 hoops to draw level, then Nigel crept ahead and held his lead and nerve to win 7-4.

My memory of this tournament was that despite the occasional brief storm, the competitors all enjoyed the day and will return again (according to their comments) especially the exciting NTP that occurred as lunch time entertainment!

(Photo) The undefeated Nigel Wulcko receiving the 'Barter' trophy at Cheltenham's C level tournament.


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