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Barter Cup smiles/shines almost as much as the winner/weather

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pictureThe players gather and get ready to play

by James Death [Admin] at Cheltenham
18th April (GC)

Top seed James Death receives the trophy in the sunshine for the second year running!!!!

Once again, it was decided to put four through from each of the blocks of 8, which would keep 50% of the entry eagerly involved in the main knock out while the other 50% went into the consolation knock out. To avoid 'time issues' the first two rounds of the knock out were a single 19point game, leaving the semi final and final as best of three 13point games. (Which I believe continues to work well) The final was a feast of entertainment with the ever improving young Sam Cuthbert coming through a 3hour epic battle against Nick Archer in his semi-final (2-1) to face James in the final who had dispatched a resilient Colin Britt in 2 games. The unusually large crowd began to grow as Sam took the first game 7-5 and the fan base started to believe that there could be an upset on the cards. Game 2 was tight to the point that the 10th hoop took 20mins due to excellent clearing by both players. The next 2 hoops were exchanged leaving James first up to the 13th, but he stuck it on the back of the hoop (school boy error) advantage Sam as he put a good ball in at a slight angle, followed by the next 2 balls into good running positions. James had no option but to tap across the back of the hoop in the hope it would block Sam's clear run through. The anticipation built as the crowd wondered whether Sam could run through or would be forced to take a jump shot to win? Unfortunately, he chose to run through but caught the near wire and bounced away. The crowd sighed as James neatly jumped his own ball to take the match into a decider. This was too much for the crowd and it quickly evaporated as did Sam's resistance leaving James to do the double winning 7-2. Nick Archer took the creditable 3rd place over Colin Britt.

Meanwhile in the consolation knock out Richard Thompson was steadily working his way through his opposition (just) to the final to face the eventual winner Tim Joliff 10-8. John Taylor secured 3rd place over Stephen Custance-Baker.

Although the weather looks ominous here it turned out to be excellent throughout the weekend and all the blocks set off in anticipation of greatness on the Saturday. I would like to acknowledge and thank everyone who helped to set up the lawns etc especially Cheltenham's groundsman Jim Blenkinsop who can been seen here in Green, as the competitors arrive often oblivious to the efforts that have gone on before to make a perfect weekend of croquet!!! Block A was won by the undefeated top seed James Death, followed by Richard Brand, Neil Fillery and a surprised Neil Humphreys by a net point. Block B was won by Sam Cuthbert who only dropped one game to Ivor Brand who also qualified, with Nick Archer and Timothey Brooker. Block C was won by David Goacher who also only dropped one game to David Kibble who also qualified, followed by John Carrington and Paul Gunn. Block D saw the top seeds go through, but in reverse order, Colin Britt, Martin French, Lionel Tibble and Christopher Roberts. (All results are on Croquet Scores)

My thanks go to all in blocks A&B who kept to time and made it an enjoyable weekend, (blocks C&D I will be reviewing) but especially to my brother for his assistance in keeping the challenging format moving forwards and Debo Albertsen who was happy (?) enough to fill in CS as the weekend progressed. Lastly, Frances Colman who was invaluable as an experienced referee on hand which meant that the other referees could play uninterrupted.


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