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Tobi Savage won the Roehampton GC Open

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pictureNigel Aspinall presents the trophy to Tobi Savage

by Tim Russell at Roehampton
17 Jun (GC - Tournaments)

The third Roehampton GC Open attracted a strong field for a tournament which was played in squally conditions on the Saturday with play interrupted by torrential downpours and strong winds throughout. With a stimp reading of over 10 the lawns were pretty quick and with Quadways set in advance of next weekends Test match against Spain, conditions were reasonably challenging.

The format followed the Championship series with four blocks of four playing best of three matches on the Saturday followed by a knockout and plate on the Sunday.

Block A saw the top two seeds Reg Bamford and Jonny Claxton progress, but Reg was troubled by Roehampton's Diana Wilson. Fresh from her appearance in the final of the Ladies British Open, she took the second game off Reg with a remarkable display of consistent (mostly long distance) clearing and nerveless hoop running. The third game saw a lapse of concentration at hoop 6 which allowed Reg to build a lead, but he knew he'd been in a tough match.

Block B saw Aston Wade and Tim Russell progress. Aston seemed a little preoccupied in his last match against Dan Pearson (turned out Euan Burridge was texting him) and Dan took a creditable game off him.

Block C saw the biggest upset with top seed Nick Archer beaten by an in form Guy Scurfield who seemed to relish the tricky conditions and won all three of his matches, progressing to the knockout alongside previous winner Chris Roberts who beat an out of sorts Nick 2-0.

Block D also saw a minor upset with Ian Norris's steady positional play getting the better of Dom Aarvold and he progressed along with Tobi who was displaying a much better positional game as well as his usual powerful clearances and firm hoop running.

Sunday saw slightly better and warmer conditions. Reg beat the manager in straight games, after Tim let slip a 5-2 lead in the second game. Tobi had a long two game battle with Chris Roberts with balls flying all over the place, including one that nearly knee-capped the Referee of the Tournament Frances Colman. Ian Norris got the better of Guy who couldn't maintain his Saturday level of play and in the last quarter final Aston beat Jonny in straight games.

The semi finals saw Aston being too strong for Ian. The other semi-final saw a wonderful display of clearing and long hoop running with Reg ruing a missed attempt at the golden hoop in the first game and losing control of the second game early on. Tobi maintained a very high level of play to run out a 7-6, 7-5 winner.

The final saw Tobi dominate Aston and it was encouraging with the Test match in mind that his game was firing on all cylinders. An excellent performance and a worthy winner who was presented with his trophy by Nigel Aspinall.

Tim Russell won the bowl and Nick Archer won the plate on net hoop points scored, with Diana Wilson the unlucky runner-up having chalked up another worthy scalp by beating Nick at the golden hoop.

Many thanks to the Roehampton groundstaff for their usual immaculate presentation of the lawns. With good weather this week, the lawns should get up to a 12 stimp reading for the Test Match and best of luck to Tobi and Aston and the rest of the England team.


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