The Championship of Cheltenham was won by Lionel Tibble. This qualifier for the Ascot Cup continues to be popular and again was played out with a capacity entry of thirty two, in four blocks of eight. We were pleased to welcome four players already qualified for the upcoming World Championship, and six more who have been selected for the qualifier tournament.
As usual, the games were played with no time time limit. Being a player manager it is difficult to keep track of game progress and I am grateful for Tim King, who was the Tournament Referee, stepping in to peg down the game between Jayne Stevens and Richard Raby after two hours with the score at five-five.
With seven games, no time limit on Saturday and three best-of-three rounds on Sunday, there were no playoffs planned. However, as a 'Championship' a player should not be eliminated from the final knockout with only one loss. Since in an eight player block, it is possible for three to lead the block and be tied on six wins, as a contingency (and only in those circumstances) would there be a play off. In one block, I had an outright winner and four on four wins. No play off was necessary. However, the game that was pegged down was critical, and had to be played out to a small but dedicated audience. If Jayne won then she qualified; if not Peter Balchin would go through. It was past seven o'clock when the pegged down game was restarted. Hoop eleven took over twenty minutes to play but then the game was won in a further five minutes.
Progress to the knock out was, in the most part, in line with expectations. The top four ranked players, with three others from the top half of the draw. Roger Goldring was the eighth player in the quarter finals. These started at nine o'clock, single banked on the four front lawns. The eight person plate and consolation blocks started at nine thirty.
The quarter finals ended at just before lunch at twelve thirty and the semi finals started at around one o'clock. The weather deteriorated as the weekend progressed. Saturday was fine and sunny. Sunday was miserable with showers. This slowed the lawns but also made them slippery.
The final between Lionel Tibble and Mark Suter was a speedy affair. Lionel won 7-3, 7-4, in time for tea at four thirty. Euan Burridge had a clean sweep to win all the games in the plate.
The lawns were flat and even paced. The hoops were firm and (for me) challenging, but (for me) hoops always are a challenge!
My thanks to Annie Kasparian and Dawn Bentley as my scorers, and Jenny Clarke who did good work on CroquetScores.