In the true sport-reporting jargon, “this was a tournament of 4 halves”: before it started it had to be moved from Sunday & Monday to Saturday & Sunday, which eliminated one member who couldn’t play on the Saturday. Substitutes were found, to play with Tanis and Pam, and two others to make up an even number of pairs. Finally, the overture was completed with another pair when two others had to drop out for health reasons.
Fortunately, everybody turned up for the 1st half on Saturday. There were 12 couples competing, in two blocks of 6; each player in a block playing all the others in ‘Best-of-Nineteen-hoop’ games. On a lovely sunny day, everybody played three games; there being no obvious winners in either block. Come Sunday, and the rain, 2 lawns were sporting puddles and it was raining hard. Contingency plans for an 11 o’clock and a 12 o’clock start had been drawn up, assuming 3 lawns would be playable, but neither was any good because only lawn 3 was playable. So, Plan ‘D’ was drawn up to play 12 games and a Final on Lawn 3, in the hope that the other lawns might become playable if the rain stopped. Plan ‘D’ was to play 2 ‘Best-of-Seven’ games at a time on Lawn 3 lasting 25 minutes each. After the start, the rain stopped and the 3rd half, plan ‘E’ was to play a game on each of Lawns 3 & 2, which avoided any hold-ups due to doubling-up.
Block ‘B’ winners emerged during the play as Peter Dexter and Linda Lang defeated all the other contenders – although not without some strong opposition. Meanwhile the Block ‘A’ struggles went on right to the last game, although the Schofields looked to be certain winners. However, Fiona Russell & Chris Clarke were quietly creeping up and ended the block games with an equal score. Unfortunately for Fiona & Chris, they had lost to the Schofields and so the latter went through to the final.
The 4th half was to play the final as a ‘Best-of-13’ hoops, as the weather was obviously closing in again for more rain. The Peter/Linda team got off to great start, winning 3 of the first 4 hoops. The Schofields came back with another hoop and Paul got a long shot into the jaws of hoop 6, only to be thwarted by Linda playing an ‘Extra Turn’ and Peter following up with a clearance shot and setting up for the hoop. The score was 6-3 to Peter/Linda as they went up to hoop 10. Paul & Elizabeth both got their balls from hoop 9 into a running position, side by side, for hoop10, but a remarkable shot from Peter, at hoop 9, removed both and allowed Linda to get into the jaws as time was called, and to execute the coup de gras during the extension shots.
The trophy and glasses were presented by Ron George, who had organised and refereed the tournament. Before the rain started again, Ron managed to thank everybody for the way they had accepted the conditions and re-organisations. He also congratulated Paul & Elizabeth for getting into the final and Fiona and Chris for their efforts in matching the Schofield’s score. In spite of the weather, and its consequences, everybody enjoyed the weekend and the tea afterwards.
Winners: Linda Lang & Peter Dexter Runners-up: Elizabeth & Paul Schofield
Report by Ron George.