Saturday saw a field of 33 teams of mixed pairs take to the green at Finch Hill on what was a cold but generally sunny day. After losing the main sponsor for this competition earlier in the year Pat Maher came forward to sponsor this enjoyable and well supported competition and it is only thanks to him that Finch Hill was able to host the competition.
One of the novel features introduced by Pat was the lottery to give two pairs their entry fee back and this seemed to be very well received.
With 33 entries we only had one preliminary round match which saw Sid Bolton and Paula Firth come through a tough match against Karl Parker and Helen Withers and showed that they would be serious contenders.
The first round proper saw numerous close matches with the home team of Frank Christian and Iris Kermode just losing out to Celia Joughin and Jay Waters while Les Brookes and Pauline Cowley took a single on the final end to beat Sylvia Kennaugh and Terry Bates 21-20. The first upset nearly came in the match involving Debbie and Evan Leece who led all the way up until the last three ends against Fiona Kennish and Steven Waters but thanks to six points from those three ends it was Kennish and Waters who took the match 21-17. This near shock obviously provided a wake up call for the pairing as you will see later. Expected front runners Glynn Hargraves and Elaine Moore were put under pressure right from the start by Derek and Lynda Cadamy who would lead 20-13 after 13 ends but it took another six ends to get them over the line for a 21-20 win. Preliminary round winners Sid Bolton and Paula Firth were pushed hard by Dave Naughton and Tina Hampson but did just enough to come through 21-18.
Last year’s finalists Philippa and Alec Taylor were tested by the home favourites John Harris and Sue Collier who led 16-13 after 12 ends but a four on the next end from the Taylor’s did the damage and they ran out winners 21-17. Our sponsor Pat Maher partnered by Ann Hon easily overcame Michelle and Pauline Cowley 21-12, while the other home team of Hazel and Peter Hughes were no match for Kim Hargraves and Stefan Kelly. A number of other strong pairings made it through this first round easily and will be mentioned later but I must mention the young players who took part and showed that the future is bright for our sport. I have already mentioned the strong showing of Evan Leece, and for the first time at Finch Hill we saw Megan Hargraves take to the green and then Ryan Hargraves partnered by Victoria Johnson easily came through their first round match.
First up in the second round were Fiona Kennish and Steven Waters although it took them five ends to get the final point for a 21-17 win over Wayne Roberts and Joyce Ogden. Les Brookes and Pauline Cowley overcame the strong pairing of Sue Gawne and Brian Kelly 21-17, as did Matthew Keggen and Lyn Bolton over Mark Kelly and Caroline Whitehead. Philippa and Alec Taylor put in a strong performance to beat the home team of Pat Maher and Ann Hon and Sid Bolton and Paula Firth continued their good run with a 21-11 win over Celia Joughin and Jay Waters. The young partnership of Ryan Hargraves and Victoria Johnson were unable to match the consistent scoring of the experienced pairing of Derek and Lynda Cadamy. Chris Price and Dave McCabe had each won this competition with different partners in the past and they easily overcame Shannon McMullan and Lee Dawson. The toughest match of the round saw James Teare and Jenny Moore do just enough to beat Kim Hargraves and Stefan Kelly 21-18.
In the quarter finals Matthew Keggen and Lyn Bolton ended the challenge of Les Brookes and Pauline Cowley 21-13 and Steven Waters and Fiona Kennish started to show their true form as they beat Sid Bolton and Paula Firth 21-12. A slow start from Derek and Lynda Cadamy probably cost them their match against Philippa and Alec Taylor who ran out 21-16 winners. A very even match ensued between the pairings of James Teare and Jenny Moore and Chris Price and Dave McCabe. After 18 ends Price and McCabe led 19-17 only to see Teare and Moore score four points on that final end to take the win.
The semi-finals saw Jenny Moore and James Teare take on Matthew Keggen and Lyn Bolton and it was the former that led from the start and with consistent scoring throughout ran out 21-13 winners. Philippa and Alec Taylor started strongly and ran up a 16-10 lead after 10 ends but were only able to score another three points in the next 10 ends as Steven Waters and Fiona Kennish came from behind to win 21-19.
In the final Jenny Moore and James Teare raced into a 18-12 lead after 11 ends but yet another strong comeback saw Fiona Kennish and Steven Waters reel them in and win 21-19 after 18 ends.
Special thanks go to our generous sponsor Pat Maher , to our ladies for keeping everyone fed and watered throughout the afternoon and to all those stewards, measurers and markers who helped make this such a successful competition