Zurich International Life Mixed Doubles
Saturday saw a quality field of 35 teams of mixed pairs take to the green at Finch Hill in excellent playing conditions to compete in the Zurich International mixed doubles competition.
With late entries, a pair being scratched and three preliminary matches it was a slow start for many competitors but once we got into the first round it was clear that there were going to be quite a few front runners spread throughout the draw.
First out of the blocks in the top half of the draw was Alan Moore and Shelley Kennish who raced into the quarter finals only dropping five points in three matches which must surely be a record. Philippa and Alec Taylor were also showing good form as they comfortably made their way into the quarter finals with two victories 21-10 and 21-8. Elaine Moore and Glynn Hargraves had a harder draw as they had to overcome Fiona Kennish and Steve Waters and then James Teare and Jenny Moore to make it into the quarter finals. Sue Gawne and Brian Kelly played well throughout the day but made it into the quarter finals courtesy of wins over Eddie Carlyle and Lil Smith 21-16 and then home favourites Peter and Hazel Hughes 21-15.
In the bottom half of the draw Debbie Leece and Glenn Boland showed good form to make it into the quarter finals with two comfortable wins whilst Wayne Roberts and Joyce Ogden followed them with similar results. Derek Allen and Margaret Tasker eased their way into the quarter finals dropping only seven points in their two matches. Completing the bottom half of the draw was Chris Price and Dave Kelly who had won this event twice in the past three years and they were up against Tina and young Alex Hampson playing in his first competition. What a baptism of fire this was but a great experience also for the youngster and it was great to see Dave chatting to him as they crossed the green together. After the match, which they understandably lost, Alex said he had hoped to win his first match, perhaps not realising the pedigree of their opponents. In their second match Chris and Dave made it into the quarter finals with a 21-11 win over Maureen Payne and Mike Thomas.
In the quarter finals Philippa and Alec Taylor continued their good form with a 21-12 win over Alan Moore and Shelley Kennish. Elaine Moore and Glynn Hargraves had a closer match with Sue Gawne and Brian Kelly and despite leading 19-12 at one point it took them another eight ends to get over the line 21-19. Wayne Roberts and Joyce Ogden overcame Debbie Leece and Glenn Boland 21-16 in a high scoring rapid fire match. Chris Price and Dave Kelly made quick work of Derek Allen and Margaret Tasker taking just 10 ends to win 21-12.
Philippa and Alec Taylor met Elaine Moore and Glynn Hargraves in the semi-final and this produced one of the closest matches of the day. The Taylors got off to a great start with a four on the first end and lead most of the first half but after 15 ends it was 20-20 and all to play for. The final end saw Philippa and Alec take the victory with a two. In the other semi-final Chris Price and Dave Kelly got off to a slow start against Wayne Roberts and Joyce Ogden and after seven ends were 12-9 down but a consistent run of two’s saw them over the line and into the final.
The final was nip and tuck all the way with Philippa and Alec Taylor leading 15-14 at one point but with repeated short ends being played by Chris Price and Dave Kelly and their acceptance of single point ends it was the latter that after eight hours of competition ran out winners for the third time in four years.
The prize presentation was made by Mary Alderson as last year’s winner of the competition on behalf of Finch Hill. Special thanks go to our generous sponsors Zurich International, to our ladies and Frank Christian for keeping everyone fed and watered throughout the afternoon, to John Harris for prepping the green and to all those stewards, measurers and markers who helped make this one of the most successful competitions staged at Finch Hill for many years.