Late entrant snatches victory
Jayne Taylor of Chester ( who only entered to cover the absence through illness of another competitor) took the North West Federation AC short lawn Millennium title at the annual tournament hosted by Chester on Saturday, 12 May. But it was no easy ride!
Eight experienced players ( two each from Fylde, Chester and Bowdon and one each from Bury and Southport ) assembled on Chester’s verdant lawns on a cool but sunny day. As is normal with a Swiss format the two morning rounds spread the field. By lunchtime last year’s winner, Sally Slater of Chester, and Fylde’s low handicapper, Liz Wilson, found themselves at the bottom of the pack ( ” Past performance is no indicator of future success ” as the financial pundits tell us) while Jayne and Barbara Young of Bury registered two wins apiece to lead the field.
An excellent lunch provided by Pat Clare and her team led to some changes in fortunes. Barbara lost both of her afternoon games to go down the field while Sally registered two victories ( but was too far back to make an impact). Peter Wilson and Sylvia Steer played themselves into contention with narrow wins over Margaret Moss and Gail Moors respectively while Jayne extended her lead with a further win. The final key matches had the manager on tenterhooks. A win for Jayne would make life easy for him whilst a victory for Peter would lead to a three way tie with the manager frantically brushing up his tie break knowledge.
The match between Jayne and Peter was full of tension. Peter’s low handicap meant he had to make two mandatory peels and although Jayne had 6 bisques she knew that that the slightest slip would let the Fylde sharp shooter into the game. Furthermore it was by no means clear what was the best way to defend against the compulsory peels. Two thirds through the game Jane had a moderate lead but only one bisque left. Peter then carefully left his peelee in the jaws of hoop 3 with his other ball inches behind, threatening not just a peel at hoop 3 but a massive rush to 4 for the second peel. Jayne gritted her teeth and using her last bisque cleared both of Peter’s balls away from hoop 3. After a few more defensive manoeuvres Jayne secured a narrow win to take the title. Alas for Peter there was no consolation as Sylvia logged her second win of the afternoon to take the runner’s up spot.
Jayne took home not just the trophy but a bottle of the “world famous” Chester Sloping Lawn “vintage” wine ( to compensate for her handicap reduction to 5) while Sylvia opted for a Chester Club mug ( and the runner’s up trophy) as a memento. In short an enjoyable day with much excellent croquet played by all.