The weekend of 4th to 7th
December 2009 saw our return to Hemsby for our third annual Christmas
Despite a couple of last minute
dropouts due to illness which are inevitable at this time of
year, we nonetheless had a record turnout for one of our holidays,
with a grand total of 78 pairs competing across the weekend.
With so many people competing
there was only enough time to give everyone 5 games apiece. And
with only room for the top 16 to make it through to the knockout
stages, that meant that the competition was going to be fierce
and in all likelihood no one would be able to afford to drop
more than a couple of points.
The early leaders were Mike Walker & Kay Masters who
got off to a stonking start with a 22 shot win. But behind them
there were 37 other teams, all of whom had come away from their
first games with 2 points.
Best of the rest were Joe
& Irene Woodward who took a very respectable 16 shots
from their first game. They were followed by Doris & Jim
Ball who had 14 shots and behind them were three teams on
13 shots, Keith & Jenny Hull, Peter & Jean
Woods and Jane Evans & Joan Fairs.
Despite their fast start the leaders could not maintain their
perfect record past their first game. So it was all change at
the top as Gary & Rose Jackson charged up all the
way from 21st place to 1st courtesy of a 23-0 win which left
them fully 8 shots better off than their nearest rivals.
That second spot was now held
by Peter & Jean Woods who had 25 shots from their
two wins, as did Jane Evans & Joan Fairs.
Fay & Tony Turner were in 4th with 22 shots while there
were a whole host of teams who were tying for 5th with 21 shots,
they were Patricia Martin & John Hines, Chris &
Linda Seall, Ray & Jenny Collins and David
& Jenny Hambling.
These top teams were part of
the group of those who had not dropped a point, they numbered
a mere 15 now, so already it was confirm that a perfect record
in the round robin games was going to guarantee a spot in the
Time for a change yet again as the curse of the leaders reared
it's ugly head once more in Saturday's final round of games.
After their strong start the
Jacksons had an unexpected loss which reduced them back down
into the gaggle of teams who could at best expect to finish on
8 points. Their consolation was that 8 points was going to be
enough for some teams to make it into the knockout rounds and
at least their first two games had seen to it that they were
at the head of the pack.
Meanwhile Jane Evans &
Joan Fairs were now taking their turn at the top of the standings
as one of the increasingly small group of teams that had not
yet dropped a point. Their tally of 38 shots put them one ahead
of Peter & Jean Woods and 5 ahead of Ray &
Jenny Collins and David & Jennie Hambling, while
5th spot was in the hands of Fay & Tony Turner who
were just 7 shots behind the leaders.
So as we headed into Sunday's
games the task for the 9 teams on 6 points was to drop now more
than 1 point in their remaining 2 games to guarantee a top 16
place. While to 4 teams who had so far accumulated 5 points would
definitely go through with 2 more wins. But any slip-ups and
any of them could easily lose out to the pack of no less than
23 teams who were on 4 points.
So close was the competition that, unusually, no one had done
enough through the first 4 rounds to guarantee qualification
prior to their final game. There were still a handful of teams
that had managed to maintain a perfect record, but with so many
teams still in contention, it was still the case that none of
them could afford too much of a slip.
Having said that, those that
had won four out of four, could get away with a draw in their
final games and know that they were safe. And top most amongst
those was yet another new name as this time around both of the
top 2 teams at the end of the previous round had lost.
David & Jennie Hambling were the new leaders with 8 points
and 47 shots, just a single shot ahead of Ray & Jenny
Collins. The only other teams who had managed to maintain
their 100% records were Fay & Tony Turner, Joan
Arnott & Chris Tilbrook, Pat Chapman & Paul Daniels
and Bernard & Marina Cuthbert.
Two other teams were on 7 points
and were very much in the running and after them there was a
group of 15 teams who had 6 points and who were going to be in
the race for the final qualifying spots.
Going into the final round of games there were a total of 23
teams who all had the potential to finish on at least 8 points.
With that number in the running for just 16 qualifying spots,
it looked as if it was going to need 8 points and a lot of shots.
As it was 8 points alone turned
out to be enough as several teams stumbled, leaving just 16 of
them on 8 points or better.
And for the 5th time in 5 rounds
there were new leaders. Just 5 teams ended up with maximum points,
the first of whom were Ray & Jenny Collins, followed
by Fay & Tony Turner, Joan Arnott & Chris Tilbrook,
Pat Chapman & Paul Daniels and Bernard & Marina
Two more teams were also undefeated,
having dropped just one point, Mike Walker & Kay Masters
and David & Jennie Hambling.
The remaining 9 qualifiers
were the pairs who had dropped just 2 points across the weekend.
David & Jennie Hambling
took a comfortable 11-2 win over Alan & Josie Long
and Mike Walker & Kay Masters were never headed as
they finished 9-3 ahead of Chris & Linda Seall.
Joan Arnott & Chris
Tilbrook finished 7-2
up on Betty & Lewis Claxton and Lin & Tony
Cooke had enough of a lead over Jane Evans & Joan
Fairs to be able to lose the last 2 ends of their match and
still come home 7-5 winners.
Having started well Pat
Chapman & Paul Daniels needed to take the last 2 ends
of their game with Betty Johnson & Patricia Bunch
to come from behind to finish 8-5 winners, while it was a similar
story for Angela Newling & Margaret Clemmet who were
also behind after 5 ends of their game against Bernard &
Marina Cuthbert, but came through to win 5-6.
The remaining 2 games were
even closer, both of them requiring extra ends to settle the
ties. Fay & Tony Turner looked to be out of it at
7-2 down with 1 end to go against Ray & Margaret Soames,
but took a remarkable 5 shots on the last end to draw level,
only for Ray & Margaret to eventually hold their nerve to
take the extra end and win 8-7.
The game between Ray &
Jenny Collins, the top qualifiers, and David & Julie
Hurr, the final qualifiers, was even closer as the lead went
back and forth between the two of them. The Collins' were the
ones who had to win the last end to keep the game alive, but
yet again it was the team who were ahead after 6 ends that finished
ahead after 8, as the Hurrs won 6-5.
Joan Arnott & Chris Tilbrook
were ahead of Mike Walker & Kay Masters from the first,
not that they were ever very far ahead, but it was enough and
they went on to win 7-5.
David & Jennie Hambling were 4-0 up against Ray & Margaret
Soames after 1 end and 6-0 up after 2. That was as much of
a lead as they ever got, but they were never headed and won 8-4.
David & Julie Hurr were 4-0 down to Lin & Tony
Cooke after a couple of ends, but pulled it back to 4-3 after
5 ends, only for the Cookes to take the last 2 ends and finish
The game between Pat Chapman
& Paul Daniels and Angela Newling & Magaret Clemmett
was close through the first 3 ends, at 2-2, but Pat & Paul
edged out to a 7-2 lead with one end to go before nearly losing
the game as Angela & Margaret took 4 shots on the last end
to just lose out 7-6.
The pivotal end in the game between David & Jennie Hambling
and Joan Arnott & Chris Tilbrook was the second on
which Joan & Chris took 4 shots. On every one of the other
ends only a single shot was scored, but since they were shared
between the 2 teams, David & Jennie were unable to get closer
than a couple of shots and finally lost 4-6.
Winning the first 3 ends and
taking a 5-0 lead in the process should have been enough for
Pat Chapman & Paul Daniels to see their way through
to the final, but Lin & Tony Cooke had other ideas
as they came back to just 5-4 down and then took 2 on the last
end to win 6-5.
It was another slow start for Lin & Tony Cooke as
they lost the first 3 ends to Joan Arnott & Chris Tilbrook,
to go 6-0 behind. But again they fought back and went into the
last end just 3 shots in arrears, however they could do no better
than 2 shots which meant that Joan & Chris took the win 7-6.
And it was a win which Joan
would certainly not have been expecting at the start of the weekend.
She had only come along for the break and had not been intending
to play, but had kindly volunteered to fill in for one of the
players who had been unable to make it there at the last moment.
Chris in particular was thankful that she was able to carry him
through the weekend to his first win that he can recall in many
a long year.
All that remains to say is of course to once again thank everyone
for their support in making this our biggest event yet and in
particular for helping to set another record for one of our events
by raising £350
in aid of MacMillan Cancer Support and especially those who donated prizes and
who gave up their time to help sell tickets.