Congratulations to Stony Stratford who have won this year’s GC Handicap League for the second year running. Stony beat Enfield (E) on hoop difference after the match was a 9-9 draw at full time.
The lovely, lush lawns of Newport were a lovely setting for this year’s final and the dire weather that had been forecast thankfully failed to materialise – it was fairly cold and overcast but two of the hardier players actually worn shorts and quite a few took jackets off to play – so not bad for the beginning of October!
The result indicates a tight match but Enfield were chasing Stony all the way through. The initial doubles games were even at one each and, after that, Stony surged ahead, taking 5 of the 8 games in the first two rounds of singles – lunchtime score 4-6. The lunch break can often bring a dramatic reversal of fortunes but Stony held on to their lead – both teams won 2 of the next 4 games – score 6-8. Enfield captain Peter Brock must have given his team a rousing pep talk before the final round as the next 3 results were all wins for Enfield- score 9-8 – and Enfield were ahead for the first time. The match was on a knife edge with only one result to go!! Neither Pauline Field (Stony captain) nor Mary Grove (Enfield) had taken one of their singles game at this point but, in the end, even with 5 extra turns, a far less experienced Mary was unable to win over a very determined Pauline. And so the match was a draw at 9-9.
It had been decided before start of play that, in the event of a draw, hoops would be a deciding factor and there was much tension as Handicap League Manager, Tracy Martin, and Newport’s Ernie Turkington counted, checked and re- checked the hoops tally.
Final count 100 – 93 and Stony had done it again!!
Stony Stratford team: Pauline Field (7), Alfred Sawbridge (8), Liz Bulbeck (8) and Robert Chipperfield (8)
Enfield (E): Peter Brock (4), Dave Hill (5), Alan Bateman (8) and Mary Grove (12)
Report by Tracy Martin