A strong field of 21 players – 10 on handicap 3 or 4 and one on 2 – came to Nottingham to compete in our 12th GC B Level Tournament. There were 4 blocks of 6 and the top two from each would progress to a knockout, meaning a total of 8 games for the winner. The day before the tournament and too late to redraw the blocks, three people withdrew, but luckily from different blocks, so one person from three blocks had to sit a round out.
Play got underway at 9:30, the first three rounds finishing with no close games at 12pm for lunch, kindly prepared by Ian Vincent. At this stage, 2 people from three blocks and one person from the other had won 2 games; Andrea Huxley had won three games.
After all of the block games, the top performing player from three blocks hadn't lost a game, and Roger Stroud made the top spot in his block though narrowly losing 6-7 to Gavin Taylor. Second place in three of the blocks won 3 games and Andrea Widdison got through on 2 wins due to Jane Tewson going to hoop 13 in all of her block games but only winning one of them.
All of the Quarter Final encounters went to hoop 12 or 13, Louise Taylor beat husband Gavin 7-6 and Noel Gill also won 7-6, while both Andreas won their matches 7-5. Before the Semi Finals, Louise Taylor announced that she didn't want to go any further in the knockout and gave Andrea Huxley a straight run to the Final. Meanwhile, Noel had another close win, scraping through a very tightly contested match against Andrea Widdison 7-6.
Louise, having dropped out, gave Andrea Widdison an automatic 3rd place. After two very close rounds in the knockout, the Final began just before 7pm, but with plenty of light and spectators remaining. Both players battled for the first hoop, which Andrea eventually ran. Hoop 2 was considerably quicker but despite a great 14-yard clearance by Andrea at hoop 3, a nice jump by Noel and a slightly over hit approach to hoop 4 which trickled through, soon put him into a 3-1 lead. There was some good hitting from both players at the middle hoops but they both went to Noel to put him 4 clear. After this, it seemed as though Andrea had lost something, she managed to force a mistake from her opponent and run an angled hoop 7 to get back to 2-5, and after Noel lost control of a clearance and the hoop at 8, the comeback was on, but Andrea's concentration had been affected and Noel was soon back in. At 2-6 down, Andrea had nothing to lose and played some good clearances at hoop 9, but with his opponent's balls on the south boundary, and his red in the jaw, Noel took the match 7-2. Noel Gill won his first B Level tournament at Nottingham to qualify for the National Final at Camerton & Peasedown in October.
Results on www.croquetscores.com