B League Final

September 19th 2023

Report below from Sue Duncan who together with Andy Wagstaff braved the weather to support their team.
“The final of the B league was held at Cheltenham Croquet Club on Sunday 17 September. This was against Nailsea, the winner of the north block and Bath as winners of the south block.
Leading up to this date our trusty team of 3 was depleted by 2, Andy by gaining a new lower handicap making him no longer eligible to play and Sue through injury. However we still had our captain, Tony Jackson, who was sufficiently persuasive to pull together a whole new team and welcome Mike Henebury and Gary Thomas to fill the vacancies. For Gary this was a trial by fire as it was his first federation match.
There was also the weather forecast of thunderstorms and heavy rain, thankfully it was just the rain but everyone did get exceedingly wet.
On arrival we found the white lines were barely visible with no corner flags, making boundary shots more a matter of guesswork than accuracy, and the allocated match referee was Brian Wilson, a GC referee not an AC referee, who also presented the trophy at the end of the day.
Fortunately, the morning remained dry and Gary tackled the singles game which was fairly level to start with before Nailsea crept ahead one or two hoops at a time finishing the game at 6-16.
Tony and Mike watched their opponents burn though all their bisques very quickly and at that point were just 3-1 down with all their bisques remaining. Play continued but a sudden bust of 7 consecutive hoops by Nailsea left us with no bisques and a deficit of 3-10, leading up to a final score of 7-14.
Lunch was a very quick interlude trying to beat the weather, but 30 minutes into the 3 singles games the rain started and pretty much carried on for the rest of the afternoon.
Twenty minutes before the three matches were due to end, we were looking at a 0-5 defeat, but all our team found some inspiration. Gary fought back to 13 -15, only being defeated by time. Mike pulled out the stops and crept back to 11-11 when time ran out but then went on to clinch the golden hoop emerging the winner at 12-11. Tony was one hoop down when time went but was still on the lawn and with an amazing display of commitment worked his way back to 2 hoops ahead. His opponent came back on the lawn for his last run, getting one hoop and looking certain for the next one when his luck ran out and it was game to us.
While we didn’t win overall, for Tony with a new team for the final game, there was much to be proud of.”