2018 Inter-club Tournaments
This is a team tournament for the seven clubs within the Herts-Beds area, St Albans, Watford, Letchworth, Wrest Park, Enfield, Meldreth and Northampton. Matches are played on handicap, a combination of singles and doubles, between teams of three or four players depending on whether the match is being played at a club with one or more lawns.
27th April 2018 beat Meldreth 3 - 1
We started the season with a win in our first Beds & Herts league match of the season, played on a very wet Meldreth lawn. In the morning singles match Heather quickly got into her stride making a sizeable early break to establish a lead which was never seriously threatened by her opponent. Chris and Roger started more slowly with Chris in particular having travails at hoop 1. However, we managed to establish a lead half-way through the match, and although a comeback from our opponents was always possible it didn't materialise. Both afternoon matches were close affairs in increasingly wet conditions. Roger established an early advantage, but his experienced opponent eventually caught and overtook him. Chris and Heather were ahead for most of their match, but good use of the final half bisque left us in trouble right at the end. Our opponents needed to make two hoops to tie the match on their final turn but fortunately for us only made one. A couple of hoops in our final turn made the score look more conclusive than was truly the case.
Heather Bennett (3.5) beat Keith Harker (7) +13
Roger Bowman (14) & Chis Frost (4.5) beat Robert Skeen (6) & Keith Holgate (14) 22 - 13
Roger lost to Robert 22 - 17
Heather & Chris beat Keith Harker & Chris Randall (14) 20 - 17
7th May 2018 lost to Enfield 1-5
We lost our second match in the League although the margin of victory rather flattered our opponents as we lost out in a succession of very close matches. Although the day was very hot and sunny the lawns at Enfield were incredibly slow with the grass seemingly not having been cut in the recent past. Even hitting the ball across the lawn was a challenge and corner-to-corner shots were impossible, necessitating adopting some rather non-standard tactics. Stephen and Stuart made their debuts in the match and both acquitted themselves well.
Stuart and Heather were ahead for the majority of their doubles match but just lost out in the final stages following a burst from their opponents. Stephen and Chris were behind but closed to 23-20 with 15 minutes remaining (aided by Stephen's first ever peel and some nice breaks) but a long hit-in by our opponents stalled our come-back. The pattern of narrow St Albans defeats continued in the afternoon with Heather losing by only 3 hoops and Stuart by only 1. Stephen was always in contention against a strong opponent but lost out in the end, while Chris managed a comfortable win against an out of form opponent.
Heather Bennett (3.5) and Stuart Stafford (18) lost to David Frost (4) and John Street (8) 22-20
Chris Frost (4.5) and Stephen Mills (18) lost to Ken Picket (3.5) and Brian Dawes (18) +6
Heather lost to Ken +3
Chris beat David +13
Stephen lost to John +8
Stuart lost to Brian 23-22
15th June 2018 beat Watford 3-1
After starting the season with two away matches we played our first home Beds & Herts match of the season against a strong Watford team.
In the morning singles match Chris picked up a four ball break early on, but poor hoop running forced him to use two bisques to take this to three back. His opponent hit in repeatedly and closed Chris's lead but then left a dangerous long double target which Chris hit, setting up a second four ball break which Chris took to four back. His opponent closed to within four hoops but stuck in a hoop allowing Chris to close out the match. The doubles match was very close with Roger making two late hoops to close the scores but narrowly missing the third which would have given us the match. Our opponents made no mistake with the chance that they were left, winning with the overtime golden hoop.
In the afternoon Chris and Roger made steady progress, using their ten bisques well against opponents with an average handicap of 1/2. Our opponents had chances but found the approaches to hoops one and two tricky. Chris ran rover but with one bisque standing only had to hit a short roquet to set up an easy peg-out but missed. This allowed our minus handicap opponent to take his ball to peg but time was then up. Heather was behind early on as her opponent used his bisques but eventually won a very tight match plus one on time, giving us victory overall. Heather's win also means that her handicap is cut to 3. Congratulations Heather!
Chris Frost (4.5) beat Geoff Johnson (2) +13
Heather Bennett (3.5) and Roger Bowman (16) lost to Simon Hathrell (-1) and Andre Machell (7) 19-18 (golden hoop)
Heather beat Andre 20-19
Chris and Roger beat Simon and Geoff 24-14
30th June 2018 beat Letchworth 6-0
We won our fourth match away at Letchworth on a very hot day. Jon and Chris fell behind early on in their doubles match but moved ahead once the opponents had used up their bisques, Jon pegging out in the final turn. Heather and Stuart won a tighter match on the other lawn.
In the afternoon Jon won impressively quickly, thus avoiding having to stay out in the sun too long! At the start of his match Chris handed his opponent a four ball break which was taken to four-back, but after that momentum switched and Chris won as his opponent lost confidence in his ability to make mid range roquets. Matches on the other lawn were tighter with Heather missing one chance to peg out and finish the match but making no mistake shortly afterwards. Stuart made two pressure hoops on his last turn, giving his opponent little chance of a response, to seal his win.
Particular congratulations to Stuart, winning both his matches on only his second appearance for St Albans.
Jon Palin (1.5) and Chris Frost (4.5) beat George Woolhouse (2.5) and Martin King (14) +13
Heather Bennett (3) and Stuart Stafford (18) beat Terry Mahoney (1.5) and John Hall (10) 25 - 18
Jon beat Terry +21
Chris beat John +17
Heather beat George +8
Stuart beat Martin 16 - 12
6th August 2018 beat Northampton 3-1
We switched the venue for our "home" match against Northampton to Wrest Park due to the poor state of the Clarence Park lawn.
In the morning singles Geoff played an opponent who had narrowly beaten him in the equivalent match last year. This time around Geoff was four hoops behind early on but used his bisques well and recovered to win well. In the doubles Chris picked up a four ball beak early on, taking this to three back but, not for the first time, the treacherous sloping approach to this hoop put paid to the break. Chris and Heather stayed ahead throughout the match although were very relieved to see the opponents miss a short roquet in their final turn when well placed.
In the afternoon our minus 1.5 opponent found his form and beat Heather well inside the 3.25 hour time limit. In contrast the doubles match seemed to become becalmed for long periods in the heat of the afternoon with no sizeable breaks made throughout the match. Chris and Geoff were behind early on but managed to sneak a narrow low scoring victory in the end.
Geoff Morrison (18) beat Mel Christie (18) 13-4
Heather Bennet (2.5) and Chris Frost (4.5) beat Lionel Tibble (-1.5) and Mike Hills (2) 17-15
Heather lost to Lionel -18
Chris and Geoff beat Mike and Mel 10-8
20th August 2018 beat Wrest Park 5 - 1
We won our final match in the Herts Beds League away at Wrest Park. As with our previous home match we decided to give away home advantage due to the poor state of the lawn at Clarence Park.
Heather and Stuart fell behind when their higher handicap opponent took a four ball break nearly all the way round at the start of the match. They recovered somewhat but ended up losing a tight match. Chris and Stephen struggled to hit in early on, but Chris used a bisque to set up a four ball break and from then on they were always ahead, Stephen capitalising on an opposition mistake to make four hoops without a bisque just at the point where the opponents seemed to be gaining momentum.
In the afternoon Heather had an impressive win against a minus handicap opponent, finishing almost at the same time as Stephen who used his bisques well to keep a four ball break going. Chris capitalised on a mistake by his opponent, making a nine hoop break to establish an early lead which proved decisive, his win cutting his handicap to 4. Stuart completed a clean sweep of the singles matches with a comfortable win.
Particular congratulations to Stephen, winning both his matches on only his second appearance for St Albans.
Our win means that we have won the Beds and Herts League this year and progress to the East Anglian play-off with the winners of the Essex and Suffolk League and the Northern League on Sunday September 30th.
Heather Bennett (2.5) and Stuart Stafford (20) lost to Bryan Harrall (-0.5) and Peter Aspinall (11) -8
Chris Frost (4.5) and Stephen Mills (18) beat David Wooley (8) and Geoff Strutt (9) +16
Heather beat Bryan +12
Chris beat David +15
Stephen beat Geoff +15
Stuart beat Peter 17 - 7
30th September 2018 St Albans win East Anglia Area Play-off
We won the East Anglia Area play-off at Wrest Park, winning all six matches in a three way competition against Norwich and Newport.
Heather and Stephen made a fast start in their morning doubles against Norwich with Heather making a break to take her ball to peg from her first chance. Stephen made good progress too and the match was won comfortably with over an hour to spare. The other doubles match, against Newport, was much closer with Chris and Geoff down 16-11 with around an hour remaining. However, Geoff made a series of nice breaks to get us back into contention and we eventually managed to squeeze out a narrow win with just a few minutes left on the clock.
In the afternoon Geoff's good form continued and he was the first to finish his singles match against Norwich with both Heather and Stephen following suit against Newport not long after. Chris's match against Norwich took longer with only three hoops made in the first hour, but then both players made nice breaks to get their front balls round. Both players had chances to make decisive breaks with their back ball and after successive errors Chris was able to convert a chance and finish the match.
Heather Bennett (3.5) and Stephen Mills (16) beat Jonathon Sisson (7) and Neil Chalmers (10) (Norwich) +25
Chris Frost (4) and Geoff Morrison (18) beat Andrew Gregory (2.5) and Roy Darling (20) (Newport) +6
Heather beat Bernard Yallop (10) (Newport) +13
Chris beat John Reddish (4.5) (Norwich) +10
Stephen beat David Haslam (20) (Newport) +13
Geoff beat Sarah Barley (10) (Norwich) +20
Our win qualifies us to play in the Secretary's Shield next season. Congratulations to Heather, Stephen, Geoff and Chris, as well as to Roger, Stuart and Jon, the others who have played for the Club in what has been an extremely successful season.