2019 Inter-club Tournaments
The Longman Cup is a nationwide handicap inter-club tournament for teams of four with handicaps between 3.5 and 20. One doubles and two singles are played in the morning and four singles in the afternoon.
Round 1 v East Dorset (Poole) Won 6-1
We won our match 6 - 1 against East Dorset which puts us through to the last 16 and a match against Bath. The team of Chris, Stephen, Geoff and Stuart travelled to Guildford to play the match. The match was played in glorious sunshine on lawns which were fast with a few bumps and uneven patches and we were able to adapt to the conditions far better than the East Dorset team. Chris and Geoff played the morning doubles and pulled away having been level at 12 - 12 halfway through the match. Stephen managed to peg out in his extra shot at the end of time while Stuart lost a close game as time expired. We took a clean sweep of the afternoon singles, winning them all by decent margins as the East Dorset team struggled to keep the balls on the lawn and resorted to long range shots.
Chris Frost (4) and Geoff Morrison (18) beat John Spiegal (6) and John Freeman (14) 21 - 13
Stephen Mills beat John Pollard (4.5) 26 - 7
Stuart Stafford (18) lost to Alan Jones (8) 16 - 12
Chris Frost beat John Pollard 26 - 7
Stephen Mills beat John Spiegal 26 - 3
Geoff Morrison beat Alan Jones 26 - 11
Stuart Stafford beat John Freeman 24 - 10
Round 2 v Bath Won 7-0
Having beaten East Dorset in the first round of the Longman Cup the team of Chris Frost, Heather Bennett, Stephen Mills and Stuart Stafford travelled to Swindon to play Bath in the Longman Cup. The match took place on a very hot day on immaculate lawns. Swindon were particularly hospitable and one of the best set-up clubs we have visited, having received a considerable grant from the lottery fund.
In the morning Heather and Stuart played doubles and Chris and Stephen played singles. Heather went round to penult in a single break and Stuart ran the first six hoops early on, their opponents didn't really get going until the final shots and Heather and Stuart won on time. Chris got to 23-0 before his opponent got in and then only got to hoop 6. Stephen put together a couple of four-ball breaks and used his bisques to get both balls round. Although things were not looking good in the afternoon singles matches we all turned the matches around to complete the 7-0 victory. This puts us into the quarter finals and a match against Guildford.
Heather Bennett (3.5) and Stuart Stafford (18) beat Bob Hart (8) and Margaret Murray (14) 18-10
Chris Frost (4) beat Paul Francis (4.5) 26-6
Stephen Mills (14) beat Philip de Glanville (5) 26-4
Heather Bennett beat Paul Francis 26-19
Chris Frost beat Philip de Glanville 26-9
Stephen Mills beat Bob Hart 26-13
Stuart Stafford beat Margaret Murray 21-11
Round 3 v Guildford Won 7-0
The match was played at Wrest Park. The St Albans team was Chris Frost, Stephen Mills, Roger Bowman and Stuart Stafford. The result puts St Albans into the finals weekend on October 5/6th at Surbiton, the semi-finals on Saturday and the final and third place play-off on the Sunday.
Semi-final v Sussex Lost 5-2
The match was played on October 5th at Surbiton.
Heather Bennett and Stuart Stafford beat David Gillett and Malcolm Beacham +14
Chris Frost lost to David Marcus -26
Stephen Mills lost to Robin Wotton -4T
Heather Bennett lost to David Marcus -10
Chris Frost lost to David Gillett -19
Stephen Mills beat Malcolm Beacham +19
Stuart Stafford lost to Robin Wootton -2T
3rd/4th Play-off v Chester Won 4-1
The Secretary's Shield
This is a tournament for the winners of the previous year's regional federations' tournaments. St Albans gained entry by winning the East Anglian play-off in 2018. For teams of four with one double and two singles in the morning and four singles in the afternoon.
Round 1 v York Won 5-2
We won our match 5 - 2 against York at Nottingham which puts us through to the quarter finals and a match against Sheffield, last year's champions. Our team was Chris, Stephen, Geoff and Stuart. The morning matches were very close, all going to time. Chris and Geoff played the morning doubles and only got in front in the second half of the match having been a long way behind at half way. Stephen held out in a match in which both players were in the lead multiple times. Stuart lost a very close game as time expired and could have won easily if his last shot in normal time had been successful. Two of the matches in the afternoon finished very quickly. Stephen managed to set up two four ball breaks and used his bisques to take both balls round. Geoff secured the winning point with a bisque to spare and Stuart managed to protect his early lead as time expired to win the final point.
Chris Frost (4) and Geoff Morrison (18) beat Ted Flaxman (6) and Fiona Crompton (10) 20 - 17
Stephen Mills (16) beat John Crompton (14) 21 - 18
Stuart Stafford (18) lost to David Hudson (9) 20 - 17
Chris Frost lost to Ted Flaxman 26 - 0
Stephen Mills beat David Hudson 26 - 1
Geoff Morrison beat Fiona Crompton 26 - 7
Stuart Stafford beat John Crompton 18 - 15
Round 2 v Sheffield Won 5-2
Having beaten York in the first round we travelled to Ashby de la Zouch to play Sheffield, the winners of the competition in the last two years. The team consisted of Heather Bennett, Stephen Mills, Geoff Morrison and Stuart Stafford. Having been spoilt by Swindon's lawns the day before, Ashby's lawns were more reminiscent of our own!
Geoff easily won his first match 26-0 using his bisques sparingly with his opponent failing to make a start. The other two matches in the morning were much closer, both being lost by a single hoop. In Heather and Stuart's match Sheffield's minus handicap player (Eugene) spent much of the match setting up his partner's ball. For nearly all of the match we were in the lead, Heather having got to rover. However, Eugene put together an impressive break to get his ball all the way round and win by a hoop. In Stephen's match his opponent built up an early lead and Stephen didn't make much impression by the time he had used up all his bisques, however, he gradually got used to the lawn and was only 4 hoops behind as time ran out. In his extra turn Stephen hit a long roquet and ran 3 hoops but blobbed in the 4th. In the afternoon Heather unusually had bisques and used them wisely to get both her balls round when her opponent broke down. Stephen got his first ball round with a four-ball break and went on to win relatively easily. Geoff used a number of small breaks to get round and comfortably won his second match. Stuart built up an early lead and held on to win on time. This puts us in the semi finals and a match against Kington Langley.
Heather Bennett (3.5) & Stuart Stafford (18) lost to Eugene Chang (-0.5) and Adrian Simmerson (10) 15-16
Stephen Mills (14) lost to Mark Simmerson(8) 22-23
Geoff Morrison (18) beat Trevor Billard (2) 26-0
Heather Bennett beat Eugene Chang `26-15
Stephen Mills beat Trevor Billard 26-2
Geoff Morison beat Mark Simmerson 26-7
Stuart Stafford beat Adrian Simmerson 18-9
Round 3 v Kington Langley Won 4 - 3
The team: Jon, Stephen, Geoff, Stuart.
This win puts the Club into the final of the Secretary's Shield
Final v Chester Won 5 - 2
The Secretary's Shield Final was held at Kenilworth on October 19h, the match having to be rearranged after the previous fixture had been rained off. The two teams had met two weeks previously in the 3rd/4th place play-off in the Longman Cup.
In the morning session Chester's Brian Walton achieved his Silver Merit award by taking his second ball through all twelve hoops and winning his game but St Albans won the doubles and the second singles match to take a 2-1 lead at lunch. In the afternoon session all the games were close (including one game going to a golden hoop) with St Albans winning three of the matches to win the final by a score of 5-2
Chris Frost (3.5) and Stuart Stafford (16) beat John Dawson (3) and Robin Tasker (5) 26 - 11
Heather Bennett (3.5) beat David Boyd 26 - 22
Stephen Mills (11) lost to Brian Walton (8) 26 - 9
Chris Frost beat John Dawson 26 - 21
Heather Bennett lost to Robin Tasker 20 - 19
Stephen Mills beat David Boyd 26 - 24
Stuart Stafford beat Brian Walton 26 - 17
The CA's John Dawson presents the Secretary's Shield to Chris Frost
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.
5th June 2019 v Watford Drawn 3-3
We staged an impressive comeback to draw our first match of the season in the Herts - Beds League against Watford 3 - 3. The team of Heather, Stephen, Roger and Stuart travelled to Watford for the match. The doubles in the morning both went Watford's way with Simon Hathrell in particular being in very good form for Watford. Simon's form continued in the afternoon, beating Heather and leaving us 3 - 0 down. Stephen managed to win his match by benefitting from Arthur Reed setting up four ball breaks and then breaking down in positions where Stephen could pick them up. The final two matches could have gone either way. In Rorger's match all balls were rover with Mark Homan set up to rush for the peg when Roger succeed with a long roquet the length of the lawn and was able to use that to peg out on his next turn. Stuart built up a large lead only to have it cut considerably when Adam Huby executed a four ball break through multiple hoops, however, he broke down and Stuart managed to run two further hoops before time ran out.
Heather Bennett (3.5) and Stuart Stafford (18) lost to Simon Hathrell (-1) and Mark Homan (6) 26 - 21
Stephen Mills (14) and Roger Bowman (16) lost to Arthur Reed (2.5) and Adam Huby (8) 16 - 10
Heather Bennett lost to Simon Hathrell 26 - 4
Stephen Mills beat Arthur Reed 26 - 2
Roger Bowman beat Mark Homan 26 - 24
Stuart Stafford beat Adam Huby 21 - 15
Second Match v Northampton Won 4-2
The team of Heather, Stephen, Roger and Geoff travelled to Northampton for the match on a day which varied between bright sunshine and drizzly showers. The Northampton lawns are on a slope and the grass hadn't been cut for a few days which made rolls across the lawn and up the hill a challenge! The doubles in the morning both went our way. In Stephen and Geoff's match Stephen peeled both balls through the final hoop with the last bisque as time was running out and Geoff pegged out in the extra shot as time was called. The afternoon singles were split equally with hoop three at the top of the hill being particularly troublesome for both Stephen and Geoff. Heather rapidly won her game, putting together some impressive breaks before Nick could get started. Stephen initially was leading but after the troublesome hoop three had used up his last bisques Mike took his second ball round the lawn to win. Roger used his bisques to build up a seven-point lead and his opponent could only reduce that by two before time ran out. Geoff also built up a considerable lead but using his last bisque seemed to inspire his opponent who successfully put together a nine-hoop break and nearly pegged out as time ran out.
Heather Bennett (3.5) & Roger Bowman (16) beat Nick Evans (1.5) & Jane Evans (14) 20 - 9
Stephen Mills (14) & Geoff Morrison (18) beat Mike Hills (1.5) & Peter Standsfield (4) 26 - 12
Heather Bennett beat Nick Evans 26 - 3
Stephen Mills lost to Mike Hills 26 - 18
Roger Bowman beat Peter Standsfield 16 - 11
Geoff Morrison lost to Jane Evans 25 - 20
Third Match v Letchworth Won 5-1
The team of Heather, Chris, Stephen and Roger travelled to Letchworth for the match. The Letchworth lawns were in good condition although covered in dew when we started slightly earlier than normal. The doubles in the morning both went our way. In Heather and Roger's match Letchworth pulled out an early lead and held that throughout, similarly Chris and Stephen put together a series of breaks with Letchworth not really getting started, to win by a large margin having only used one of their four bisques. In the afternoon Heather won (very quickly) by an impressive margin and Stephen put together a number of short breaks to win with a bisque to spare. The other two matches were a lot closer. Chris pulled out an early lead but broke down after running the last hoop and his opponent put together some impressive breaks and long roquets to win by the narrowest of margins. Roger's game went to time and he won by one hoop by running an extra hoop in his extra shot after time had run out.
Heather Bennett (3.5) & Roger Bowman (16) beat George Woolhouse (3) & John Street (8) 26 - 8
Chris Frost (4) & Stephen Mills (14) beat Terry Mahoney (1.5) & Colin Davies (9) 26 - 3
Heather Bennett beat Terry Mahoney 26 - 0
Chris Frost lost to George Woolhouse 26 - 25
Stephen Mills beat John Street 26 - 6
Roger Bowman beat Colin Davies 18 - 17
Fourth Match v Wrest Park Drawn 3-3
Fifth Match v Meldreth Won 3-1
These results confirm that St Albans have won the 2019 Herts / Beds League and have therefore qualified for the East Anglian play-off at Newport on Saturday September 21st
21st September 2019 East Anglian Leagues Play-off for the Chairman's Cup Won 4-3
Unfortunately because the Northern League could not field a team, the League play-off was reduced to two teams, Colchester South and St Albans, both winners of their respective leagues. It was played at Newport whose lawns were in good condition although a little dry, fast and difficult to play, so fast that at the end of play in all seven games, a mixture of doubles and singles, not one game had been pegged out. Still, play was keen and competitive and the games were very close, not one winning by more than +8.
St Albans managed to gain a 2-1 lead in the morning and despite a valiant fight back by Colchester they could not overturn this lead and during the afternoon honours were even at two games each with St Albans, last year's winners running out the 4-3 winners.
St Albans Colchester South
Heather Bennett (3.5) Jeff Farrington (2.5)
Stephen Mills (12) Peter Kenward (5)
Geoffrey Morrison (14) Al Brown (5)
Stuart Stafford (16) John Skuse (16)
Stuart, Stephen, Heather & Geoff
The St Albans team with the trophy