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6th June 2024 - Longman Cup First Round at Surbiton - Won 4-3

An exciting first round match where the team of Roger, Brian, Mike, & Derek travelled to Surbiton's excellent lawns and came out winners when Brian won the final match of the day with a golden hoop!

The match was initially at risk of being cancelled as with no reserves available Roger develop Covid symptoms 6 days before the match day. Of the other 7 players, only one wished to maximise protection from infection, so with lunch outdoors, Roger was careful to stay separated from them. At Surbiton’s suggestion, the games were played to base 6, since 5 players had a handicap of 16 or more. Surbiton’s lawns had a flatness, speed and consistency we can dream about.

In the only doubles game, apart from a 4-hoop break, Roger and Derek struggled to get any fluency, having chosen to play alternate shots. Their opponents, each keeping to their own ball, were able to develop over breaks and mainly through consistency won +9T.

In Brian’s morning game. after taking an initial lead, he soon found himself trailing in both hoops and bisques, and struggling to handle the fast Surbiton lawn. By keeping Carol’s balls split Brian managed to edge ahead, only to again lose the lead, until as time ran out he ran a couple of hoops to nose in front, leaving his opponent a 20 yard failed hoop attempt with her last play, and Brian ahead.

In Mike’s morning match he was lucky that Stephen missed a number of medium length roquet shots and never got going. Mike played probably the best he could, finding the hoops easier to run than ours, so won 26-2 in less than 90 minutes.

At lunch the match was finely poised with St Albans 2-1 up.

In Roger’s singles game against Andrew he started by using a bisque to make an 8-hoop break. Andrew could not get any rhythm going, allowing Roger to make a few long breaks and many medium ones, getting both balls to peg. Andrew by then had one ball on peg, but suddenly remembered how to play, taking his second ball from hoop 2 to peg and to peg his other ball out, thus showing that no game is lost until it’s lost.

Derek on 18 played Carol on 16. Derek scored an early opportunistic hoop then managed a reasonable break of seven hoops with only three bisques used so was ahead in points.  Both players fumbled their way round the lawn, superb shots usually followed by missed shots.  At half way Derek was ahead by a couple of hoops but Carol gradually pulled equal then ahead.  Carol had great judgement on length leaving balls close enough together to get back in easily whilst Derek tended to overshoot on the smooth lawn.  Carol kept inching ahead to win the game 26 - 18. 

In the afternoon Mike and Val both had the same number of bisques. When they had used them all, Mike was well ahead with both balls on peg but couldn’t finish it off. Val made 2 really good breaks to close the gap but then missed a roquet allowing Mike to play a long full roll to peg first one ball then the other to win 26-18.

In the afternoon session, Brian’s opponent Steve eventually took yellow to rover with a good break, leaving Brian trailing badly. Brian got black to rover and to took blue to hoop 5. As time ran out, Steven made 4 good hoops, leaving the match drawn and into a golden hoop. After a couple of unsuccessful plays, Steve lined up for a straight but long attempt at hoop 5, which stuck at the the hoop. Brian then used all the balls including Stephen’s left at the hoop to make hoop 5, winning the game by the golden hoop. This was the match-deciding game.


Results (St Albans names first)

Morning Matches

Roger Bowman (8) & Derek Lambert (18) lost to Andrew Wilson (5) & Val Hitchens (16) -9 (T)
Mike Hann (16) beat Stephen Parish (8) +24
Brian Johns (16) beat Carol Collins (16) +1 (T)

Afternoon Matches

Roger Bowman (8) lost to Andrew Wilson (5) -2
Brian Johns (16) beat Stephen Parish (8) +1 (T – golden hoop)
Mike Hann (16) beat Val Hitchens (16) +8
Derek Lambert (18) lost to Carol Collins (16) -8


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