Gediminas Smolskas won the A/C All England Area Final at Bury 21/22 August 2021
Although Bury CC gave him a handicap adjustment to 14 just before the tournament Ged remained the bookies favourite to take a qualifying place in the final. Phil Snowden (Fylde CC) took the other place on offer.
While many a good game was played the best rumble was between Ged and Phil in the final round played in strong Sunshine. It provided wonderful entertainment for the spectators: Ged was on 5 and peg, Phil on 1 and 1 when Phil got in and pegged Ged out. The ensuing three ball ending between these two talented players ( each with one bisque remaining) was a treat to watch. Both players favoured the direct break building approach without much hiding, lurking or taking pos.
With Phil on peg and peg time was called Ged hit in from distance (This was the only game in the weekend that went to time). He made 10 and 11 and faced a shot to run Rover which would win the game +1, however it only jawsed, leaving the scores tied. Phil missed a 10 yarder at the peg and Ged ran the trivial Rover to take a clean sweep and an automatic handicap reduction.
Commiserations to Richard Leach (Bury CC) in third place who has a relaxed style and plays with a fast steady rhythm that is a pleasure to see.
The Coronation Park Venue was in terrific shape with the hoops set perfectly and the lawns playing reasonably easily. Jean Hargreaves made the tournament management look effortlessly easy. (Personal note: making this one of the most enjoyable I have played). Roger Schofield and Alan Moreton also made some fine play during the event.
This historic tournament has been running for almost one hundred years. First won in 1923 by J B Hubbard. It provides a wonderful experience for new tournament players who can experience the challenges of competition and also learn etiquette and possibly some of the finer points of the Laws as they play.
If your club has a rapid improver or two and you do not regularly enter, please take some time, perhaps at your next AGM, to consider organising a qualifying internal tournament and entering. Your young stars will thank you for their chance.