Ian Lines Back to Winning Ways at Southport Advanced Jubilee Event (by Kath Thomas, 17/04/11)
Top ranking UK players descended on Southport this weekend to play in the prestigious annual ‘Spring Jubilee Tankard’. Two days of play on lawns described as challenging saw Southport members knocked out of the later rounds of the competition. Enthusiastic members lined the club’s lawns to watch two giants of North West croquet, Ian Lines of Bowden and Dave Nick of Crake Valley, battle it out for the winner’s cup. The final match was best of three games and Dave Nick, one game to the good, must have thought he had success in the bag towards the end of the second game when he made a spectacular ‘leave’ that made it impossible for his opponent to pick up the break. But, although he recommenced play with a green width roquet that took out the far corner flag on impact, he failed to pick up the advantage and the outcome hung in the balance as the second game went to Ian Lines. Dave was driving ahead in the third game and had reached ‘one-back’, when an unfortunate move lost him command of the lawn with his second colour at hoop one. Ian Lines rapidly proved why he is ranked as eleventh best player in the world, by faultlessly taking both colours together round every hoop on the lawn to claim final victory. Ian has recently recovered from a broken arm unfortunately fractured during the New Zealand earthquake and his win at Southport represents an heroic return to play in the UK.
Ian Lines beat Dave Nick to win the Jubilee Tankard at Southport (by Ian Lines 17/04/11).
A field of 14, half of them minus players, gathered to compete for the Tankard. The weather was glorious sunshine all weekend long, though still a little chilly on Saturday. The early season lawns were quite a bit more challenging than usual, running at only about 7 to 8 seconds due to recent sand treatment and the grass being slightly long, with some patches of dead moss and a few slopes near hoops (set at 1/16″ to 1/32″), all of which made it pretty difficult for players to create breaks, except for a certain Quarryman who didn’t seem to have any difficulty at all. However, the difficult conditions did lead to plenty of interesting interactive games and close finishes, and made triples a bit of a struggle.
Matt Holmes (handicap 3.5, and only in his third season) played very well to get 60% wins, including his first win against a minus player, and Lee Hartley completed a very good triple (only his 8th, and one of only two in the event). In the main event best of three semi-finals, Dave Nick won in two against Bob Burnett, to take him 32-31 ahead in their lifetime head-to-head record; and Ian Lines beat David Barrett in two (although the first could easily have gone the other way). In the final, both Dave and Ian made a few errors in the first two games, but Dave’s uncannily accurate shooting helped him win the first, and almost win the second, till he rather surprisingly failed rover on a relatively straightforward finishing turn, allowing Ian back in to win the game +3 after a few turns. In the deciding game, Ian hit on turn 4 and had a good leave. Dave took (another) agressive 28 yard shot and hit (again!), but his break broke down at 1 back due to taking a slight slope on the hoop approach, and Ian finished with a tightly controlled 9, 12, 5, with Dave’s shooting finally eluding him.
The Consolation Swiss event was won by Alan Mayne with 4/5.
Many thanks to the Southport club for the fantastic catering and for putting on such an enjoyable tournament.
First Round: Ian Lines beat Matt Holmes +11; Alan Pidcock beat Jerry Guest +15; David Barrett beat Brian Story +7; Ray Lowe beat Lee Hartley +23; Alan Mayne beat Carol Lewis +20; Bob Burnett beat Peter Wilson +14.
Second Round: Ian Lines beat Alan Pidcock +24tp; David Barrett beat Ray Lowe +5; Bob Burnett beat Alan Mayne +24; Dave Nick beat Paul Rigge +11.
Semi Final (best of 3): Ian Lines beat David Barrett +3, +19; Dave Nick beat Bob Burnett +3, +23.
Final (best of 3): Ian Lines beat Dave Nick -15, +3, +20.
Consolation Event (Swiss): Matt Holmes beat Carol Lewis +25; Peter Wilson beat Lee Hartley +26; Paul Rigge beat Brian Storey +2; Dave Nick beat Jerry Guest +1; Matt Holmes beat Peter Wilson +9; Lee Hartley beat Carol Lewis +13; Alan Mayne beat Alan Pidcock +3; Brian Storey beat Ray Lowe +10 ; Peter Wilson beat Carol Lewis +16; Lee Hartley beat Paul Rigge +17tp; Jerry Guest beat Carol Lewis +24; Brian Storey beat Alan Pidcock +20; Paul Rigge beat Ray Lowe +11; Bob Burnett beat Matt Holmes +13; Alan Mayne beat Peter Wilson +4; Dave Nick beat Lee Hartley +11; David Barrett beat Jerry Guest +16; Matt Holmes beat Lee Hartley +19; Alan Pidcock beat Carol Lewis +15; Brian Storey beat Bob Burnett +25; Alan Mayne beat Ray Lowe +7; Peter Wilson beat Paul Rigge +11. Summary: Ian Lines (-2) 6/7 1 tp; Dave Nick (-1) 6/8; Alan Mayne (-0.5) 4/5; Brian Storey (-1) 3/5; David Barrett (1.5) 3/5; Matt Holmes (3.5) 3/5; Bob Burnett (-0.5) 3/6; Peter Wilson (1.5) 3/6; Alan Pidcock (1) 2/5; Paul Rigge (-0.5) 2/5; Lee Hartley (-0.5) 2/6 1 tp; Jerry Guest (0.5) 1/4; Ray Lowe (1.5) 1/5; Carol Lewis (3.5) 0/6