Ian Lines Wins Southport Sept Advanced Weekend by Ian Lines (17/09/07)
15 players gathered at Southport in glorious warm sunshine on Saturday morning to compete for the Sandiford Salver. The format was a simple knockout with a consolation flexible Swiss event – all with no initial time limits. There were few surprises in the early rounds on Saturday, although Gordon Hopewell had a good win over Charlie Askew.
The lawns didn’t look too difficult, playing at about 10 to 11 seconds, with reasonably tight hoops which weren’t too difficult in the soft Southport soil. However, there were a few fast patches and the odd slope near some hoops, which perhaps explains why most games took over 3 hours, despite 9 of the 15 players having handicaps of 0.5 or better. As the sun set on Saturday, Ian Lines was 1-0 up in a best of 3 semi-final against Alan Pidcock, and Richard White was pegged down in a scrappy first game against Dean Bennison in the other semi, with Ian wondering about the need for imposing time limits and his best laid plans for a best of 3 final.
On Sunday morning, Alan gave Ian a scare before allowing him to win +5, whilst Richard and Dean continued their long battle, until Richard eventually won +3. Richard managed to finish the next game +17 shortly after lunch, by which time the hopes of a best of 3 final had vanished. Most of the games over the weekend must have had at least 50 turns – or maybe it just seemed that way.
The final was (a little) better… The Consolation Swiss was won with 3/4 wins by Tom Weston, who also earned a handicap reduction from 1.5 to 1. Also of note was Peter Dorke’s ftp, just missing the 5 yard pegout, and Mike Sandler ending his streak of 13 consecutive losses.
Many thanks to all those who provided the excellent Southport catering, and to Keith Roberts and Ray Lowe for setting the hoops so well.