The Champion of Champions
returned to Wolsingham, County Durham for a second time, over the weekend
of 6th & 7th June.
Representatives from Bedfordshire,
Cambridgeshire, Durham, Essex, Hertfordshire, Norfolk, Northumberland,
Suffolk and Sunderland all competed in the Singles, Pairs, Triples
and Fours disciplines.
With an event of this size
and every team playing so many games, it is often the case that
the winners are decided well before the final round, but, with
the exception of one discipline, that was not the case this year,
as the event produced three nail-biting finishes.
It was a good start for Suffolk and Durham who both won their
first 3 games, while everyone else had lost at least once.
Durham went on to win their fourth while
Suffolk had to sit out a round. So Saturday ended with Durham
on 8 points from 4 games, Cambridgeshire on 6 points from 4 games
and Suffolk on 6 points from 3 games.
Sunday started with wins for Durham and
Cambridgeshire, but a loss for Suffolk. And Durham made it six
wins out of six in the next session, and was now 4 points ahead
of Suffolk and Cambridgeshire, although both had a game in hand.
It was Durham's turn to sit out the next
round, while Suffolk and Cambridgeshire played one another. The
result saw a win for Cambridgeshire to go into a clear second
The final round of games saw leader Durham
(12 pts & 64 shots) play fourth placed Suffolk (8 pts) while
second placed Cambridgeshire (10 pts & 56 shots) played Sunderland
With a 2 points and 8 shot advantage it
looked unlikely that Ian Clark (Durham) would take home the trophy,
all Jamie Smith (Cambridgeshire) could do was to get a big win
and hope for the best. And despite the fact that he was up against
two time champion Martin Campbell (Sunderland), that was just
what he did, romping away to a 13-3 win, his best of the weekend.
Despite that win Ian coould still aford
to lose his game and take home the trophy, all he needed (with
the last game already having finished) was 6 shots in his game
against David Ford (Suffolk). It was a steady start to the game,
but David took the advantage with all 4 on the 5th end, to lead
6-2. Ian clawed it back to 4-6 with 2 ends to go, by which time
he knew exactly what he needed to do, just pick up 2 shots. But
David had other ideas, he won the 7th end to lead 7-4and with
the jack pushed back on the final end Ian was in an all but impossible
position with his last wood to play and adly failed, losing 8-4.
Despite having led for the whole weekend
and winning every game up until the last round Ian just slipped
at the final hurdle, allowing Jamie to come through and take
the title by a single shot.
Winner: Jamie Smith (Cambridgeshire)
Durham and Suffolk both started with wins in their first two
games which they each followed up with a loss. Meanwhile Cambridgeshire,
having already sat out a session had two wins out of two.
Cambridgeshire went on to make it 3 wins
out of 3 and were now a point clear of both Hertfordshire and
Suffolk, with a game in hand.
However Saturday finished with a first
loss for Cambridgeshire at the hands of Hertfordshire which put
them top, although they had played a game more than their rivals
who were bunched up behind them. Hertfordshire were on 7 points
from 5 games, Cambridgeshire and Durham had 6 points from 4 games
and Suffolk and Northumberland were on 5 points from 4 games.
All to play for on the second day.
It was another win for Hertfordshire, while
Cambridgeshire and Durham both lost on Sunday morning, meant
that Herts were starting to look very strong. And they consolidated
their lead with another win which gave them a 3 point lead over
Cambridgeshire and Durham, although both had still played one
game less than the leaders. In fact there was now a group of
5 teams, covered by a single point, waiting for Hertfordshire
to slip up.
The leaders had to sit out the penultimate
round, however their closest rivals (Cambridgeshire and Durham)
both lost, leaving Suffolk and Northumberland, who both recorded
wins, as the only other teams who could still deprive Herts of
the title. However they each 2 points adrift.
Northumberland fell out of the running
with a narrow loss, although Suffolk ran out 13-1 winners over
Durham. All Hertfordshire needed was a draw and although they
were behind for most of their game against Norfolk they were
never far adrift and went into the final end only 5-6 down. A
single shot would have been enough but the end went to Norfolk
and title went to Suffolk.
Despite a good start on Saturday they had
ended the first day in 7th place with only 5 points from 5 games.
However 3 wins from 3 games on Sunday saw them rise to 4th, 2nd
and eventually 1st place to win the title by 4 shots.
Winners: Andy Pooley & David O'Brien
It was a 3-way tie for the lead with 2 games played as Hertfordshire,
Sunderland and Bedfordshire opened up with a pair of wins. But
while Sunderland sat out the third session the other two managed
However over the next two sessions a pair
of wins for Durham raised them to the top of the standings, albeit
having played a game more than their closest rivals. Durham,
then, were on 7 points from 5 games, Sunderland on 6 points from
4 and Hertfordshire on 5 points from 4. However with the next
5 teams all on 4 points anything could still happen.
Sunday saw Durham knocked off the top as
they lost, while Sunderland and Hertfordshire won to put themselves
into the top two positions on 10 and 9 points respectively.
And with Hertfordshire and Sunderland both
winning their next games, everything was set up for the next
round which would see them playing one another in a match that
could well settle the title for Sunderland if they won it.
But it turned out to be a rampant Hertfordshire
who won, with a more than convincing 14-4, taking them to the
top by one point and, importantly, a 24 shot advantage.
Hertfordshire started their game against
Bedfordshire well, but slipped behind in the middle part of the
game, after which they never looked like winning as Beds took
an 11-6 win. Meanwhile Sunderland held a good lead, 8-5 up with
2 ends to go, they lost 2 on the penultimate end and just needed
to hang onto their lead, but their opponents Norfolk had other
ideas and as the jack was pushed out the corner of the mat Sunderland
just failed to get in and Norfolk snatched the game 9-8 to leave
Hertfordshire winners by 1 point.
And to make matters worse for Sunderland
they even lost second as Cambridgeshire came through to steal
the runner-up spot by 1 shot.
Winners: Jonathan & Ian Carter and
David Danby (Hertfordshire)
With two games played it was Cambridgeshire who led the way with
three wins out of three, while Suffolk were on 2 wins out of
2, having sat one session out.
Another win and a draw saw Cambridgeshire
finish the day looking good at the top of the standings on 9
points, three clear of Northumberland and 4 ahead of Suffolk,
who still had a game in hand, while 5 other teams were sat on
With a good lead and having already having
played their nearest rivals Cambridgeshire were very much in
Sunday began with another win for Cambridgeshire,
while the nearest opposition all managed to lose. That left the
leaders 5 points clear of Northumberland, Sunderland, Hertfordshire
and Essex, although the last 3 teams all had a game in hand.
While Cambridgeshire sat out a round it
was Essex who were emerging as the strongest opposition, although
they were 3 points adrift, with 2 games to go.
The penultimate round of games saw a small
slip from Cambridgeshire. A draw against Durham was only the
second point they had dropped all weekend, however their opposition
failed to capitalise, Essex lost and with a game to go Cambridgeshire
were three points ahead and safe.
And knowing that they might have allowed
themselves to relax, despite a good start they fell to a 13-8
defeat at the hands of Essex.
The final standings were closer than it
looked as if it might have been at one stage. Essex and Suffolk
finished on 10 points, Hertfordshire came through as runners-up
on 11 points while Cambridgeshire finished on 12 to retain the
Winners: Beryl Wicks, Barry Giddens,
Maureen Giddens & Colin Wicks (Cambridgeshire)
For most of Saturday Cambridgeshire
and Suffolk looked like they were the ones to beat, but as the
day came to a close it was Durham that were making the strongest
With an odd number of teams competing,
it meant that that everyone would have to sit out a session at
one time or another, the teams wouldn't be on the same number
of games played until the close of play on Sunday. However for
the time being it was Cambridgeshire and Durham who led the way
on 25 points each from 18 games, while Suffolk had 3 games in
hand over each of them, but were 5 points behind.
While everything was changing behind them,
with teams coming and going, one constant remained. Cambridgeshire
remained top throughout Sunday.
The spots just behind them were all very
close , Sunderlnad finished 5th on 35 points, Durham faded to
4th on 36 points, Suffolk picked up late on Sunday to finish
third on 37, while Hertfordshire came on strong to take second
on 38 points, but Cambridgeshire were clear winners on 44 points,
retaining their title.
A full copy of the results can be found