Well, the Summer 2023 season has finally come to an end yes I know it’s November, but it was the Finals of 3 of our Summer Competitions followed by the Presentation of Trophies for all of our League, team and individual winners and runners up!
The presentation Night was well attended and kicked off with the final of the Captains competition which had been held over from Finals Night back in September. Participants were Mick Greenaway for Berinsfield SC A and Dave Sapey representing Abingdon RBL. It was surprisingly a low scoring contest which Mick won 2 legs to 0 setting 2 in the first leg which was matched by Dave, but then set another 2 with his 3 sticks and Dave could only manage 1 in reply, so first leg to Mick who also took the second leg by 2 dolls to 1 to clinch the title.
Next up were the Pairs semi final and the first of these featured Ken Fisher and Barry Townsend of the Plum Pudding pitched against Scott Humphries and Leigh Clapton from the Abingdon United @Con Club side. Again this first semi final was won in 2 straight legs, the first leg saw all 4 players hit 3 dolls each, but Ken and Barry clinched the leg with 2 dolls apiece with their 3 sticks and Scott and Leigh’s efforts fell short by 1 doll. The second leg was a 5 doll to 4 clincher by Ken and Barry to take the first semi. Barry incidentally was replacing Phil Adams who despite qualifying for both the Pairs and Singles semi finals was unable to take part due to a recent operation, but he was there supporting both his team mates and the evening.
The second semi final featured Tony Beechers and Martin Rawlings from the Berinsfied B side who did great to reach this stage against the second Plum Pudding semi finalists Dave Butler and Paul Longford. This was the first game of the evening to go to 3 legs and in another low scoring first 2 legs which were shared 1 apiece, a first 5 doll haul of the evening from DLB supported by a 2 from his partner Paul Longford secured a place in what was to be an all Plum Pudding final.
Next up was the scheduled singles semi finals which actually due to Phil Adam’s unavailability presented a bye straight to the final for Leigh Clapton with the other semi final contested between Steve Enock from Croft Nomads and Paul Longford. Another disappointing low scoring game with the first leg being won on a 3 stick shoot out Paul edged Steve, who had been in really good form throughout the Summer and in the early days of the Winter season, but couldn’t find that form on the night and Paul reached the final, winning in 2 straight legs.
So to the Finals, first up it was the Pairs final featuring the 2 Plum Pudding teams. This was probably the closest game of the evening even though it was won in 2 straight legs. It was also the best scoring game of the night featuring another 5 doll hit from Ken Fisher and a pair of 4’s from Dave Butler in response, but Dave’s efforts were in vain as Ken and Barry emerged victors winning the first leg 7-6 and the second leg 6-5.
Then it was the last game of the evening, with the coveted Singles title up for grabs Paul Longford taking on Leigh Clapton. This went to 3 legs with Paul Longford winning the first after a 3 stick shoot out both players hitting 2 dolls with their first 6 sticks and then Paul’s 1 doll with 3 sticks clinching the opening leg. In the second leg both players improved and both hit 3 dolls so again it was a 3 sticker, and they still couldn’t be separated hitting 1 doll apiece and then it was down to 1 stick each and this time Leigh secured the leg by scoring with his 1 doll and with the pressure on Paul he just failed to make a doll with his 1 stick. The 3rd leg was another close affair, but Leigh secured the 2023 Singles title with a 3-2 success.
Congratulations to all who played on the night as well as the will to progress and win one of the titles on offer they had to do it against the backcloth of a large and sometimes noisy, but always supportive group of the wider Aunt Sally family.
So it was then onto the Presentations of all of the Trophies which our President John Simmons duly presented. I imagine John’s right arm was aching by the end of the night as there were not only the trophies to hand over, but also the shaking of so many hands as so many of us were so pleased to see John back amongst us. The night also featured our usual grand raffle which saw The Vine scoop many of the prizes including two mystery cash prizes of £50 and £25.
A final thank you to everyone who attended and made the night a successful one to close our 2023 Summer season. A special thanks to Mick Samways and Kevin Lewis for taking responsibility for selling raffle tickets on our behalf, the proceeds of which paid for most of the evening’s expenses. Thanks also to Ellie once again for taking all of the photographs on the night,(Photos available here) and to all the bar staff at Abingdon United who made sure that empty glasses didn’t stay empty for long!