Well, Wednesday Night saw the finals of the team competitions take place plus the Secretaries trophy, also on Wednesday the final of the scheduled league fixtures took place when The Vine and Berinsfield SC A met in a re-arranged game postponed from Week 12. That last league game of the season saw the completion of a remarkable turnaround, but more of that later!
For now, I will focus solely on Wednesday’s Finals.
The Finals saw some entertaining and close encounters and some excellent scoring. We kicked off with the final of the 8’s where Premier league champions faced C section The Bell, Grove who, for the second successive season showed that with the handicap system working teams from outside the top sections can progress to the final of this team knockout competition.
On their route to the final The Bell had seen off Abingdon Conservative Club, also from the C section, in their semi final who had been finalists in 2022.
The Bell Grove did themselves proud, but succumbed to a 2-0 defeat against the mighty United/Con Club who were represented in all of the Finals on the night. The Bell chose to set in the first leg and despite missing a couple of their regular players hit a very creditable 18 dolls which, with their handicap of 6 dolls and a top score of 4 from Tony Hetherington set a challenging target of 24 for United. For United both Dave Dix(more about his night later!) and the resurgent Bob Duff both hit 5 dolls and with Scott Humphries, Barry Parker and Leigh Clapton all adding 4 dolls each to see United home in that first leg by 29 dolls to 26.
The second leg saw The Bell set again and once again they set a challenging target hitting 19 dolls, which with their handicap gave them a set of 25. Top scorer for The Bell in this leg was Steve Weeks with 4 dolls. United were again chasing a challenging total and didn’t get off to the best of starts when their opening 2 players only managed 3 dolls between them, but then along came Dixie and his 6 put United back on track, 10 dolls from their next 3 throwers still made the target challenging with 2 to throw and 7 dolls still needed. When a score is needed and even with his ongoing health problems you can normally rely on Barry Parker and he didn’t let his side down with a cracking 5 dolls leaving Leigh Clapton as anchor needing just 2 to secure the win. To keep the suspense going leigh hit the doll with his first stick, missed with his next 4 and then clinched the leg with his last stick enabling United to win the leg 26-25
A cracking final which included a first 6 on Finals night for Dave Dix, which subsequently wasn’t to be his last!
The next final was for the Secretaries Cup and was between Bob Duff and Martin Rawlings representing Berinsfield SC B from the B section. No handicap here and another very close f1rst leg contest with both players setting 2 dolls apiece with Bob eventually clinching the leg 3-2 after 3 sticks. The second leg saw Bob set 5 dolls which was too many for Martin so Bob retained his 2022 title.
Next up was the 5’s Final with Plum Pudding facing Abingdon United and the Abingdon United team going after their 3rd win of the evening. United threw first and scored 11 dolls which didn’t prove to be enough as a 5 from Ken Fisher and a 4 from Paul Longford meant that with Phil Adams and Barry Townsend still to throw Plum Pudding only needed 2 dolls to win the leg and Phil duly obliged with 2 dolls from his first 3 sticks. The second leg produced a couple of 6’s with Phil Adams registering one for Plum Pudding and inevitably Dave Dix for United matching that. Overall though it was Plum Pudding with 18 dolls against United’s 14 were victors in 2 legs!
The 4’s final between Croft Nomads and Abingdon United was a bit of a one sided affair with United needing only 3 players to win the first leg 10-7 and Croft only using 2 players before falling to a straight 2 leg defeat in chasing United’s 16 dolls. In United’s 16 Dave Dix hit his 3rd six of the evening and he was well supported with a 5 from Scott Humphries with a 5 doll haul having hit a very unusual (for him) blob in the earlier 5’s final.
The last final of the night was another close encounter again involving Abingdon United/Con Club and the Plum Pudding. It was the last final of the night and the only one to go to 3 legs. Plum Pudding came through 2-1 with a 5 from Barry Townsend in the 3rd leg securing a 9-8 leg win. Phil Adams hit successive 5’s in the first 2 legs. Leg scores were Abingdon United/Con Club 12,8 and 8, Plum Pudding 10,11, and 9. It was the only final of the night featuring Dave Dix where he failed to hit a maximum, but his average le score for the night was a remarkable 4.56!
Finally many thanks to everyone who took part in the Competitions this year, not just to the winners and runners up, but to everyone who took part and gave up their Sunday afternoon in both June and again in August to enter. Thanks to our Committee for their time and effort which is necessary to arrange plan and oversee the many Competitions and finally thanks to Abingdon United FC for hosting the 2 days and 1 evening of Competitions again this year.
A special mention also for our own Mr Doll provider Brian Clapton who never let’s us down and to Kate, Abingdon United’s bar manager and her team for the excellent service and for kindly preparing food for us back in August and again on Wednesday. Also thank you to all of the callers and “stickers up” who play an essential role in holding competitions and who rarely get thanked!