The Abingdon & District 2022 Aunt Sally season reached it’s conclusion last Friday with a very well attended Presentation Night held at Abingdon United FC. The highlight of the evening was the semi-finals and finals of both the Pairs and Singles Competitions which set the scene for what was to follow, the awarding of all of the league and team and individual competitions Trophies that had been competed for throughout the Summer. Amongst other things the evening provided a memorable and emotional finale with the last throws of the 2022 season in the Singles final. More of that later.
The evening started with the pairs, in the first of the two semis Ian Brook and Steve Enock from Croft Nomads were pitted against Geoff Lee and Stuart Wilson from Berinsfield Social Club who, on the night, were just a little more consistent and proceeded through to the final where they were facing Barry Townsend and Phil Adams from the Plum Pudding who had taken down the father and son pairing of Leigh and Brian Clapton from Abingdon United in the other semi-final. Brian was a late replacement for Scott Humphries who unfortunately had to miss the night due to work commitments.
Then it was time for the Singles semi-final’s featuring 2 previous Champions in Dave Butler and Barry Parker.
The first semi saw a battle of the “Daves” with Dave Sapey overcoming Dave Butler in a tight encounter.
The second semi-final was between Paul Barrett and the legend that is Barry Parker, who because of health problems, had only managed a handful of games through the season, but was clearly determined to compete in spite of his ongoing health issues. And compete he did, defeating his Abingdon United teammate to advance to the final.
So the singles final was to be a battle of old “Abingdonians” Dave of Abingdon Royal British Legion against Barry of Abingdon United.
Before then though was the Pairs final and that ended in a comprehensive win for the Plum Pudding pair in 2 straight legs chasing Geoff and Stuart’s sets of 5 dolls in each leg Barry Townsend contributed 11 dolls, a magnificent 6 in the first and followed that with a leg equalling 5 dolls in the second! This meant that the contribution from Phil Adams was not necessary in the first leg and then Phil was only required to throw 2 sticks in the second leg (he missed with his first surprisingly), but the title was theirs with 12 dolls scored from 14 sticks thrown!
So, to the Final with Dave Sapey making his first appearance against one of the legends of Aunt Sally and former world champion Barry Parker who has more than a little experience of playing in Finals having made well over a dozen appearances in individual competitions in his career and even more in team competition finals and as a key “anchor” for several league winning teams over many years.
The final produced drama and emotion, but not the high scoring that both players are more than capable of. In the first leg Dave was only able to hit 1 doll and Barry passed that with his 4th stick to win the first leg. The second leg was tighter. Dave setting hit 3 and Barry matched that, so it was down to 3 sticks apiece to decide the leg. Dave’s 1 doll was not enough with Barry equalling that , so it was 1 stick apiece………….both missed so back to 6 sticks to decide the second leg and Dave again set and it was 2 dolls so Barry needed 3 to win the final and he duly obliged with a stick to spare. The reception Barry received was the one he deserved as a true champion, an example to all who play the game at whatever level.
It was then on to the presentation of the Trophies all presented by our Chairman Reg Couch and there was a really good turnout from teams representing both winners and runners up of each of the 6 sections, the top doll scorers in each section, the various competitions and of the newly named Founders and Legends Trophy which was won by Derek Fletcher of Steventon Sports Club aptly at Steventon Sports.
The evening ended with a grand raffle with most of the prizes generously donated by members, teams or pubs (including AllSports who provide our trophies) who are members of the league in 2022. Thanks to a few who helped the evening run almost smoothly including our master of ceremonies, Paul Stone, to Ellen our photographer who took over 60 snaps throughout the night (these will be online in a couple of days –ed: ONLINE NOW), to our callers and “sticker uppers” namely Terry Downes, Ken Fisher, Dave Davies and Bob Duff, our “groundsman and caretaker” Brian Clapton who spent 3 hours helping to set up the room in the morning when he probably wanted to be “having a lie down” to prepare for his appearance later in the day and a very special thank you to Mick Samways who stepped in to oversee our raffle sales to ensure that we recovered all our costs of the evening through the raffle sales (Mick once a shopkeeper, always a shopkeeper!)
A full list of all of winners and runners up for the season will be on the website soon, all that remains is for me to close with a big thank you to all, who despite all of the challenges, made the 2022 season as successful as we could have hoped for back in the early part of the year!
And don’t forget the AGM in January 2023!