Inter Counties playoff 12 March

The aftermath - l-r Bryan Harral, George Collin, Jon Watson, Tim Brewer, Sean Sheridan, Sanaa Hallam, Phillipine Hallam, Robbie Dodds, Brian Christmas and Sanaa and Phillipine’s two children.

Jon Watson (-1) and David Marsh (1) beat Robbie Dodds (-½) and Sean Sheridan (0) +4T

Bryan Harral (0) and John Bevington (1) beat Omeid Hallam (0) and Simon Cawdell (2½) +3T

George Collin (0) and Tim Brewer (2½) beat Sanaa Hallam (0) and Brian Christmas (3) +14

Report by Bryan Harral

You may recall that Bedfordshire was awarded the wooden spoon at the 2015 Inter-Counties tournament – something that was discreetly forgotten at the Christmas dinner prize giving. When counties were invited to enter teams for the 2016 Tournament an extra team, representing Shropshire which hasn’t entered for several years, decided to have a go. As the number of teams is limited, a play-off between Bedfordshire and Shropshire was arranged. The teams, three doubles pairs from each county, duly assembled at Cheltenham.

As most of us hadn’t played over the winter a long pre-match practice session was planned. As usual, everyone quickly tired of this and all three games started relatively early. It was quickly obvious that we were all fairly rusty, and even nervous.

To begin with play was littered with silly mistakes and turns were short. Jon Watson had threatened to go round to 4-back and then go home leaving David to finish things. The plan began well enough when he ran hoop 1 with a break laid out, but he then stuck in hoop 2.

The second pairs did rather better. Omeid went to 4-back but John hit the lift and went to 3-back but stuck in it - this hoop proved difficult for everyone. Later, Bryan was too busy thinking about a 4-back leave and forgot he could go to the peg. Fortunately Bedfordshire managed to make slightly fewer mistakes than Shropshire. George and Tim pegged-out with 30 seconds to spare, and we won the other two games on time. 3 – 0 to Bedfordshire, and we go to the 2016 Inter-Counties in May with the wooden spoon which we don’t intend to bring back.

The most dramatic event of the day was the puncture in the front wheel of David’s people carrier, caused by a pothole somewhere near Chipping Norton. It was spectacular because the tyre was almost off the hub by the time we found somewhere to stop. Luckily it was broad daylight and the weather was fine. How long does it take an IT manager, a solicitor, a scientist and an engineer to change a wheel? After you have found the handbook and the tools and the spare wheel, about half an hour!

Captain courageous - Bryan in play.

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