Wrest Park

GC A level tournament 22-23 April

report by Richard Keighley

Local hero, Les Heard (Wrest Park) remained undefeated and did not drop a single game to win this opening tournament in the GC A-level National Series. Predicted wet weather did not materialise on either day and a full field of 16 players enjoyed bright and calm conditions on four well-presented courts.

The seeding of Block A placed John Taylor (Watford) at the top and he duly obliged with six wins out of seven games, losing only to his namesake Kim Taylor (Enfield). Glynis Davies (Northampton) also qualified with five wins, but a careful count and re-count of net hoops was necessary to separate three players with four wins for the remaining two places in the knockout. Kim (+5) was joined by Rick Lilley (+4) from Phyllis Court at the expense of an unlucky David Frost (Enfield) on +3.

In Block B, Les Heard duly dispatched all seven of his opponents after some good tussles. Mike Bilton (Gainsborough), Phil Davies (Reigate Priory) and Stephen Harbron (Ealing) all qualified with four wins apiece resulting in three players with three wins being consigned to the Plate.

Three of the quarter-finals were settled by two straight wins. John beat Phil, Glynis beat Stephen and Les continued his serene progress in beating Rick. It was not so straightforward for Kim who lost his first game against Mike before prevailing in the following two games in a closely fought encounter.

Kim beat John in two very well-contested games to win his semi-final and Les beat Glynis by the same margin. The final produced an intriguing first game with Les promptly winning the first four hoops and then finding himself 4-5 down after a stunning fightback by Kim. Les levelled at 5-5, Kim levelled at 6-6 before Les clinched the golden hoop. The second game was nip and tuck before Les ran a superb angled hoop to win the tournament.

Manager Richard Keighley presented prizes to both finalists and also to David Frost who had won all his six games in the Plate. Thanks were expressed to Richard but also to George Collin and his team for producing good quality lawns and to the catering team of Tim and Gill Brewer (her Syrian beetroot dish was really appreciated) and Viv Heard.

1st Les Heard

2nd Kim Taylor

3rd Glynis Davies

4th John Taylor

“The flowers that bloom in the spring, Tra la, breathe promise of merry sunshine”. Photo by Andrew Wilson.

Richard Keighley with winner Les Heard. Runner-up Kim Taylor stands to Les’s left. Photo by Gill Brewer.

© Wrest Park Croquet Club