Smith wins secures SCF Advantage League title

IN a fitting climax to the Southern Federation Advantage League season, Phyllis Court D won a close final against Phyllis Court C last week.

The two advantage teams had won their respective divisions and the C team had then won through a semi-final against Ryde last week to set up this all-Phyllis Court final.

Patricia Mulcahy’s D team shared the first round of games 2-2 and then took a 5-3 lead at the half way stage.

Not to be out done, Andy Jones’ C team won the third round to tie the match score at
6-6 going into the final round.

It looked like being a cliff-hanger ending, with the league title to be decided on the match between the two captains in the number one berths, but Jeff Smith won the second-to-last game to the finish, to get the D team over the winning line.

Jones beat Mulcahy as a consolidation. Phyllis Court now have the right to represent the southern area in the GC Federations Shield national handicap competition next season.

Man of the match was the undefeated Paul Franklin who took his handicap down to 10, and will hope to take that good form forward to the final of the Croquet Association’s individual competition for players with handicaps of eight plus.

That event — the Grass Roots — will see Franklin joined by Carol Huntington, Wendy Kingon, and Dee McKibbin at the national final next week on the Isle of Wight.

On the Phyllis Court internal tournament front, Colin Morgan saved his best play until the later stages of the club’s three plus singles tournament to record an unexpected victory and the Red Ball Trophy for the first time. A first phase all play all block was played in the morning and early afternoon, from which semi-final positions were decided and the action was closely competitive, with half of the games finishing 7-6 or 7-5.

Andy Jones emerged unscathed in first position, followed by Morgan, Dianne Browne and Patricia Mulcahy, with the latter edging out Michael Christmas on the net hoops count.

Jones beat Mulcahy 7-2 and Morgan beat Browne 7-6 in the semis and a good interactive final befitted the climax of the day, when Morgan established a 4-2 lead to put Jones under pressure.

The rapidly improving Jones responded well to draw level at 4-4 and 5-5, but Morgan then played and excellent angled stroke into the jaws of hoop 11 from a distance to take control of the game once more at 6-5.

Jones positioned well at hoop 12, Morgan pulled out another top draw stroke to land in the hoop jaws a second time. Jones seemed to have rescued the game when he cleared Morgan from the back of the hoop, right back to near the center peg, but with confidence sky high, Morgan calmly ran the hoop cleanly despite the distance, to win the tournament in style.

Elsewhere Gillian Symons and Christine Searle beat Jeff Smith and Steve Morton 7-5, 7-5 to win the seven plus doubles, and Daphne Spiers beat Sally Batty 7-2, 7-2 in the 10 plus singles plate.

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