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Bob Pace reports:
The 2011 Heath Tournament was played on Sunday 22 May under (sometimes) sunny skies. The competitors ranged in age from the veterans like Martin Lindsay, James Fredenham and Richard Dennis to the decidedly young faced Carl Rennie and Simon Turpin, so making the competition an agreeable mix of ages and experience. Most competitors were members of the Aldenham Club but Gareth Hoskins and Courtney Friend were welcome guests.
The organisation of the tournament remained simple and effective: the pairs are divided into two pools and all the pairs in each pool played each other in 30 minute matches. The pair with the highest overall score was the winner, irrespective of the number of games won at step. After the pool games the winner of each pool played in a final 30 minute match to decide the overall champion.
In the first pool the luck of the draw placed the strongest two pairs into a showdown in the first round. Matt Woods and Rubel Malik faced Phil Lyndon and Chris Austin in a hard fought match in which the Lyndon-Austin pairing managed to win the first game but quickly fell behind during the second, which was then halted by the end of time. Plucky Woods and Malik had just managed to edge the other pair by one point, 14 to 13, to win the match. Whilst the other pairs in the pool, Lindsay-Hoskins and Dennis-Fredenham, did their best to upset them Matt and Rubel took the next two matches with aplomb and prepared themselves for the championship match.
In the second pool there were a number of close matches, with Dave Goad and Graham Pulsford just barely defeating Oliver Lawton and Courtney Friend 16 to 15, having already defeated Carl Rennie and Simon Turpin in the first round. All looked well for the Goad-Pulsford pairing until they ran into Andrew Fraser and Neil Margerison, who had also won their first two rounds. This time the ball bounced in favour of Fraser and Margerison who claimed their place in the final with a resounding but ‘edgy’ 14 to 6 victory.
In the final game of the tournament the experience and wiliness of Fraser and Margerison was matched against the youth and explosive play of Woods and Malik. The exuberant play of Rubel Malik, who had never managed to win the Heath Tournament, and the steely focus of already one time winner Matt Woods proved too much for Andrew and Neil to overcome and Matt and Rubel emerged as clear winners, to be presented the trophy to universal acclaim and applause as worthy holders of the Heath Tournament trophy, which was presented by ‘Sir’ James Fredenham. The winners' shirts were black with yellow script; this year’s script spelt nearly to perfection! (thanks to Josh Rose).
Thanks also needs to be given to Club Secretary Phil Lyndon, Andrew Fraser and Graham Pulsford for organising a very successful day – fives, a barbecue and agreeable company!