All set for the Quarter-Finals
Round 7 of the Winter League, which completed the round robin stage, took place recently at Burghley Park, and threw up some dramatic results. The top two sides from each of the four divisions go through to the knockout stage, with the quarter -finals due to be played by the 1st of March.
In League A, Sam Price and Joe Lippett continued their relentless progress, with six victories out of seven matches. Their only ‘dropped’ points came as a result of a concession to the second placed team, Piers and Russ Compton, as they could not play that fixture on the date arranged owing to personal reasons. To many, they remain strong favourites for the title. When asked for his comments, Sam paid tribute to all of their opponents in such a competitive group, but picked out their opening match against Terry Austin and Bill O’Driscoll as probably their most enjoyable contest so far.
League B was arguably even more competitive, with the top two teams not decided until after the final round of matches. The group leaders after 5 rounds, Stephen and Jamie Crowson, were agonisingly pushed into third place at the last gasp when they were beaten in their final match by Grant McCann and Peter Callcut, who crucially won1 up. This meant that, following five wins each, both teams ended on the same points total (15) and the same number of ‘ups’ (9). In these circumstances, the advantage goes to the team that won the head-to head match, and so McCann and Callcut progress into the quarter-finals, alongside the group winners, Stephen Hopkins and Graham Camp, who marched serenely through, having won six of their seven matches,
Things were almost as tight in League C, as David Jackson and Javan Argent surprisingly lost their final match 1 up to Brian Eldred and Tim Chapman, thereby ending on the same points total (15) as Anthony Barnes and Graham Shaw, who won their final match by the huge margin of 5 and 3. However, Jackson and Argent still claimed top spot because of a superior ‘up’ total of 15 holes, 3 more than that recorded by their closest rivals. Eldred and Chapman’s victory pushed them into third place, just ahead of Neil Harden and Mark Norman.
As they prepared for their final round robin match in league D, Chris Quinn and Dave Lennie knew that they had already qualified for the knockout stage, but in order to top the group they had to win their match against Ryan Birtles and Andy Stewart by at least three holes. A tense victory was dramatically secured with a half in 3s on the sixteenth green, giving them a 3 and 2 victory. This gave them the same final record of 18 points and 15 ‘ups’ as Gary Harrison and David Marsden, and, just as with League B, top spot was decided by the result of the earlier head-to-head match. Organiser Stewart Ward said that, although this rule has been in place for many years, this was the first time he could remember two qualifying positions being decided in this way.
The quarter-finals pit Sam Price and Joe Lippett against Grant McCann and Peter Callcut; Stephen Hopkins and Graham Camp take on Piers and Russ Compton; David Jackson & Javan Argent play Gary Harrison and David Marsden; and Chris Quinn and Dave Lennie take on Anthony Barnes and Graham Shaw.