National Titles Weekend at Gravesend

Congratulations to Kaylee Thatcher & Callum Lombard on winning their first National Mixed Doubles Title at Gravesend over the Bank Holiday Weekend. Well done also to all the players from the Southern Region who survived the three gruelling long days playing on some tough pistes. To add to the challenge, three tonnes of 20-30mm large stone chippings had been added to all terrains a few days before the competition, and this last-minute change led to much debate on social media and required many players to adapt and completely change their preferred style of play!

Here’s a roundup of Southern’s teams over the weekend…

The three-day event kicked off on Saturday 25 May with the Singles, which saw Sammy, Kaylee & Paula into the Main of the Women’s competition, with the latter two making it to the quarter-finals. In the Men’s competition, Jamie and Callum made it through to the top 16 with Callum reaching the quarter-finals. Liam made it to the Plate quarter-finals, and Andy Walker made the Plate semis.

On day two, in the Women’s Doubles, Kaylee (with partner Ella Slade) and Sammy (playing with Claire White) both reached the Main semi-finals, and Paula & Christine Peat made it to the top 8 to get to the quarter finals. Hassi & Angela just missed out on the Main and finished the day as Plate Consolage runners-up.

The Men’s Doubles saw Jamie Brooks and Callum Lombard beat Glenn & Liam Floyd in the first knockout game of the afternoon. They then clocked-up two further wins to reach the Main semi-finals where they narrowly lost 13-10 to eventual winners Sam Blakey & Ross Jones. Meanwhile, playing together for the first time, Andy Walker & Frank Charlesworth were beaten in the Main Consolage semi’s by Glenn & Liam who reached the final. Also playing for the first time was Paul Hayes, who played with Robert Cleaver in the Men’s and then with Paula in the Mixed Doubles.

By day three, the atmosphere seemed more relaxed as the Mixed Doubles Titles Competition got underway. Callum & Kaylee clocked up an impressive 3 wins with +38 after the morning leagues, followed by an even more impressive run of knockout matches taking them through to play the finals and beating the formidable duo Sarah Huntley & Jack Blows, who have won the title 3 times over the last 4 years. All four players showcased some exceptional skills with each boule played and displayed an equal measure of mutual respect. A brilliant result for Callum & Kaylee.

Other notable results of the day saw Sammy (playing with Jeremy Huntley) win the Main Consolage, Mark & Hassi win the Plate Consolage and Andy & Dawn take the Bronze Consolage.

Thanks to Mike Cubbitt and his team at Gravesend RFC for all the hard work and enormous amount of preparation (before, during and after) to ensure a smooth and successful Titles Weekend, and also to Annette & Martin Eggleton for three long days of meticulous behind-the-scenes operation. And finally, hats off to umpires John Edmondson and Gareth Sullivan who tirelessly remained vigilant from the start to the end – no mean feat!

Bye for now from your Happy Blogger