2002/03 Keeling Cup
Richard Tyler reports:
The individual Tournament produced some very close matches this year and a nail biting climax at Ludgrove at the end of March. Twelve matches produced no less than three five game matches and a 2-2 draw at Westway when the lights went out! Ed Wass and Richard Tyler were each involved in three out of four of these games and so were forced to work hard for their tournament points.
After five rounds Richard Tyler, Ed Taylor, Alex Illingworth and Ed Wass were separated by only 1 and a 1/2 points with Tyler holding a narrow lead. The draw for the final round would be crucial. With three substitutes participating, Halstead for Mason, Tom Dunbar for his brother Peter and Friend for Walters, it was going to be an interesting afternoon.
The first match involved a titanic fightback by Wass and Friend to win 3-2 against Taylor and Mike Hughes, despite having trailed 2-0. This gave Ed Wass his fourth win of the tournament but, surprisingly, this only proved good enough to finish third. In the second match Tyler and Halstead got away to a good start against Illingworth and Dunbar to lead 1-0. However, Alex and Tom won a close second and then really got into gear in the third and fourth games. A 3-1 victory allowed Alex to claim the Keeling Cup at his first attempt (a feat only previously achieved by one Brian Matthews) and Richard Tyler came second (for about the fourth time!).
Congratulations to Alex on a great achievement - we look forward to your defending the Cup next year.
It was fitting that Malcolm Keeling was on hand to to Alex. This year's competition has once again shown that (with an appropriate draw!) Malcolm's format consistently produces close, competitive fives.
We were unlucky with injuries this year (serious bruises ruling Robin Mason out of three rounds) and we had to call on substitutes in several rounds. Thanks very much to Courtney Friend, Niifio Addy, Tom Dunbar and Jamie Halstead for coming to the rescue and performing very well. However, the extensive use of substitutes does detract a little from the competition. Next season I hope that we will be more fortunate and that everyone will make a greater commitment to play in every round.