2003/04 Keeling Cup
Richard Tyler reports:
The Individual Tournament was notable this year both for the number of five game matches and for some results which might seem surprising, even to the seasoned observer.
Possibly due in small part to the sleight of hand of the organiser, the draw has thrown up increasing numbers of close matches. Out of 12 matches this year 5 went to 5 games, 4 required 4 games and only the remaining 3 involved a 3-0 score line. This I think was exactly the sort of close, competitive, enjoyable fives which Malcolm Keeling had in mind when he originally set up the competition. Now on to the surprising results: which pundit would have predicted at the beginning of the season that Mike Hughes would have zoomed from last place in 2003 to claim the Keeling Cup in 2004 ?!! Or that Chris Cooley, having won the trophy convincingly in 2002, would plummet to last place this year - only to recover from this ignominy (like a phoenix from the ashes) to reach his first Kinnaird Final not 3 weeks later. As they say, fives is a funny game!
Mike Hughes' achievement was fantastic and people should be in no doubt that his form was excellent throughout and that he was the most successful participant in drawing the best out of his partner - a sphere of the game which should never be under rated !
The large number of close games meant a lower number of Tournament Points overall and facilitated a very tight finish. We played the last 2 rounds at Westway and this venue saw four 5 game matches. In Round 5 Mason & Wass required 5 games to beat Ed Taylor & Chris Cooley and Hughes & Walters (the Salopians) narrowly defeated Tyler & Friend (the Edwardians) 15-14 in the 5th (having been 10-2 up at one point).
The final round had plenty of excitement and several contenders for the Keeling Cup, with two topsy-turvy 5 game matches. Ed Taylor was pitted against Mike Hughes on one court and, with partner T Walters, recovered from 2-1 down to beat Hughes & Cooley 3-2. This left Ed Taylor an agonising quarter tournament point behind Mike Hughes. In the other game Ed Wass & Richard Tyler went 2-0 up against Robin Mason & Alex Illingworth. At that point, a 3-1 victory would have sufficed for Ed Wass to win the Keeling Cup, but Mason & Illingworth fought back to square the rubber 2-2. Even though Wass & Tyler prevailed in the deciding game, Ed missed out on the trophy by half a point.
Many congratulations to , a worthy and popular champion for 2004!