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The John Durham Cup final - 11th August 2023

© JohnWilkinson

It may seem half a lifetime ago, though it was in fact in early June, that the first round of the singles competition began in the inaugural John Durham Cup.

Today it came to a climax with Mem playing Steve on the terrain in Priory Park, with the match refereed by Carl. The players also enjoyed the support of HPC members cheering them on.

With a backdrop of scores of happy kids enjoying a summer playscheme (and occasional hazardous forays of toddlers onto the terrain) play got underway at 10am.

First blood in the first game went to Steve with a two, but Mem kept up, staying within striking range until Steve had a minor surge taking the score to 7-12. Mem didn’t panic and in the 14th end scored a three, followed by a two to level the scores at 12-12. Mem led with the cochonnet into the 16th but Steve managed to sneak a boule just inside Mem’s to take the first game 12-13.

Steve took the first end of game two, but Mem roared into the lead taking six of the next eight ends to lead 8-4 before Steve fought back with two twos to tie the scores at 8-8. Mem regrouped to score five points in four ends to take the game in the 15th.The score was 13-8 and the games were tied at 1-1.

Both players were shooting when the position required it and both of them were striking with a significant level of success.

The third leg saw fairly even scoring through the early ends and it stood at 3-3 after five. But then Mem surfed a wave of success taking eight points to Steve’s one over the next six ends to leave the score at 11-4 after eleven ends.

Both players were having problems when throwing the cochonnet. Mem made a number of short throws while Steve hit the wooden surround on number of occasions. Was the tension getting to them, despite their cheery demeanours?

Steve again regrouped and scored four consecutive twos to take the lead in the 15th end, making the score 11-12. Into the 16th end Steve snatched victory with a single point to make the critical score 1-2 in games.

Into the fourth end, Steve took first blood with a two, answered by a one from Mem in the second. Steve then scored his first three of the day followed by a two. That momentum he’d picked up in the third game was carrying through to the fourth.

Over the next four ends Steve outscored Mem with four points to two, then in the eight he got his second three of this game to take him to Championship point. With his last boule and his last chance to save the game, Mem put his boule in short, giving the win to Steve.

Congratulations to Steve, the first holder of the John Durham Cup and commiserations to Mem who will, no doubt, be challenging with extra determination next year.

Thanks also to everyone who took part through the rounds and let us not forget to congratulate Glanville who was victorious in the Plate competition.

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