Don Beck writes:
GC London Masters
The 4th London Masters was held at Surbiton.. 12th13th August 2017
Despite a wet spell the lawns were playing well with moderately firm hoops that posed a challenge not seen by a few players this summer
The format of the event is two blocks of 6 players. In each block all-play-all 13pt bets of 3.
The Right Block after 3 rounds had 4 players with two wins . Something for the players to discuss Saturday evening.... Come Sunday and after the fourth round it was clear that the block's fifth seed Martin French only needed to beat Mark Daley 2-0 to be in the final. Mark the fourth seed had other ideas and demolished Martin 7-5,7-0. This left the route to final open to Nick Archer, who apart from a match against Nicholas Cheyne, head played accurate consistent croquet.
The Left Block looked like a formality for the fourth seed Lionel Tibble who won his first three matches without conceding a game. Sunday morning and he played Guy Schofield, second seed, who also had 3 wins. The match started with a game win for Lionel. Guy who had taken time to find his form then took the initiative and control winning 7-3. This continued into the third whereupon Lionel recovered to take a 5-4 lead. Then Lionel played the shot of the year.. A cut rush blue on red. Red from 3 to 4 yards hit black in the jaws of 10 peeling it and replacing the black in the jaws hampered for being able to play to hoop 11. (an even bigger fluke than when Lionel approaching 10 earlier had nicked a ball in court went on to cleanly run 10.) After that Lionel showed his fallibility by missing a couple of very short hoop shots but still won the third game 7-5. Lionel won the second game in his last round match and had done enough to qualify for the final.
In the final Lionel's superior accuracy proved too much for Nick and though the score does not reflect the closeness of the contest Lionel beat Nick 7-3, 7-2.
At the awards line paid tribute to the Surbiton ground staff, all the chefs/cook/ assistants and his fellow players.