The NI AC Championships opened on a sunny morning, starting with the doubles. There was a smaller field this year and it was run as a straight knockout. The final produced a well fought match , with John Christie (Thames Valley) and Nelson Morrow (Auckland) beating Andrew Stuckey (Auckland) and Luke Rive (Auckland) in a best of 3; 26-1, 15-26, 26-5.
After two days of sunny weather and beautiful lawns at the Epson/Remuera Club, the singles started on a grey wet day. The event started with 4 blocks of 4. After two hours of play, the lawns became water logged and play was suspended for more than 3 hours. The skies cleared and the early morning games were completed , followed by a second round. This delay meant that the blocks could not be completed on the first day. Due to the delays, Saturday ’s play started at 8am. The third round of the blocks were completed with the top 4 seeds winning their blocks: Paddy Chapman (Thames Valley) , John Christie, Peter Filbee (South Taranaki) and Vincent Commarieu (Auckland).
These four progressed to a best of 3 knockout. Paddy overcame Vincent in a quick match whereas the other match had to be pegged down at 8PM, with the players 1 all. The players not in the knockout, went into two blocks of 6, with reduced time limits due to the delays. Jarrod Coutts (South Canterbury) had a slow start in the blocks, losing all his games, but as the plate progressed he found his form and completed two TP’s and won his block. He was joined in the final by the other block winner, the manager Nelson Morrow. Jarrod’s form continued and he won the plate in quick time, 26-0.
The pegged down K/O match was completed fairly quickly and John Christie joined Paddy in the final. This was a top class match. John won the first game with a sixth turn TP. In game 2, Paddy had the first break to 4 back, John hit the lift and had a break to 4 back, Paddy hit the lift and completed his TP. The third game looked like there would be another TP by Paddy, but in trying to peel 4 back before 6, his ball ended up in the jaws of 4 back. This lead to a protracted game with both players, failing hoops and missing balls. Paddy finally got in and pegged John out, after some cat and mouse play , John hit a 30 yarder and won the game 26-21, securing his first North Island AC Singles title.
Melba Scott (Auckland Association President) presented the prizes to the winners. The 0+ and 4+ are not held as separate events but are presented to the player who has had the best performance in the event. The 0+ was won by Luke Rive and the 4+ by Mike Stuckey (Auckland).
Thank you to the Auckland Association and the Epsom Remuera Club for hosting the event and congratulations to all the winners!