We have a new AC Open Singles Champion! Roger Stearn secured victory over defending champion, Simon Charrington. A case of third time lucky for Roger! It was, however, less a matter of luck and more a case of executing a good strategy keeping Simon at bay for significant periods of the match.
Simon won the toss and elected to go first while Roger chose the sunshine colours. Simon took initial control of the game and at his third attempt to get his roll shot range and bearing, managed to get going and quickly ran six hoops before missing his approach at one-back (Simon leads 6-0). This let Roger in to play a patient tactical game, keeping blue and black at 35+ yards apart while turn by turn picking up hoop points alternately with his red and yellow, getting both to hoop six. After some sparring, and Simon unable to get black started or make progress with blue, Roger successfully made a dash to Rover with yellow (Roger leads 16-6). After more sparring, black found itself in the jaws of hoop one which Roger judged was safe to leave and give a cheap point with no other ball in its ready range. Simon had other ideas and, with blue near hoop three and red and yellow by the east boundary slightly north of hoop four, he completed the run of hoop one, striking with enough weight to be able then to run hoop two, mid-distance hit-in to blue at hoop three, run the hoop and pick up red and yellow to the east of hoop four and getting a four-ball going before breaking down at four-back (Roger leads 16-15). More sparring ensued and, with one or two missed shots on both sides, the game could still have gone either way until (at Roger leads 17-16) Roger made his break with red, also eying to peel yellow through Rover, but happy to stay patient and settled with taking red to peg, keeping blue and black at maximum distance. Simon couldn’t manage to hit-in and next turn Roger ran rover with yellow and pegged out from ten yards (26-16). Well done, Roger, a well-earned and deserved victory.