The second leg of the 2nd annual Winter Friendly Trophy was held today at Caerleon RFC PC. Readers will remember that Monkstone had performed particularly well in the first leg held at the beginning of December, running out winners by 30 points to 15. It could be said that Monkstone were quietly confident of securing the 16 points they needed for victory out of the 45 on offer, There were even grand thoughts that wins in 8 of the 9 singles (Monkstone had won 7 out of 9 in the first leg) would give them the 16 points needed.
Tansy Mayfield called all the competitors to order, welcomed Monkstone to the Caerleon and admitted that Caerleon had a bit of a mountain to climb to retain the cup they had won last year by the slenderest margin of 1 point.
The singles got underway and Monkstone were looking comfortable with the first 3 scores to come being 13-3 wins for Mike Jones, Gareth Spencer and Jayne Dunn. With Amanda Jenkins, Peter Kensett and Phil Roberts holding reasonable leads in their games, it was looking like 6 wins for 12 of the points needed for victory. Only rookie Amanda managed to hold onto her lead for a 13-7 win while Peter and Phil went down 10-13 and 12-13 respectively. With Tony Smith and Michelle Spencer also going down Monkstone were left with only 4 wins out of 9 giving them half of the required 16 points.
So it was onto the 4 doubles games where Monkstone were looking for a better return. It didn’t turn out that way – Tony Smith & Bernard Adshead let an early lead slip and were always struggling eventually going down 7-13. Mike Jones and Gill Greenwell went down 9-13 and Roger Griffin and Vickie Adshead lost 10-13 on the last end. The whitewash was saved by Phil Roberts and Jane McGirr who took their game 12-9.
The result of this was that it left Monkstone needing to win one of the three triples – a situation they had hoped to avoid by picking up the points they needed from the singles and doubles. In fact they only gained 11 of the necessary 16. At this point Caerleon were leading 19-11 on the day but Monkstone were leading 41-34 overall.
A break was taken to devour the extremely tasty soup, bread and cakes provided by Caerleon.
The triples got underway with players and spectators alike keeping their eye on all three scoreboards. Roger, Bernard and Vickie in the mixed triples were always struggling but a glance across to the other two pistes showed that Gareth, Phil & Peter building a healthy lead and Tony, Mike & Jayne slowing edging ahead of their opponents. A couple of ends later showed G, P & P had shipped a few points and their lead had been cut down. Meanwhile T, M & J were increasing their lead whilst R, B & V were still struggling. The first game to finish was G, P & P who ran out winners by 13-6 securing the trophy for Monkstone. Shortly after T, M & J posted a 13-2 win leaving the mixed triple as the only game to finish. Monkstone had been 8-1 down but a small run of form pegged Caerleon back to 8-5 before they reimposed themselves on the game increasing their lead to 10-5. R, B & V weren’t going to give up without a fight taking it to 10 -7. A bad end followed in which it was wide open for Caerleon to take the 3 points needed but they missed the final point to increase their lead to 12-7. Monkstone took 1 on the next end for 12-8 but time was up during the end leaving a final end to be played. V opened with a great boule on the cosh but Caerleon knew that they only had to keep it tight so didn’t attempt to shoot. They pointed in all 6 boules with 2 of them within inches of the cosh. V put her next boule about 15 inches behind the cosh, leaving Monkstone first and fourth. B pointed his first which also went behind the cosh close to V’s. The agreed plan was to try to roll the cosh back a few inches to give 3 or possibly 4. B threw and agonisingly touched the cosh but only moved it a fraction leaving them still holding 1. R pointed in, got a ricochet and sneaked through for 2. R threw the final boule which fell slightly short, ending what would have been a great comeback and leaving Monkstone on 10-12.
All the points were totted up and Tansy announced that Caerleon had salvaged some pride by winning 24-21 on the day but overall Monkstone had taken the cup by 51-39. Tansy congratulated Monkstone on their win and said that she thought that it had been a great competition played in a friendly spirit. Bernard said that he agreed entirely with Tansy’s comments and said that we should get the dates in the diary for another encounter in 2020/21.
Advance notice: The agreed dates are: 29 November 2020 at Caerleon and 10 January 2021 at Monkstone :
Revised Dates: 22 November 2020 at Caerleon and 10 January 2021 at Monkstone