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20 October

Won 8-8 (tie-break)

SCF Advantage League FINAL

Captain Paul Franklin inspired his PCC 'D' team to come from behind to clinch the SCF Advantage League title by the slimmest of margins in a thrilling last hour of play today.
Franklin won all four of his games as he first kept the 'D' in the match for the first three rounds and was then on hand to complete the team victory in fitting fashion.
Eynsham showed no sign of travel weariness after a delayed arrival and, despite good preparation by Phyllis Court, the home side could muster only one win from Franklin in the first round as they trailed 1-3.
It was all PCC 'D' could do to prevent Eynsham's lead from growing in the second round, with only Ruth Raunkiaer able to join Franklin with a positive result, to keep the Phyllis Court scoreboard ticking over.
Franklin was in positive mood at lunch, despite the 3-5 match score deficit, and realistically his side were going to need wins from all four players in the afternoon.
The third round brought together Franklin and the likewise undefeated Mike Nightingale in a game that looked pivotal, and Franklin won it with some ease. However, with only Daphne Spiers adding her first win to that of Franklin, Eynsham's two game lead stayed firmly rooted, at 5-7.
With just the four fourth round games remaining, Phyllis Court's task became clear - they needed to win three times and one of those wins had to be in Franklin's 1 v 1 game, because that result would be the tie-breaker result. it would be cruel indeed on Eynsham, if Phyllis Court could overhaul (or at least tie with) the visitors tally, and things started really well for the home side.
Franklin got well ahead in his game, and impressively off the back of three defeats, Steve Morton soon also enjoyed a lead, so too did Raunkiaer, and the prospects for scoreboard turnaround began to loom large for Eynsham.
Raunkiaer was first to finish with a 7-3 win (her second) to close Eynsham's lead to 6-7 and then Morton played with home supporters' emotions by taking his game to the last hoop before winning to 7-6, to tie the match score at 7-7.
Spiers's game was some way behind that of captain Franklin, who enjoyed a two hoop lead over Eynsham's Paul Cotterell, and he was soon closing-in on the last few and match winning scores, only too well aware that his result would not only ensure PCC 'D' of a last a match draw but a tie-break League title winning victory into the bargain.
Franklin showed great patience to keep positioning in front of the hoop as he waited for Cotterill's errors that were bound to come and eventually did.
Franklin converted a mid-range hoop shot to win 7-4, and that was it - game, match and league title to PCC 'D'.
Spiers was overhauled right at the end of her game, so the scoreboard read 8-8 at the close of play, and with Franklin's 1 v 1 result the deciding factor, there was joy in the Phyllis Court camp.
In the absence of a Southern Croquet Federation Official, The Croquet Association's Tournaments Committee member Frances Colman, who had been refereeing the match, complimented both teams before presenting the SCF Advantage League trophy to Franklin and PCC 'D'.
Colman reminded Phyllis Court that their league win will give Phyllis Court two teams in next season's GC Federations Shield national competition, which Colman herself had launched five years ago, and as she is retiring from that committee now, this was a very fitting last act for her to perform in that role.
A v Camerton & Peasedown 1-Apr-2023.JPG
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