It had all the ingredients of a competitive final. Come-from-behind draws, surprising wins and clinical finishing in the end-game.
In the end St Martin’s popped the champagne to celebrate a well-deserved 23-17 win as the team from the east lifted the 2014 national team draughts title yesterday.
Diminutive Richard Grazette led the way with 1-0 wins against Sam Marshall and Wayne “Peg” Gill of Lodge Road A. His finishing in a Whilter game with Marshall and a Second Double Corner line with Gill were clinical and grabbed six critical points in the keenly-contested match.
Ian Callender capitalised on an end-game with Whitfield “Festus” Robinson and bagged three points for St Martin’s who led 12-8 at the half time. But it could have been closer at Mike Barker’s academy at Bush Hall Sunday evening as Nathaniel “Thani” Grosvenor surprised Anthony “Rat” Agard by winning the first game in a clash of Cross lines. Agard did well to show Grosvenor that he too was a capable Cross specialist by clinching the second game.
Lodge Road A also failed to capitalise in the second round where Ian Callender fought back from a game down to draw with Sam Marshall. St Martin’s narrowly won the second round 11-9 but their four-points advantage from the first round proved the determining factor.
Seven teams competed in the team tournament. Last Sunday Mike Barker’s Magicians secured third place with a comfortable victory over a much-improved Lodge Road B side.
Despite limited sponsorship the team tournament demonstrated that draughts is on the rise, with more teams prepared to enter at a competitive level.