We arrived in good time after an uneventful trip down and left the umbrella at the main gate at Mill Rythe where the competition was to take place. Some people were already hard at it practising for the forthcoming matches. We set off to our accommodation in the static caravan park as we had booked too late to get into Mill Rythe. The accommodation turned out to be a huge disappointment, but the shuttle bus between the two sites proved to be excellent.
Saturday dawned overcast. We were were required to be onsite at 8.00 for briefing, play to start at 8.30. Seven games to be played, an hour and a half for lunch (depending of course on state of play!) starting again at 2.30.
860 people started to play promptly at 8.30 and the rain arrived promptly 15 minutes later. And it rained ALL day, with very brief lulls between showers - when T took the pictures! What a horrible day! Our people played their last match on 2cms of mud … However, one of our teams (MTTA) managed to win 6 of the 7 matches, one team (PW) lost all of theirs and the other two won 4 - Burnham and 1 (Winnersh). Scoresheets papier mache, we finished at 7.30, thoroughly soaked, but fortunately not frozen. We went back by shuttle bus to our accommodation for a quick change, then off for supper at a local pub. Food not bad.
Chris decided to sleep on the sofa – which would at least be long enough and wide enough for him to sleep comfortably. The sleeping accommodation was very 'tight' and caused problems for the rest of us too.
Sunday (what a change!) started with the briefing at 8.30. Only 5 games this day, and we were on a different set of pistes. PW fared better on this day as we won one game! But at least it was bright and sunny – a total change from the day before.
There were 4 official umpires – so it was good to know and abide by the rules – They checked for anomalies as well as answering calls for their input. The Thames Valley 'Challenge' teams (Division 2) came 6th of 8 and the 'Championship' (Division 2) came 7th of 8. For a look at how we did, click on this link .
The event was very well organised and the standard of play was very high. Will we send a PW team next year? I hope so, but it depends if we qualify, and accommodation must be booked well in advance to be sure to get into Mill Rythe!