The Annual Chatham Winter Summers Handicap which took place at the Howard centre on the 17th August was a huge success. There was a new name on the trophy when 84 year old veteran Doug Murray rolled back the years and shocked all before him,dismantling youngster Charlie Cook to take the crown for the first time.
There were 24 competitors,that were split into groups of four, with the top two progressing to the next stage and the two losers into the consolation.
Number one seed and Premier league player David McAulay had to give over a huge handicap and was never at the races,even losing a leg to division two player,Harry Jones,who’s fabulous attacking play showed why he is such an exciting young prospect. Jones then overcame Alain Day and Dennis Harrington to march into the next round. Last years winner Martin Birley looked like he might retain his title after a comfortable path into the next stage, but after seeing off old stalwart Roger Chipperfield by 13 Points,Doug Murray’s 12 points on handicap proved crucial just edging out Birley by three points, 65, 62 to move into the semi final.
Charlie Cook’s path to the semi final was even more closer,with narrow wins over Dennis Harrington and Arekukle Areyemi respectively. Gareth Dewrney joined him in the last four,defeating organiser Malcolm Kay and youngster Rafee Kajee
The first semi between Charlie Cook and Gareth Dewreny should have been close, with Cook giving away 12 points a leg on handicap,but despite this,Cook wasn’t to be denied and came away with a 62, 44 victory.
Harry Jones who had been in scintillating form,would now surely brush aside Doug Murray in the other semi final, but Murray produced a masterclass performance,not allowing the youngster to dictate,winning 70 points to 48,the four points a leg he had on handicap, hardly mattering.
The final between Cook and Murray was a cagey affair at first, with Cook taken a one point lead into the next leg,but the determination and consistency of the veteran in the second leg, was just too much for Cook,who’s frustration was plainly evident, with shots going awry. Murray’s counter attacking to Cook’s backhand,not allowing Cook to smash, was a performance of high quality and experience and eventually Cook tamely surrendered,going down 70.62, a tremendous win by the old timer, adding another trophy to his already full cabinet!
As for the consolation, Segun Ake was the victor, with a comprehensive win over
division one player, Dale Ballard.