This annual event is scheduled for a Sunday in January, when teams of 12 players are invited from each of quarter of Devon. It usually involves three teams, but this year all areas were able to raise a side, and they met at Exeter, at the Isca Centre, a comfortably appointed indoor bowls and bridge club, recently built on the site of the old County Show Ground. The North team is drawn from the membership of Tiverton and Barnstaple, South comes from the various clubs in Torbay, while the East comprises clubs in the Exeter & District League and the West comes from the membership of the large Plymouth Club. The overall population base of each area is approximately equal at 250,000, so to that extent it tends to make for a close contest.
Players are matched according to the Hutton Pairing system, which ensures that although the teams are mixed up, the formula guarantees that, for example where 4 teams are involved, four players from any one team will play each of the other teams, and of those four, 2 will have the white pieces and the other two being black. And, where there is an even number of teams, all players will be matched with someone on the same board number as themselves. It’s complicated, but it works and it’s fair.
Before the start, the organiser, Alan Maynard, was the only person to have seen all the team lists and ventured that the winners would be either East or West, but no-one was fooled by that prophesy as anything can happen in this kind of match – and usually does.
Certainly, the East started well, winning two of their 1st 3 games, while the West lost their 1st games, but from then on there was never more than a point between them. In the end, it came down to the very last game to finish, David Toms of the East against Richard Pollock of the West, Toms needing to win for East to share 1st place. In the early endgame, Toms had blundered away a bishop, having seen the trap in earlier analysis, but had two extra pawns for it. It came down to a bishop + 3 vs 5 pawns. Toms fought gamely to give himself a chance, and indeed both queened a pawn. But Pollock was able to force them both off immediately and was left with a solitary pawn free to get his 3rd queen. So the matter was settled by the last pawn in the last game to finish - it was that close.
|1||E1||J. Stephens||181||0||1||J. Duckham||165||N1|
|2||S1||A. Clarke||164||0||1||D. Twine||170||W1|
|3||N2||S. Bartlett||162||1||1||W. Ingham||164||S2|
|4||W2||R. Pollock||164||1||0||D. A. Toms||159||E2|
|5||E3||P. J. Kennedy||151||1||0||A. Billings||148||S3|
|6||N3||S. Clarke||155||½||½||M. Stinton-B||149||W3|
|7||S4||R. Wilby||133||0||1||I. Annetts||155||N4|
|8||S4||E. J. Smith||143||1||0||B. Gosling||156||E4|
|9||S5||J. E. Allen||140||1||0||J. Morrison||152||N5|
|10||E5||J. S. Murray||143||1||0||K. Bloodworth||122||W5|
|11||N6||J. Knowles||133||1||0||G. Body||140||E6|
|12||W6||A. Tatam||127||1||0||J. W. Clarke||129||S6|
|13||E7||R. H. Jones||138||1||0||R. Dooley||114||N7|
|14||S7||N. F. Tidy||129||0||1||R. Greenhalgh||117||W7|
|15||N8||S. T-Tracey||114||½||½||F. Sugden||127||S8|
|16||W8||C. Peach||114||0||1||O. Wensley||120||E8|
|17||E9||J. Dzenis||120||½||½||K. Hindon||124||S9|
|18||N9||B. Aldwin||111||0||1||J. Ariss||111||S9|
|19||W10||D. Scantlebury||112||1||0||B. Connor||88||N10|
|20||S10||G. Bramley||110||½||½||H. Welch||115||E10|
|21||S11||J. Doidge||106||1||0||J. Wheadon||88||N11|
|22||E11||F. R. Hodge||111||0||1||J. Dean||109||W11|
|23||N12||A. Barclay||35||0||1||W. Fairbairn||101||E12|
|24||W12||C. Zisimides||97||0||1||N. Mills||93||S12|