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An unlikely double for Avenue

THE 23/24 Stratford Domino League season ended with the annual finals’ night, held this year at Clifford Chambers Social Club, reports Clive Ashfield.

As always, a good crowd turned out to watch the conclusion of the outstanding cup competitions and the presentations to the season’s winners.

To ensure a log jam didn’t occur on finals’ night, certain games had already been played including the Pairs competition which saw two of Yard’s doubles pitched against each other. Martyn Dyke and Dave Oxford faced off against teammates Andy Dyke and Sean McMillan in the best of three decider. Both grabbed a game to take it down to the last leg and a fascinating finale that went to the wire. A cagey exchange developed until finally the cards fell the way of Dyke and Oxford to enable them to secure the trophy.

League title winners Windmill
League title winners Windmill

A Yard trio were also involved in the Threes final, played off the previous week against defending champions Stags. A close encounter was to be expected but the Yard contingent of Sarah and Andy Dyke alongside Eric Davis mastered Stags’ Paul Symonds, Ken Turnball and Ken Greatrix 6-3 to add another trophy into the bulging Yard of Ale cabinet.

That haul was increased yet further on the night when Sean McMillan gained compensation for his Pairs defeat by adding the Single 9s with a 2-0 win over Nomads’ Yvon Ashfield.

Nomads enjoyed better luck in the Single 7s where their representative Mark Harris took on Adey Lees of the Windmill. Lees took the first leg before the match was evened up and the final leg turned into a classic with both taken to the limit and culminating with their pegs settling in Dead Hole. The tension was finally broken when the relieved Nomads player managed to force home the winner to snatch the silverware.

The Remembrance Cup is awarded to the player who records most wins throughout the 20-game league campaign. At the close of the season a three-way tie existed and after the KO Cup games eliminated one of them it needed a three-leg play-off to decide.

Stags’ Ken Turnball faced Dougie Macleod from Nomads for the honours which unsurprisingly went all the way down to the final game. That deciding leg was not so close fought though as Dougie conjured up a decisive break to finally get his hands on the coveted trophy.

That left just the main event to be decided with the Knockout Cup final between Yard and Avenue. Having conquered all those before them in the Individual competitions, Yard would have been a warm order to lift the cup, especially as they were facing bottom of the league Avenue. Following some decent performances in the qualifiers Avenue deservedly claimed their place in the decider and had no pressure on them at all.

A 2-1 first session advantage for Yard appeared to put them on their way but a fantastic second round response from Avenue took them to 4-2 up and within touching distance of the cup. Nerves began to jangle when Yard grabbed one back, but Avenue were flying and secured the final two tables to gleefully claim the cup 6-3.

On to the prize-giving and the charity event victors were first up with Annette and Geoff Stephens of Clifford taking the Mixed Pairs, Dave Jones and Dougie Macleod the Blind Pairs and Julia Oatley securing the Taffy Evans Memorial Trophy.

Avenue collected the Wooden Spoon to go with their KO Cup, a very rare collection indeed, prior to the completion of the evening with the presentation of the League shield to Windmill after their hard-earned title triumph.

The league would like to thank the Clifford Club for hosting a terrific evening. The AGM to structure the new season will be held at the Yard of Ale at 8pm on 29th August.

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