Southern Challenge 2021
After a year’s gap because of the pandemic, the flagship tournament of the South East Federation returned albeit with slightly reduced numbers to allow for the restrictions that were still in place.
The tournament was divided into three divisions with Division 1 being played at Sussex County over the weekend of the 19th/20th June. On the same day Division 2 North was played at Surbiton and Division 2 South was played at Sussex County on 3rd/4th July.
For Division 1 there were some very close fought battles, but in the end the final was contested between Dulwich and Sussex County 2. With games standing at one all it came down to a singles game to win the match and the Tournament. Needless to say this game went to the 13th hoop with Dulwich coming out as the eventual winners. Ryde 1 was in third place and East Dorset in 4th.
Meanwhile up in Surbiton six teams were battling it out for the Division 2 North trophy. The final was contested between Surbiton and Cheam 1 with Surbiton coming out as the winners 2 games to 1. Reigate was in third place and Ryde 2 in fourth.
After a couple of weeks breather seven teams met to compete for the Division 2 South competition. This time, as there were seven teams, there was a different format with teams playing in blocks with no final. All teams had to play each other twice over the weekend. Eventually it came down to a tussle between Littlehampton and Rottingdean 1.
Rottingdean had to beat their fellow players from Rottingdean 2 to claim an outright win but they were beaten. So on 9 matches each the tie-break came down to games won, so Littlehampton triumphed by 25 games to 24 for Rottingdean. It could not have been closer. Sussex County 3 were third and West Worthing fourth.
Thanks to Jonathan Isaacs for organising the overall tournament which was a challenge in its own right, and to Andrew Stewart, Andy Dibben and Jonathan for running the events on the day.
Hopefully next year some normality will return and we will welcome more teams to compete in this popular event.