Reece makes history by lifting Spa’s Sadler Cup and singles title

Enid Reece with her two trophies.
Enid Reece with her two trophies.

Royal Leamington Spa’s finals weekend saw Enid Reece complete a unique double in ladies’ singles competitions.

After beating Gill Allibone 21-12 in the Sadler Cup (for members who have never previously won a singles title), Reece then went on to be crowned ladies’ club champion.

Men's singles champion Bill Claridge is presented with his trophy by club chairman Dave Wigman.

Men's singles champion Bill Claridge is presented with his trophy by club chairman Dave Wigman.

Playing 2016 champion Donna Kerr, Reece opened up an 8-0 lead after four ends and never faltered as she went on to win 21-8. It is the first time in the club’s history that the Sadler Cup winner has also won the ladies’ championship.

The men’s championship final was a contest between club captain Malcolm Wickens and vice-captain Bill Claridge.

Tight opening exchanges saw the match tied at 7-7 after 12 ends but Claridge then eased ahead to lead 18-10.

Although Wickens came back to trail by just two shots, three shots on the 26th end secured the title for Claridge 21-16.

Claridge had reason to be wary of a comeback after his earlier singles handicap final against Dave Turner.

Seemingly in control at 18-7, Claridge saw Turner gradually work his way back into the contest. Conceding only two singles in the next 11 ends, Turner scored the 14 shots he needed in a thrilling match to take the title by 21 shots to 20.

The men’s and ladies’ runners-up in the main championship events suffered the same fate in the two-wood singles with Turner completing a 14-8 victory over Wickens to take his second title and Kerr narrowly beaten 14-13 by Janice White.

Both Kerr and Wickens did manage a title apiece in pairs’ events as Cynthia Briggs and Kerr beat Dawn Horne and White 27-13 in the ladies’ chosen pairs and Alan Taylor and Wickens overcame Ron Deavall and Claridge in the men’s three-wood pairs.

Wickens was second best for a third time, though, in the men’s four-wood pairs.

Playing with Maurice Leyland he went down 30-15 to Chris Bearman and Ray White.

However, in the men’s Jeffs Cup, fortunes were reversed as Leyland and Bearman faced each other again and Leyland took the title 21-14.

The final of the ladies’ handicap competition saw Anna Molony beat Sheena Harris 25-2 and in the ladies’ drawn pairs, Jean Smithard and Elizabeth Glynne-Jones overcame Pauline Castle, in her first season, and Dawn Horne 25-13.

The finals of the two mixed competitions were both exciting affairs. In the 11-end final of the triples for the Hooper Cup, Dave Golder, Anne Tarrant and Graham White stormed into a 9-0 lead after six ends.

However, David Payne, Jean Leyland and Jerry Horne won the next four ends to tie the match going into the final end before White recovered to take a single and the trophy 10-9.

In the mixed pairs, where Dawn and Jerry Horne took on Janet and Dick Allibon, there was also a very dramatic finish.

With the match at one set all and the decider tied at 7-7 with an end remaining, thunder and lightning plus torrential rain forced the players off the green.

Once the weather calmed down, the match was able to resume for a one end shootout, which the Allibons took with a single to lift the trophy for the first time.