On Friday night (12th May) the league held its annual presentation night at Crewe Golf Club. It was a great night typified by a good turnout of 60+ people. Rose Hickson was our guest of honour presenting the trophies and giving the kind of rallying speech about our wonderful game that we would love to hear from Badminton England. In fact Rose was invited there with an ulterior motive - in that the Tony Hickson award for services to the game in Crewe and District was presented to Rose (unbeknownst to her !). Rose was in many ways the power behind the great servant Tony was, and even during his worst days suffering from the cancer that would eventually claim him, Rose kept him faithful to the work of the league. Since then of course, several years later, Rose has continued to serve the game thrugh her coaching of juniors at Shavington some of whom in the room had benefitted from her guidance.
Northwich sent along possibly the largest contingent in living memory. No one can actually verify that but a marvellous effort. Thank you Northwich. After dinner (and the fare at the golf club was on form again) Dave Sumner started proceedings off by making excuse for missing the AGM - the room was having none of it. Dave quickly moved on and introduced Tony Marks to MC the divisional and tournament winners. Only two tournament winners were present - however Jack Raiswell and Craig Eccleston were rightly lauded as Mens Open champions. Likewise Ann Lewis and Charlotte Sherlock, worthy winners of the Ladies Handicap.
Most divisional winners were in the room to collect their trophies. Welsh Row needed to get to the front several times. Northwich had both Ladies and Mens winners. Canute were limited to one trophy this time. It was nice to see wins for Congleton and Malbank in the Mens, it is some time since we saw that. Welsh Row then doubles as Central Methodists for the Ladies - next season they will go under the Welsh Row flag. Tony threw in a few statistics from the web site - most remarkable of which were the number of games played by Alison Bowker of Welsh Row. It seems she spent quite a few days worth of time on court. We assume Les is OK with this.
Dave continued with the John Ford and recounted Holmes Chapel exploits en route to their successful final. The bulk of the team were there to have their moment of glory. Dave never misses an opportunity to congratulate the handicappers who had a remarkable season. The bar is set high.
Then Brian Horrocks (author of this article) presented the Stan Smith trophy to Hannah Marks of Northwich and Crosses. Hannah has come through the ranks of juniors, having tournament success at all age groups, moving on the inter-league badminton and now into senior league. Her progress has been rapid much to the delight of parents Sarah and Tony. The award was particularly gratifying for Brian and Rose both of whom coached Hannah at Shavington in her earliest years.
Dave completed the formalities with the Tony Hickson award and a bouquet of flowers for Rose. We then had a few minutes of intense gambling with a game of heads and tails. John Hunter and Ruth Raiswell combined to relieve everyone of their cash and run the game. Two runs of the game resulted in a win for the Holmes Chapel table and the Northwich table (only because Gail Armstrong one the first run, then won it again on the second run!! but sportingly put the winnings back in for a third run, and sat that one out so she wouldn't win it again)
Then there was a surprise for everyone, and what a pleasant surprise. Simon Dyson of Welsh Row set up his equipment and treated us to a superb hour of musical entertainment. Simon is an accomplished musician and often performs at events either solo or in his quartet. Generally speaking, only Mark Knopfler can pull off Dire Straits songs - until now.