The MSMBA welcomed 12 players from Essex & Kent last Saturday at the NSC to take part in the inaugural Manx Challenge Shield, which the Isle of Man A team successfully won from their B team.
The Isle of Man squad was split into two teams of 6, along with 6 players from Essex and 6 from Kent. Each team would play each other with the matches consisting of games of singles, pairs & triples.
In the first session the A team were up against Kent. Stephen Gale, playing in the singles won 16-5 while the triples of Harry Minor, Seamus Whelan & Steve Durcan came through as 14-10 victors. Collin Holland & Bernie Durcan lost the pairs 16-5, however it was enough for the Isle of Man to claim the bonus point to win the opening match 5-2.
The B team, up against Essex also won 5-2 in another tight game. Chris Holland lost her singles 9-5 however Clare Hussain & Tony Quine won 14-6 in the pairs and Richard Faragher, Zawar Hussain & Jayne Smith won 9-5.
The second session saw the two Isle of Man teams face each other. Stephen Gale beat Chris Holland 14-5 in the singles for the A team while Clare Hussain & Tony Quine won 14-13 against Collin Holland & Bernie Durcan for the B team. The triples ended 7-7 which meant the A team came out 4-3 winners thanks to the superior shot difference claiming the bonus point. Kent beat Essex 5-2 in their match to mean they were still in with a chance of claiming the title.
The final session saw Stephen Gale win 17-5 against Essex and Collin Holland & Bernie Durcan coming good to win 17-3 in the pairs. Harry Minor, Seamus Whelan & Steve Durcan lost their triples 8-6 giving the A team another 5-2 victory.
Chris Holland got her first victory for the B team thanks to a 13-7 win, while Sheila Durcan, Zawar Hussain & Jayne Smith took the triples 11-6 while Clare Hussain & Tony Quine lost 12-7.
With the final round played the A team had claimed the title by a point from the B team with Kent a further 4 points back.
It is hoped that the Manx Challenge Shield will continue next season and beyond with more players already interested in visiting the Island next year.