2021/2022 SA State Triples Championship
The 2021/22 State Triples Championship was the first SAPL event for the season, after the July Interclub round was cancelled due to a COVID outbreak. This year, the event was run over two days, something which hadn’t been tried since the early days of the competition nearly twenty years ago. Sixteen teams took part.
The conditions were cool but mostly fine, except for a chilly shower late on Saturday afternoon. Fortunately, most of the rain fell overnight and it had cleared by the time play recommenced on Sunday, which turned out to be a nice day. However, the underlying moisture put a real spring in the step of the terrain, making it particularly challenging.
The competition was tight throughout. After the five preliminary rounds, every team had won at least one game while only one team had gone undefeated. The latter fell at the first hurdle in the knockout rounds, meaning that no-one got through the entire competition unscathed. In the end, the final turned out to be a mix of the old and the new on both sides. It involved three very experienced and highly credentialed players and three players competing in their first championship final.
Ultimately, the spoils went to Nathan James, David Lefer & Lionel Chazal, all from the Eastern Suburbs club. This victory adds a third State Triples Championship to Lionel’s very impressive resume, which also includes a number of national titles. For David, it’s his fourth State Triples crown, although it’s been some time between drinks. His first win came in the year 2000 (when the competition was only three years old) and the last one was in 2007. He becomes the first person to win this event four times. Congratulations also to Nathan for his first state title.
Runners-up were Kathy Gepp, Gary Hosie & Christian Puccini. After a slow start, this untried combination from the Novar Gardens club powered their way through to the final, picking up some impressive scalps along the way including the Consolante winners, Melissa Scott, Gavin Scott & Van Nguyen from Prospect. An honourable mention must also go to the Adelaide Hills trio of Mike Read, Peter Davies & Brian Tuckfield, who finished equal third. They topped Pool A in the preliminary rounds and were the only team to record a win against the eventual champions. However, the latter got their revenge when they met for a second time in the semi‑final (albeit by a smaller margin).
Thanks to all those who put their time into the running of this event, especially the volunteers from host club ESP and the umpire, Adrian Clements.