European ladies take 2-1 lead in annual Bland Cup tournament in Georgia

Photo courtesy of Kelly Fisher
It was anything but bland. The 3rd Annual Bland Cup tournament, held on Friday, June 24 at the home of Doctor Richie Bland in Carrollton, GA, a few miles west of Atlanta, featured 10 of the top women in the sport; five, playing for the USA (Monica Webb, Ewa Laurance, Vivian Villarreal, Jeanette Lee and Megan Smith) and five, for Europe (Allison Fisher, Kelly Fisher, Jasmin Ouschan, Line Kjoersvik and Helena Thornfeldt). Entering the tournament, the two squads were tied at one Bland Cup victory apiece. In the end, Europe chalked up its second win; this one, by a match score of 21-17.
This annual tournament came about as the result of a geographic proximity between Dr. Bland and Monica Webb. Bland, a world-renowned archer, and Medical Director of the Roy Richards, Sr. Cancer Center in Carrollton, is a pool enthusiast and plays in a local APA league, which utilizes facilities owned by Webb (Stix in nearby Villa Rica, GA). Three years ago, they arranged the first Bland Cup Tournament to benefit West Georgia College's Athletic Foundation. Webb transports two tables from her room to add to the single table Bland has in his home. They sell tickets to the single-day event (approximately $100 per ticket, with some variation for the sale of blocks of tickets), which attracts luminaries from the area like Carrollton's mayor, state congressman, and (on this particular occasion), the grandson of the founder of Coca-Cola. In all Webb estimated that there were 200 or so spectators at this year's exhibition event.
"It's a very laid back, cocktail party-like arrangement," she said.
It's so laid back that no one kept scores of any kind, or remembers who played against whom at any given point. The lone exception is the one score that mattered; the race to 21 points (one point awarded for each individual game victory). While they played primarily one-on-one, there were a few Scotch Doubles games played, as well. It began at around 4:30 p.m. on Friday, and finished at around 8:30 p.m, after which the women played challenge matches until just after midnight.
"We try to arrange this when (the women) are all here in the US," she said, "and we use it, basically, to get together once a year."
"We enjoy each other's company," she added.