Latest Croquet News
2018 Over-50 GC World Championship
The Egyptian Croquet Federation knows how to put on a good show. Most players arrived on Thursday 4 or Friday 5 October and were invited to the doubles final of a major Shooting Club tournament on the evening of 5 October. The Nasr brothers defeated Khaled Younis and his partner (with Ahmed finishing the match with a trademark hoop 11 from the north boundary above hoop 10) which was followed by a glitzy presentation for all the events in the tournament and dinner for all the players and Over-50 visitors.
The three ECF courts (on the eastern side of the Gizera Sporting Club complex) were in the best condition I have seen since my first visit in 2000 and two of the three Gizera Croquet Club courts on the western side of the GSC were as good. The players were invited to a cocktail party on the second Friday evening and the final presentation ceremony, complete with music, was a gloriously extrovert affair which outdid even the Shooting Club finale. The guest of honour was the President of the GSC who had generously provided lunches for the players throughout the week.
48 players took part with a further 15 on the waiting list. The first three days were sufficient to complete the block stage (eight blocks of six playing single-banked best-of-3 13 point games without time limits) and four play-off games. Play started at 0900 and continued to past midnight in a few cases in the Block Stage. Playing conditions during the day were definitely hot but not unbearably so and, from 1600 onwards, idyllic. Playing under excellent lights, with the moon in the sky, in 25 degrees with no wind and the cry of the muezzins in the background makes for an unforgettable croquet experience. Everyone should try it at least once and Cairo remains one of the cities that should be on every bucket list.
The top four from each block progressed to the Knock-Out Stage, including all four finalists from 2010 (Hisham Abousbaa and Stephen Mulliner) and 2014 (Salah Hassan and Hazem Mahmoud). However, Salah fell to Yasser Fathy in the round of 32 and Hisham then lost to Yasser in the round of 16. Hazem is famous for his off-centre aiming style and hard hitting and sliced his way through his first three opponents without dropping many points, let alone a game. Sherif Abdelwahab was a strongly-fancied contender for the title with a display of great accuracy and explosive clearances but he, too, found Yasser Fathy a very tough opponent and lost 7-6, 7-6 in the quarter-finals. This pitted Yasser against Hazem and, by now, it was not a total surprise that Yasser came through to the final with a 7-2, 5-7, 7-5, 7-6 victory.
On the other side of the draw, Stephen Mulliner, the top seed, had only dropped one game on his route to the quarter-finals. Here he met Wael Shahine who looked a very useful player but was not really expected to give Stephen too much trouble. This proved to be quite wrong and, after two hour's excellent play by both players, Stephen seemed destined to go out 6-7, 5-7. However, Wael failed a 3-yard 12 and Stephen took the score to 6-6 and then, after his opponent decided to jaws 13 from 3 yards instead of simply running it, pulled off a superb jump from the boundary to square the match. Game 3 was close but Stephen emerged a 7-5 winner to face Hanan Rashad in the semi-final.
Hanan was one of only four women in the event to progress this far. Shen started playing over 30 years ago as a girl and was third in the first ever GC World Championship in 1996 behind Khaled Younis and Hisham Abousbaa. Together with Nahed Hassan, the 2005 Women's GC World Champion, Hanan was one of the top two women players in Egypt for many years. She retired from the game while her family was growing up but has now returned and is playing as well as ever. Hanan has a wonderfully brisk and no-nonsense pre-shot routine which many should think about emulating. She walks up to the ball with her hands at the top of the mallet shaft, places the head behind the ball, slips her hands down to the bottom of the grip and then, with no casting or further ado, takes the mallet back and administers the ball a very firm wallop, usually sending it straight at its target.
Stephen started the semi-final by over-hitting to hoop 1 and eventually lost it. The hoops were then won in strict alternation, including 13 where Hanan placed her approach with precision 3 yards north of the hoop and Stephen, having set up for the rush, hit it into hoop 12 instead! Game 1 to Hanan 7-6. Game 2 was largely similar although Hanan led 5-3 and 6-4 before being hauled back to 6-6. This time, she failed her attempt at 13 and Stephen had a shot from the boundary that went into the hoop and out again. 7-6 and 2-0 to Hanan. Stephen started game 3 with a disastrous accidental peel of Hanan's Y through 1 which resulted in leads of 3-0 and then 5-1. He then began a trademark recovery and reached 5-5 with Hanan showing the first signs of nerves and appeared to have regained control of 11 with a superb controlled clearance on Y in front of 11 from the W boundary. However, Hanan went for a 40 degree jaws with R from 3 yards and actually ran the hoop by an inch! Stephen took 12, again setting up for a rush which sent K to 5 yards NE of 13. The attempted jaws fell 6 inches short of target and Hanan made no mistake with Y from 5 yards to take the game and the match 7-6, 7-6, 7-6. She was a very worthy winner indeed.
The consensus for the final was that, if Hanan was to win, she needed to do so in straight games. She made an excellent start, carrying on from her semi-final with confident hooping and clearing, while Yasser missed several shorter clearances. Hanan took game 1 7-5 but lost her impetus in game 2 while Yasser settled down and began to clear with consistency. He took game 2 by 7-3 and things did not look too good for Hanan. Game 3 started off well for Hanan and she built a 6-3 lead which looked like giving her a 2-1 lead. However, Yasser won 10 and, after clearing Hanan's first ball to 11 with a cut, decided there was no point in clearing Hanan's second ball and took on 11 from 7 yards north of 10. He played a beautifully smooth stroke which sent his Y through 11 and down to 4 yards NW of 12. He soon converted this to 6-6 and, after two uncharacteristically weak approaches by Hanan to 13, took the game after a tactical battle where he always had the upper hand and led the match 2-1.
The crowd now clearly felt that Hanan had lost her chance and would not recover from the disappointment of losing a 6-3 lead. But the lady was not for collapsing and, once again, built a 6-3 lead. Once again, Yasser took 10 and 11, but this time 11 was with a neat in-off. However, as is usual, the ball did not go very far and Hanan was able to get the first ball to 12. After a couple of rotations, Hanan was faced with a 2-yard 45-degree hoop for the game. She played a smooth and gentle hoop stroke that scored the hoop by a foot and squared the match at 2-2.
Could Hanan continue to perform in game 5? After a tactical battle at hoop 1, she took the hoop and, after Yasser missed a 9-yard clearance, ran 2 from 5 yards for a 2-0 lead. This became 3-1, 4-2 and 5-3 and, after a fascinating eight-rotations duel in front of 9, Hanan elected to take a short angled hoop for a 6-3 lead knowing that she was unlikely to run it by much (one foot, in fact) and was likely to lose 10. This duly occurred but the battle for 11 was brief and spectacular. Hanan played K to 2 yards north of 11, Yasser cut-cleared it with Y which sent K to 10 yards N of 11. Hanan then played B to 5 yards north of 11 and Yasser sent R to 2 foot NW of 11. Hanan now cleared R with K - and ran 11 in-off to take the game, the match and the title.
She almost fell over in her reaction to her magnificent achievement and Yasser, not only a superb player but also a perfect gentleman, offered her very warm congratulations as the large crowd of spectators erupted with applause. It was a great match to watch, made all the more fascinating by the psychological drama involved. The strength of mind displayed by Hanan to put the disappointment of game 3 behind her and come back from 2-1 down was very impressive.
The match involved a very tactical approach at many of the corner hoops and the stroke-by-stroke CroquetScores commentary offers food for thought for those interested.
The Over-50 GCWC is a great event whose rightful place in the WCF's palette of events has become more obvious as the youngsters grow more dominant in top-level GC. Given the quality of play in the 2017 U21 GCWC in Melbourne and the prominence of some of those players in the main GCWC, it would not be a surprise if Reg Bamford were to be the only and last 50-year-old to win the GCWC. Over-50 players can still play to a superb level but are simply unlikely to have the same hand-eye coordination of a 20-year-old. It is Association Croquet that has no need of an Over-50 World Championship event - as demonstrated by a recent 60+ champion!
Many congratulation to Amir Ramsis, Yousry Ghamry and Mohamed Hassan for putting on another great championship.
U21 GC World Championships and 2019 GC World Championships
Players who quailfy to play for England may register their availability for or seek information regarding either or both of the above WCF Championship events to be held in this country in 2019 then please register via the Croquet Association Fixtures website page. Availability closes for both events on 1st Dec 2018. Go to:
Sheffield beat Middlesbrough to win the Secretary's Shield 5-2
by Eugene Chang at York [^]
6 Oct 2018 (AC - Secretary's Shield)
A repeat of the 2017 final saw Middlesbrough take on Sheffield at the neutral venue of York.
The forecast of rain all day proved inaccurate as only three short sharp showers punctuated the afternoon. Middlesbrough narrowly avoided a 3-0 scoreline going in to lunch with a last-gasp +1 win; lunch was supplemented by offerings from the local chippie. None of the afternoon games were a foregone conclusion for either side, with Mark Simmerson eventually delivering the winning point for Sheffield.
Many thanks to York CC for hosting and to Colin Irwin for presenting the trophy.
Results (Sheffield names first)
Trevor Billard (2) & Eugene Chang (-0.5) bt Dennis Scarr (1) & Roger Staples (2.5) +23
Mark Simmerson (9) bt Julian Gibson (12) +15
John Crossland (12) lost to Nigel Roberts (9) -1
Eugene Chang bt Dennis Scarr +2
Trevor Billard bt Roger Staples +5
John Crossland lost to Julian Gibson -1T (20-21)
Mark Simmerson bt Nigel Roberts +14
Vacancy For WCF Treasurer
The WCF Treasurer, Martin French, has informed the WCF Management Committee (MC) of his wish to retire as Treasurer with effect from 31 December 2018.
Martin has made a great contribution to croquet administration over the years, both domestically with the Croquet Association and with the WCF. He served as Secretary-General from 2010 to 2013, Acting Treasurer from 2016 and then as Treasurer from 2017 until now.
The MC is therefore seeking to fill the vacancy with a view to the new Treasurer taking office from 1 January 2019. If more than one candidate is proposed, there will be an election by the WCF Council.
Potential candidates are free to contact Stephen Mulliner directly to express interest or ask questions. However, a candidate must be formally proposed by the WCF Member to whom they are affiliated. If a WCF Member wishes to propose a candidate, the nomination should be authorised in writing or by email by the candidate and by an appropriate officer of the nominating Member.
Nominations must be accompanied by a brief resume of the candidate's personal details. Candidates should be proposed no later than 31 October 2018 to be sure of taking part in an election if there is more than one candidate. However, if there is only one candidate, there will be no election and this timetable will not apply.
If any English CA member wishes to be put forward by England then they should contact Ian Lines.
WCF Treasurer - job specification.
The role involves keeping the books and preparing the annual budget and annual accounts for the World Croquet Federation. The accounts are inspected by the Independent Examiner (Brian Havill) and the budget is submitted to the WCF Council for approval. The WCF is solvent with good reserves spread across operating, general and reserve funds held in three UK banks and all in GBP (Sterling).
Keeping the books does not require a great deal of time - less than an average of an hour a week - and involves around 80 transactions a year. Receipts are mainly Member subscriptions and world championship entry fees and come in by bank transfer and PayPal. Payments are made by cheque or bank transfer when foreign exchange is involved. Monthly bank statements must be checked and filed.
There are opportunities to move to on-line two person authorisation for on-line banking, which would simplify the payment process, and the Independent Examiner also has some ideas for simplifying the bookkeeping templates used.
The accounting year is the calendar year and all transactions relating to a year will have passed through the bank accounts by mid-January of the following year. This means that preparing the annual accounts can start promptly. While much is straightforward there can sometimes be complications and particular transactions that take some time to resolve and record correctly. Preparing these accounts and the annual budget has taken the current Treasurer an estimated 20 - 30 hours each year though he has suggested that someone with accounting experience might be far quicker.
The post holder needs to be numerate, logical and comfortable with Microsoft Excel and on-line banking and PayPal account management. There is no need for the Treasurer to be a UK resident.
The Treasurer is a full member of the WCF Management Committee and has a vote on the MC. An annual honorarium of £150 may be claimed.
The role falls vacant from 1st January 2019.
Surbiton beat Bowdon to win the Inter-Club Final 6-1
Surbiton Croquet Club being presented the Beddow Cup by Quiller Barrett (Photo: David Walters)by Sam Murray at Surbiton [^]
7th October (AC - Inter-Club)
Surbiton met Bowdon on a fine day at Surbiton, dodging the very wet weather of the previous day. Surbiton fielded four-time world champion Reg Bamford, together with England test captain Samir Patel. All the morning games began in scrappy and interactive fashion, but Surbiton's line-up proved too strong in the end, and they took a 3-0 lead at lunch time.
In the afternoon, Chris Farthing had another interactive game against Martin Granger-Brown, whilst Patel secured victory over Colin Irwin with a quadruple peel, and Sam Murray completed a sixth turn triple peel against Brian Kerr.
That left David Walters fighting for some pride for Bowdon against Bamford. With both players having taken a ball to 4b, Walters cornered from Bamford's leave. The latter could not get his triple underway, so Walters had a 'final' lift. This he hit, but stuck in 1. When Bamford missed, Walters took his 4b ball to the peg, and pegged-out Bamford's forward ball. Bamford hit, but missed his return roquet after 4b, and Walters held his nerve to construct a three ball break to finish, and earn a point for Bowdon.
This was a third successive inter-club win for Surbiton. The considerable volunteer help for finals weekend received due thanks, and CA President Quiller Barrett presented the trophy, detailing its long and interesting history.
Reg Bamford & Samir Patel beat Colin Irwin & David Walters +16 TP(P)
Chris Farthing beat Brian Kerr +8
Sam Murray beat Martin Granger-Brown +24
Reg Bamford lost to David Walters -3
Samir Patel beat Colin Irwin +19 QP
Sam Murray beat Brian Kerr +25 TP
Chris Farthing beat Martin Granger-Brown +16
High Wycombe beat Watford to win the Mary Rose 4-0
High Wycombe overcame the cold and wet weather (and their opponents Watford) to win the Mary Rose Trophy at Surbiton.
Raouf Allim (0) & David Warhurst (0) beat Gary Bennett (0) & Brian Havill (1) 26-21
Keith Pound (4) beat Nick Archer(2) 26-18
Stephen Wright (1) beat Geoff Johnson(2) 26-7
Raouf Allim (0) vs Gary Bennett (0) abandoned
David Warhurst (0) vs Brian Havill (1) abandoned
Stephen Wright (1) beat Nick Archer(2) 26-20
Keith Pound (4) vs Geoff Johnson(2) abandoned
High Wycombe win 4-0.
Final games not played due to inclement weather - which fortunately allowed the manager to move Longman Cup games from the water logged lower courts onto the top courts where the Mary Rose was played.
Tyneside beat Hurlingham 4-3
Hurlingham vs Tyneside 2-3
Jane O'Neill (10) & Henry Bagwell (10) bt David Millener (7) & Eric Nixon (8) 23-12
Greg Solomon (6) lt Derek Johnson (16) 8-26
Martin Read (11) bt Andrew Carpenter (12) 26-19
Greg Solomon (6) bt David Millener (7) 26-19
Henry Bagwell (10) lt Eric Nixon (8) 4-26
Jane O'Neill (10) lt Andrew Carpenter (12) 3-26
Martin Read (11) lt Derek Johnson (16) 2-26
Third Inter Federation Challenge. Croquet North vs. Yorkshire Croquet
by Dennis Scarr at Middlesbrough [^]
29 Sep 2018 (Other News)
The third Inter Federation Challenge match between Croquet North and Yorkshire Croquet enjoyed good weather and friendly rivalry for this croquet challenge. The Challenge is designed to bring together players from both AC and GC in an event where team members play both codes plus the hybrid 1 Ball.
AC Handicap Doubles = 1 point per match
GC Level Play Doubles = 1 point for the winning pair of the best of 3 games
1 Ball = 1 point per game
The morning session began with AC Handicap Doubles - 18 point - all clips start on hoop 5.
2hours 15mins time limit. Any bisques standing after 2 hours of play were deemed void.
CROQUET NORTH 1 YORKSHIRE CROQUET 3
After a 45 minutes break for lunch
GC Doubles - Best of 3 games - level play - 2hours 45 mins total time allowed.
CROQUET NORTH 2 YORKSHIRE CROQUET 2
Another 15 minute break then
AC 1 Ball - Handicap
CROQUET NORTH 4 YORKSHIRE CROQUET 4
CROQUET NORTH 7 YORKSHIRE CROQUET 9
In terms of individual performances maximum points were scored by
John & Maggie Crossland of Sheffield & Yorkshire Croquet.
Bowdon beat Bristol 5-1
Bowdon beat Bristol 5 - 1, 1 unfinished as follows:
D Walters and K Cooper beat D Goacher and R Wilkinson +16
B Kerr beat W Wiseman +4
C Irwin beat M Leach +23
D Walters v D Goacher unfinished
K Cooper lost to R Wilkinson -21
B Kerr beat M Leach +26
C Irwin beat W Wiseman +13tp
Hamptworth beat Croquet Durham to win Murphy Shield 4-3
Two teams from the north and south of the country met at Nottingham to play the final of the Murphy Shield, in dry but autumnal conditions. Hamptworth took a slim lead into lunch, losing the doubles but coming back from game down in both the singles. The afternoon singles were shared, to leave Croquet Durham suffering the disappointment, having come so far both metaphorically and by road. Congratulations to Hamptworth, whose name will appear on the shield for the first time.
Richard Smith & Steve Bennett lost to Malcolm Hobbs & Nigel Martin 3-7 5-7
Bob Channon bt Anne Barnfather 5-7 7-1 7-3
Richard Jenkins bt Carole Brady 5-7 7-5 7-5
Smith lost to Hobbs 6-7 6-7
Bennett bt Martin 7-4 7-2
Channon lost to Brady 4-7 6-7
Jenkins bt Barnfather 6-7 7-6 7-4
Nottingham beat York 8-3 in the Short Croquet Inter-Club semi-final
York travelled to Nottingham for the first semi-final of the CA's Short Croquet Inter-Club competition. The Indian summer provided very pleasant playing conditions and Charlie, Nottingham's groundsman, had done a wonderful job of preparing four half-sized lawns. The York team arrived with captain Alison Larard as designated driver.
After a welcoming tea or coffee, play got under way. The morning session featured Mark Lansdale (with a SC handicap of 4) & Paul McGuire (7) against Alison Larard (7) & Carolyn Kirk (10) and two games of singles: Ellen Gee (7) v Denise Foster (10) and Mike Hedge (8) v William Bosanquet (8). Mark & Paul won the doubles fairly easily but the singles were much tighter, with narrow victories for Ellen and William.
So 2-1 to Nottingham at lunch. Excellent fare provided by Bob Thompson was followed by two sessions of pre-drawn singles. The first session was split 2-2 with victories for Ellen and Mike for the hosts and Alison and William for the visitors. All to play for in the final session. After much serious ebb and flow with either result possible, the hosts finally took all four games. The highlight was a +1 golden hoop in extra time for Paul against Carolyn, who had only started playing croquet in June. This was one of those matches that was a lot closer than the final score suggests. Nottingham now play Penrith in the final.
With three sessions of 75 minute, full-bisque games on short lawns, this competition is an excellent introduction to competitive croquet for newcomers to the game, and deserves to attract a bigger field of entrants next season.
Dominic Nunns won the Solomon Cup
On the same weekend and in weather remarkably similar to that experienced at Compton with "welcome sunshine after lunch" on Sunday, Dominic Nunns won the Solomon Cup before the sun came out with a clinical +26, +26TP in the B O 3 Final against Paul Castell.
Omied Hallam won the Consolation Swizz with 5 wins from 6.
The Sussex Tumbler - the "B" Level Round Robin - went to Edinburgh in the hands of Dr David Houston who finished with 5 wins from 5 with Paul Wolff the runner up on 3 from 5.
Qualifiers for the National Final of the GC B-Level Series
The following players have qualified for the National Final of the GC B-Level Series competition.
The final will be held on the weekend of 6-7 at Camerton & Peasedown CC.
All have won at least one of 24 qualifying tournaments throughout the season, or accumulated 'Series Points' for finishing in second to fourth positions.
The full results of all 24 qualifiers can be viewed at:
David Ball - Leighton-Linslade
Mike Bilton - Richmond Park
Marian Button - Camerton & Peasedown
Morgan Case - Sussex Courty
Robert Cook - Leighton-Linslade
Lorna Dewar - Meadows, Edinburgh
James Galpin - Nailsea
Noel Gill - Hunstanton
Nicholas Halton - Roehampton
Andrea Huxley - Guildford & Goldaming
Mike Huxley - Guildford & Goldaming
David Lloyd - Westmorland & Crake Valley
John Mariner - Chelmsford
Brian McCausland - Nailsea
Graham McCausland - Nailsea
Roger Stroud - Leighton-Linslade
Gavin Taylor - Merton
Jane Tewson - Long Eaton Park
Richard Bilton won the English National Singles Championship
Richard Bilton wins his first GC "major"
The final of the English National Singles Championship for the Ascot Cup is the last major event of the domestic GC season and was hosted by Sussex County CC on 15 and 16 September. The Southwick courts were in excellent condition, complemented by sunny weather over the weekend. The grades of the top four players were only narrowly separated in the 2,500 region which paved the way for close contests. It was anyone's guess who would eventually prevail.
The 16 competitors played best-of-three 13 point games in four blocks of four on Saturday to determine the top two who would progress to the championship KO Stage. In Blocks A, B and C, the top seeds Ian Burridge, Stephen Mulliner and Jonathan Powe each dropped only one game in completing three wins each. Block D was more closely contested with Richard Bilton losing in three games to a resurgent Will Gee. However, Will then lost to Chris Roberts so Richard just won the block on net hoops.
Rachel Gee regained her European GC Champion title at Budleigh this May with a superb display of shooting and hoop running against Pierre Beaudry in the final. She is, as they say, no mug at GC. However, she was comprehensively "mugged" by Richard Bilton in their quarter-final encounter. Richard appeared to have adopted a successful strategy of "not missing" and swept into the semi-finals by 7-3, 7-1. There he faced Stephen Mulliner (to whom he had lost three matches earlier in the season) who had beaten Peter Dowd 7-3, 7-4.
The other half of the draw featured two close encounters. Lionel Tibble was in prime form in game 1 against Jonathan Powe who has become one of the most consistent of the top players in both AC and GC. Lionel's speciality is the controlled centre-ball clearance from any range up to 15 yards which prods the opponent ball away by a dozen yards or more while Lionel's ball hugs the current hoop like a long-lost cousin. It is infuriatingly effective. However, the magic left him during game 2 and Jonathan recovered to win 4-7, 7-4, 7-5.
Will Gee is one of the most entertaining players to watch. He can oscillate between brilliance, the opposite and brilliance in as many strokes. The opponent and the spectators often have no idea what is coming next (and neither, it is suspected, does Will). But he can grind it out as well and duly did so against Ian Burridge after losing a tight opening game, prevailing by 6-7, 7-3, 7-5.
Richard Bilton and Stephen Mulliner ended their first two games at the 13th hoop with Richard hanging on in game 1 by remorseless clearing, especially in the later stages. He made an excellent start in game 3 by roaring to a 5-1 lead with a succession of long hoops. Stephen staged a brief rally but, after a prolonged duel at 10, Richard ran a very angled hoop to clinch his place in the final by 7-6, 6-7, 7-3.
The other semi-final started in the opposite way to the Powe/Tibble quarter-final. Jonathan Powe's consistency made short work of the opening game as Will struggled to hit straight. However, Will upped his game and fought back to take the match 3-7, 7-5, 7-5.
The Gee roller-coaster continued in the opening game of the final where Richard Bilton astonished everyone except perhaps himself by taking the opening game 7-0. When did that last happen at this level? Once more, Will dug deep, fought back and took game 2 with a trademark jump through hoop 12 from 4 yards. This set the scene for a dramatic conclusion with Will bidding for his third Ascot title and Richard seeking his first GC "major". As it turned out, Richard maintained his impressive accuracy in both hooping and clearing and this was enough to develop and maintain an edge that translated into victory by 7-0, 5-7, 7-4. It was a very well-deserved victory and confirms the significant improvement he has made this season and his place as one of the top young players in the game.
The Plate was played as a 19-point single game knock-out. The final was contested by David Dray and Manuel Alvarez-Sala, the youngest of four brothers who make up half of the top eight GC players in Spain, who was able to step in when a player had to withdraw at the last minute. Manuel won a tight contest by 7-4, 7-6.
Warm thanks are due to Sussex County for hosting the event and preparing the courts so well, including having four mown on Sunday morning.
Robert Fulford won the President's Cup
William Ormerod (seated, left), 1966 winner, watches Robert Fulford on his way to victory (Photo: Samir Patel)by Sam Murray at East Dorset [^]
9 Sep 2018 (AC)
Robert Fulford won the President's Cup after a play-off with Christian Carter.
Full results at:
Newcomer Tina Kelly wins York Open Short Lawn Tournament
Tina Kelly (Southport), 2018 winner, with Debbie James (Beverley), 2017 winnerby John Harris at York [^]
23 Sep 2018 (AC - Handicap)
The third York Open Short Lawn Tournament was fully subscribed, with 24 entrants coming from all over the country, including the south coast and East Anglia as well as all parts of the north.
The York Open remains the only short lawn tournament in the Fixtures Book. The camaraderie was excellent, strongly aided and abetted by a large Southport contingent and by plentiful supplies of home-made cake. York shared the cool weather affecting the rest of the country but enjoyed two days without rain, and the high quality York lawns played well.
Runner-up Callum Johnson (playing off short lawn scratch) showed trademark mastery of the lawn throughout the weekend; on his second turn in game 6, with only three balls yet on the lawn, he completed a well-managed all-round break plus two peels on partner ball. But it was one of the Southport contingent, tournament newcomer Tina Kelly, who took home the trophy after two days of consistently calm and careful play with excellent bisque management.
Thanks to tournament manager Dave Hudson for organising 24 people smoothly and efficiently through 10 games, and so providing the ideal framework for an enjoyable two days of croquet, and to the many home bakers whose good works made such an important contribution to a successful weekend.
Mark Avery won the Championship of the South
A rainy day at Compton. (Photo: Rich Waterman)by Roger Wood at Compton [^]
23 Sep 2018 (AC - Championships)
The weather was not kind. Friday: bright but very breezy; Saturday: grey at 0930, rain at 0935 which then persisted all day; Sunday: overnight rain, heavy at the start of play, gradually easing to give welcome sunshine after lunch. However, a general mood of jollification anticipating David Maugham's forthcoming nuptials kept spirits high by day and by night. Four new faces brought a welcome touch of youth to the proceedings, but they must have questioned the veracity of Eastbourne's boasts about its weather! Of the newcomers Daniel Gott continued his impressive season to reach a semi-final against David, while Rich Waterman took a game from Daniel and notched up a close win over Miranda Chapman. On his way to the final David's only win without a triple was against Robin Brown where he recovered from Robin's QPO (his second quad of the day) to win by 9. In the other half of the draw Robert Wilkinson was on form beating Ian Lines and Gavin Carter before losing to Mark Avery in game 3 of their match. Sadly Jack Wicks was obliged to withdraw after only 4 games because of burns to his hands sustained a week earlier.
The final began as the weather brightened and proved to be an absorbing high-quality match. In game 1 David was the first to 4-back with yellow followed by Mark going to 1-back leaving himself a rush on the east boundary with red and yellow cross-pegged. David missed from A baulk allowing Mark a TPO on yellow leaving a ball in corner 2 and one on the east boundary. David took contact from the boundary ball, rolled to hoop 1, made it, made hoop 2 off the corner ball and finished with a 3-ball break. Game 2 saw Mark first to 4-back with a standard contact leave. David lifted to corner 3 sending Mark's ball north of hoop 1 and laying himself a nearly wired rush to it near corner 4. Mark missed the corner 4 balls from which David produced a tidy TPO break. To his evident disappointment his firm croquet stroke for the peg out was a fraction too firm and his own ball trickled on to the peg as well. Mark took contact from David's other ball on the east boundary, rolled to hoop 1 and made it but failed hoop 2 bouncing to a position wired from David's ball. The ensuing turns saw Mark always a few hoops ahead of David who, despite a good hit in from corner 4 when Mark was ready to peg out from a couple of yards away, was not able to progress beyond 3-back. In the decider there was some initial cat and mouse before Mark made a break to 4-back. From the contact David again rolled and made hoop 1 continuing to 4-back popping Mark's backward ball to hoop 3. After some further manoeuvring by both players Mark was able to establish a break and finish with a delayed triple.
In the Swiss general enthusiasm was rather dampened by the rain although that didn't deter Ian Lines from producing a sextuple finish against Robin Brown as well as a string of triples. He was one of the top 8 who won their way through to a knock out on the Sunday, hopeful of retaining the Sussex Union Cup which he won last year. Both he and Gavin Carter reached the final with two triples each in previous rounds and it was Gavin who came away the winner.
Thanks go to Hilary and Tim Smith whose hot lunches, each crowned by a delicious crumble, were a most welcome restorative, and to groundsman John Crisford whose devotion to the lawns over a difficult summer has kept them in good shape.
Match report for UK Student Championships
James Woolis, Ian Mak, Ross Moore, and Alfie Ball.by Kirandeep Saini at Oxford University [^]
2 Sep 2018 (AC)
The opening day of the UK student championships, hosted on a sunny weekend in early September at Oxford University parks, was marked by one word - dominance. As two titans of the student circuit, Mark van Loon (Oxford) and Daniel Gott (Bath), swatted away challenger after challenger; the apotheosis being a 26-0 thrashing of the current Oxford University croquet president, and next lowest handicapped player, Kirandeep Saini by Mark van Loon. His run as a dark horse in the proceedings cut short. Though Mr. van Loon and Mr. Gott are battling at the fringes of the top 100 in the world rankings, neither took their opposition lightly. The closest any challenger came was a nail-biting almost shock result by Mark Baker (Oxford), who attempted to dethrone MVL. The match ended 26-21, after the former's triple peel attempt collapsed. Though, Mr. Baker should be commended for attempting his first ever triple peel in competition against a man with a handicap almost 10 points higher than his own. Surely, Mr. Baker's handicap will soon come tumbling. Unfortunately, for the first time in years Cambridge did not send a representative, possibly as they were still licking the wounds of their defeat in the Varsity match at Hurlingham.
Elsewhere in the singles, Exeter duo Ian Mak and Ross Moore got off to a flying start against their Plymouth counterparts James Woolis and Alfie ball respectively. The day only got worse for the Plymouth duo as they were dispatched of by Mr. Saini and Mr. Baker. Every university's lunch trip seemed to end carting back a crate of beers to the lawns. As MVL and Mr. Gott marched on to the final two, the rest marched on to the nearest pub and set up shop. A tour of Oxford's best watering holes followed and then a late-night trip to one of Oxford's favourite kebab vans.
The following day, play was delayed an hour or two as many participants recovered from the night before; however, the two giants of the lawn, MVL and Mr. Gott, were on time and ready to play their singles final. A best of three that didn't make it quite that far, Mr. Gott took two consecutive games and the trophy with some stellar play. In the doubles, Oxford (represented by Kirandeep Saini and Mark Baker) were too strong for all opposition and cantered to being crowned the UK student association croquet doubles champion. The Exeter and Plymouth lads, wanting some silverware of their own, played the inaugural 'Peninsula varsity match' as a doubles event, Exeter eventually prevailed with Ian Mak and Ross Moore taking home the trophy.
The prize giving ceremony was delightfully orchestrated by former AC world champion and current CA vice-president Stephen Mulliner, who brought his well known wit and charm to the occasion. Hopefully, many of this year's competitors will be back next year to compete again!
Bowdon B-Level Weekend
Winner Mike Sandler with manager Charles Hardingby Ken Cooper at Bowdon [^]
16 Sep 2018 (AC)
We had twelve entrants this year each one as optimistic as we always are at the beginning of a tournament. The weather generally held good except for a very wet blip at lunch-time on Sunday.
The Knock-Out final of best of three was won by Mike Sandler (for the third time) in two games +5 & +16. Graham Good was the gracious runner up.
As ever a huge amount was put into ensuring that the lawns were in good shape. Many thanks to Alan, John & Mike.
The event was well managed by Charles Harding who also won the Egyptian event.
A very enjoyable weekend.
Report on CA GC All England Handicap Singles
(Photo: David Thirtle-Watts)by David Boxell at Hunstanton [^]
23 Sep 2018 (GC)
This event was won by Simon Carter with 10 wins. Three players finished with 8 wins and a another four players had 7 wins. The 14 players produced 2 days of excellent croquet and provided ample talking points for the players, referees and spectators. These included running the wrong hoops and losing a game by failing to remove a clip before making a difficult angled jump shot.
The players endured some blustery and occasionally wet conditions on the second day, but seemed to thoroughly enjoy the venue.
We are extremely grateful to: our 'Lawn Elves' for the daily set up of the 5 lawns, our volunteer refreshments team; and to the small group of time-keepers who assisted the Managers to keep the tournament on track using guidance provided by Chris Roberts.
Peter Aspinall won the Wrest Park Handicap Tournament
The winner in actionby Geoff Strutt at Wrest Park [^]
23rd September (AC - Handicap)
Peter Aspinall won the Wrest Park Paul September Handicap. He achieved an unbeaten record over the 2-day Egyptian event, storming to a 69 point rating, 7 points ahead of his nearest rival John Bevington.
Against Tony Elliott, John Bevington had a late evening encounter which appeared to be going in Tony's favour. Unfortunately for Tony who missed the peg out, his opponent was now joined up on the boundary; so John gradually overhauled the deficit and eventually won by 2.
The game between Eric Audsley and John Hall was also a tight one. John Hall won by 1 just before the prize giving ceremony.
Rain spoiled Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning; but the sun came out to give us a gorgeous afternoon in the end.
The ratings scores were as follows:
69: Peter Aspinall
62: John Bevington
55: Richard Keighley
54: John Hall; Bryan Harral; Cliff Jones ; Hugh Manson
46: Eric Audsley; Sarah Barley; Andre Machell
45: Tony Elliott; George Woolhouse
39: Neil Chalmers
31: Barry Pilgrim
The handicaps ranged from -.5 to 12. 40 matches were played with time limits of 3 hours and 12 Wharrad turns. However, only one match needed it.
Nottingham beat Phyllis Court to win the GC Inter-Club 5-2
Two first time finalists contested this year's Golf Croquet Inter-Club Final. Nottingham offered to play the match at Phyllis Court who arranged an excellent day with a couple of dozen spectators braving the inclement weather. Nottingham have managed to field the same team in each round of the competition, Ian Burridge, Richard Bilton, James Death and Euan Burridge. Phyllis Court were represented by Charlie Von Schmieder, Raouf Allim, Chris Roberts and Roger Goldring.
Nottingham got off to a good start convincingly won the doubles. Meanwhile James Death had won a long first game against Roger Goldring and Euan Burridge and Chris Roberts we're one game each after Chris stole the 1st game at hoop 13. Richard Bilton took the opportunity to get a single banked "aftrenoon" game in against Raouf Allim before lunch and after a shaky start the recent Ascot Cup winner found his form and took a 1-0 lead into lunch. James finally overcame Roger after a 2hr 15min 2 game marathon. Whilst the others enjoyed an excellent lunch Chris Roberts finally overcame Euan's resistance in game 3 to give Phyllis Court hope.
The rain continued unabated after lunch and Ian Burridge quickly won his first game against Charlie von Schmieder sealing it with a 5 yard jump shot at hoop 10. Richard wrapped his match up with some spectacular hoop running in game 2 including hoop 6 from between 3 and 4 followed by hoop 7 with its next shot. Euan put up little resistance after Roger ran hoops 2 and 4 from 25 yards in game 1 and the match was still in the balance at 3-2 to Nottingham. Meanwhile James had take the first game against Chris. Charlie looked as though he would cause an upset in his second against Ian when he took a 6-5 lead but a careless positional shot allowed Ian to flick to 13 and secure the match and the title for Nottingham a few shots later.
Quiller Barrett performed the prize giving before the spectators left to find somewhere dry and warm. All that was left was for James to finish his match in the worst rain of the day, winning in two to make the final score 5-2 to Nottingham.
Full results can be found on Croquet Scores:
James Death won the Southport September Tournament
James Death defeated a strong opposition to win the Sandiford Salver at
the Southport Advanced Weekend on 15-16 September.
Death played some fast and elaborate croquet, squeezing ten games into
the two days. On the way he completed three triple peels, one triple on
his opponent, a quad, a straight quad, and the not-often-seen quintuple
peel on opponent. Credit must go to Peter Wilson, who managed the event
and succeeded in scheduling enough games to satisfy James's appetite for
John-Paul Moberly made his Southport debut after recently relocating to
the North West, and won six games out of seven to take second place.
James Death - 10/10
John-Paul Moberly - 6/7
Paul Rigge - 6/8
Alain Giraud - 5/8
Omied Hallam - 4/8
Richard H Smith - 2/6
Liz Wilson - 2/6
Dave Gunn - 2/7
James Hawkins - 2/7
Peter Wilson - 2/7
Derek Knight - 1/6
Dennis Scarr - 1/6
Nigel Polhill and John Davis shared the Treasurer's Tankard
John Davis and Nigel Polhill share title in the dark.
Treasurer's Tankard 2018
This tournament was memorable, but not for the best reasons. The problems started on the first morning, when one of the players arrived 45 minutes late, citing traffic problems on the motorway. The weather was fine and sunny, but this only added to the problems, as the lawns were very fast, and two of them were bumpy after suffering in the dry hot summer. By lunchtime it was clear that quick games would be a rarity; the slowest game was pegged down to let round 2 commence, but it was well after tea-time that round 2 finished. Although a start was made on round 3, none of the games was finished when darkness fell at 8 pm.
It was generally agreed that an earlier start, 9.30 am, was desirable on Friday morning, but round 3 was not completed by lunch-time, so again the slowest game was pegged down. This pattern continued, so that by darkness only five rounds had been completed, though by now four games were pegged down, all involving the same player. An early leader had emerged, John Davis, playing his first Eight for 31 years, being unbeaten with four wins and one game pegged-down.
By now there was obvious concern that the event might not finish, so two pegged down games were started (double banked on the same lawn) at 9 am on Saturday morning. These both duly finished reasonably quickly, so round 6, held over from Friday, started more or less at 10 am. In round 7 John met his first defeat, at the hands of Ian Vincent, who was now only two games behind.
Play on Sunday and Monday again started at 9 am with pegged down games, but with three rounds to play on Monday, and several games still pegged down, there were still fears that the event would not finish. A late game on Sunday saw Nigel Polhill, unbeaten in the second series, take second place from Ian, and it was clear that Nigel, on 7 wins, was the only player likely to catch John, now on 9 wins.
This position was maintained in round 12, where both Nigel and John won, and the priority now was to get their remaining two games started as soon as possible. Thus an exciting game between Ian and Graham Gale, which reduced to a two-ball ending when Ian, in pegging out Graham's forward ball, accidentally pegged out his own ball as well. With both balls on 3-back, and the potential of impasses, the game unfortunately had to be abandoned to allow Graham to play Nigel.
It felt inevitable that round 13 would result in a win for Nigel and a loss for John. Any other combination would make John a clear winner after 13 rounds, and we could all go home. John's earlier steadiness had wavered somewhat, and he fell well behind James Hawkins. A late rally failed to save the game, while Nigel, by now playing with fluency and confidence after six straight wins, beat Graham fairly easily.
Now the two important games in round 14 could be started, John versus Ian about 5.30 pm, and Nigel versus Martin Murray not until almost 6.30 pm. With darkness inevitable at 8 pm, it seemed the best (or only?) chance of a clear result was for John to win, but Ian started out by building a clear lead. Another rally by John was again insufficient, and Ian eventually pegged out as darkness fell. Nigel's game was still some way from finishing, but both he and Martin carried on. By about 8.20 pm, with the balls almost invisible, Martin had got to rover and peg, but Nigel hit a 17 yard lift shot. Arthur Lindley, a Godalming member, brought out a powerful hand-held lamp which helped Nigel to complete a break from 4-back and peg out just on 8.30 pm.
So Nigel's run of eight consecutive wins had been just enough to catch John on 10 wins, both being the only players to complete all 14 games. In all six games were left uncompleted, indeed two games in round 14 never even started.
The remaining two players in the event, not involved in the final action, had mixed fortunes. Chris Martin, playing his first Eight, showed obvious promise for the future, whereas David Harrison-Wood had a miserable time; frequently pegged down, and struggling for form, he lost confidence, and completed only 10 games.
Full results at:
2018 Council Medal Awards - Michael Hague
Michael Hague (Photo: Alan Edwards of Woking LTC)by John Dawson [^]
18th September (CA Official News)
Brigadier Michael Hague
Since 2000 Michael Hague has been responsible for many significant advances in the coaching and development of croquet. Michael started playing in 1996 at the age of 61. Building on his experience of coaching in many sports during his Army service, he soon qualified as a Grade 1 Coach and at the same time took over as the South East Federation Schools, Coaching Officer and Development Officer. In April 2001 Michael organised the first CA Coaches Qualification Course at Surbiton. He devised a two day course to train coaches and wrote the course manual. He then was the lead coach at seven major clubs around the country and the format he developed became the model for all CA coach training courses. His coaching has included courses in five overseas countries, one of which was given in Italian! His work included referees courses and contributing to the structure of the present GC referee examination process including the introduction of mock exams.
Michael was a leading instigator of the first AC Coaching Manual, insisting that the format of coaching novices should be arranged in short, easily assimilated sessions which together form the six basic lesson structure still used as the framework for delivering elementary coaching today. Michael is both a GC Examining Coach and Championship Referee. He was Coach of the Year in 2002 and officiated at the 2004 and 2016 World Golf Croquet Championships. His knowledge has been captured in his many articles published in the Gazette in 2003 & 2004, culminating in his book Golf Croquet Tactics first published in 2005. It is now in its second revised edition and is used as a text book by GC players today. Michael's development work within the South East Federation has seen a large number of new clubs formed and blossom over many years. During his tenure of office, Michael has been instrumental in helping to devise progressive policies to assist start-up clubs and aid sustainable recruitment. His forensic and insightful analysis of grant applications has been a significant part of the effectiveness of the CA grant awarding process and his recent resignation after 17 years of service on the Development Committee will be a sad loss. Michael has left a splendid legacy
Watford beat Chester 6-1
Watford vs Chester
18th September 2018 at Edgbaston
Result: Watford beat Chester 6-1
Teams & handicaps:
Gary Bennett (0)
Alan Clark (1)
Brian Havill (1)
Geoff Johnson (2)
Mark Lloyd (0)
Jerry Guest (2)
David Guyton (5)
David W Boyd (5)
Scores (Watford names first):
Gary Bennett & Alan Clark beat Mark Lloyd & Jerry Guest +14
Brian Havill beat David Guyton +22
Geoff Johnson beat David W Boyd +10(T)
Gary Bennett beat Mark Lloyd +13
Alan Clark lost to Jerry Guest -5
Brian Havill beat David W Boyd +14
Geoff Johnson beat David Guyton +14
2018 Council Medal Awards - Jeff Dawson
Jeff Dawsonby John Dawson [^]
17th September (CA Official News)
Jeff Dawson has contributed hugely to the administration of the sport of croquet over many years. He has been a member of Council since 2003, chaired it from 2012-14, and has chaired the Management, Marketing and AC Laws Committees. This year Jeff has served on our Publishing, ICT, Laws and International committees. He ran the CA Shop from his garage for seven years before it moved to Cheltenham.
For many years Jeff has been an Examining Referee, running courses at various clubs in the South East Federation.
However, Jeff's outstanding contribution has been in the field of membership administration, both its policy and implementation. He inspired, and guided through Council and a Special General Meeting, the change to enlarge the CA's national membership to include all members of its member clubs. Having nursed the membership database used in the CA Office for many years, he has been actively involved in the project to replace it, and in the process of uploading and importing details of the new members.
Hurlingham lost to Surbiton 1-6
Samir Patel & Sam Murray beat Mark Ormerod & Tom Coles +26tp(P)
Chris Farthing beat Dayal Gunasekera +26tp
Nick Parish beat Andrew Wise +26
Sam Murray beat Tom Coles +17tp
Samir Patel beat Mark Ormerod +17tp
Dayal Gunasekera beat Nick Parish +26tp
Chris Farthing beat Andrew Wise +25tp
Selections for 2019 WCF Women's GC World Championship
I am pleased to announce that England players Ann Brookes, Kath Burt, Jane Pringle and Jayne Stevens have received Ranking Places for the 2019 Women's GCWC. The 56-player event takes place in February 2019 at the Heretaunga and Marewa Croquet Clubs in Hawkes Bay, New Zealand.
Congratulations to the four and we wish them success in the event.
chairman, CA GC Selectors
AGM Agenda and Voting
Notice of Meeting
The Annual General Meeting of the Croquet Association will take place at the Hurlingham Club on Saturday 20th October 2018 commencing at 11.00 a.m.
- Apologies for Absence.
- Minutes of the AGM held on Saturday 21st October 2017.
The minutes are on the website and will be sent to Home Members on request to the CA Office.
- Report of Council.
The Chairman of Council, Brian Shorney, will present Council's annual report. There will be an opportunity to ask questions.
- Governance Proposals.
A proposal to change the role and reduce the size of Council, as outlined in the August 2018 edition of the Croquet Gazette, will be open to discussion prior to the Council meeting which is expected to consider it.
- Accounts for the year to December 2017 and Hon. Treasurer's Report.
- Election of Hon. Secretary.
Dr. I. G. Vincent offers himself for re-election and is the only nomination.
- Election of Hon. Treasurer.
Mr. P. J. Death offers himself for re-election and is the only nomination.
- Election of Independent Examiner.
David Boxell is willing to continue as the Independent Examiner.
- Election of Council Members.
The following members of Council retire by rotation and seek re-election under clause 18 (a)(i): John Bowcott, Tim King and Brian Wilson, who were elected in 2015. In addition, Sam Murray, Chris Roberts and Elizabeth Williams have been duly proposed and seconded and are willing to stand, so there are 6 candidates for 6 vacancies and there will not be a contested election.
- Proposal to elect Patricia Duke-Cox as a Vice President.
Council has proposed that Patricia Duke-Cox, a past Chairman of Council and currently Chairman of the Federation of East Midlands Croquet Clubs, be elected a Vice-President of the Association under clause 17(b) of the constitution. The proposal is subject to a postal or electronic vote under clause 19.
Individual Members may vote electronically on the CA Website, by post, or at the meeting. The postal ballot paper may be downloaded. Votes before the meeting must be received by the CA Office no later than 10th October.
- Benefactors' Book.
The names of benefactors will be read.
- Presentation of Trophies for the Most Improved Players.
Apps Memorial Bowl: Chris Coull (Sussex County); .Steel Memorial Bowl: Sarah Melvin (Dyffryn); Spiers Trophy: Richard Bilton (Nottingham).
- Presentation of Coach of the Year and Lifetime Coaching Award.
The 2017 Coach of the Year award is to be presented to Roger Mills (Sidmouth). A lifetime coaching award is to be presented to Ian Plummer (Oxford University and Surbiton).
- Presentation of Croquet Association Diplomas.
- Presentation of Council Medals.
Council Medals are to be awarded to Jeff Dawson and Michael Hague.
- Any Other Business.
- President's Closing Remarks.
Welcome New Members
The Croquet Association extends a special welcome to our new Standard Members.
The welcome page tells you about logging into the members' area.