The 2004 Golf Croquet Inter-County Championship was played at Southwick over the weekend of 7/8 August under two days of perfect sunshine with the hot and dry conditions accentuating every slight imperfection in the Southwick lawns.
Six counties entered the event: Dorset, Durham, Kent, Oxford, Sussex and Tyneside. The format of play followed previous years with an all-play-all initially. Each match between teams consisted of two doubles and four singles, all players participating in both single and doubles and all games being single 13 points with a time limit, ties being acceptable. The first round of matches was completed by Sunday lunch with Dorset in the lead with four wins, Sussex were second with three, Kent with two and the others with one each. In the final rounds, the leaders played the second team, the third place played fourth, etc. The pairing were reversed for the afternoon so players did not meet for a second time and games were increased to 19 points.
Dorset established an early lead, with Tom Weston and Cath Burt winning both their singles against David Hopkins and Alan Cottle but William Omerod and Julie Hudson lost their doubles to Bill Arliss and Daphne Gaitley. In the second session, Bill Arliss beat William Omerod but Daphne Gaitley lost to Julie Hudson. The doubles between Weston/Burt and Hopkins/Cottle went to time with scores equal and was declared a tie giving the title to Dorset 3.5 to 2.5.
After completion of the playoffs, the final placings were:
It was pleasing to see yet another established association player taking to the lawns for competitive golf croquet. However, in William Omerod's case this was not a new venture but a return. His previous competitive game was the final of the Delves Broughton Golf Croquet Doubles; just a mere 50 years ago. His distinctive grip appeared ideal for executing jump shots but would have been very little use in previous years when all jump shots were banned. John Moore who slipped very badly in the rankings in 2003 appears to be making a return to form with the aid of a light weight Egyptian mallet. He managed several of his spectacular jumps and his shooting accuracy has dramatically improved.