Colchester 4 Ashby 3
Colchester names first
Chris Sheen (-4) & Jack Wicks (-2) lost to Tim King (-2) and Nick Mounfield (-2) 4-7, 3-7
Dick Strover (-2) lost to Mike O'Brian (-1) 5-7, 1-7
Jock Strover (0) beat Ray Mounfield (-1) 7-6, 2-7, 7-6
Sheen lost to King 7-4, 5-7, 1-7
Wicks beat N Mounfield 6-7, 7-6, 7-5
D Strover beat R Mounfield 4-7, 7-4, 7-6
J Strover beat O'Brian 7-3, 2-7, 7-3
Has there ever been a closer team croquet match? Dick Strover ran the deciding thirteenth hoop of the deciding third game of the deciding seventh leg of the match. The Strover genes had earlier demonstrated themselves when nephew Jock won the last leg before lunch. He also had run the deciding thirteenth hoop of the deciding third game and, thus, prevented Colchester from trailing by what would have been a psychologically challenging 0-3. With a further win in the afternoon and being the only non-minus handicap player in either team, Jock was the clear player of the match.
Across the full seven legs, Ashby won more hoops (113-96) and more games (10-9). However, croquet is a true sport and, thus, the incidental statistics count for nothing. Colchester was the fully deserving match victor, the players showing more resilience and skill in winning four out of the five games that went to the deciding thirteenth hoop (any of those games would have reversed the result of the match).
At the start of the day, Colchester suffered a last-minute hitch when captain Paul Strover had to withdraw. However, teenager Jack Wicks was an able substitute, winning a tight afternoon singles leg. The Colchester players were generous and warm hosts, an enthralling day of tight and dramatic competition was enjoyed by all and the bonds in the croquet family grew wider and stronger. A memorable day (and no rain too!).
Handicap changes: King -2 to -3