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Stephen Mulliner won the 2004 European Championship

[<<] [>>] by Sarah Burrow
19th September 2004 (International)

The twenty entrants were arranged into four seeded blocks. The first day's play, where each block played off as a round robin, has decided those who will progress through to the knock out stage of the main event.

Jerseyman Matt Burrow won Red block in fine style with four triple peels. Defending champion Stephen Mulliner also won all four of his matches to top Blue block as did Italian player Paolo de Petra who was the leader of Black block. Yellow block was more interesting; seeded player Samir Patel, England, was knocked into second place by Sarah Burrow of Jersey on points difference.

In all, forty matches took place on fast lawns in sunny conditions.

Two other players who qualified through to the knock-out and deserve a mention are Kevin Wells from the Isle of Man and Anthon Varnas from Sweden. Both players have had excellent results and have played high standard croquet. They will both be ones to watch in the future.

Thanks to Nigel Nerac and his team for the fantastic condition of the lawns.

On the final day, sunshine ensured very fast lawn speed.

Sarah Burrow and Samir Patel were first to take the stage on the showpiece lawn at the Jersey croquet Club. In the first of three, Sarah managed to peg out one of her opponents balls which swung the advantage in her favour and she was soon one game up. The second game was taken by Patel with a precise triple peel. Again attempting to dispose of an opposition ball Sarah unfortunately came to grief towards the end of the sequence enabling Patel to take advantage and the match for third place. Well played Samir, a quality player on the day and a deserved victory.

The main event final was decided in a 7.5 hour battle between GB players Stephen Mulliner and Matt Burrow who played for the Championship title over a best of five challenge. The score was level after 2 games. In the third Burrow hit the tea lady shot and neared the end of the winning turn but was caught out at the last hoop. Mulliner seized the opportunity and took the third game, having had to pull off a seemingly impossible jump shot again at the last hoop, with a +3 sextuple peel. Matt clinically took the fourth to tie again at 2 games all. The last was taken clinically by Mulliner, who completed a sixth turn triple to take the European title for the eighth time.

The plate event had also progressed over the day with Kevin Wells of IoM still maintaining splendid form playing Peter Payne of Switzerland in the final. Payne, handicap -1, was just too strong for Wells, handicap 5.

Anthon Varnas of Sweden was watched by the referee of tournament over the event and has been allocated an official handicap of 8. Kevin Wells has realised a handicap reduction to 4.5.

photos of the event


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