Stephen Mulliner retains European Championship
Stephen Mulliner (Eng) beat Patsy Fitzgerald (Ire) +6tp +26tp in the final to retain the European Championship at the Jersey Croquet Club. It was his ninth win in the event since its inception in 1993. The defeated semi-finalists were Phil Cordingley and Sarah Burrow, with the latter only losing to Patsy in a close third game. Sarah, who had earlier beaten Stephen in the block stage, won the third place play-off as well - and all this despite acting as official hoop-setter throughout. Matt Burrow won the Plate convincingly having lost to Stephen in the quarter-finals.
The tournament began on Friday in wind, cold and persistent drizzle but fortunately the weather then commenced a steady improvement. Saturday was still windy and cold but dry and relatively sunny while Sunday was sunny and calm and hence quite warm. The courts were as good as ever in terms of surface and speed. However the west-to-east slopes were magnified by the wind on the first two days and many a forlorn taker-offer to the east could be seen watching with dismay as his or her ball rolled inexorably towards the boundary!
The club's hospitality was as generous as ever and three convivial meals were enjoyed on the Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights with a few staying on to make it a fourth on Sunday. Cliff Jones managed the event with his usual zest and Peter Payne held the AGM of the European Croquet Federation after the prize giving at which Finland, Norway and the Czech Republic were admitted to membership, bringing the total to 18. Well done, Jersey, yet again.