The 3rd Belgian Indoor Tournament
For the first time, the tournament was held in our sponsoring hotel, the Chateau du Lac, near our outdoor lawn in Genval. The room provided proved to be very suitable, where we could set up 2 close-to-full-size "lawns", using Jonathan Lamb's ingenious mobile hoops, which do not require holes drilled in the ground. They withstood some extremely hard shots, without flinching ! (These are available at Fifty pounds a hoop - for info contact Jonathan)
There were 10 competitors: 6 from Belgium, with two visitors from England, 1 from Holland and one from Germany. Although we could only confirm the date two weeks ahead of time, this was a respectable turn-out.
Following the tradition established last year, we organised a multi-event tournament, covering more than one croquet discipline. Perhaps too ambitiously from an organisational view point, we decided on not two, but three tournaments: A six round Swiss 14 point advanced, accounting for half of the overall points on offer (20 points to the winner, then 18, 16 ... down to 2 points for the 10th), a knock-out Golf Croquet and a Knock-out One-ball 14 point advanced, each counting for a quarter of the overall points, giving 10 each to the winner, down to 1 point for 10th place.
Scheduling was a nightmare! All the planned sequence of games were blown away due to clashes in availability of individual players at a particular time. It would have been a little tricky to play three games simultaneously for one person! Thus "flexible scheduling" was adopted, which means play whoever you can, whenever you can, as long as you are supposed to play them. Only one mishap occurred, when a hard-fought one-ball game should have been a Golf Croquet game and had to be replayed! Other than that, all matches were completed on time, even leaving time for the presentation of a return London-Brussels train ticket, donated by our sponsor EuroStar. (No-one won the special prize of a metre of Belgian triple-brewed beers for doing a triple peel.)
On Saturday evening the competitors, their partners, and other members of the Genval club had dinner in an excellent local Restaurant, again making our tournament the most suitable on the calendar for gourmets! The occasion was enlivened by an excess of alcohol, speeches, multi-lingual singing, poetry reading (!?!) and a riotous auction of club clothing and another EuroStar ticket.
The scoring method adopted for the serious business of croquet favoured those who could achieve consistency in the 3 competitions. The final result was extremely close.
In the main Swiss tournament, the top three beat each other, winning all their other games. The winner was the youngest player, Rutger from Holland (although he is a student in Brighton right now), followed by Colin Hemming (Colchester), and the local boy, Jonathan Lamb. Fourth to sixth were all local: John Swabey, Gabor Weiner and Charles-Eric Vilain XIIII respectively.
The Golf Croquet was won by Tony Falcon-Uff who beat Jonathan Lamb in the final. Martin Leach from Ipswich beat Colin in an all English play-off for third place. Rutger, who finished first in the two other competitions, managed to come absolutely last in the Golf Croquet, thus losing out in the overall results.
Rutger beat me (Gabor Weiner) in the One-ball tournament final. In the 3rd place play-off, Jonathan triumphed over Martin.
The final combined result was as follows:
1st Jonathan Lamb, Genval, 33 points
2nd Rutger Beijderwellen, Holland 31 points
3rd Colin Hemming, Colchester 30 points
4th Gabor Weiner, Genval 25 points
5th Ch.Eric Villain XIIII, Genval 21 points
6th John Swabey, Genval 20 points
7th Tony Falcon-Uff, Genval 20 points
8th Martin Leach, Ipswich 19 points
9th Joern Vinnen, Germany 13 points
10th Guy Monseu, Genval 8 points
We will certainly have an indoor tournament again next January, and armed with the new portable indoor hoops, we may have another tournament earlier than that. Watch this space!!!