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The strongest croquet team ever?

[<<] [>>] by Danny Huneycutt
30th June 2007 (International)

A North Carolina team of six players have challenged arguably the strongest croquet team to ever participate in an international event on the beautiful croquet lawns of the Pinehurst Resort. The two teams comprise the following players:

International Select Team

Reg Bamford (South Africa) #1 Player in the World
Robert Fulford (England) #2 Player in the World
Keith Aiton (Scotland) #3 Player in the World
Dave Maugham (England) #5 Player in the World
Bruce Fleming (Australia) # 8 Player in the World
Jonathan Kirby (Scotland) # 17 Player in the World

North Carolina Team

Danny Huneycutt (Lexington) #1 Player in USA
Paul Scott (Raleigh) #5 Player in USA
Damon Bidencope (Charlotte) #7 Player in USA
Ron Lloyd (Pinehurst) #8 Player in USA
Bob Cherry (Pinehurst) #9 Player in USA
Andy Short (Chapel Hill) #12 Player in USA
Ed Roberts (Davidson) #16 Player in USA

The twenty-seven match (no time limit best of three) test will be played June 28-July 1 with play starting at 8:30 AM each morning. Don't miss this rare opportunity to witness some of the most accurate, complex and difficult shot-making abilities in the sporting world.

There is live commentary and scoring throughout the event. The four day event will also include golf croquet and sextuple demonstrations by the best in the world during "The Local Dignitaries Meet the Players" function on Friday and a Pro-Am golf croquet tournament on Saturday. Whether you're looking for a road trip, want to see croquet played at a level you've never seen before or if you want to converse with the best players in the world to learn their preparation methods, Pinehurst, North Carolina is the place to be June 28-July 1.

Full Results after Day 2

Bamford & Fleming bt Bidencope & Hunneycutt +21 +13sxp(B)
Fulford & Maugham bt Scott & Short +26sxp(F) +17
Aiton & Kirby bt Cherry & Roberts +17tp(A) +26tp(A)

Reg Bamford bt Damon Bidencope -7 +16tp +16tp
Robert Fulford bt Danny Hunneycutt +26tp +5tp
David Maugham bt Paul Scott +17 +25
Keith Aiton bt Andy Short +11 +8
Bruce Fleming bt Ron Lloyd +26tp +1
Jonathan Kirby bt Bob Cherry +8 +26tp

Bamford & Fleming bt Scott & Short -9 +20tp(B) +15
Fulford & Maugham bt Lloyd & Roberts +26sxp(F) +25
Aiton & Kirby bt Bidencope & Hunneycutt +3 +17

Bamford bt Scott +17tp +17sxp
Fulford bt Bidencope +17tp +2
Maugham bt Hunneycutt +17tp +26tp
Aiton bt Cherry -20 +25sxp +26tp
Fleming vs. Short -17 +22tp
Kirby lost to Lloyd -13 +5 -25

Current Match Score 16-1 (27 match test match)

Jonathan Kirby Describes the Opening...

North Carolina Challenges Croquet World Champions

As we arrived at Pinehurst, this was the banner we saw to greet us. And, fair enough, this is a good headline for local publicity, and the team playing here contains the singles world champion and most of the world champion (that is, MacRob winning) team.

On the courts today, most of the team members lived up to their billing, but, surprisingly, Reg was the one who looked out of sorts.

We started with three doubles matches, and the International Team won all three 2-0. Then came the singles, and again the North Carolinians looked overmatched, with the exception of Damon Bidencope, who traded errors with Reg to take the first game. Their second game was also tight, but Reg clinched it with a triple, some time after the other five matches had all been decided. Eventually, he won the third game with another triple peel, after the evening dinner had been put back by half an hour to accommodate the long match!

Why no sextuples? Well, actually Robert and Reg both completed sextuples in the morning doubles, but by the evening Reg was complaining about and struggling with the Wilhoite balls. Some of the British players have played with these in the US before, and they have always been very hard and bouncy. But the balls we played with today were surprisingly soft, with rushes and croquet strokes behaving more like Barlow balls than Dawsons or Sunshinys. Pull was interesting too - Robert tried to peel rover going to 3b from 1 foot straight in front, and was quite taken aback when it just clipped the outside of the wire! Four inches of pull over one foot! We are not sure why these Wilhoites are so different to what we expected. Perhaps they are reacting in the heat (high 80s and humid), or perhaps they are older, or perhaps they are just a different batch.

This evening the teams and the members of the Pinehurst croquet club had a very good dinner at the members club at Pinehurst. The croquet members have been helping out with all the behind the scenes things that make an event like this so good. In particular, many of us are staying with them. It is very much appreciated.

On Saturday we play just doubles, followed by golf croquet and a pro-am. We finish on Sunday with just singles.

Remaining Scores

reported 1 July:

Bruce Fleming bt Andy Short +26
Bruce Fleming bt Bob Cherry +2
Bruce Fleming bt Bob Cherry +10tp

Ron Lloyd bt Keith Aiton +13
Ron Lloyd bt Keith Aiton +18

Robert Fulford bt Paul Scott +10
Robert Fulford bt Paul Scott +26sxp

Jonathan Kirby bt Ed Roberts +24tp
Jonathan Kirby bt Ed Roberts +26tp

David Maugham bt Damon Bidencope +26tp
David Maugham bt Damon Bidencope +26tp

Danny Huneycutt bt Reg Bamford +3
Reg Bamford bt Danny Huneycutt +17tp
Reg Bamford bt Danny Huneycutt +17sxp


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