Some memories of the Egyptian GC Championship
The 2007 Egyptian GC Open ended on Saturday, and here is a brief report on what happened:
There were 8 non-Egypt based players invited this year (Reg Bamford, Rob Fulford, David Openshaw, Len Canavan, Sharif and Ihab Abdelwahab, Mike McClure and the Egyptian-speaking Evan Al-mighty.
Semis: Alaa Al Nour bt Ahmed Nasr and Ahmed al Mahdi (last year's winner) bt Yassir Esmat
Final: Alaa bt Ahmed 3-1
Reg came second in his block (beating Alaa but losing to Ahmed), and lost to Khaled Younis 2-1 in the knockout. Rob came third in his block, and lost to Ahmed 2-1 in the knockout.
- The general impression on the standard of Egyptian play is that Ahmed and Mohammed Nasr's dominance has fallen away somewhat (anything to do with their recent marriages, I wonder?), and that no-one else overly impressed us. That said, they still form a formidable block of players and their sheer weight of numbers in this tournament make it difficult for a non-Egyptian to win it. Some new Egyptians have appeared and are just as formidable as the others - particularly Umr Bahir (their new number 1) and Alaa Al Nour (the eventual winner). There is nothing to choose between their top 6 and the feeling was that Reg and Rob are still their equal.
- The camaraderie at this event is something quite special and the support for each other runs deep. The louder the locals cheer on their man, the louder our own clapping and cheering becomes. Particular mention must be made of Mike and Eleanor McClure's vocal support, which was appreciated by all of us.
- Len Canavan continues to be the heart and soul of our team. This year, he was given a special award for his extraordinary record over the three years, and Len will no doubt be looking to chalk up his first win next year. He also claims a record for never having played the wrong ball because, and I quote, "he always plays the ball that's in the furtherest corner of the court".
- The look of shock on Mike McClure's face when he learnt of the All Black's loss to the French.
- And finally, Evan Newell's encyclopaedic knowledge of all things scientific brought some light relief to us all. Sitting in a restaurant on the bank of the Nile, he was explaining the thermodynamics of the gentle cooling breeze coming in off the Nile. After enduring his long-winded explanation, Len asked Evan if the breeze had anything to do with the rather large electric fan positioned directly behind Evan.
Grateful thanks to Amir Ramsis, the President of the Egyptian Croquet Federation, for his generous hospitality and the enormous effort - and financial support - that he puts into the game. He is almost single-handedly responsible for the internationalisation of Egyptian Golf Croquet and we all owe him a debt of gratitude.