There were several surprises in the block results and only a very late recovery from eventual winner Derek Old prevented him from being eliminated in the initial stages by Ramsgate's Les Coppas. The event, held over the weekend of 9/10 June, was billed as an International event and attracted two entries from Belgium, one from Germany and two from Palestine.
The initial stage of the competition was block play with four blocks of six players, the best two from each block going through to a final knockout stage. Roy Ware from Ramsgate and Colchester's Chris Sheen dominated their blocks with five wins from five games. The final eight for the knockout were Jeremy Hackett and John Moore in block 1, Roy Ware and Tom Weston in block 2, Ian Price and Don beck in block 3 and Chris Sheen and Derek Old in block 4.
Roy Ware, Chris Sheen, Tom Weston and Derek Old survived the first round of the knockout providing semi-finals between Roy Ware/Chris Sheen and Derek Old/ Tom Weston. Both semi-finals were very close with 10-9 scores leaving Derek and Roy to contest the final, which was best of three 13-point games. In the first game of the final Derek appeared to dominate the match with a quick win of 7-3 but the situation was totally reversed in the second with Roy scoring a 7-2 win. The decider was much closer and could have gone either way but Derek managed to take the thirteenth and final hoop.
For the lesser able mortals who did not manage the final knockout there was a consolation doubles event. By some strange and mysterious process, known only to Manager John de Jeffry, we were all paired off for the doubles knockout. After four games, local members Tony Mockett and David Dray were declared the winners.
This is possibly the most sponsored croquet tournament in the UK, which allowed the astronomic (in croquet terms) prize money of £500 for the singles winners and £200 for the doubles pair. The major sponsor was local member Marion Hoff but local stores and the Thanet District Council also supported the event.
Congratulations must go to the organising committee: the fleet of ball boys from the local schools and the smartly dressed referees must certainly have attracted public attention for the game of croquet. Also well done to the club on the improvements to their facilities. Ramsgate was the venue for my first ever croquet tournament and I quickly learnt that a contour map for the lawns was a necessary requisite for all tournament players there. This is no longer the case and I can recommend their lawns to anyone. Also the clubhouse redecoration has provided a very pleasant location to relax after play.