The GC Inter-County Championship really became of age over the weekend with the eleventh staging of this event. The maximum of twelve teams competed for the first time and needed all eleven lawns at Southwick to provide a full playing schedule. Originally there had been twelve counties entered but Devon withdrew only three weeks before the competition and were replaced by a CA Select team.
The format was an all play all American block with each match consisting of two singles and one doubles. Although only four players were required each round, up to six players could be registered for each team and captains could choose any four of the players for each round. There was, however, one other condition in that all players had to play either equal numbers of singles and doubles or not more than one different in number. After days of horrific weather, Saturday started with bright sunshine which continued for the whole of the weekend. The lawns whilst slightly slow were possibly in the best condition they have been for many years.
Surrey started in a very determined manner and won all their seven rounds on the Saturday with a team of Don Beck, Mike Town, Stephen Mulliner, George Noble plus Dick and Mary Knapp. Six times previous winners of the event, Kent were only just behind with one loss to Oxfordshire. Sunday, however, gave a slightly different picture with the odd 'giant killing' creeping in Dorset managed a 2- 1 win over Surrey and County Durham managed a sweet 3-0 victory over Kent. After two rounds on Sunday, it looked as if Kent were once again going to collect the title after beating Surrey in the second game of the morning but Sussex spoiled Kent's chances by beating Kent 2-1 in the following round. Manager John Low was quite delighted when the final tally showed a clear first three of Surrey, Kent and Oxfordshire with 9, 8 and 7 wins respectively.
The format of mixed singles and doubles would appear to be one of the main factors behind the popularity of this event and it seems ideal for attracting new players to the competitive side of the game as we have new faces at the event each year. It was also pleasing this year to see three of our junior players participating. With the size to which this competition has now grown, it has now reached the same stage as the AC Inter Counties event where it becomes as much a festival of croquet as well as a championship with a very large proportion of the regular GC players meeting annually at the one venue. The Southwick club contributed to this festival atmosphere by organising a top class BBQ on the Saturday evening which many of the players attended. For those not sampling the delights of the Southwick bar whilst waiting for their food, a game of Pirates was organised and only stopped when the white ball was no longer visible. We would hope that Southwick will repeat their success in future years and the BBQ can become a permanent feature of the event. Not to be outdone by their evening time colleagues at the BBQ, the lunch time ladies excelled themselves with a superb poached salmon lunch on the Saturday.
The full results are shown in the table below. The format allows that games which are not finished on time may be declared as draws. For the purposes of determining final position a draw is only considered as .49 of a win thus establishing that one win takes priority over two draws. Players will find that there has been a slight change in the lower positions to that given directly after the event as corrections to allow influence from drawn games has now been made
|County||A||B||C||D||E||F||G||H||I||J||K||L||Matches Won||Net Games||Posn|
|County Durham (A)||xxx||2||1||2||1||3||3||1||2||1||1||1||5||18||7|
|CA Select (B)||1||xxx||1||2||2.49||1||0||1||0||1||0||1||2||12|