Ray and Chris Mounfield beat Paul and Jock Strover to win the third Yorkshire Open Doubles.
The final was to have been best of three 13-point games, but with the score at 4-all in the first game after nearly an hour's play, it was agreed by all to make it one 19-point game. The Mounfields eventually took control, with Chris again displaying her hoop-running ability and Ray playing his usual steady game and it ended with a win for the Mounfields 10 - 6.
Held at the Ripon Spa Hotel Croquet Club, the maximum of 15 couples entered this competition with an age range of 17 to 83! Although the event is billed as non-residential, 25 of the 30 players were booked in to the hotel for at least one night, which added to the friendly and relaxed atmosphere evident throughout the weekend.
The weather for the Saturday was cold and overcast, with some heavy rain in the late afternoon. Sunday saw blue skies and sunshine all day. Among the competitors were a number of married couples and one father/son entry. Also present was newcomer to the croquet scene, Nick Mounfield, son of Ray and Chris, who was partnering 17 year old Jacob Carr. This Yorkshire Doubles event went international this year, with the entry of a Czech pair, Miroslav Pazdora and Pavel Gasek. Newly weds Samantha and Fergus Thompson were also playing, though not together; Samantha (Curry that was) partnered the manager, Freda Vitty and Fergus was paired with Jane Pringle.
The format was designed to allow for maximum play, three blocks of five, all play all in the first stage, one 13 point game, no time limit. The top two from each block then moved to the next stage, carrying forward the game between them and playing the top two of the other blocks, again one 13 point game. The top four were then to play semi-finals of one 19-point game, with a best of three 13-point final.
While this was happening, the other nine pairs played in one block, all play all except for the carried forward games.
In the first stage, in block one, Mike O'Brian and Mick Haytack won all four games, with Mac and Carol McGregor tying on two games with Fergus Thompson and Jane Pringle and going through on the "who beat whom" rule. In block two, Samantha Thompson won all four games, with Ray and Chris Mounfield winning three games. In block three, Paul and Jock Strover, Jacob Carr and Nick Mounfield, and Roger I'Anson and Ted Flexman all had three wins; the "who beat whom" rule could not resolve this, so Roger and Ted having the worst net points went into the lower group.
In the second stage top group, the Strovers carried forward one loss and won their other four games, claiming first in the group; Samantha and Freda carried forward one win and won three more games, only losing to the Strovers, to take second place; Jacob and Nick carried forward one win and only won one other. The third and fourth places in the semi-final hung on the result of the game between Jacob Carr & Nick Mounfield and Ray & Chris Mounfield (Nick's parents). This game went right to the wire with Nick's ball in the jaws of hoop 13 being jumped by his mum, Chris to win the game and relegate Jacob and Nick to the lower group. And on his birthday too, mum! This win put Ray and Chris with three wins and in third place, with Mike O'Brian and Mick Haytack and Jacob and Nick each with two wins, Mike and Mick going through on the "who beat whom" rule.
Despite the rain on Saturday afternoon, the schedule ran to time, until reaching the semi-finals after lunch on the Sunday. Both games were strongly contested with the Strovers beating Mike and Mick 10 - 7 and Ray and Chris taking Samantha and Freda to hoop 19, thanks to some incredible long-distance hooping from Chris at three hoops where Sam & Freda appeared in control. Samantha put a perfect approach to hoop 19, followed by a 25-yard clearance from Ray, Freda's approach was just short of being a runner and after a few more strokes, Ray jawsed his ball, clearing Sam's off the wire. Freda was able to see just enough of the jawsed ball to move it but unfortunately it fell back off the wire into a rabbit run, one of only a few damaged areas on very good end of season lawns.
The plate competition was won by local pair Roger I'Anson and Ted Flexman, who only lost one game in the group to Derek and Jacqui Old.
Once again, this turned out to be a very enjoyable competition, played in the best sporting spirit and without any disputes or problems for the manager. The hotel and staff, as usual, provided us with great food, great service and beautifully presented surroundings. A great way to end the season.
1st Ray & Chris Mounfield
2nd Paul & Jock Strover
3rd= Samantha Thompson & Freda Vitty
3rd= Mike O'Brian & Mick Haytack
5th Jacob Carr & Nick Mounfield
6th Mac & Carol McGregor
7th Roger I'Anson & Ted Flexman (Plate Winners)
8th Fergus Thompson & Jane Pringle
9th Derek & Eileen Buxton
10th Miroslav Pazdora & Pavel Gasek
11th Derek & Jacqui Old
12th David & Meriel Harkness
13th Arthur Wilkinson & Gill Brent
14th Tony & Joan Hesp
15th Stan & Angela Mumby