Ashby beat Auckland at Ripon 5-2
Results (Auckland Names First)
Freda Vitty (1) & Jane Pringle (2) lost to Will Gee (1) & Tim King (1) 7-1, 1-7, 5-7
Eugene Brady (2) lost to Rachel Rowe (3) 4-7, 7-6, 4-7
Pat Rogers (2) beat Ray Mounfield (2) 7-4, 4-7, 7-5
Vitty lost to Gee 3-7, 7-6, 6-7
Pringle lost to King 6-7, 7-6, 6-7
Brady beat Mounfield 7-4, 7-6
Rogers lost to Rowe 1-7, 7-6, 6-7
Auckland used the Ripon Spa Hotel to host this quarter-final of the Golf Croquet Inter Club Championship. On paper the teams appeared closely matched but Ashby had set themselves some self-inflicted challenges. The only one of the four players not to have returned from abroad the day before was team captain Ray Mounfield and he duly took on the chauffeuring duties for the day. Tim King had returned from Japan, so he faced the potential effects of jet lag. On the other hand, Will Gee and Rachel Rowe had been tuning their croquet skills at the Under-21 World Championship in Cairo.
Rachel showed no ill-effects and took her first game against Eugene, who was then able to respond in a close second. However, the great surprise was for Will and Tim to lose 7-1 in their first game. Freda and Jane had played steadily and also then took the first hoop of the second game. The consequence was to wake the two gentlemen from their slumbers and they won the next seven hoops. Fortunes switched again and the ladies went 5-2 up in the third. Once more, Will and Tim found some better execution of their big shots and they had their second long sequence of hoops to take the leg. Meanwhile Pat played with good composure to give Auckland a victory but, with the match in the balance, Rachel won the third of her games to give Ashby the comfort of a 2-1 lead at lunchtime.
In the afternoon, the main feature was 8 out of 11 games played going to the deciding hoop, including in the deciding third games in three of the legs, each of which Ashby then won. So, overall, Auckland were not far short of taking the match, having also been the winner of the only leg to be won in two games and winning 9 games to 11 for Ashby.
The weather was never brilliant, with some showers, but the hospitality of the welcome at Ripon Spa was as warm as ever. Rachel was probably the player of the day, with two good wins against lower handicap opponents.