The Peel Memorials, first played in 1898 and the oldest handicap tournament in the CA Calendar, were held at Hamptworth this year, where the Men's Bowl was won by Roger Hesketh, the Women's Bowl by Anne Stephens, and the Lady Murray Vases for Mixed Doubles by Abdul Ahmad and Sue Bradley.
The Mixed Doubles were played to a finish on Thursday, with eight pairs playing an X/Y Knockout. In the first round Abdul Ahmad and Sue Bradley beat Kevin Carter and Avril Rangoni-Machiavelli by an unspecified margin (Why do players in the excitement of having pegged out forget to report their results?); all three other games went to time, with Nigel Graves and Liz Maltby scraping home by 1 against Richard Stevens and Karolina Michalak as a result of a fortuitous roquet just before time was called which enabled Nigel to peel his partner's ball through 2-back to level the scores and set a rush to 3-back. Richard Smith and Diana Stevens finished 3 points ahead of Roger Hesketh and Jane Mathews, and John Bee and Wendy Spencer-Smith beat Bob and Anne Stephens +3T. In the semi-final of the X Abdul and Sue beat Nigel and Liz +1T, and Richard and Diana beat John and Wendy +9T, and in the final Abdul once again showed himself master of the close finish to take the title with Sue once again +1T. Meanwhile in the Y all games were completed within the time limit, with Kevn and Avril beating Bob and Anne in the final by +15.
The next three days were devoted to the singles. There had originally been ten men to play a six round swiss, but there was a late withdrawal for which no substitute could be found, so the manager withdrew to keep the number even and avoid the distortion of a bye counting as a win. By Friday evening Roger Hesketh and climbed to the top of the order, and showed no inclination to relinquish that position. His narrowest win was by 1T against John Bee on Sunday morning, but by then his position was impregnable, and he ran out a worthy winner with six wins out of six. Bob Stephens was runner-up with five wins. Amongst the also-rans Chris Roberts, a keen golf croquet player, impressed with long hit-ins and impressive hoop-running, and Steven Custance-Baker was not far behind. Both should see their handicaps come down once they have gained a greater mastery of tactics.
There were only six entrants for the Women's Bowl, which was played as an American Block. It was a closely fought contest, with no fewer than eight of the 15 games played being won by a margin of 3 or less. Anne Stephens won all her five games to take the Bowl, with a net points total of ten. This was the fourth occasion that Anne has won the Bowl, an unprecedented feat.
The weather stayed fine throughout, but there was a cold and blustery wind on all four days which was strong enough sometimes to make it hard to swing the mallet straight and to carry balls off course and occasionally off court. The lawns were fairly fast and the hoops were firmly set, and given the weather conditions it is not surprising well over half the games played went to time.
Richard and Diana Stevens, besides accommodating seven house guests, entertained a large party to fish and chips at their house on Friday evening. There was an eighties theme night at the club on Saturday, and the Hamptworth Golf and Country Club House offered excellent bar and catering facilities throughout the tournament.
With its four good lawns, and a fifth under construction, set in idyllic countryside, first class facilities, and an enthusiastic and welcoming croquet club President, I am sure that Hamptworth will play host to many more CA events in the future. In the meantime I recommend a visit to one of their many tournaments.
Lady Murray Vases
A Ahmad (4.5) & S Bradley (20) beat K Carter (-0.5) & A Rangoni-Machiavelli (7)
N Graves (8) & L Maltby (12) beat R Stevens (7) & K Michalak (16) +1T
R Smith (9) & D Stevens (14) beat R Hesketh (8) & J Mathews (11) +6T
J Bee (4.5) & Wendy Spencer-Smith (14) beat R & A Stephens (2 & 10) +3T
A Ahmad & S Bradley beat N Graves & L Maltby +1T
R Smith & D Stevens beat J Bee & Wendy Spencer-Smith +9T
A Ahmad & S Bradley beat R Smith & D Stevens +1T
K Carter & A Rangoni-Machiavelli beat R Stevens & K Michalak +12
R & A Stephens beat R Hesketh & J Mathews +2
K Carter & A Rangoni-Machiavelli beat R & A Stephens +15
R Hesketh beat N Kellett +3T, R Stevens +11T, R Stephens +11, A Ahmad +21, S Custance-Baker +7, J Bee +1T
R Stephens beat J Bee +8, A Ahmad +9, S Custance-Baker +2, C Roberts +2T, R Stevens +11
A Ahmad beat S Custance-Baker +9T, R Stevens +13, C Roberts +1T
S Custance-Baker beat J Bee +4T, C Roberts +5T, Neil Kellett +11
J Bee beat Neil Kellett +15, C Roberts +18, R Stevens +14
R Stevens beat C Roberts +10T, Neil Kellett +12
C Roberts beat Neil Kellett +5T
Neil Kellett beat A Ahmad +2T
A Stephens beat S Bradley +1T, L Maltby +1T, K Michalak +4T, R Nunn +2T, W Spencer-Smith +2T
W Spencer-Smith beat S Bradley +7T, L Maltby +2T, R Nunn +5
L Maltby beat S Bradley +9, K Michalak +3T, R Nunn +1T
K Michalak beat S Bradley +1T, W Spencer-Smith +6T
R Nunn beat S Bradley +12