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Stephen Mulliner won the Golf Croquet Open Championship 2011

[<<] [>>] by Bill Arliss at Sussex County Croquet Club
27 June 2011 (GC - Championships)

Stephen Mulliner retained his GC Open Singles Title, beating Ryan Cabble in the final.

Day one was exclusively doubles with sixteen pairs: itwas played as four blocks of four with the top two in each block going through to a knock out. All games up to the final were single 13 point games but used a two clear point finish up to a maximum of 19 hoops. The usual Bamford/Mulliner partnership was broken this year with Reg scheduled to play with Charles Barlow and Stephen partnering Hamish McIntosh from New Zealand. Unfortunately Charles Barlow had to withdraw and Hammy Hamilton filled in at the last moment.

The two pairs reaching the final best of three final were two of our promising youngsters, Ryan Cabble and Nick Cheyne who played Stephen Mulliner and Hamish McIntosh. The final was quite a battle with very adventurous play from the two younger players eventually winning the day 7-5,5-7,7-5. Unfortunately the weather was not too kind and some very heavy showers managed to interrupt play on several occasions.

The singles started on Friday with four blocks of seven playing best of three 13 point games. Although time limits were imposed, the choice of a cumulative 60, 40, 30 minutes only caught the slowest of slow players which was the main intention. By keeping a very careful eye on proceedings, Manager, John Low had all block games completed by mid afternoon on the Saturday allowing all quarter final games to be completed by a very reasonable time in the evening. The quarter finalists were as below with block winners named first.

Block A - Reg Bamford and Ivor Brand
Block B - Peter Freer and Stephen Mulliner
Block C - Kevin Beard and Hamish McIntosh
Block D - Piere Beaudry and Ryan Cabble

Most blocks went as expected except for block B. Australian Peter Freer managed a 100% record and left a final game between Stephen Mulliner and Nelson Morrow playing off for a place in the knockout. When it was rumoured around the ground that Nelson was ahead in the third game, quite a large crowd collected around lawn 6. As Stephen himself said, "the vultures all arrived" expecting a kill no doubt. The game eventually went to the 13th with Nelson getting a perfect position in front of hoop 13 leaving Stephen two 25 yard shots for a clearance. His first just grazed the target ball but the second was a full contact knocking Nelson back to the baulk line. Nelson really only had one option; go for the hoop, which unfortunately did not succeed leaving Stephen to claim eventual victory.

By close of play on the Saturday evening, the four semi-finalists were known and the first games on Sunday were Mulliner vs Bamford, 7-5, 3-7, 7-4, and Cabble vs Brand, 7-5, 6-7, 7-4, leaving Stephen and Ryan to fight for the title on Sunday afternoon. Ryan produced some magnificent jumps and long hoops but the greater experience of Stephen eventually shone through with Stephen taking the title 7-5, 7-5. Reg won the third/fourth place play off in two straight games 7-1, 7-3

The Plate event was won by one of the visiting players from New Zealand, Steve Piercy.

Our President, Quiller Barrett, usually arranges for a senior member of the CA to present the trophies at our major events. Unfortunately he got things slightly wrong this time by asking Vice President Mulliner. All was not lost and visiting player , Peter Freer from Australia stepped in and did the honours.

A full; results summary will be published later.

Bill Arliss

Tournament Director


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