Ealing CC beat Letchworth CC 5 - 2 in the first round of the Longman Cup in an exciting match that could have gone either way until the last few minutes. In the morning session Carole McLoughlin and John Reynolds won a gritty doubles game +7 (on time), Roger Mayhew won a close fought game +1 (on time, Golden Hoop) and Suzanne Clarke lost -7 in a competitive and skilful game. Suzanne had barely started before her opponent had both his balls on Rover, just one hoop and peg for each short of victory. In an impressive display of determination and skill - especially as she has just spent a year away from the sport - she took her first ball round and pegged out one of her opponent's balls. She then proceeded to take her second ball round but unfortunately had to use her final bisque - which she had been saving to close out the game - when she admitted to her opponent that she had committed a fault.
In the afternoon, John was comprehensively beaten -10. Roger won +5 on time with both players quite a way from pegging out. Carole demonstrated how practice pays dividends by winning +20. Suzanne, yet again, treated us to a nail biting finish. Coming from behind she ran Rover with her forward ball and, with great presence of mind, immediately proceeded to peel her backwards ball through 3-back. This brought the scores level on time and another Golden Hoop. Both players had opportunities but in the end Suzanne scored the vital hoop first.
Our next Longman Cup match will be against High Wycombe, technically another away fixture but it will be played at Ealing.
Congratulations to Carole: she was not only involved in two wins but also - to the relief of those of us who have to play her later in the year - brought her handicap down to 12.
Carole McLoughlin (14) & John Reynolds* (10) bt David Matthews (10) & Robert Stadden (12) +7
Roger Mayhew* (11) bt John Hall (5) +1 (on time, Golden Hoop)
Keith Rhodes (6) bt Suzanne Clarke* (7) +7
Suzanne Clarke* (7) bt John Hall (5) +1
Keith Rhodes (6) bt John Reynolds* (10) +10
Roger Mayhew* (11) bt David Matthews (10) +5
Carole McLoughlin* (14) bt Robert Stadden (14) +20
*Ealing Croquet Club
Figures in brackets are handicaps at start of match.