Surbiton beat Cheltenham 4-1 with two games unplayed in today's final at Cheltenham.
R Bamford & S Mulliner beat D Foulser & P Smith +26tp (B)
Bamford beat Foulser +26sxp
Mulliner beat Smith +26tp
J Dyer beat D Gaunt +23tp
S Patel lost to D Magee - 3
Dyer vs Magee unplayed
Patel vs Gaunt unplayed
This was Cheltenham's third consecutive Inter-Club final appearance but success still eluded them. In stark contrast to Surbiton's ultra-narrow win in 1999 (Terry Burge had to hit the peg from Corner 2 in the deciding game with Paul Smith ready to go out in the next turn), the visitors took little over two hours to score the four points required for victory.
The opening doubles was a brief affair as Mulliner hit Bamford's duffer tice in turn 4, reached 4-back with a DSL in turn 6 and Bamford completed a standard triple in turn 8. Dyer let Gaunt in at an early stage but, after Gaunt missed a short roquet after hoop 3, Dyer took control and completed a delayed triple. 2-0 to Surbiton.
Neither Dave Foulser not Paul Smith took croquet as Bamford and Mulliner took full advantage of the easy conditions. Mulliner was first to finish with a triple and Bamford provided the decisive fourth point with a trademark sextuple played with an elegance that was keenly appreciated by the audience of Wrest Park supporters and Cheltenham members. Patel, despite the handicap of a badly-cut finger (bandaged and not bleeding all over the court!), reached rover and peg against Magee before a missed roquet allowed his opponent the opportunity to avoid a whitewash.
Alan Oldham acted as the official representative of the Croquet Association and presented the new Inter-Club trophy to Surbiton's captain, Stephen Mulliner. Mulliner complimented Cheltenham for reaching the final again and on the quality of their lawns and, as befits a member of a club with a high catering reputation, thanked Cheltenham for their hospitality with special reference to the excellence of Eileen Magee's roast lamb and range of puddings.