Despite a dreadful forecast predicting torrential rain, 18 brave croquet players turned up to contest this year's North of England Championship at Bowdon. Fortunately, the rain largely confined itself to overnight and the lawns maintained an easy 10 seconds throughout. The first day saw some seeds fall - Ian Lines lost to an ever improving Robert Wilkinson, who then went on to beat Marcus Evansin the quarters. Meanwhile Chris Williams had a good run beating James Hopgoodin the quartersto make his first championship semi-final.
Unfortunately, the golden oldies beat the up and comers and Keith Aiton and David Maugham won through to set up the same final as seen for the last three years, with David triumphing +25tp, +11tpo, -26sxp, +10 to record his record eighth win at this event.
Meanwhile the plate was being enjoyed by many, with excellent form being shown by Gabrielle Higgins with 5 triples over the weekend. Sam Murray also did well, making the plate draw and dropping his handicap from 1.5 to 0.5 in one go. In an early game James Hopgood finished a sextuple despite it going sufficiently wrong in the middle that Ian Lines said he'd eat his hat if it finished - an edible hat was duly created and eaten to the delight on onlookers. The final of the plate saw James Hopgood beat David Goacher +26tp in quick time - James had a train to catch!
Martin Granger Brown presented the Faulkner Cup to David and the Tollemache Plate to James. He also thanked Christine Irwin and her team of helpers for the magnificent catering, Alan Mayne for the excellent lawns, and Barry Keen and Colin Irwin for setting the lawns and hoops.
It also emerged at the presentation that David and Keith had agreed that the first three games of the final would simultaneously constitute the completion of the final of the Eastern Championship, held over from Wrest Park where Keith was 2-0 up when rain stopped play, and so Keith won the Easterns+26sxpin the fifth (not sure how that will go into the rankings).
Results and photos at http://www.bowdoncroquet.co.uk/
|First Round||Second Round||Quarter-finals||Semi-finals||Final||Winner|
-24tp +12tpo +3tp
-7tpo +20tp +26sxp
-26tp +15 +15
|Richard H Smith|
+25tp -9 +15
-10 +12 +16
+8 -4 +5