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The Cheyne brothers won the English National Golf Croquet Doubles Championship

[<<] [>>] by Dr Tim King at Roehampton
2012-09-02 (GC - Championships)

Brothers Howard and Nick Cheyne prevailed in a fitting climax to the weekend-long English National Golf Croquet Doubles Championship. This pair were worthy winners but, as often in Golf Croquet, the margins were not huge; the block results for Ryan Cabble & Richard Thompson, John Moore & Chris Sheen in addition to those of Nick and Howard were very close.

John and Chris are former winners together of the English National Golf Croquet Doubles Championship (in 2006). Since then, John grew ill with liver problems (despite being young, fit and not drinking) and eventually received a transplant. This season he has felt better than for a few years and has started gradually to come back into the tournament scene. Many of the younger and more recent players do not know John but in the early 2000's he was right at the top of the English game and in particular developed an elegant, effective technique for the jump shot and would frequently jump successfully from the seven-yard boundary line. He undoubtedly has the talent to become a top-level player again.

John and Chris were very close to being in the top two of the block; a three-inch hoop miss (!?) resulted in a 6-7 loss to Howard and Nick on Saturday and that could have made all the difference. However, in the final round of block matches, Howard and Nick were winning 6-2 against Ryan and Richard when the manager calculated that John and Chris were too far behind on hoop difference to catch Howard and Nick. The players had already agreed to abandon the game in progress in these circumstances because they knew the next step was to swap to the show court and begin the best-of-three-games final.

The other four pairs all had their high points but none showed enough consistency really to threaten entry into the top part of the block. The Brands did win four games on Saturday but then had a Sunday they would almost certainly prefer to forget.

The action in the final was never less than tight. All four players contributed brave, skillful shots; Ryan hitting the ball with accurate power demonstrated by few other than Egyptians, Richard showing guile and precision and the Cheyne brothers typically keeping good control with their clearances. Ryan threatened to turn the tide when he play a beautiful five-yard jump shot at the eighth hoop in game 3, thus, drawing level at 4-4 rather than going down 3-5. But Howard and Nick kept on asking questions throughout the match and, for all his great success, Ryan often found that he eventually had to play one big shot too many. The final result was 5-7, 7-3, 7-5.

The manager instigated what is perhaps a first for a major CA final in submitting a constant flow of Tweets as to the progress of events. However, given that his Twitter account (@croquetResults) was less than 12 hours old at the time, his efforts went out to an audience of zero followers! (The sound of a one-handed clap?) The method in the madness was to test the concept as being one of the options for keeping the croquet world up to date with proceedings at the World Team Championship in South Africa in November.

The players put up well with the demands of the manager to fit in fourteen rounds of block play followed by the final. One or two lunch breaks were not quite at usual times. Play finished at 19:15 and 18:15 on Saturday and Sunday, respectively; everyone seemed to appreciate being able to play the required quantity of tough, competitive croquet. Roehampton hosted the Championship superbly; the courts were in great shape and club members turned up with a great deal of interest to watch the high calibre of play. The club had been very gracious in agreeing to forego the Musk's Cup earlier in the season because of clashing with the Olympic Cycle Road Race (undoubtedly access to the club would have been extremely tricky); taking on the Doubles instead was a victory for all.

Full block results

Pairs G&K C&C C&T L&V M&S C&R B&B Wins Hoops for Net hoops Position
A - Goodbun & King

XXX
XXX

3-7
4-7

4-7
5-7

7-5
7-4

7-5
7-6

5-7
4-7

4-7
7-3

5 64 -8 4
B - Cheyne & Cheyne

7-3
7-4

XXX
XXX

5-7
*

6-7
7-4

7-6
6-7

7-2
7-6

7-3
7-4

8 73 20 1=
C - Cabble & Thompson

7-4
7-5

7-5
*

XXX
XXX

7-6
7-4

4-7
7-4

7-2
3-7

7-1
7-4

9 70 21 1=
D - Lightbody & Vitty

5-7
4-7

7-6
4-7

6-7
4-7

XXX
XXX

4-7
5-7

5-7
7-6

6-7
7-4

3 64 -15 7
E - Moore & Sheen

5-7
6-7

6-7
7-6

7-4
4-7

7-4
7-5

XXX
XXX

7-3
7-6

7-4
7-1

8 77 16 3
F - Colman & Roberts

7-5
7-4

2-7
6-7

2-7
7-3

7-5
6-7

3-7
6-7

XXX
XXX

5-7
4-7

4 62 -11 6
G - Brand & Brand

7-4
3-7

3-7
4-7

1-7
4-7

7-6
4-7

4-7
1-7

7-5
7-4

XXX
XXX

4 52 -23 5

* abandoned with Cheyne & Cheyne winning 6-2 when the final result was no longer relevant to determining 2nd & 3rd places in the block

Score analysis

Losing score 0 1 2 3 4 5 6
Total games = 41  

O
O

O
O

O
O
O
O
O

O
O
O
O
O
O
O
O
O
O
O
O
O
O
O

O
O
O
O
O
O
O
O

O
O
O
O
O
O
O
O
O

Count 0 2 2 5 15 8 9
% of games 0% 5% 5% 12% 37% 20% 22%



 

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