This was Guildford and Godalming's first venture into level play Golf Croquet tournaments - a B-level restricted to those with handicaps from 2 to 7. A new tournament, a new trophy, and therefore a new winner. Competitors came from far and wide: Bristol, Leicester, Nottingham, Swanage, etc. with three G&G players making the entry up to 10.
The weather was not the kindest that this summer has thrown at us, with much cloud and a brisk breeze, but at least the rain wasn't as often or as heavy as had been predicted. Certainly not enough to dampen the ardour of the players, though, and a highly competitive tournament ensued, in the form of a six-round Swiss.
The early leader was Barry Gould (G&G) who went to lunch with 3 wins out of 3, but had something of a reverse in the fourth round. An interesting situation was developing, and with 5 rounds completed the leader board read:
Keith Southern 4 wins and +14 net points
Barry Gould 4 wins and +13 net points
David Bell 4 wins and +12 net points
The manager was checking and re-checking his calculations, as it seemed likely that the final placings would depend on net points as the tie-breaker. Cue the fat lady. All three leaders, having already played each other, faced games against opponents from the lower half of the table. Logic would have it that they would each finish on 5 wins, but other people had different ideas. Derek Heath (Tunbridge Wells) beat Keith Southern, and Mike Salisbury (Bristol) registered his first win of the tournament in beating Barry Gould. Meanwhile David Bell was holding his nerve and won his last game against Valerie Harding, thus leaving the top three as:
1st David Bell (Leicester) 5 wins +16 net points
2nd Keith Southern (Swanage) 4 wins +11 net points
3rd Barry Gould (G & G) 4 wins +10 net points
This tournament was also a qualifying tournament in the Golf Croquet B-level Series, with the highest placed player with handicap 3 or more going forward to the national final. By virtue of his last-round win, Derek Heath, the highest handicapped player in the tournament, claimed that place. Congratulations, Derek, and of course to David, the overall winner.