Robert Fulford won the East Anglian GC Championship
The East Anglian golf croquet was held on the first really warm weekend of the year. As usual is was a competitive event with 16 players in two blocks. Saturday comprising of ten games was exhausting for most but the block winners were still not clear until the final games on Sunday morning.
The first semi-final was won by Pierre Beaudry over an out of sorts Martin French but the other proved a revelation. It was between an unbeaten, to that point, Robert Fulford and Rachael Rowe. The first game was completely one-sided and Robert won it 7 - 0, indeed the second game started with Rachael scoring the first hoop and receiving a supportive round of applause! However she dug in, remembered how to play and inflicted Robert's first game loss! The deciding game started in the same vein and an inspired Rachael, playing excellent croquet, took a 6 - 3 lead. The crowd assumed it was over but, of course Robert doesn't give in, and playing a conservative game fought back. There were hoops which were contested for fully 15 minutes and gradually the game became 6 all. Rachael had first shot at 13 but her approach just glanced the hoop's left upright and not quite in running position. This let Robert in and after a concerted exchange Robert prevailed.
Could the final live up to this excitement? Well the answer was yes! Pierre had lost two games to Robert in the block earlier in the day but he put this aside and the spectators saw another round of good clearances and a tight match which Robert just won 7 - 6. The second game was equally close with Pierre running 7 to 10 yards hoops and putting Robert under pressure, to which he responded. There was excellent clearances by both players and eventually Robert won 7 -5. Thus he regained the trophy which he has now won 6 times in its 11 year existence!