Twelve players, six from the home club and six visitors assembled to play in the inaugural C-Class Advanced Play tournament on 14th/15th June, the permitted handicap range being 5 to 12. They were playing for a brand new trophy, the Michael Poole Cup, Michael having been a founder member of the club who lost his life tragically this year. The manager, Mike Tracy, making his debut in this role, decided to use the Swiss format for the trophy with a subsidiary prize for what he called a Moroccan competition, in the mistaken belief that Morocco is adjacent to Egypt. The latter was based on the number of index points accumulated during the weekend. (Note to other managers: this did not achieve the desired result as the first and second places in the Swiss were taken - predictably - by the same people who took first and second places in the Moroccan.)
The weather was hot, the grass had been cut in both directions on Friday evening and the hoops were set to a not-unfriendly 3/32" but were firm and challenging, so the scene was set for the competitors to have a weekend of advanced play against players of similar ability in good conditions.
All games were played to a three hour time limit, three on Saturday and two on Sunday. At the close pf play on Saturday Brian McCausland and Kathy Wallace headed the field with 3 wins each followed by Stephen Custance-Baker, Jim Gregory and David Hunt chasing them with 2 wins each. Most people then decamped to the local hostelry to eat and/or drink and have a good natter.
The leaders played each other on Sunday morning and Brian prevailed, going on to meet Stephen, now on 3 wins. If Stephen had won this game he would have beaten Brian in the competition (tied on number of games won but losing on who-beats-who), but would have tied with Kathy or Jim who were on 3 wins each and now playing each other. Stephen had played neither Kathy nor Jim up to this point, so the manager would have been faced with untangling a three way tie for first place. Brian led throughout their game, but not overwhelmingly so, and Stephen earned himself a chance with a long hit in near the end. He could not quite exert the control over the balls as he would have liked and eventually failed two-back after an imperfect approach shot. Brian ran out a worthy winner with a score of 18 - 14 in the final game. Jim Gregory won his tussle with Kathy to claim second place in the tournament and the Moroccan prize.
Everyone was fed and watered very well by members of the Nailsea club for which they were thanked and given a warm round of applause.
Footnote. The manager, having assiduously read Don Gaunt and Roger Wheeler's excellent book on Croquet Management, was concerned that so many games were finishing on time rather than going to the peg - only 10 of the 30 games played were won by a peg-out. He asked the competitors if they thought the tournament would be more attractive if 18 point games were played with no reduction in time limit. The players were unanimous in preferring full 26 point games.