Oakham's croquet players have triumphed at the National Schools Croquet Championship, with the two teams taking first and second place. Additionally, team member Liam Payne emerged as victor at the National Junior Croquet Championship, held on the same day.
Anthony Morris, Charlie Schanschieff, Austin Steele and Liam Payne, who are all in the Fifth Form, travelled to Bristol to participate in the competitions. Austin writes:
"After a three-hour drive we arrived at a small croquet club where the competition was going to take place. We were the first of the schools to have arrived and so we took some time to get used to the pitch.
We were soon called to the clubhouse, where we were told that we would start off with the doubles competition. The first pair from each school would play the second pair from the other school. This resulted in Anthony and me playing against the opposition first pair, and Liam and Charlie playing against the opposition second pair. For Liam and Charlie the match looked relatively safe from the outset as they were able to secure a good start and were quickly a number of hoops ahead of their opposition. Charlie and Liam were able to peg out and win the match before the time was ever called.
The match involving Anthony and myself against the opposition first pair was much more evenly matched. The opposition looked poised to take an early lead, but some very good shots by Anthony managed to bring us back into the contest. After this, the game resulted in a very close match, with both teams looking strong, but eventually Anthony and I were able to win the match. This resulted in an Oakham-Oakham match for first and second place. Liam and Charlie quickly saw to it that they emerged as the champions, making them the premier doubles team and placing Anthony and myself in second.
After lunch, we played the singles tournament. This consisted of a number of knock-out rounds leading to a final match. Unfortunately, both Charlie and Anthony encountered extremely tough opposition in their early matches, and as a result Charlie was beaten in his first match, and Anthony was beaten in his second match. This resulted in Charlie finishing 7th and Anthony finishing 6th. I was eventually knocked out in the semi-finals, leaving me to play for third place, which I managed to win. Liam, however, progressed to the final of the singles and in an extremely tactical match, he was able to emerge as the victor. This gave Oakham a finishing tally of 1st place, 3rd place, 6th place and 7th place. All of which counted to us emerging as the overall victors of the competition and as the best croquet school in the country.
I would like to thank Mr Rothwell for organising this event so that it was possible for us to go, I would also like to thank Mr Ian Burridge who has trained us for the last few terms and who was able to get us to such a good standard and also to thank Trevor Hubbert, who drove us to and from the competition."