The Hurlingham Annual Tournament took place from 6-14 August in perfect croquet conditions: not a drop of rain and magnificent lawns. We are all very grateful to the ground staff for their work and to mark this Peter Craig, the Grounds Manager, was invited to present the prizes on Friday.
During the first weekend 10 pairs from Roehampton, Woking and Hurlingham competed for the Centenary Salvers, a mixed doubles handicap event which was hotly contested over 5 rounds. Veronica Carlisle and Tony Bingham ably applied the Swiss system and the result was a win for Mike Holland and Gill McDiarmid (both Woking) with 5 wins out of 5. Sudy Harrison and John Culhane (both Hurlingham) were runners up with 4 wins.
There were 32 entrants for the Unrestricted Handicap Singles event which was played on Monday and Tuesday, with handicaps ranging from -2 to 18. Monday was taken up with blocks of 4, all playing all. On Tuesday the winners progressed to a knockout. The final of the main event, the Silver Jubilee Cup, was between Tony Bingham and Sudy Harrison (both Hurlingham), with Tony winning by 1 hoop after time was called. Sue Davies (Roehampton) won the Baillieu Plate, beating Clare Benson (Hurlingham). The Swiss consolation event was won by Joel Taylor (Oxford), last year's winner of the Silver Jubilee Cup, who was the only minus player in any handicap singles final. The two days were expertly managed by Philippa Cardale.
The level class singles were played over Wednesday and Thursday, with the 36 entrants divided into 3 classes, with 2 American Blocks in each, all playing all. Subsequently there was a double play-off in the A-class and single play-offs in the B-and C-classes. The winners of the A-blocks, Mark Ormerod (Hurlingham) and Joel Taylor, played Chris Farthing (Surbiton) and Tim Russell (Roehampton) and maintained their form. In the final Mark beat Joel to receive the Hurlingham Cup. In the B class, the blocks were won by Chris Roberts (Phyllis Court) and Peter Siddall (Roehampton): their final finished at 8pm with Chris winning the Turner Cup. Daniel Bennett (Dublin) won the Younger Cup by beating John Reddish (Dulwich). It is noteworthy that not only were the lawns in excellent condition but that the hoops were tightened to 1/16" clearance for the level events. This provided no problems for the A-class, but out of 31 games played by both the B and C players 13 of the formerand 17 of the latter were decided on time. This would seem to justify the shortening of the C-class games to 22 hoops. The level events were managed by Hugh Carlisle and Tony Bingham, whose skill with spreadsheets was much admired.
On Friday, 8 players competed for the Longworth Cup, a handicap singles event for those with handicaps of 10 and over, playing 18-point games. Tony Bingham and Henry Bagwell (both Hurlingham) were in the final with Tony winning the cup: his handicap went down from 11 to 9 during the week and we congratulate him. The Hurlingham Doubles for advanced mixed doubles was also played on Friday. Four pairs competed for the magnificent trophies, which were retained by last year's winners, Brian Havill (Enfield) and Gabrielle Higgins (Southwick).
Ladies' and Gentlemen's Handicap Doubles were played over the second weekend, with 18-point games on a 2.5-hour time limit. Many of the games went to time but the winners of the men's Wine Coolers were Douglas Gurney and John Pearson (both Roehampton) on 5 wins out of 5. The excellent manager of the men's event, Peter Spiller, and his partner Tom Wills-Sandford, (both Hurlingham) were runners up. The Ladies' Field Candlesticks were won by Gillian Noble-Jones (Woking) and Sudy Harrison (Hurlingham), also with 5 wins out of 5. Sudy had a remarkable week, reaching high in all four events she entered. The runners up were Gill McDiarmid and Maggie Holland (both Woking). The Ladies' event was happily managed by Philippa Cardale.
And so another Annual Tournament has ended. We count our blessings that we are able to play with friends in such splendid surroundings.