The GC Eights this season were both superbly competitive events, attended by 16 high quality players. We saw an exciting blend of seasoned tournament players, as well as faces relatively new to the competitive GC scene, across both tournaments. The standard of play was generally very good, which gives high hopes for the future of competitive GC.
The Kate Jones Memorial (2nd Eight Event) was certainly well contested, and the block results provided the manager with a problematic situation, with one player on 5 wins and four players on 4 wins! This resulted in an unfortunate scenario for William Ormerod, who finished 5th by virtue of who beat whom, whilst David Widdison, Peter Balchin, Andrew Dymond and Leslie Heard all progressed through to the knockout (in that order). The Semifinals both concluded in two games, resulting in a close-run final between David Widdison and Peter Balchin. Peter played the stroke that won the match in the third game at the thirteenth hoop, but unfortunately wasn't playing the colour balls for which the point was scored, resulting in a tournament win for David Widdison! Commiserations to Peter.
The Musk's Cup (1st Eight Event) had results that conformed more to seeding than the Kate Jones Memorial did, but the knockout certainly didn't conform to seeding thanks to a few crucial results. Three of the four top seeds proceeded to the knockout, with Pierre Beaudry (5th Seed) joining the top three thanks to his victory over an in-form Ian Burridge. Credit has to go to Nick Archer for his performance throughout the weekend, who according to feedback from multiple competitors, shot spectacularly. It wasn't quite enough to make the results go his way, but he was able to take a match off of the second seed very comfortably, as well as giving the fourth seed an upset! Testament to the standard of play throughout the weekend. An interesting mix of results at the top end saw top seed Stephen Mulliner finish third, second seed Tobi Savage conform to his seeding, and third seed John-Paul Moberly soar to the top spot, having dropped only one match against Tobi. Stephen and Tobi met up in the last match of the Block phase, which Stephen managed to win 7-6, 7-5. Tobi and Stephen managed to draw one another in the Semi-finals, too, so Stephen decided to replicate the exact same scoreline. Tobi played well, and managed some terrific jump shots through the course of the two matches, but he was unable to overcome Stephen, who was as precise and reliable as ever. The other Semi-final also went to two games, with John-Paul Moberly emerging victorious, in spite of Pierre's best efforts, 7-4, 7-6. The Final was another three game affair, with Stephen besting JP in game one. JP had other ideas, however, and sent the match to game three with a performance resulting in a 7-4 win. JP continued his fine form to conclude game three at the eleventh hoop, winning yet another national title to add to his collection. He has had a terrific season, and it is very exciting to see him burst onto the national GC circuit with such flair.
In conclusion, the weekend was a definite success, with some superb croquet, and an exciting atmosphere. The lawns were looked after well, and the catering was a delight - Many thanks to Nottingham Croquet Club.