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Omied Hallam won the Selector's Weekend

[<<] [>>] by Andrew Gregory at Nottingham Croquet Club
9 Sep 2016 (AC)

The Selectors' weekend has had the same format for a number of years. Flexible Swiss Friday and Saturday, top 4 plus ties progress to a knock-out on Sunday. And every year I can remember, the qualifying mark has been 4 out of 6. However, the conditions at Nottingham were easy, so quite a few players squeezed 4 games into a day. With that, plus 3 players more than the prescribed 16, some speculated that 5 out of 7 would be needed.

At the end of Friday two players were unbeaten: Phil Cordingley and Omied Hallam. Phil won their Saturday morning game 26tp, a result which was to prove irrelevant. So to Saturday teatime. Phil and Omied had safely qualified, but 4 players reached 4 out of 6 around this time. Should they twist or stick? Commendably, all wanted an extra game. It wasn't a Burridge Swiss (not sure that would work!), so Phil and Omied were involved, playing Dave Gunn and David Mooney respectively. Nick Steiner seemed to have the easiest draw, playing Kevin Carter who had played most games but not won too many of them. And Alan Chance was unlucky - perhaps his game finished a few minutes later than others, but the Manager couldn't find him a suitable opponent. Also Alan was the late starter on Friday, otherwise he might have played one game more.

Dave Gunn inflicted the only defeat on the Phil/Omied diarchy to reach 5 out of 7. But Omied beat David and Kevin beat Nick. So after all the qualifying mark was 4 out of 6, and the only player on that score was the no longer unlucky Alan. So for the third year running there were exactly 4 qualifiers, so only 2 rounds necessary on Sunday. Phil this year and Colin Hemming last year achieved this through luck and cunning; Kevin Carter did it by eliminating some 4-out-of-6-ers on quality of opponents (a not unreasonable idea).

Sunday morning saw Phil and Omied win their semis. In the final Omied made the first hoop, but Phil the first break. Omied missed the lift, but a big croquet stroke after hoop 2 saw Phil fall 5 yards short, and he then missed. Omied hit a 12-yarder, and 2 turns later was penult and peg. Phil missed, Omied 2-balled round penult and rover but left himself a 6-yard pegout. This missed, and it then seemed that he missed the peg with his second ball. But Phil missed his long shot, Omied hit to leave himself another 6-yard peg-out, and this time there was no mistake. Omied thus won the trophy that was won by his father in 1988.

Derek Watts won the non-existent consolation trophy, Jeff Race the similarly imaginary peeling prize with three triples.

Omied and Phil should prove too good for this event next year, along with the fast-improving Alison Girdlestone.

Sorry to bang on about the format, but I do feel something more transparent should be employed for a "serious" tournament. 16 players, 3 days - it's crying out for a Draw and Process!


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