Wrest Park hosted the 4th in a series of 24 Singles tournaments which comprise the 2017 National Series for players of golf croquet with handicaps of between 3 and 8. In fact, all 16 players taking part had handicaps of between 3 and 5 and all of them had taken advantage of the online booking system.
A dire weather forecast proved only too correct. It rained heavily throughout the day with occasional torrential outbursts. Locally, more rain fell than the average for the whole month of May, more even than for the whole of the six weeks prior to the event. Players were simply soaked to the skin.
The field came from far and wide and it was nice to note that 13 out of them were returning to play in the tournament for at least a second time. When enquiry was made if there were any qualified GC referees present, seven hands went up! The group is in effect like a touring party, the majority knowing each other well and all vying for a place in the National Final at Southport in October.
In the morning, there was block play, with the winners and runners up from each block of 4 proceeding to the knockout stage. Three block winners won all their games, Keith Pound (High Wycombe), Andrea Huxley (Guildford) and Richard Keighley (Wrest Park) and they were joined by Louise Taylor(Merton).Runners up were decided on a net hoops basis, and these were Gavin Taylor(Merton)Steve Fisher(Harwell), Richard Peperell(High Wycombe) and Peter Aspinall (Wrest Park).
In the quarter finals, Keith, Louise, and Steve prevailed together with Richard K at the expense of Peter. Steve and Louise won their semis and then fought out a closely contested Final with Louise winning 7-6.
The lawns stood up to the weather very well although there was evidence of waterlogging on 2 and 4 in the afternoon. Everyone claimed to have enjoyed themselves in spite of everything and they were already looking forward to their next encounter. As Manager, I wish to express grateful thanks to Peter Aspinall, David Marsh and John Bevington for lawn preparation, hoop setting and white-lining and also to David Woolley for catering the event.
Finishing order: Winner: Louise Taylor. 2nd Steve Fisher. 3rd Keith Pound. 4th Richard Keighley