Report on the Hurlingham Annual Tournament
5-13 August 2017
During the first weekend 10 pairs competed for the Centenary Salvers, a mixed doubles handicap event hotly contested over 5 rounds of a Swiss. The result was a win for Barry Huxley and Gillian Noble-Jones with 5 wins out of 5. Hugh and Veronica Carlisle were runners up with 4 wins. Tom Wills-Sandford and Jane O'Neill (3 wins) deserve honourable mention; had they not lost narrowly to the eventual winners in the final match the manager would have been scratching his head having to separate the 3 pairs tied on 4 wins.
Twenty four players competed for the Unrestricted Handicap Singles. This culminated in interesting finals, with Sue Davies using only 3 of her 8.5 bisques to beat Nigel Polhill +26 to win the Silver Jubilee Cup; and with Gina Pellegrini keeping the innings and winning the Baillieu Plate +1 after Martin Gilmartin had pegged out his first ball.
The Class Singles were washed out on Wednesday by torrential rain. At a meeting at 1pm it was agreed that play for the day should be abandoned and that we should restart on Thursday at 9.30am (itself a first for Hurlingham) on a knockout basis. Games were shortened and time limited: it is noteworthy that over 50 games were played and that the results were available by 6.30pm. Mark Ormerod retained the Hurlingham Cup, beating Alain Giraud +23tp, after Alain lost the innings with a missed hampered shot. The Turner Cup was won by Chris Coull +3 over John Reddish; and Tony Elliott beat Chris Van Essen +10 to win the Younger Cup.
On Friday 8 players competed for the Longworth Cup, a handicap singles (min 10, max 20) playing 18-point games to base 10. The average handicap was unusually high at 18, with half the field playing their first CA event. Two 20 handicap newcomers contested the final, with Stephen Parish playing impressively to overcome Geraldine Dahlke. Sally Hunt beat David Spragg in the consolation final.
The Hurlingham Mixed Open Doubles produced some remarkable play. In the game against George Noble and Christine Osmond Alain Giraud peeled partner Clare Benson through 5, 6, 1-back and (straight) 2-back, but failed to get the rush to peeling position at 3-back. Undaunted, he changed horses and embarked on a straight QPO of George. Unfortunately the rover peel stuck and the subsequent jump went clear over it. Alain then effected a promotion but the peelee finished up behind the hoop and the peg-out failed; so Alain paid the price and George reversed the honours; nevertheless, Alain and Clare won +3 on time! In his game against the holder Gabrielle Higgins Alain pegged her out when her partner, Tim Dutton, was for penult. Clare was well behind but was finally allowed to make a hoop off Tim - rover, of course - and she stuck; Tim hit her, made the hoop and then missed the 3-foot return roquet! Gales of laughter from the sidelines. Tim was dispatched to the boundary and Clare finally made rover but missed the peg-out, so she pegged herself out. Tim hit the final shot and won. This meant that the Event was won by George and Christine, both of whom had played consistently well during the day.
The Ladies Field Candlesticks, were originally presented to the CA by the Ladies Field Magazine, in order to promote women's participation in sport; they were later presented to Hurlingham and have been fiercely contested for 101 years. This year was no different and the ladies were in excellent form. After the first day, Veronica Carlisle and Jane O'Neill were the only pair with three wins; but on Sunday, a glorious sunny day, Sue Davies and Jean Oades played well to defeat Veronica and Jane, giving them also three wins. All was to play for after lunch. Veronica and Jane beat Janet Overell and Maggie Hampson, but Sue and Jean had previously beaten them, so all hinged on the last game. Sue and Jean were ahead of Gillian Noble-Jones and Sudy Harrison; however, Sudy got the innings, and seemed to be sprinting for home before Sue and Jean finally triumphed 13-10. This made them the deserving overall winners, with Veronica and Jane the runners up.
The Wine Coolers men's doubles were strongly contested, but the clear winners were Chris Coull and David Spragg with 5 convincing wins. The latter is new to croquet but displayed natural talent and should have a promising future. The runners up were the Parishes, father and son, both with backward-facing hats but with definitely forward play: in their match against Mark Ormerod and Tim Dutton Mark was "the man who went to 4-back", whereupon Nick used two bisques to triple and peg him out. Much fun was had by all, in this and all events. And it must be said that the lawns were magnificent throughout, despite the weather; very many thanks are due to the ground staff.