This match was hosted by the Guildford and Godalming Croquet Club who gave the players, most of whom had not visited before, a warm welcome. The teams comprised six players and the format was for all-play-all best-of-two doubles on the Saturday, with all-play-all single-game singles on Sunday making for a 54-point match.
The GC team set the tone for the weekend with a fast start taking a 5-1 lead after the first round of doubles, this was extended to 12-6 by the end of the first day with the untried pair of Will Gee and Jonathan Powe winning 5 of their 6 games.
Play in the doubles had been rather slow with nobody really finding a rhythm, the start of the singles on Saturday saw a much higher standard and some good quality matches. When the GC team again took the first round 5-1 their 17-7 lead began to look unassailable and the match never really took off as a contest. In the end however they rather limped over the line in the penultimate round before wrapping up the victory 30 wins to 24. Jamie Burch excelled for the AC team winning all six of his matches, Will Gee was the top performer for the GC team with 5/6 only losing to Jamie.
From my perspective while the GC team were not unsurprisingly better tactically and at jump shots the AC team more than held their own at shooting, probably being better at longer distances than their GC counterparts. The most significant difference in terms of overall performance I felt was with regard hoop running, the GC team were consistently better at running hoops and their ability to run odd hoops by a useful distance was also noticeable.
Many thanks to the Guildford club for their enthusiasm and considerable efforts in providing good playing conditions in October, excellent catering and even providing us with a crowd!
GC Team: Ian Burridge, Will Gee, John-Paul Moberly, Jonathan Powe, Rachel Rowe and Tobi Savage
AC Team: Rutger Beijderwellen, Jamie Burch, Jeff Dawson, James Death, Samir Patel and Mike Town
Full results available at croquetscores.com/2017/gc/v-ac-challenge-match