The Peel Memorials tournament, first played in 1898, attracted twenty-six competitors to the Nottingham Croquet Club this year. The handicaps for the eleven ladies ranged from 11 to 20 and for the fifteen men the handicaps ranged from -1 to 11
The club had an anxious time leading up to the event since the main contractors, carrying out regeneration works within the Highfields Park, had gone into administration and left the site in January. This led to sub-contractors delaying works including work on the pavilions and filling ditches between old bowling greens, now croquet courts. Temporary arrangements were agreed for the tournament, club members rallied round and equipment was returned from winter storage.
Eight pairings competed in the mixed doubles knockout, their combined handicaps ranging from 6 to 11.
The final was played on Saturday afternoon between Omied Hallam (-1) & Pippa Hallam (16) [joint h/c 7.5] against Bob Thompson (2.5) & Patricia Duke-Cox (14) [joint h/c 8.5] The game was evenly matched until Omied had a10 minute spell when he was able to run several hoops for himself and also peel his partner's ball. This turned out to be a crucial period of play as later he was pegged out and Pippa had an anxious twenty minutes of solo play whilst their opponents were clawing themselves back into the game. Omied & Pippa won +4T in a 3 .5 hour game.
Both the ladies and mens single events were initially played as a flexible Swiss format with the top four competitors then in a straight knockout on Sunday.
Ladies semi-finals saw Sophie McGlen (12) v Diana Stevens (Hamptworth 16) and Patricia Duke-Cox (14) v Sue Wileman (11). In the Final of Sophie v Patricia, Patricia won 26 - 17. Sophie was unable to overhaul Patricia on this occasion as Patricia played some of her best croquet at this tournament.
Men's semi-finals were between Richard Stevens (Hamptworth 7) v Bob Thompson (2.5) and Martin Beacon (1) v John Bee (Watford 7). Both visitors won through to the final where Richard maintained his unbeaten run to win 26 - 21.
Earlier in the men's singles event, Richard Forman (Huddersfield 7) could possibly be the most disappointed player of the tournament. Whilst he had an exceptional game where he ran 12 hoops with an additional 2 peels in one turn to win one of his singles games, he learned that he would NOT to be awarded his silver Merit badge as he had started the turn with a bisque!
Many thanks to Diana Plant for organising an evening dinner for the competitors and to the Beeston Hockey Club for opening their clubhouse and restaurant to the players for a cooked lunch whilst the croquet club kitchen facilities were unavailable.
Patricia and Richard both earned a reduction in handicaps as a result of their victories.
Bob Thompson managed the event in his usual relaxed style and Brian Shorney, the CA chairman presented the trophies.