Fourteen players took part in East Dorset's 'B' Level Tournament on 25-26 May; four excellent courts and a weather considerate weekend, meant a relatively hitch-free programme of matches all played to a high competitive standard. Players travelled from clubs extending from Chelmsford in Essex to Beckford near Cheltenham, to Dowlish Wake in the west and Chichester in the south.
Day 1 split the fourteen into two blocks of seven all playing all; the standard was high and four players emerged from each block to contest the Championship on Day 2: Karen Jones (with 5 wins), Jane Collier, Andrea Huxley, Bridget Goodman, Gill Hindshaw (all with 4 wins), Neil Humphreys, John Mariner and Keith Bryant (with 3 wins). In the first of the Semi-Finals Andrea overcame Bridget in two straight games (7-5, 7-2) whilst Karen and Neil fought it out over three games with Neil finally prevailing (6-7, 7-4, 7-3). In the play-offs the games quickly developed into long struggles around hoops, complemented with good clearances and accurate positional play. In the end Jane Collier prevailed over John Mariner (7-3) and Gill Hindshaw overcome Keith Bryant ((7-4). The 3rd/4th play-off between Karen Jones and Bridget Goodman went to Karen (7-2). The week-end finale saw defending champion Andrea Huxley take on Neil Humphreys in a three-game thriller which see-sawed between the two players; in a tightly fought third game Neil prevailed to win the championship at the twelfth hoop (4-7, 7-4, 7-5). In the Plate Competition (also Day 2), Richard Jenkins (Hamptworth) pipped Patrick Knight (Camerton & Peasedown) into first place on net hoop points. Both had four
The following handicap changes were duly noted: Bridget Goodman (Ealing) 6 to 5; Patrick Knight (Camerton & Peasedown) 5 to 4; Richard Jenkins (Hamptworth) 5 to 4 and Gordon MacRea (Beckford) 5 to 4.
Finally, my congratulations to Neil Humphreys for his hard-fought victory and I would also like to extend my thanks to all of the players for the excellent croquet; the groundsman Robin for the superb courts; the Caterer Andrew for the delicious food, the referee Keith Southern for officiating all those 'difficult moments', the Croquet Section Chairman John Clode for making the presentations and Mark Hamann for 'live streaming' the final on face book.