This was played out on a glorious sunny 10th of July at the Cheltenham croquet club. The lawns as expected were in good condition and everyone was looking forward to a smooth tournament, not least of all the manager! His day was saved by two Cheltenham members Sue Siller and Russell Barter who had agreed to play half a day each so as to make two even blocks of six. This allowed for a 'round robin' format of five games, followed by a straight 'knock out' against the other block to achieve final positions.
The field of players were largely from Cheltenham, but we also had two visitors from Broadwas and Dowlish Wake. The aim was to finish the five block games before tea and play their final sixth game afterwards. However, the heat started to take its toll, and the manager was glad he had put a one hour time limit on the games, especially as the master of time John Edwards took four of his opponents to time narrowly losing 2-3 to Robert Richardson in a titanic battle. This block was very tight and came down to the deciding game which Ray Bassett won 5-4 on time against Naomi Whitehead.
The other block interestingly only had one game go to time (a manager's dream) unfortunately it did have a withdrawal due to ill health (a manager's nightmare). It was a shame for Peter Dempsey who had started well and was leading the way, but had to pull out due to the heat making him feel dizzy. Fortunately, Sue Siller said she would stay on after lunch and finish her matches, thus allowing Russell to take over from Peter saving the format for the manager. This block was much tighter with net points having to be used to separate the retrospective top three in order Libby Stewart, Howard Freeman and Anne Larpent.
Naomi who had just missed out winning her block was fired up and took third place of Howard convincingly 7-1. However, the final between Ray and Libby was a very different affair and could have gone either way finishing 7-6 to Ray who having not dropped a game was a deserved winner of this year's Barter trophy and will now play in the finals at Cheltenham in September, good luck.
Thank you to all the players especially our visitors which made it an enjoyable day and I hope to see some more competitors next year.
By Ivor Brand (manager)