The inaugural GC Handicap Inter-Federation Shield final was kindly hosted by Nottingham CC. Patricia Duke-Cox, a Vice-President of the Croquet Association and a club member, arrived early to set the courts before Ripon Spa CC (RS) and High Wycombe CC (HW) teams arrived. RS fielded Ted Flexman (0), Jane Pringle (1), Roger I'Anson (3) and Sue I'Anson (7) and HW fielded Alan Clark (0), Keith Toovey (3), Mark Higgins (3) and Marc Allen (8).
In the doubles, Jane (taking a break from successfully jumping long angled hoops) had the bad luck of clearing a HW ball, 4 foot in front of hoop 12, through it in the 3rd game. An unsatisfactory way to decide such a close game, however HW took the point. RS, however, then proceeded to won both their singles. Lunch time, RS 2 - 1 up.
After lunch, HW fought back. Alan and Keith managed to win their singles in hard fought but sporting games. HW 3 - RS 2.
Roger then completed another tight victory over an in-form, but match inexperienced, Mark, 3 all.
Everyone's attention now focused on the final decisive match, where HW were one game to the good. Sue informed the crowd that she was 6-2 down in the second, against Marc, who kept shooting long hoops. Marc indeed carried on with this tactic, ignoring opponent balls in front of the hoop and shooting at the hoop itself, much to the concern of his teammates and amusement of the RS players. After hoop 11 the score was 6-5! Marc then ran a long hoop 12 to win 7-5 proving his tactics were sound and giving HW the overall narrow victory.
Patricia Duke-Cox, having kindly stayed on, made an eloquent presentation speech before we all retired for tea, cakes and amicable banter. It was only at this point (cake time) that we found out that amongst the crowd were some famous players. Ian Burridge, Rachael and Will Gee to name but a few. The Gees were so carried away with the celebrations that they each had a piece of cake, twice.
The inaugural Handicap GC Inter-Federation Shield final was a great day for grassroots club croquet, the Nottingham crowd and the CA.
Report supplied by Alan Clark
The details, Ripon first:
Ted & Jane lost to Alan & Keith 7-6, 4-7, 5-7
Roger beat Marc 7-2, 7-4
Sue beat Mark 5-7, 7-2, 7-5
Ted lost to Alan 5-7, 6-7
Jane lost to Keith 7-6 4-7 6-7
Roger beat Mark 7-6 7-5
Sue lost to Marc 4-7 5-7
Ripon 3 - High Wycombe 4