Phyllis Court beat Croquet Durham 4-3
Phyllis Court scored a thrilling victory over long distance visitors Croquet Durham last week in the National Golf Croquet Federations Shield handicap competition.
It was thrilling not just for the margin of the victory but also for the way it played out right to the very closing stages of the last game to finish which was superbly controlled by Phyllis Court's Roger Goldring.
The hosts, who had to concede handicap extra turns in every rubber of the fixture, got off to an excellent start with a comfortable 7-4, 7-5 victory recorded by Goldring (handicap -1) and Raghu Iyer (3) in the morning doubles match.
Both morning singles went to a deciding third game with Phyllis Court's Ian Norris (handicap -1) defeating Durham captain Peter Tymms (1) 7-4, 4-7, 7-5, but Robin Coates (0) eventually succumbed to the visitors' impressive Tony McCann (3) 7-5, 6-7, 3-7.
This game Phyllis Court a slim 2-1 half-time lead but with all to play for in the four afternoon head-to head singles rubbers.
Iyer extended that lead with a 7-4, 7-5 defeat of Durham's Dave Parsons (4) with assured performance that summed up the reliability that he has added to his game in the past year.
However, Durham came quickly back into the match when Phyllis Court's Coates, the All England Handicap Champion, struggled to deal the four well used extra turns of Roger Carpenter (3) and the Durham man won comfortably 4-7 , 4-7.
In the number twos head-to-had match, Norris had the difficult task of trying to contain McCann who looked like Durham's best, and although the Phyllis Court man pulled a of hard won 7-6 first game score line, McCann won the next two 5-7, 3- 7.
This tied the team match at 3-3 with just the Goldring versus Tymms match to complete, with Goldring having done well to recover from a 4-7 first game loss, to win the second 7-5.
There was a good contest at hoop five where Tymms eventually nestled in the hoop jaws which forced Goldring into a 'do or die' jump shot which he nailed perfectly, and by time repeated the act at the very next hoop all the other players were looking on attentively.
The next four hoops were traded evenly until, what transpired to be, the pivotal eleventh hoop, where Tymms decided to play his remaining extra turn to attempt an awkward clearance stroke.
Referee and Competition Director Frances Colman was called on judge the stroke which saw Tymms clip a close-by second ball with his backswing.
With that fault, the impetus of the match swung fully in Goldring's favour, he ran hoop eleven well for 6-5 and in doing so, took a commanding position at hoop twelve leaving Tymms it all to do to save the game and overall team match.
Goldring then sealed the matter 7-5 after two full stroke rotations and only then did he allow himself a controlled fist-punch skywards in celebration.
Phyllis Court moved into the quarter-finals of this national competition and will play Essex club Maldon, again home, on Tuesday 29 July.
Phyllis Court: Roger Goldring (-1), Ian Norris (-1), Robin Coates (0), Raghu Iyer (3)
Croquet Durham: Peter Tymms (1), Tony McCann (3), Roger Carpenter (3), Dave Parsons (4)