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East Dorset June Week

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pictureDavid Fuller, Handicap & C Class Winner

by David Fuller at East Dorset
29th June 2022 (AC - Mixed)

Beautiful sunny weather ensured a lovely setting for this week of competition at the East Dorset Croquet Club. This year the three separate events: Doubles KO, Singles KO and Class Singles, were arranged sequentially through the five days to make it easier for visitors to schedule their stay in Poole.

Tournament Manager, Andrew Gregory, organised the logistics very well, but made one slightly dubious decision in asking me to create this report. I have only been playing this season, so you will forgive any poor croquet terminology. Anyway, here we go...

Day1: Handicap Doubles

Only four pairs participating ensured that the draw mechanism would be easy to manage. Last year's winners, Anthony Dix/Alan Jones bt John Pollard/Sue Longcroft 18-10 in the first semi-final. Andrew Gregory/Fran Lambert bt Martin Isles/David Fuller 18-15 in the second, where Andrew's ball was pegged out by his opponents but Fran was able to hit in from a distance to polish off Rover and the Peg for the win.

The third-place playoff saw Isles/Fuller bt Pollard/Longcroft in reasonably convincing fashion. The final saw Dix/Jones bt Gregory/Lambert in a similar manner to retain the Summer Doubles Cup.. Well played and well deserved Anthony and Alan.

Day2: Handicap Singles Knock-Out

Twelve players lined up for the KO (so room for a few more next year!). The first round saw some close results as Andrew Gregory, John Pollard, Fran Lambert and Tim O'Donnell all progressed. For those with byes, Chris Weedon and myself won against Anthony Dix and David Harrison-Wood respectively, making good use of rows of bisques (well, mainly in my case, which was duly noted by the Tournament Manager). John Pollard and Tim O'Donnell subsequently won through to the semi-finals ready for the following day. Handicap Swiss matches were also played ensuring no rest for any players!

As an aside (and as a bit of a marketing ploy for next year), I should mention that the Cafe/Bar provided excellent lunches and liquid refreshments from tea to beer. Many thanks to Sam and her team. There were a couple of evenings when some of the more 'committed' participants could be found discussing the events of the day over a beer, or two.

Day3: Handicap Singles Knock-Out

It has to be said that some of the matches today were slower than usual, mostly to do with the fact that it was so very hot. John Pollard and I had a tough attritional match which I was able to pinch by the flattering score 26-17. Tim O'Donnell and Chris Weedon really did lag it out and I am sure they won't mind me saying that neither played as well as they would expect. With chances either way, Tim managed to close out the nail-biter 26-22. Bad luck Chris.

So Tim and I in the final, and to say that I was nervous is a big understatement. Winning the toss and hitting in first, Tim went smoothly round to 1-back, but broke down attempting a very angled hoop run, leaving a readymade four ball break. I was lucky enough to find some form and went round twice, with a good leave in the middle, with my dozen or so bisques. The Cripps Memorial Trophy to David Fuller.

On a personal note, I would like to say how Tim, and all of my low-handicapped opponents, were so very complimentary and helpful with further advice for improvement. But that is how all croquet players behave in my limited experience.

Day4/5: Class Singles

First the C-Class. Myself (3 of 3), Fran (2/3), Hannas (1/3) and Sue (0/3). All close games. I can't speak in detail of the specific action on the other games, but Sue and I had a very interesting game. I managed to get round to peg with my first ball (I should have stopped at Rover but there was a chance for a Silver Award. Sue then went round from 3-back to peg me out. A long sequence of good leaves and a couple of hoops here and there by Sue created some pressure, but a fortunate hit-in allowed me to finish the game to win the Cope Cup. Bad luck Sue.

Next the B-Class. David Williams (2 of 3), John Pollard (2/3), Tim Dennis (1/3) and Chris Weedon (1/3). MANY close games! Two went to 26-24, and another 26-23, so a very competitive class group. David and John tied with 2 wins each and started an 18pt play-off. David always seemed ahead in the game and won 18-8 just in time for the presentation ceremony, at which he received the Weldon Trophy.

Finally the A-Class. Six participants here and some high-quality play. Tim O'Donnell did seem to be involved in many of the noteworthy events of the week. Dix vs O'Donnell was a lengthy pegged out ending affair which obviously didn't impress Limpy the Seagull (regular visitors to East Dorset CC will know Limpy who has a love for any croquet paraphernalia with which it can get airborne). At the critical moment of Tim preparing his rush to peg out, Anthony ran past chasing Limpy with the red clip in its beak. Keeping his cool, Tim, later playing David Kendrick, 'did a Triple' (I believe that this is cool-speak for 'Executed a Triple Peel'?!). Not to be outdone, Andrew Gregory did the same against Tim bringing these two to 4 of 5 wins. A best of three one-ball play-off was arranged with Tim winning 2-0 to retain the Dorset Salver.

The presentation ceremony was completed. Those who didn't have to rush off discussed the week's events over a cold one, or two.

In summary, a most enjoyable week with a very sociable group of participants.

I hope that this report has encouraged readers to consider spending a few days next year in this lovely part of the world. You would be very welcome.

ERRATUM: It has been brought to my attention that a case of mistaken identification was included in the above text. It seems that Limpy (aka Hopalong) is NOT in fact the clip-thief, but in fact the main suspect is his sidekick, Klepto. All seagulls look alike to me. I will aim to clarify in the next report.


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