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Bury beat Nottingham 6-5

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pictureBack Row Nottingham (Debbie, Clive, David, Sarah) Front Row Bury (Tony, Vi, Richard L, Richard H)

by Richard Leach at York
15th September 2022 (AC - Short Croquet Inter-Club)

National Inter-Club Short Croquet Final

Venue - York Croquet Club

Bury vs Nottingham - 13/9/22

Bury Team - Tony Philips 1, Richard Leach 4, Richard Harvey 5, Vi Richards 8

Nottingham Team - Clive Goode 2P, David Brydon 0.5, Debbie Watson 3, Sarah Butler 8

Good weather and warm conditions greeted both teams at York Croquet Club. The opening session saw Richard Harvey and Vi Richards team up in doubles to play Clive Goode and Sarah Butler. In the singles Tony Philips played David Brydon while Richard Leach faced Debbie Watson.

In the match between Richard and Debbie at first things seemed to be going the way of Debbie even though she had to use 2 bisques to take her lead ball round to peg while Richard initially found the slowness of the lawns in places to be tricky to deal with. Things looked especially dire when Debbie took her second ball round to hoop 3 while Richard had yet to get started with either ball. After Debbie broke down on hoop 3 Richard finally found some form and took his first ball round to hoop 4 before breaking down though he left both of Debbie's balls some distance apart in the process.

After Debbie failed to make anything of her hit in Richard took his second ball round to hoop 4 but ended up jamming his ball on the hoop post while retaining a single bisque at this stage. Debbie made a crucial error at this point by playing her blue ball instead of her black ball. She used her final bisque and got the lawn nicely set to finish including running hoop 3 with her blue ball from a very tight and narrow angle only to realise that it was the black ball that needed the hoop. Richard used his final bisque to separate Debbie's balls and took his red round to peg before pegging out Debbie's blue and leaving the black a long distance away from the red and yellow balls. From this point on Richard took control and finished the match 14-9.

The doubles match was a very tight affair for the first hour with both sides getting balls to hoop 5 and hoop 2 to leave the match tied 5-5 before Richard H managed to run hoop 2 only to break down at hoop 3 to take the score to Bury 6 Nottingham 5. With time running out Clive stepped up and took his ball from hoop 5 to peg leaving the match to end with Nottingham winning 7 - 6.

The other singles match between Tony and David looked for most of the match like it would easily go in Bury's favour especially after Tony pegged out David's yellow while David had yet to make hoop 1 with his red. However, after reaching hoop 6 with his black ball the situation turned on its head and Tony was left to wonder how he lost the match on the golden hoop. David's play was far from error-free, including playing the wrong ball twice (a personal worst) and using his half-bisque to successfully separate the oppo's balls but only into a wired position. Somehow, he managed to prevail 12-11 on time with that golden hoop. A game to forget.

Lunchtime Bury 1 Nottingham 2

The first session of the afternoon saw Tony facing Clive, Richard L facing David, Richard H facing Debbie and Vi playing Sarah. Richard H and Debbie seemed to be a fairly quick affair with Debbie taking the match 14-5. Tony's match with Clive lasted almost the full 75mins even though the score line didn't suggest that that was the case with Clive winning 14-7. The captains' match Richard vs David almost lasted the full 75 mins but again the score line didn't reflect the way that the match went with Richard taking the match 14-8. The last match to finish was the battle of the high handicaps with Vi just managing to squeeze out the win 13-11 after time was called.

Tea Bury 3 Nottingham 4

The final session saw Tony facing Debbie, Richard L facing Sarah, Richard H facing David and Vi playing Clive. Tony's match with Debbie was the first to finish with Debbie taking the win 14-9. The second match to finish was between Vi and Clive with Vi rushing into a very strong position with good use of her bisques while getting her balls to peg with Clive took his lead ball round to hoop 4. However, with his intention of doing his peels for his lead ball on hoops 5 and 6 Clive failed to make any headway with his second ball only managing to run hoop 1 with it. The match finished Vi 14 Clive 5. The match between Richard H and David was the third match to finish though the score line didn't reflect the match play as Richard H took the match 14-6.

The overall match score at this stage Bury 5 Nottingham 5 with one match still in play. The match between Richard L and Sarah was a very tight affair especially in contrast to most of Richard's other games. Sarah started off well and used 3 of her 8 bisques to do a very good 4-ball break to take her yellow ball round to peg. This however proved to be a mistake as Richard took his black round to peg using just 1 bisque. Then he separated the red ball from the blue by using the boundary behind hoop 2 and the boundary near hoop 4 before pegging out the yellow and then put his black ball into corner 4. Sarah very nearly managed to get out of the situation but after using her final bisque at hoop 4 she left her red ball jammed in hoop 6.

Richard used 2 bisques to get started with his blue though he really should have called a referee to check due to how tight Sarah had left the line between blue and black with the peg in between. Richard gradually pulled his way back into the match limping his blue ball round from hoop 1 while avoiding the use of Sarah's ball apart from to run hoop 1 initially. On several occasions Sarah could have applied pressure by putting her ball in front of hoop 6 but instead she chose to hide her ball on the boundaries or in the corners until Richard got his blue to hoop 5. At this point Sarah put her red about three mallet lengths in from the boundary directly behind hoop 6. Richard ran hoop 5 and then deliberately left Sarah cross-wired from his balls using both hoop 6 and the peg.

With less than 5 minutes on the timer Sarah was left puzzled by what options she had remaining. She opted to shoot her red down towards corner 1 in order to keep it as far away from Richard's balls as possible. Richard used his last bisque to run hoop 6 and then managed to peg out both of his balls to win the match 14-12.

Final Score Bury 6 Nottingham 5

Thanks to York Croquet Club for a great day and to the spectators from York and also from Bury (Malcolm Daines) who watched the proceedings including the presentation of the Ranelagh Club Competition Trophy to Bury by John Harris, and a traditional consolation prize of a Terry's Chocolate Orange to Nottingham.

Match report by Bury Captain Richard Leach (with additions from Nottingham Captain David Brydon)


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