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Jamie Burch won the South of England Championship

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pictureJamie Burch receives the O'Callaghan Gold Cup from Compton President Marjorie Platt (Photo: Hilary Smith)

by Roger Wood at Compton (Eastbourne)
29th September 2022 (AC - Championships)

Jamie Burch retained his title; Andy Myers won the plate

Over the course of the weekend the weather gods conspired to visit a multiplicity of climatic conditions upon Eastbourne: drizzle, then torrential rain on Friday; overcast but mostly dry on Saturday; and finally, some sunshine plus a coolish breeze on Sunday. Fortunately, or perhaps unhappily for those in play on Friday afternoon, the Compton lawns drain very well and there was no flooding to hold things up. With November's MacRobertson Shield competition in Australia pending, we were delighted to welcome four members of the current England team, (Mark Avery, Jamie Burch, Christian Carter and Harry Fisher) as well as two veterans of these international contests, David Maugham and Stephen Mulliner (both 5-times winners of this championship, the latter returning to the fray after a gap of 27 years!). We were also very pleased to see former 3-times champion Keith Aiton, in a purely spectatorial role, casting his expert eye over proceedings.

Of the eight seeds, seven reached the quarter-finals in emphatic style without conceding a game. They were joined by former champion Ed Duckworth, and the top two seeds went on to contest the final: rankings vindicated! Mark Avery forfeited his first game against debutante Lorna Dewar after his late arrival in pouring rain, won the next easily but then just scraped home by 4 in the third. But no such peril in the next round when he beat Christian Carter in straight games without reply. In a six hour 3-game encounter Harry was well tested by Sam Murray, who took the second game +26, and only narrowly lost the third. Detailed commentary on the final, from the keyboard of the masterful Andrew Gregory, can be found on croquetscores, a first for this tournament.

By Saturday evening results in the Swiss competition were fairly evenly spread with Sam Murray and then Tim Wilkins just ahead of the pursuing pack. But in the first round of the knockout Sam fell to Tim who then succumbed to an Andy Myers triple. Nigel Polhill's triple to defeat Ed Duckworth was his 4th of the weekend and propelled him into the final. A close-fought final between Andy and Nigel ended in Andy's favour to secure him the Sussex Union Cup.

Full results are to be found on croquetscores. There were triple peels aplenty: Jamie Burch and David Maugham finishing with 6 apiece to tie for the peeling prize; Harry Fisher and Mark Avery close behind on 5 each.

Particular thanks go to Hilary Smith for the lunches, and to John Crisford and his team for presenting the lawns in such good shape after an extremely challenging summer.


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