Inter-County GC Division 2 Championship
David Bell, Philip Blake & Noel Gill with the Division 2 trophyby Ivor Brand at Sussex County Croquet Club
24th August 2023 (GC - Championships)
'Hope to see you all next year at a more relaxed event' was how I signed off last year. Well, it certainly was all I hoped for including promotion, which means I believe it's 'time off' for me. So, in the words of Woody Allen from the film Bananas 'so long suckers'. Actually the six teams I believe had a wonderful time on Southwick's lawns bathed in sunshine all weekend and even managed to see the 2nd half of the 'lioness's' world cup final live, thanks to a catering alteration by the Southwick team.
This year's winners were the 3 counties (a combined team of Derbyshire, Leicestershire and Warwickshire). The picture above shows the proud captain David Bell holding the shield (for the regulation 5secs) with Philip Blake and Noel Gill (missing were Paul Williams and Mark Buckley). In fact, there were 3 counties that finished equal 1st on number of wins and had to be separated on net games. Buckinghamshire led by Ian Shore(Rot) gained 2nd, while Gloucestershire gained 3rd led by Richard Brand. This of course now means that these two counties have gained promotion to Division one next year. Congratulations to both counties on serving their time in Div 2!!!
Unfortunately, with only 6 teams this year there was less time on court, but it did allow for us to use a 'stop clock' time limit of one hour. This meant that the clock could be stopped if the double bank game was contesting the same hoop, without affecting your game. I believe this worked well with only 1 game going to time and interestingly creating a lot of tight games going to the 13th hoop, which is always good entertainment for the crowd!!! Overall, it was so tight that by the last round strangely only the pretournament favourites, Oxfordshire were out of the running? Indeed, looking at the match results over half were won in the deciding game of which nearly half were by a single hoop! This supports the theory that every hoop really does matter, especially if it's the 13th. So, well done to the heroes that made the difference and thankyou to their opponents for making it a 'tight' game.
Finally, as it seems appropriate I will sign off with the words of a legendary South West weatherman when I was growing up who used to end his weather report with 'good night and tight lines'