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Debbie Lines won the Ealing Advanced Weekend

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pictureDebbie Lines presented with the Polhill Claret Jug

by Nigel Polhill
9th April (AC)

Debbie Lines became the tenth different person to win the Ealing Advanced Weekend in the 10 years that it has been played. A strong field of participants was topped by Jose Riva who flew in from Madrid on Saturday morning and flew back again on Sunday evening.

As usual, the format was a flexible Swiss of 13 players, one with a late start on each day. The weather remained dry and gloriously sunny at times, occasionally punctuated by a strong (but thankfully warm) breeze.

By the end of day 1, Robin Brown, Debbie Lines and Joel Taylor remained unbeaten on 4 out of 4. Mike Hedge, the Saturday late start, also held a 100% record on 2 out of 2. Joel's late start on Sunday meant that Mike played Jose on Sunday morning while Joel had to wait around a while for Debbie to beat Robin. During the final, both Joel and Debbie struggled at times to remain upright due to the gusty wind conditions. This resulted in an uncharacteristic number of errors from both players. However, Debbie's break play and hitting in proved the more reliable, thus securing her the trophy. Full results on Croquetscores.

All credit to the Ealing ground staff for producing lawn conditions not far short of last August, when the venue was used in the World Championship. Most players were expecting the lawns to be slower at the beginning of April, especially given the rainfall of the previous 2 months. The club's catering was again a treat, and all who were present enjoyed the meal at the Rose & Crown on Saturday evening.

Few anecdotes of which I'm aware; but pity Annabel McDiarmid, whose first croquet stroke of the season was a 4 ball cannon. From what I gather, it wasn't overly successful, although she did at least make hoop 1.


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