Coupe des Ardennes - last chance in Luxembourg
The Luxembourg court (flat, full-size, surrounded by fountains, pebbles and Denys Lasdun architecture) is threatened by redevelopment of the EIB, so if passing through, get there soon.
The sixth holding of the "Coupe des Ardennes" (a devious way of limiting the entries to the "best" four available players in Belgium and Luxembourg) took place under Luxembourg's unusual bright blue sky on the European Investment Bank's croquet lawn. Jonathan Lamb and Bruno Eeman arrived to find John Davis putting the finishing touches to the lawn.
The hot weather and lack of shade made things tough for the players but a relatively fast lawn (for Luxembourg) combined with firm but fair hoops meant that the innings changed hands a few times. A time limit of 2.5 hours was agreed but not used. John and Jonathan were having a race to the first triple which Jonathan was winning until his straight rover peel ended up with his ball a foot behind the peelee "snookered" from the escape ball. The jump shot missed but Jonathan finished a few minutes later. Meanwhile John and Mike Town were locked at 9-9! With the double bankers removed John decided to concentrate and his tp was completed including a "very nice" "death roll" penultimate peel going to 2-back.
The second round was a repeat of the first with Jonathan unluckily failing his tp but John completing his. However Jonathan gained his revenge in the deciding match completing a 7th turn tp which included finishing with a straight double.
So Jonathan Lamb retained his title (he has now won it four times) and the quality of both the lawn and the play improved!
Lamb bt Davis +22tp, Town +11, Eeman +24
Davis bt Town +17tp, Eeman +18tp
Town bt Eeman +16