Stephen Mulliner beat Robert Fulford to regain the European Championship title
The Jersey Croquet Club again produced four lawns in magnificent condition. The hot summer and judicious use of automatic watering produced surfaces that were uniformly green but distinctly quick. The 20 strong field was strengthened by the appearance of Robert Fulford (England), the World Champion and No. 1 ranked player, and Jonathan Kirby (Scotland) to add to regulars Matthew Burrow (Jersey), Stephen Mulliner (England) and Simon Williams (Ireland). The Italians were also well represented by Eduardo
("Edo") Lualdi, Paolo De Petra and Gianpetro Donati.
The opening day produced a record-setting display of four consecutive sextuples from Fulford on Lawn 3. The only opponent to make any progress at all against him was the 17 year old Spaniard, Andres Alvarez-Sala who shot extremely well and scored 8 points. Burrow, Kirby and Mulliner all won their blocks comfortably (with the possible exception of Mulliner who had injured his back playing squash earlier in the week and was moving around the court with (for him) unnatural stateliness). Saturday was an even hotter day than Friday, with blue skies from dawn to dusk, and this clearly had an effect on some of the players as they attempted to cope with the pace of the lawns.
The four block-winners progressed to the semi-finals on Saturday but did not all have it their own way. Fulford had two unsuccessful attempts at sextuples against Donati but the result was never in serious doubt and Mulliner cruised slowly past Tony Mrozinski. However Peter Payne
(Switzerland) was in good form and had two breaks in each game against Kirby. The real fun involved Burrow and Lualdi. Edo made all the running in game 1, even attempting a triple, before failing 4-back from close range. Matthew hit, peeled him through 4-back and finished with his own triple. Game 2 seemed all over when Burrow pegged out two balls leaving himself for penultimate and Lualdi for 2. However, on his second attempt, Edo hit in, rolled off hoop 2 and proceeded to play an excellent 2-ball break. When he ran 4-back to get a 4 yard rush to penult, a finish seemed on the cards. Alas, Edo only nicked the rush, underapproached the hoop and stuck. Matthew then hit and finished without more ado (or Edo, you might say).
The semi-finals were started on Saturday and completed on Sunday morning. Fulford/Kirby semi-final featured remorseless break-making by Robert and good hitting by Jonathan coupled with a pair of accidents that were sufficient to hand back the innings and an inevitable triple on each occasion (+14tp, +18tp). The Mulliner/Burrow match consisted of two TPOs by Mulliner with much creaking and wincing. In the second game, with Burrow on 2-back, Matt hit from South boundary to 3rd corner but then contrived to miss a 5 yarder after running 2-back and that was shortly that (+13tpo,+5tpo).
The final was staged as a best-of-three on the basis that there might not be time for more given the departure deadlines of the players. However, this seemed a little conservative when Fulford shot off like a greyhound and completed a 5th turn triple shortly after midday. Thes second game was a mirror image of the first except that the triple was delayed rather than standard and Mulliner looked nothing like a greyhound.
Game 3 looked as if it would be a carbon-copy of Game 1 when Fulford hit on turn 3 but then he decided to peel partner through hoop 1 and park the enemy ball (Yellow) on the wire of hoop 2, unrushable to hoop 1, as a prelude to a quadruple. The peel was achieved but Yellow "ran" hoop 2 and, after making 2-back, Fulford croqueted Black off the West boundary a few yards south of hoop 2 when seeking to repair the situation. This left a double of Yellow and Black from B-baulk which Mulliner hit and went to 4-back with a NSL. Fulford elected to take the shot from A-baulk but missed and Mulliner made no mistake with the triple, thereby regaining the European Championship (his 7th win) and ending a 2 year drought.
Hearty thanks are again due to the Jersey Croquet Club members for their catering and origanisation, including two excellent meals on Friday and Saturday evening, to Nigel the groundsman and his colleagues who mowed the lawns every morning and to the States of Jersey for their continued support for the event.
P.de Petra (Italy)
B. Hess (Germany)
M.Burrow beat P.de Petra +19
M.Burrow beat P.Payne +22
M.Burrow beat B. Hess +19
M.Burrow beat J-Y.Guermont +26tp
P.de Petra beat P.Payne +15
P.de Petra beat B. Hess +1(t)
P.de Petra beat J-Y.Guermont +18
P.Payne beat B. Hess +14(t)
P.Payne beat J-Y.Guermont +22
B. Hess beat J-Y.Guermont +18
Qualifiers: M.Burrow, P.de Petra. P.Payne, B.Hess.
S. Williams (Ireland)
G. Donati (Italy)
J. Lundberg (Sweden)
S.Mulliner beat S. Williams +19
S.Mulliner beat GP Donati +13
S.Mulliner beat P.Archer +26tp
S.Mulliner beat J.A. Lundberg +26tp
S. Williams beat GP Donati +21tp
S. Williams beat P.Archer +22
S. Williams beat J.A. Lundberg +21
GP Donati beat P.Archer +13(t)
GP Donati beat J.A. Lundberg +12
P.Archer beat J.A. Lundberg +19
Qualifiers: S.Mulliner, S.Williams, GP Donati, P.Archer.
F.de Ansorena (Spain)
K.Wells (Isle of Man)
J.Kirby beat T.Mrozinski +26tp
J.Kirby beat F.de Ansorena +26tp
J.Kirby beat K.Wells +24
J.Kirby beat J.Taylor +26
A.Mrozinski beat F.de Ansorena +2(t)
A.Mrozinski beat K.Wells +21
A.Mrozinski beat J.Taylor +21(t)
F.de Ansorena beat K.Wells +8(t)
F.de Ansorena beat J.Taylor +2(t)
K.Wells beat J.Taylor +1(t)
Qualifiers: J.Kirby, A.Mrozinski, F.de Ansorena, K.Wells.
R.Fulford beat J.Lamb +26sxp
R.Fulford beat S.Burrow +26sxp
R.Fulford beat E.Lualdi +26sxp
R.Fulford beat A.Alvarez-Sala +18sxp
E.Lualdi beat J.Lamb +8
E.Lualdi beat S.Burrow +21
E.Lualdi beat A.Alvarez-Sala +16
S.Burrow beat J.Lamb +8
S.Burrow beat A.Alvarez-Sala +22
J.Lamb beat A.Alvarez-Sala +16
Qualifiers: R.Fulford, E.Lualdi, S.Burrow, J.Lamb.
S.Mulliner beat B.Hess +24
A.Mrozinski beat S.Burrow +5(t)
M.Burrow beat P.Archer +26
E.Lualdi beat F.de Ansorena +10(t)
J.Kirby beat J.Lamb +6(t)
P.Payne beat S.Williams +13
R.Fulford beat K.Wells +17
GP Donati beat P.de Petra +9(t)
S.Mulliner beat A.Mrozinski +26, +23tp
M.Burrow beat E.Lualdi +7tp, +3
J.Kirby beat P.Payne +12, +16tp
R.Fulford beat GP Donati +19, +21
S.Mulliner beat M.Burrow +13tpo, +5tpo
R.Fulford beat J.Kirby +14tp, +18tp
S. Mulliner beat R.Fulford -26tp, +26tp, +17tp
Third/Fourth Place Playoff
J.Kirby beat M.Burrow +19
European Champion: Stephen Mulliner (England)
Runner up: Robert Fulford (England)
Third place: Jonathan Kirby (Scotland)
Fourth place: Matthew Burrow (Jersey)