The first round of the A-Level Series golf croquet competition, held at Cheltenham, has been won by Stuart M Smith of Northampton. A full entry of 32 players were split into four blocks of 8. The standard distribution to blocks had to be modified to distribute the four members from Northampton, and to distribute the thirteen Cheltenham members evenly.
Saturday was bright sunny and though cold, it was a pleasant day. There were no time limits, and play finished around half past six. Only two of the top seeds qualified for the eight player knockout. Particular congratulations are due to Wendy Wu, David Magee, and Jeffrey Faulkner, who also qualified but started in the lower half of the blocks. No quarter finalists took up the manager's offer to play their first of the best-of-three that evening.
The threat of frost did not materialise. David Magee arrived early to sweep the lawns of dew. After one sweep it was clear that there was no frost as there was no dew. The quarterfinals were no time limit, but with the possibility of a limit on the third game. They started at nine as requested by the manager. The plate for the next two in each block was a block of eight with the first round carried forward from yesterday. The last sixteen were given the option of four games in a full sixteen player knockout, or six games in two blocks so of eight, with carry down. The later won.
On Saturday I did not think it possible to bring Brexit into this report, but on Sunday we were joined by cameraman and reporter from Swiss television, doing a piece on life in Britain not affected by Brexit. Lots of people were interviewed.
The last of the quarter-finals finished in time for lunch at half past twelve. The semi-finals, still no time limit, started at one o'clock and both went to only two games. The final between Stuart M Smith and Roger Goldring started at half past three. The finalists wanted and received no time limit. Not that it really mattered as the third game finished at half past five. Stuart winning 7-2, 4-7, 7-3. The plate event was won by Ian Norris of Phyllis Court.
The ground staff produced lawns of excellent quality. I would like to express great personal thanks to Pat Seabright who was my chief scribe, Robert Archer who was scribe for the final, and Jenny Clarke for bringing details on croquet scores up to date.
There were Handicap improvements for Wendy Wu 3 to 2, Stephen Leonard 0 to -1, and Stuart M Smith -1 to -2.