This is the Club’s annual One-ball tournament, meant to be played in a spirit of relaxed enjoyment rather than red-blooded competition. That’s not to say that the players don’t try to win! It’s usually played around mid-summer, but in this topsy-turvy year was held up until October, and became the final event of our full croquet season. Whether everyone was seizing their opportunity to get one last competition in, or the bracing autumnal weather was irresistible, we don’t know, but 22 members entered this year, surely a record.
Because of the numbers, play was split across two weekends. On the first Sunday morning we played in two separate pools of six, all playing all in each pool, ending up in these respective orders:
Pool 1: Minty Clinch, Sue Jenkins, Steve Fisher, Paul Wolff, Andy Robertson, Sandy Millikin.
Pool 2: Edmund Shirley, Peter Allan, Deirdre Cochrane, Rosemary Balsdon, Susan Tilbrook, June Wolff.
After brown-bag lunches and an exchange of groups, the following final top order was reached at the end of the first day’s play: Edmund, Peter, Paul, Deirdre, Steve, Minty.
The next Saturday morning saw the second ten of the 22 entrants play in two pools of five, finishing in these orders:
Pool 3: Nick Butler, Dave Grinstead, Brian Jamieson, Joe King, Carol Wadsworth.
Pool 4: David Long, John Garnett, Carol Jamieson, Robin Brown, Avril Rangoni-Machiavelli.
It ought to be said that the 1-ball handicapping system is very hard on A-class players. Robin’s handicap was -6, Nick’s -4, and Joe’s -3, so giving away up to 8 bisque turns in 13-point games was a bit of a challenge for them at times.
The wind was getting up, the rain was coming down – but a mere gale-blown drizzle – and after lunch a system of repechage eliminated Carol and Brian out of the top three from each of the moring pools, leaving Nick, John, David and Dave to play quarter-final games against Deirdre, Peter, Paul and Edmund respectively from the previous Sunday. Then David beat Dave and Peter beat Nick in the two semis played between the quarter-final winners.
In the ultimate final we watched two croquet players dressed as white-hooded pixies battle it out against the elements and each other. David Long beat Peter Allan 13-11, and deservedly carried home the triumphal shield. – David had lost his first game of the morning, but won every other game after that little warm-up. By an almost exclusively Golf Croquet player, it was a remarkable feat at an AC game.
Next year we plan to revert to Summer for the Roger Cambray Memorial Shield.