The 4th Inter Federation Challenge between Yorkshire Croquet and Croquet North was held at York Croquet Club on Saturday 5 October.
The Challenge, which brings together 8 players representing each Federation in a one-day croquet event comprising AC Handicap Doubles, GC level Play Doubles and AC 1 Ball, aims to encourage players who might focus most of their croquet playing time on one particular code to step into the world of the “other code”.
AC Handicap Doubles got the day started, playing 18-point games with all clips starting on hoop 5 and a 2-hour time limit.
Your correspondent got the first break and threw down the gauntlet by running a long-angled hoop one only to be reminded, to the backdrop of hoots of derision from fellow players, that “all clips start on hoop 5“. In the end each Federation won two matches leaving things all-square at lunch.
During lunch (provided by Yorkshire Croquet at the usual high standard of hospitality associated with Challenge matches) the order of play for the AC 1 Ball was agreed, with each team manager deciding the order of their own players. On the day, the majority of handicaps ended up mixed bringing different challenges to both lower and higher handicap players.
1-hour time limits were applied to 13-point games. No games went to time and when all matches were completed the score was still level at 4 wins each, so that the GC Level Play Doubles (best of 3 with 45 minutes time limit per game) would decide the outcome.
After two 2-0 wins to Croquet North things were looking good for us, but the remaining two matches went to the deciding game wo that one more win would see Croquet North winning overall, otherwise it would be a draw.
The first deciding game went to Yorkshire Croquet and all players then gravitated to the lawn hosting the final match. Yorkshire were up 6-5 but Croquet North seemed to be in control hoop 12. Eventually Yorkshire Croquet missed a clearance, the hoop went to Croquet North, and everything depended on hoop 13. Clearance followed clearance until Croquet North jawsed. After Yorkshire Croquet failed a long clearance from behind the hoop, Croquet North then failed a clearance on the remaining Yorkshire Croquet ball, leaving Yorkshire Manager Ted Flexman with a three-yard angled jump attempt to save both the game and the match. He made it!
At the end of the day the two sides could not be separated, so under the Ashes Cricket protocol, the “trophy” was retained by last year’s winners, Yorkshire Croquet.
The Ripon club, who joined with the other NE clubs (apart from Alnmout and Bamburgh) to form a new (GC) Northern League, have won the competition following straight wins against all their opponents.
In order to avoid the extra complications of scheduling additional fixtures, the normal match results between the other clubs in Division 1 of the Croquet North GC League were used for the Northern League also, so the runners-up in the Northern League were Durham Bede.
This year’s tournament took place on 5 September at Albert Park, Middlesbrough and was won by John Fitzpatrick with Nigel Durie as runner-up.
Eight competitors, 6 from M’bro, and 1 each from Belsay and Tyneside, took part in this annual Croquet North competition in late summer sunshine. At least we have managed to keep this light-hearted event going (unlike last year), so there needs to be more support from CN Clubs.
Again we used alternate-stroke 14‑point handicap doubles; handicap differences between pairs were divided by four. Two lawns only sufficed. Winning pairs moved to the other lawn and then players swapped to new hi-lo partnerships for the next game.
All players accrued hoop (and match) points from their various pairings, the more important being hoop points. Five rounds were played, with 75 minute time-limits, although only one of the matches actually pegged out and there were no draws. Win 2 pts, draw 1 pt, lose 0 pts.
Dennis Scarr (Manager) reporting from Middlesbrough.
Our eleventh B level tournament in Albert Park had a full field of 16 competitors drawn from England and Scotland, including a few first timers at this tournament.
Handicaps showed a good, even spread from a very recently achieved 0.5 to 8. The weather was good for the entire two days which brought the best out of our 4 lawns.
On Saturday we had four seeded blocks‑of‑4 with block winners going forward to their respective Sunday blocks comprising those players who on Saturday had come 1st in each block, those who came 2nd, etc, etc.
Order of play in each block was 1v3 & 2v4, 1v4 & 2v3, 1v2 & 3v4.
In the event of players achieving the same number of wins, block positions were determined by Net Hoops and, if necessary, head to head results.
Time-limits of 2¾ hr on day one were reduced to 2½ hr the next day, with three rounds each day. All lawns were double-banked.
At close of play on Saturday many of those taking part in the tournament gathered at a local Italian restaurant prior to the Manager returning home to do the block calculations for day two.
Top seeds in 3 of the 4 Saturday blocks failed to make it to the top Sunday block with the second seed in all 3 cases winning out; in one block by winning all 3 games and in 2 other blocks on net hoops.
The top block for day 2 started with an impressive display from Derek Knight keeping Peter Wilson off the lawn in a 26–7 win. In the other game after Dennis Scarr stalled with both balls at 1back, Callum Johnson took control winning 26–12 TP.
In the second round of games Callum Johnson dominated his match against Peter Wilson winning 26–0 TP with Peter not taking croquet. The other game in the second round was more interactive with Dennis Scarr running out winner 26–13 against Derek Knight.
The final round in block 1 saw Dennis Scarr win a close match against Peter Wilson 26 – 20 to finish overall second in the tournament.
Derek Knight was in a must win encounter with Callum Johnson in the final match however, Callum was to run out winner 26–14 to become a very worthy winner of the tournament.
6 games went to time on day 1 and with a reduced time limit on day 2, 7 games went to time.
Honorable mentions go to
David Warhurst who despite not winning his day 1 block managed an overall 5 wins from 6.
Ian Hall who was the only player to beat Callum in the tournament and that on a Golden Hoop!
George Plant on his first visit to Middlesbrough Croquet Club came away with 4 wins from 6 including a veritable drubbing of David Warhurst!
Nigel Roberts who stepped in at the last minute following a withdrawal. Only managed one win but it was a good one!
Peter Wilson who makes the role of Referee in Charge look effortless!
Catering was provided by Joan Scarr assisted by family members and Roger Staples from the Middlesbrough Club. Participants have confirmed that the catering was a highlight of the tournament!
Callum Johnson 1.5 to 1 (I recall that at this event last year Callum’s handicap reduced from 6 to 5. I suspect he may not qualify to play in a B level tournament for much longer!).
Liz Wilson 0.,5 to 1; Howard Bowron 2.5 to 3; George Plant 6 to 5.
David Warhurst bt. Howard Bowron 16-6 (T) Dennis Scarr bt. George Plant 25-18 (T) George Plant bt. David Warhurst 26-3 Dennis Scarr bt. Howard Bowron 26-12 David Warhurst bt. Dennis Scarr 26-13 Howard Bowron bt. George Plant 22-16 (T)
Andrew Killick bt. Anthony Miller 26-14 Derek Knight bt. Steve Skelton 26-6 Andrew Killick bt. Steve Skelton 26-1 Derek Knight bt. Anthony Miller 26-14 Derek Knight bt. Andrew Killick 26-10 Anthony Miller bt. Steve Skelton 26-6
Liz Wilson bt. Ian Hall 26-11 Callum Johnson bt. Rosemary S Robertson 26-3 Liz Wilson bt. Rosemary S Robertson 22-20 (T) Callum Johnson bt. Ian Hall 21-22 (GH) Callum Johnson bt. Liz Wilson 26-2 Ian Hall bt. Rosemary S Robertson 24-22 (T)
Peter Wilson bt. Lorna Dewer 26-13 Terry Vernazza bt. Nigel Roberts 26-12 Peter Wilson bt. Nigel Roberts 26-2 Terry Vernazza bt. Lorna Dewer 26-10 Terry Vernazza bt. Peter Wilson 26-14 Lorna Dewer bt. Nigel Roberts 26-11
Derek Knight bt. Peter Wilson 26-7 Callum Johnson bt. Dennis Scarr 26-12 TP Dennis Scarr bt. Derek Knight 26-13 Callum Johnson bt. Peter Wilson 26-0 TP Callum Johnson bt. Derek Knight 26-14 Peter Wilson bt. Dennis Scarr 20-26
David Warhurst bt. Andrew Killick 26-5 Lorna Dewer bt. Liz Wilson 21-19 (T) Andrew Killick bt. Liz Wilson 26-4 David Warhurst bt. Lorna Dewer 26-22 Andrew Killick bt. Lorna Dewer 26-0 David Warhurst bt. Liz Wilson 26-4
George Plant bt. Terry Vernazza 26-14 Ian Hall bt. Anthony Miller 24-25 (T) Anthony Miller bt. Terry Vernazza 26-21 George Plant bt. Ian Hall 23-20 (T) Ian Hall bt. Terry Vernazza 26-8 George Plant bt. Anthony Miller 25-22 (T)
Nigel Roberts bt. Howard Bowron 24-16 (T) Rosemary S Robertson bt. Steve Skelton 26-4 Steve Skelton bt. Howard Bowron 15-8 (T) Rosemary S Robertson bt. Nigel Roberts 26-11 Howard Bowron bt. Rosemary S Robertson 23-19 (T) Steve Skelton bt. Nigel Roberts 21-5 (T)
The visiting competitors came from Crake Valley, Keswick, Glasgow, Sheffield and Tyneside, with five from Middlesbrough (including newly joined Anthony Miller). Handicaps ranged from 0 up to 12.
The tournament involved two blocks of six players, with five pre-drawn rounds played as 18‑point games, with 2‑hour time‑limits; four on the Saturday and one more the next morning. The resulting ‘rankings’ in each block put competitors in the following order:
A. Joe Lennon (Glasgow), Nigel Roberts (Mbro), David Millener (Tyneside), Derek Johnson (Tyneside), Jim Allcock (Crake), Dennis Scarr (Mbro)
B. Andrew Carpenter (Tyneside), Steve Skelton (Keswick), Mark Simmerson (Sheffield), Andrew Killick (Mbro), Anthony Miller (now Mbro), Julian Gibson (Mbro)
On a much sunnier Sunday afternoon there were six play-off games (26-point, 3 hour) between the corresponding Block A and Block B places, with the following results:
Joe Lennon beatAndrew Carpenter +5 Nigel Roberts beat Steve Skelton +3 Mark Simmerson beat David Millener +9 Derek Johnson beat Andrew Killick +13 Jim Allcock beat Anthony Miller +17 Dennis Scarr beat Julian Gibson +9
Joe has now won the trophy three times (every other year since 2015)!
Handicap changes: Steve (7 to 6), Nigel (9 to 8), Julian (12 to 14), Mark (9 to 8)