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Due to lack of entries and cancellations, this event has had to be cancelled. Players have been notified.

Tournament Report - 06/05/2010 @ 21:21

Southwick May Bank Holiday Tournament 1-3 May 2010


Report by Colin Hemming

I suppose we could call this a portmanteau tournament.  Two in one.  Not
only a handicap but also a B-level.  Common enough to have concurrent events
in a week-long tournament, but unusual (unique?) in a weekend.
Unfortunately, the number of entries was disappointing overall, and
particularly in the handicap event, which attracted only five entrants, and
the event was played, as you would expect, as an American block.  There were
14 entrants for the B-level event, which manager Chris Constable had split
into two blocks of  7, the  winner to be decided by a play-off between the
two block winners

The alert amongst you will have realised two things: that the Handicap block
wouldn't generate enough games to fill three days of competition, and that
with an odd number of players in each block there was going to be a certain
amount of sitting-out.  Chris had planned to solve (partially) the second of
these issues by having the B-class players who had drawn a bye in each round
play a cross-block game.  I'm not sure how she was planning to solve the
lack of handicap games, because any plans she had were overtaken by events
when one of the B-level entrants withdrew on the eve of the tournament due
to injury.  Ingeniously, she introduced two byes in place of one in each
round of the depleted block and had the extra "sitter-out" play a
cross-block handicap game.  There were a few mutterings from players who
"hadn't signed up to play handicap" but the plan worked well and kept
everyone occupied, at least until the morning of the last day.

Day one  (Saturday) was a good day for croquet.  A bit of sunshine, just a
hint of a shower in the morning, but overall an enjoyable day to spend out
on the croquet court.  Because of all the byes it was difficult to get a
clear picture of who was showing promise in either of the B-level blocks,
but in the Handicap block Sam Murray was creating waves of consternation by
two good wins.  On the sartorial front, only Tudor Jenkins was creating
waves; apparently unaware of the use of a peak to shade the eyes from the
sun, was creating a dead-end kids look by wearing his baseball cap
back-to-front.  Definitely not PC (Preferred for Croquet).  A discussion at
teatime referred to one of the players "Rolling all over the court".  A
sight to be seen, you may imagine, but his opponent was only referring to
his roll-shots.  Kevin Ham has gone down in legend at Colchester as the
player who took one of his shoes off during a Mary Rose match some years
ago.  Why?  To remind himself that he had a lift of course!  If he had had a
contact he would have taken both shoes off!  It was good to learn that both
practices are still going strong.

The forecast for Sunday was for heavy showers for most of the day.  In the
event, this proved to be wildly optimistic.  A wall of heavy rain rolled in
from the North East and just kept on rolling.  All day.  It briefly hinted
at lifting just after lunch but as soon as we were all on court again it
came back with even more ferocity.  But we were British.  And we were
Croquet Players.  So we carried on.  It took some doing, mind you.  Pauline
Davey pulled her hood close to her head to keep out the wind and rain,
resembling the Egyptian croquet-playing ladies we have all seen photographs
of.  David Gaitley, realising that his shower-proof jacket wasn't up to this
sort of punishment, went for the Beano look, and was briefly seen in a large
plastic sack with holes cut out for his arms, before going home to find
something more suitable and returning with a high-visibility workman's
jacket with the London Underground logo emblazoned on it: ask no questions.
Tudor, having terrible trouble with rain on his spectacles, persevered with
the baseball cap, but still back-to-front, and blissfully unaware that a
secondary use for its peak can be to keep rain out of you eyes and off your
spectacles.  Kevin was wearing his Crocs.  Very comfortable, of course, and
ideal for slipping off to remind you of your lifts and contacts, but since
they have about a dozen half-inch holes in the top of each one not the best
choice for the pouring rain.

But despite all the punishment that the players (and the courts) were
taking, all the games were completed, and at the end of the day, Sam Murray
had already done enough to assure a win in the Handicap event.  Block A of
the B-level was between Paul Miles and Colin Hemming, both having won all
four of their block games, and due to play each other the following morning.
In Block B the situation was far less clear-cut.  Kevin Ham was the
front-runner with four wins out of  five, but with Anthony Dix, Jonathan
Isaacs and Pauline Davey all on three wins and breathing down his neck.
Everything to play for the following morning, with Kevin due to play Pauline
and Anthony vs Jonathan.  A potential managerial nightmare.

It was a dry forecast for the Monday, so imagine the players' dismay when it
started raining shortly after the morning games had started.  It was
short-lived, however.  "Thank goodness for that" we all thought.  And then
the wind veered (or should that be "backed"?) and started to come from the
North.  Straight from the Pole.  It was very, very cold, especially for May.
But we were British.  And we were Croquet Players.  So we carried on.  In
Block A, Paul Miles progressed to the final by destroying Colin Hemming +25
in little over an hour.  So your intrepid reporter ventured boldly forth and
took up residence in the lawn 5 hut, which occupies a central position and
from where he could watch the two games which would decide Block B,
meanwhile keeping a sneaky eye on how his wife Georgeen was faring against
Sam on lawn 6.  It was still cold, even inside the hut, and the way it was
rocking in the stronger gusts made me imagine I must be in the wheelhouse of
a trawler battling through the North-Sea.  (Clearly a fantasy: there aren't
any North Sea trawlers any more are there?).  The first of the B-level games
to finish was Jonathan vs Anthony: Jonathan won +15, with very careful and
accurate placing of pioneers.  The game between Pauline and Kevin was a much
closer affair: Kevin took an early lead But Pauline fought back and gained
the upper hand with only minutes to go.  Kevin made a valiant attempt to
overtake her during the turn in which time was called but had only pulled
level when he failed 3-back.  Pauline (still sporting her Pashmena look,
incidentally) was able to run only one more hoop in her final turn, but it
was enough to win +1 on time.  It was all for nought in the end, though,
because with Jonathan, Pauline and Kevin all on 4 wins Jonathan was adjudged
the block winner on the first differentiator, which was the number of wins
within time (3 for him, 2 for both Kevin and Pauline).  Meanwhile, Sam beat
Georgeen to make it a clean sweep in the Handicap block.

The final of the B-level, then, was between Paul Miles and Jonathan Isaacs.
The plan had been for the manager to arrange additional games for those who
wanted them.  In the event, though, the only other players to brave the
Arctic conditions were Tudor and Kevin who played a (quick!) game of Golf
Croquet.  (The holes in Kevin's shoes were now letting in freezing cold air
rather than water and Tudor still hadn't worked out that the peak of a cap
belongs at the front not the back).  The other competitors (those who hadn't
already left) gathered to watch the B-level final.  This turned out to be  a
very one sided affair, Jonathan destroying Paul just as efficiently as Paul
had destroyed Colin earlier in the day, by playing very precise croquet and
winning in four breaks (albeit with a bit of to-and-fro between his breaks).

So in the end, a very enjoyable tournament in spite of the fearsome
conditions on the last two days.  It is unfortunate that there were so few
entries in the Handicap event, but the manager coped well with that.  If the
weather had been better, it would have been sad that most people would have
played only one competitive game on the last day, and be left only with
meaningless games in the afternoon.  It may have been better to play the
B-level as a Swiss, keeping the event alive until the end.   Better still,
from my personal view, it could be played as a flexible Swiss to enable more
than three games a day for those lucky, or unlucky, enough to have a short
game.  But that format doesn't fit very easily with an event that styles
itself as the "Southern B-level Championship".  (Hmmm  -should it?)

Thanks are due to Chris Constable for managing, to Frances Low who stood in
for Chris on day 2, and to the army of Southwick volunteers who kept us well
supplied with (hot!) lunches and teas throughout the weekend.

On the Opening Day of the 2010 Season, CA President Quiller Barrett officially opened the newly refurbished clubhouse canteen and bar at Southwick.

Before formally cutting the tape, Quiller remembered his first visit to Southwick more than twenty years before, when the club was not in such good state as it is now.  He rehearsed some of the developments since then, both in lawn care and innovations like the Croquet Academy, and the support which had been received from the Croquet Association development funds. He praised the club management for the change in culture which had taken place. He thanked all those involved in the re-design and refurbishment which would make the clubhouse a much more sociable place in which to meet.


Following the ceremony, Quilller was invited to pull the first pint!


The driving force behind the work has been David Gaitley (responsible for the club bar) who did the planning and design, drawings and much of the building work.  The other main participants were Paul Castell, Jack Davies, John Gosney and Peter Pullin, supported by members of the Winter Working Party including Martin Rogers, Alan Scott and Peter Yates.

The Club owes a very large debt of gratitude to all these and others who took part.

The purpose of the work on the bar was to create an area where visitors can chat  without being in the way at busy times for meals and to make their visit to Southwick more attractive and enjoyable. Space was created by moving the servery back and this has allowed new events to take place, like Paul Castell's Skittles Evening (to be repeated, hopefully, later in the year).

It will improve serving during meals as the food and drinks queues will be separated and will allow bar staff more room to work effectively - shorter queues during the InterCounties!

During major tournaments David is intending to keep two beers on tap.  One of the major improvements David made to the club bar when he took over was dramatically to improve the range and quality of beer available on a regular basis. A contract with Dark Star, a local Sussex mini-brewery, provides their excellent Hophead and one other beer on tap. In addition, David has introduced a wide range of bottled speciality beers from around the country.


The changes to the bar area include, as well as the two beer taps, a built-in sink and glass washer, so that the bar is entirely self-sufficient and does not interfere with the operation of the kitchen area.


The re-furbished kitchen area was designed with help from Jonathan and Chrissy Isaacs and now has a dedicated vegetable preparation sink, new double oven and microwave and a commercial dishwasher.  It will be used in earnest at the first tournament in April.

Winchester One-Ball - 04/03/2010 @ 16:47
This year is the 17th running of what is now the CA Charity One-ball
Championship. It is being held a month later than usual, with the advanced
level event on Sunday, 9th May. Not only will this be a little warmer but we
are also hoping for a larger entry since it clashes with few other major

The advanced level event is a best-of-three KO, with a consolation swiss.
There are fine prizes for the winner, runner-up and swiss victor. The entry
cost is just £13, a large proportion of which will go the Macmillan Cancer

So, please do consider joining us, entering in the normal way (see the
Fixture Book). If you wish to make a weekend of it there is also the
handicap championship event on Saturday, 8th. Most places go to heat winners
but there will be a few places left for direct entries and these are being
reserved for those also entering Sunday's advanced level event.
Accommodation can be provided/recommended.

Kevin Carter

Thanks to Richard and Jean Brooks for these pictures of the club this week.



If you're playing, don't choose pink and white!

A happy Christmas to all and best wishes for 2010.

As you can see, David Gaitley and John Gosney are making progress in the alterations to the club canteen.

I didn't ask them what their deadline for completion was!!


The late September weekend advanced tournament, played for the Solomon Trophy was won this year by Tony Mrozinski, beating runner-up Alan Cottle.

The B Class event run at the same time was won by Bob Stephens, beating runner-up Brian Kitching.

Very many thanks to Nick Harris for managing the tournament.

This year's Golf Croquet Intercounties Championship, hosted at Southwick, was won by Surrey, beating Kent and Oxfordshire to first place.

Bill Arliss presenting the Cup to Surrey Captain Don Beck

Part of the winning team

Sussex County members took three of five trophies in the Challenge & Gilbey tournament hosted this year at Southwick.

The Gilbey goblet was won by Jamie Angus, in what I believe was his first open tournament.

The Roehampton Cup (A class advanced singles) was won by Paul Castell.

The Stephenson Cup was won by Karolina Michalak.

The trophies were presented by John Solomon.

See a report on the visit of French croquet club in Catenay here.


Club Info

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Croquet Academy

The Croquet Academy (croquet coaching at all levels) is located at SCCC.  For more information, see the academy website.

Tournament Archives

The archives go back to the Club's foundation in the early 1900's.

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