Sussex GC County Team promoted to First Division
The Sussex County GC team under a new captain this year (Richard Brooks), who had been invited by his predecessor Bill Arliss to take over the roll, were very pleased to bounce straight back into division 1 after last year's disappointment of relegation. Bill had decided to retire from the role after many years of service to the County side and I would like to personally thank him for inviting me to join the team over a decade ago.
Having checked on players likely availability I decided that my policy this year would be to give as many as possible the opportunity to represent the County. Therefore I selected the full complement of 8, using 5 each day. Only two players, Liz Farrow and myself played both days. On Saturday we were joined by Roger Sutton, Ian Cobbold and Chris Heath. Sunday’s team included Mark Hamilton, Ben Harwood and Chrissie Merrington.
Having adopted this selection policy I must admit that I found it quite challenging to produce a playing schedule that fulfilled the requirements of the competition and gave everyone as equal a number of games as possible. However I was able to send everyone a copy of the playing schedule in advance of the event, albeit only a couple of days before! Now the details
On the first day the captain was able to lead from the front with with 4 good wins out 5 and Liz followed suit with 4 out of 5. The others managed 3, 2 & 1 game wins between which was enough to place us in third overnight, with 3 match wins. At this point I should explain to those who aren’t familiar with the scoring method used for the Counties, that each match between teams comprises of 1 doubles and 2 singles games. As ties are not permitted the result will always be a win or loss by 3-0 or 2-1.
On the second day the captain had lost his mojo losing his 3 games, 2 of them at the 13th hoop. Liz maintained her consistency winning 2 out of 3. Now we must congratulate our other three players Mark, and newbies to the County side, Ben and Chrissie who got us over the winning line. They all put their hearts and souls into it showing great determination, winning some tense games sometimes at the 13th hoop. I think they might have felt they had a point to prove in justifying there selection, which they achieved admirably. In fact Ben and Mark finished the day unbeaten on 4 and 3 game wins respectively.
Our team finished clear winners with 7 out of 10 match wins one ahead of both Essex and Buckinghamshire in joint second place. There is a method of determining the places of those on an equal number of match wins which I won’t attempt to explain and bore you with here, as it didn’t concern us!
Finally l congratulate all of my team members but warn them, as those of us who have been there before know, it is gets much tougher in the first division. We will be pleased to welcome the services of Peter Dowd next year who has recently moved to Eastbourne and has indicated that he will be eligible and would like to join our squad. Peter is a top 30 GC player with a higher ranking than any of our current side so competition for places will get tougher!
Trophy presentation at Compton Croquet Club (photo: Chris Roberts)