Wrest Park

GC Championship Series tournament
1-2 June

report by manager Richard Keighley

An unseasonal chilly wind greeted the field of 14 players for this tournament in the National series. Manager, Richard Keighley took advantage of the standard format template for this number of players, and this created a single block with each player required to play seven opponents on a random basis.

Tim Russell (Roehampton) won all his games, closely followed by Nick Archer (Watford) with six wins and Lionel Tibble (Northampton) with five wins. All five players who had recorded four wins each also proceeded to the main knockout.

Day 2 was a warm and gloriously sunny day for croquet. In the quarter-finals, Nick Archer beat his Watford clubmate John Taylor 7-5,7-5 and Lionel Tibble beat Andy Sherwood (Ashby) 7-2,7-5. Mark Avery beat Helen Reeves, a welcome visitor from New Zealand, by a scoreline of 7-1, 7-2, but Glynis Davies (Northampton) made Tim Russell work hard to progress, losing 4-7, 7-5, 3-7.

Nick Archer, a previous winner of this tournament, won his semi-final against Lionel Tibble 7-4,7-6 and he was joined in the final by Mark Avery who beat Tim Russell, also a previous winner, 7-1, 7-5. Nick was hoping to repeat his block game win over Mark (7-5).

Nick and Mark, the top seeds both with handicaps of -3, provided a fitting final for the keen group of spectators. Mark won the first game on the golden hoop. Fortunes then fluctuated. Nick gained the upper hand in the second game and won it 7-2. In the decider it was Mark’s turn to exercise superiority. Both players had shown their clearance skills but Mark’s ability to clear balls to distant boundaries proved decisive, winning 7-3. In the play off for third and fourth places, Lionel beat Tim 7-5, 4-7. 7-4.

Six players contested the Plate, with Les Heard (Wrest Park) remaining undefeated with five wins and edging out David Thirtle-Watts (Hunstanton) with four wins.

At the presentation, the Manager was keen to pay tribute to George Collin, the groundsman with surprising plumbing skills, and his fellow members who had defied the fickle weather to produce such good playing conditions. He also thanked Robert Archer (Watford) for acting as scorer for the tournament and Mike Bilton (Gainsborough) for being ROT.

Winner Mark Avery (with cap) and runner-up Nick Archer. Photo by Glynis Davies.

© Wrest Park Croquet Club