Nothing special, really.
The usual early-morning setting up. Except for a full moon hanging in the sky while the sun rose and lit up the trees in the distance.
The usual eight players turning up on time, all with their fees , handicap cards, and shining morning faces.
The usual cheerful chat mixed with serious focus on the play throughout the day. No surprises there, then.
A build-up of interest and excitement as the later round pairings got decided? Been there before, done that. Still feels good, though.
A winner? Of course. There has to be one every time. Except that 7-0 is a rather unusual score for the final.
So, on to the usual prize giving. Same old, same old. Except that both finalists are teetotal, so there was much amusement when the bottle of prosecco got handed over!
And completely predictably, everyone pitched in to close down. It's what croquet players do, even after a cold day out on the lawns.
Just another tournament, then.
(But let's do another one soon.)
Namely, that the setter-uppers get to see some wonderful early morning sunshine.
Or that one can spend a day in friendly competition on our fine lawns -- better than staying in bed.
As well as having the chance to win a bottle of bubbly. (Although Nigel seems to have cornered the market on that just at present -- two out of two! Congratulations to him for good play in testing situations.)
Not to mention testing out a refined scorekeeping system on behalf of Roy Tillcock, responsible for developing the Advantage GC format. You will see that James has taken to heart Ian's suggestions of keeping clips visible!
Two events completed, and two more before Christmas. After which, there will be the Advantage (sorry) of longer days.
Well done, everyone for a good day's play and sociability.
Geoff Brook and Chris Webbley
We all may have heard something similar. Yesterday, eight people from six different clubs showed that you most definitely can, as they took part in the first of the GC level play Winter Tournaments for 4 and lower handicaps.
Handicaps ranged from -2 to 4, yet there were some very close contests between people of differing standards on paper, 13 out of the 20 games going to 7-6 or 7-5. As the afternoon went on, Peter Adams (Caversham) and Geoff Johnson (HWCC) progressively emerged as the two main contenders, but in the end Peter came home to lift the prize bottle of bubbly through a better net hoops total.
Everyone got to taste victory, tea and homemade cake. Serious and skilful play, cheerful chat between games, all before the sun went down.
(The event also served as the first try-out of a new app for managing Swiss format tournaments, designed by Keith Pound and his IT wizard son. HWCC never stands still!)
The promised (aka hoped-for) "crisp winter sunshine" showed up on a day of long shadows for the first Winter Tuesday GC handicap tournament today. Eight HWCC members took part in a day of competitive croquet played with great good humour and sportsmanship. Thanks to helpful preparation and briefing by Ian and Catherine Shore, the mysteries of the Advantage GC scoring system were successfully unlocked -- well, mostly! This enabled people to play 'pure croquet' as well as helping us get our heads around the system that may be used in 2022 for SCF League matches again.
A majority of the morning games went to 7-5 or 7-6, which suggests that the handicapping system was working well. In the afternoon, some tense games were played leading to a first place final between Nigel Clogg and Don Rutherford, won by Nigel on the 13th Hoop. Tea and home-made cake rounded off the day.
As tournament manager, I appreciated the spirit of the day, not least shown by people's unasked willingness to take down the gear at the end of the event. Ian's kind offer to referee was taken up many times during the day, which, as he said, indicated a quality approach to members' play. A good start to this series.
Worms are causing an issue to our lawns! Well, it’s not the worms but the worm casts that are causing the issue as when they are trodden on, the compacted soil kills the grass – so says Russell our groundsman.
So during the winter months please use the swisher (in Equipment Store) each morning before play to remove the worm casts – see attached photo of Geoff Johnson in action yesterday. The pole extends to reveal a yellow flexible rod – extend to silver mark.
Please swish the whole courts plus the bits beyond the boundary white lines and not just where the worm casts are at their worst. Using the swisher each morning will also help to reduce disease by removing the dew.
Be careful not to injure yourself during the process – if the task is shared by those who arrive first, the task becomes more manageable.
Joy Biggs and her team of Ground Staff (Russell and Aaron) work very hard in maintaining our lawns (some of the best in the country!) and we owe it to them to take care of the lawns by swishing before play each morning during the winter months.
Many thanks for your cooperation.
An update on our Scottish results.
Whilst we were 6 out of 6, our combined ranking improvement was 3rd. We were lowly ranked but we performed better than our ranking suggested we should in terms of games actually won.
So not such a bad result in its way.
... there was a little blue golf ball. It lived at the bottom of a big bag at the High Wycombe Croquet Club. It could not remember how a golf ball came to live at a croquet club, but it did not mind because lots of other golf balls lived in the same big bag. Secretly, this ball was a little bit vain, because its blue was a bright and shiny colour and it also a No 1 in painted on it, which made it feel -- well, like a Number One.
One sunny afternoon, the big bag was picked up and shaken around. This was quite usual on a Monday and a Friday, so the little blue golf ball was not alarmed. In fact it looked forward to it, because it knew that the next thing that would happen would be a hand coming down into the big bag and the little blue golf ball being lifted right out of the bag and into the afternoon sunshine. "Oh, good", someone said. That made the little blue golf ball feel happy. and it waited to go back into the bag as usual.
This time, the little blue golf ball found itself put into somewhere different. A coat pocket! The coat pocket started to move. It was very exciting. "This is probably because I am a No 1", thought the little blue golf ball to itself and it settled down to its new experience. Sometimes the coat moved, sometimes it stayed very still until there was a loud Crack, and then the coat moved again. "This is most interesting", thought the little blue golf ball.
Later that afternoon, things became even more interesting. Some more movement, then there was a loud humming noise and the little blue golf ball in the coat pocket could feel itself moving faster than ever before. The humming noise lasted half an hour, then stopped. The little blue golf ball felt a hand patting the outside of the coat pocket. Then a hand came down into the coat pocket and lifted the little blue golf ball out into the sunshine. The little blue golf ball heard a single, short word that it did not understand because it had never heard it before. Then it was put back into the coat pocket, which is where it still lies for the present.
But it misses the big bag at the nice croquet club. And it hopes it will be taken back there before long.
Which it will.
Chris Webbley (with apologies to Geoff and all the rollers-uppers)
HWCC had not only one but two members playing in the prestigious World Team Championship Tier 2 in Andalucia, Spain from 11-16 October 2021. Stephen Wright and Alan Clark (HWCC) along with Thomas Halliday (Enfield) and Martin Murray (Bristol) - all playing for Scotland - competed against Norway, Canada, Wales, Spain, Latvia, Switzerland and a Select team.
The Spanish club, Vista Hermosa, made everyone very welcome with an evening of tapas and sherry. The huge building amidst the pine trees (see photo) is their clubhouse! The weather was superb and the home audience very encouraging with cries of 'Ole' when a hoop was won!
After many hard-fought games, the brave Scottish team came 6th. As expected, the Spanish team won and will now move into Tier 1.
In front of a small but knowledgeable crowd (thank you for coming to support us, James!) Ed Olhausen and Chris Webbley played the final of the EV4 GC Handicap competition this afternoon. Ed secured a good 7-4 victory in the first game. Both players seemed to respond in the second game, raising their game in a long, narrow tussle of tactics, skills and morale. With two great jump shots and a smart promotion, Ed brought home the match win at the 13th hoop. Congratulations to him.
Both players felt that that had been one of the best GC games they had ever played: what a fine way to end the this year's EV4.
Yesterday's EV4 semi-final saw Ed and James concentrating VERY hard at various points during the afternoon!
Here, Ed is about to tap brown gently through, and to go on later to win in their third game.
Chris and Brian's semi-final earlier in the afternoon had also gone to three games, Chris narrowly taking the third 7-5.
The final will be played on Friday afternoon starting at 1330. Well-behaved spectators welcome!
Thanks to Ralph Baker for the photo