Club Champions Tournament
by year:

AC Association Croquet

Wrest Park - Sunday 22nd April 2012

Manager: Terrey Sparks

Click on images for an enlargement

Wrest Park - train lines

Twenty-three competitors from eleven clubs took part in the first of the EACF planned calendar events for the 2012 outdoor season again staged at Wrest Park. This was a unique occasion in that it would be the last year six lawns would be available at this venue, situated in the beautiful gardens of this historic house. Fortunately the sun gods smiled and although the day was sunny with a chill nip in the air, the showers that were promised were noticeable by their absence.

Ominous sky

Riders of the Apocalypse
(the only triple seen on the day)

The day's event was split into three groups comprising Advanced, 'B'-level Advanced and Handicap. Each group comprising 7 or 8 competitors was played as a straight knock-out with an additional flexible Swiss for first and second round losers.

The first group (Advanced) comprised Duncan Hector (Bygrave/Letchworth), Terry Mahoney (St. Albans), Simon Hathrell (Watford), Ian Mantle (Letchworth), John Bevington (Wrest Park), Terrey Sparks (Hunstanton) and Mike Porter (Newport). Duncan was in superb form and quickly adjusted his play to suit the heavy conditions to meet John Bevington from the home club in the group final. Unfortunately for John, Duncan's form was relentless and he went on to win the group winning all three of his games. Simon Hathrell with two wins was presented with the subsidiary prize.

For the second group ('B'-level Advanced) the players concerned were Robin Barry (Watford), Mike Bowser (Hunstanton), Ian Thompson (Downham Mkt), John Palin (St. Albans), David Haslam (Colchester), Tim Brewer (Wrest Park), Dan Neale (Bury St. Edmunds) and Jeremy Scott (Letchworth). John and Tim, both playing steadily, won their first two games to meet in the final. In a very close final the home team player just came out on top winning +5 to scrape home. The subsidiary prize went to Mike Bowser for finishing with the best two wins.


Winners L-R: Tim Brewer,
Duncan Hector, Brian Havill

The third group (Handicap) comprised Steve Lewis (Hunstanton), Francis Lambert (Newport), Georgeen Hemming (Colchester), John Moore (Watford), Brian Havill (Enfield), Peter Whiting (Bygrave), Jonathan Toye (Downham Mkt) and Heather Bennett (St. Albans). Playing reduced games of 22 points, most players found the lawns tricky to adjust to. However, both Brian and Steve with determined steady play met in the group final. Unfortunately Steve struggled to overcome the 3.5 bisque advantage held by Brian who eventually ran out the group winner by +12. In the subsidiary event Georgeen Hemming received the prize for having the best two wins.

Over the last 12 years since this annual tournament was introduced it has gone from strength to strength proving to be a popular first event in the calendar. With the loss of the six lawns next year a revised format will be needed to accommodate the growth in entrants. Some creative thought over the next twelve months will be needed.

Report by Terrey Sparks
Photos by John Bevington and Duncan Hector

See also:

AC Club Champions Tournament - past winners
GC Club Champions Tournament