• Richard Bilton wins Ascot Cup (GC)

     by Stephen Mulliner at Sussex County CC [^] -> bottom
    28th September (Golf Croquet Championships)


    Richard Bilton wins his first GC "major"

    The final of the English National Singles Championship for the Ascot Cup is the last major event of the domestic GC season and was hosted by Sussex County CC on 15 and 16 September. The Southwick courts were in excellent condition, complemented by sunny weather over the weekend. The grades of the top four players were only narrowly separated in the 2,500 region which paved the way for close contests. It was anyone's guess who would eventually prevail. 
    The 16 competitors played best-of-three 13 point games in four blocks of four on Saturday to determine the top two who would progress to the championship KO Stage. In Blocks A, B and C, the top seeds Ian Burridge, Stephen Mulliner and Jonathan Powe each dropped only one game in completing three wins each. Block D was more closely contested with Richard Bilton losing in three games to a resurgent Will Gee. However, Will then lost to Chris Roberts so Richard just won the block on net hoops.

    Rachel Gee regained her European GC Champion title at Budleigh this May with a superb display of shooting and hoop running against Pierre Beaudry in the final. She is, as they say, no mug at GC. However, she was comprehensively "mugged" by Richard Bilton in their quarter-final encounter. Richard appeared to have adopted a successful strategy of "not missing" and swept into the semi-finals by 7-3, 7-1. There he faced Stephen Mulliner (to whom he had lost three matches earlier in the season) who had beaten Peter Dowd 7-3, 7-4.

    The other half of the draw featured two close encounters. Lionel Tibble was in prime form in game 1 against Jonathan Powe who has become one of the most consistent of the top players in both AC and GC. Lionel's speciality is the controlled centre-ball clearance from any range up to 15 yards which prods the opponent ball away by a dozen yards or more while Lionel's ball hugs the current hoop like a long-lost cousin. It is infuriatingly effective. However, the magic left him during game 2 and Jonathan recovered to win 4-7, 7-4, 7-5.

    Will Gee is one of the most entertaining players to watch. He can oscillate between brilliance, the opposite and brilliance in as many strokes. The opponent and the spectators often have no idea what is coming next (and neither, it is suspected, does Will). But he can grind it out as well and duly did so against Ian Burridge after losing a tight opening game, prevailing by 6-7, 7-3, 7-5.

    Richard Bilton and Stephen Mulliner ended their first two games at the 13th hoop with Richard hanging on in game 1 by remorseless clearing, especially in the later stages. He made an excellent start in game 3 by roaring to a 5-1 lead with a succession of long hoops. Stephen staged a brief rally but, after a prolonged duel at 10, Richard ran a very angled hoop to clinch his place in the final by 7-6, 6-7, 7-3.

    The other semi-final started in the opposite way to the Powe/Tibble quarter-final. Jonathan Powe's consistency made short work of the opening game as Will struggled to hit straight. However, Will upped his game and fought back to take the match 3-7, 7-5, 7-5.

    The Gee roller-coaster continued in the opening game of the final where Richard Bilton astonished everyone except perhaps himself by taking the opening game 7-0. When did that last happen at this level? Once more, Will dug deep, fought back and took game 2 with a trademark jump through hoop 12 from 4 yards. This set the scene for a dramatic conclusion with Will bidding for his third Ascot title and Richard seeking his first GC "major". As it turned out, Richard maintained his impressive accuracy in both hooping and clearing and this was enough to develop and maintain an edge that translated into victory by 7-0, 5-7, 7-4. It was a very well-deserved victory and confirms the significant improvement he has made this season and his place as one of the top young players in the game.

    The Plate was played as a 19-point single game knock-out. The final was contested by David Dray and Manuel Alvarez-Sala, the youngest of four brothers who make up half of the top eight GC players in Spain, who was able to step in when a player had to withdraw at the last minute. Manuel won a tight contest by 7-4, 7-6.

    Warm thanks are due to Sussex County for hosting the event and preparing the courts so well, including having four mown on Sunday morning.

  • CA School of Croquet

    by Lionel Tibble at Wrest Park CC [^] -> bottom
    23rd August (Other News)


    The August 21st and 22nd 2018 two-day Summer School, hosted once again at Wrest Park CC, attracted five enthusiastic and talented young croquet players from across the country.

    From L to R they are Eden Rogers, Euan Burridge, James Galpin, Albie Willett and Ryan Gray.

    More had registered but unfortunately three pulled-out due to last-minute difficulties.

    James, Albie and Eden were part of last year's intake and had brought along another of that successful group of Ipswich young players, Ryan.

    A combination of AC and GC tuition interspersed with GC and AC one-ball round-robins helped to keep boredom at bay for these up-and-coming stars of the future.

    Thanks to Ian Burridge for taking some of the AC tuition and especially to the parents for trekking across country.

  • Barlow Bowl Results

    by Ian Lines at Cheltenham [^] -> bottom
    13th August (CA Official News)


    The Barlow Bowl was won by an undefeated Sarah Hayes with the runner-up Beatrice McGlen being presented with the Eastbourne brooch.

    The Longman Cakestand was a long and hard fought battle and there were still 3 contenders after tea earlier today. Sophie McGlen and Julia Lowery both played extremely well - the eventual winner with 4 wins out of 5 was Wendy Wu.

    So both the Bowl and Cakestand are held by Cheltenham Members and the Club Vice President - Eileen Magee - was kind enough to do the presentations.

  • CA beat SCA

    by Charles Waterfield at Middlesbrough [^] -> bottom
    2 Sep 2018 (Other News)


    The CA retained the Glasgow Quaich, with a 17-7 win over the Scottish CA in the annual match, held at Middlesbrough CC on 1/2 September.

    When the Scots came to Albert Park two years ago (winning 16-8) their team, including two minus players, was nominally the stronger; this time round the comparison was more in favour of the CA's - as it turned out. We were fortunate this year to have wonderfully warm and sunny conditions over the whole weekend.

    Most competitors were able to join in a convivial supper at a local restaurant after play on the Saturday. Thanks are owed to Glynis & John Parks and to Barbara & Peter McDermott for helping in the pavilion over lunch-times.


    Beatrice McGlen (Nott'm) -0.5

    Andrew Killick (M'bro) 0.5

    Phil Errington (Belsay Hall) 1

    Derek Watts (Tyneside) 1

    Charles Waterfield (M'bro) 2.5

    Roger Staples (M'bro) 2.5


    John Surgenor (Glasgow) 1

    Derek Knight (Beverley) 2

    Alan Wilson (Balgreen) 1.5

    Alistair Malcolm (Meadows) 4

    David Houston (Meadows) 5

    Bob Darling (Balgreen)

    All games were level advanced (double-banked) with fairly tight time limits 2.5 hrs for Singles, 3 hrs for Doubles. On Saturday a round of Doubles was followed by two rounds of Singles in the afternoon. On Sunday there was a second round of Doubles and a final round of Singles. In the case of Singles the top three in each team played each other; the lower three likewise. For Doubles, pairings were across the two 'blocks'.

    Final Result: CA 17, SCA 7

  • Nottinghamshire win GC Championships

    by Bill Arliss at Southwick and Compton [^] -> bottom
    22nd August (Golf Croquet Championships)


    This was the first year of a revised format for this event with the introduction of a second division. A lot of effort had gone into trying to expand the previous format with the use of a second venue as we do with the AC Inter Counties, but this was not practical with the shorter games GC provides. The best solution was to run the event as two entirely separate competitions at different venues. For 2018 we had seventeen entries which were split into a first division of eleven and a second of six with the respective venues being Southwick with eleven lawns and Compton with five. It was considered essential to maintain six teams in division two to ensure a workable and enjoyable format could be used. We did not want the new arrangement to be killed off in the first year by very dissatisfied second division customers. Unfortunately one of our new teams in the second division, Buckinghamshire, had to withdraw at the last moment due to medical problems but some quick action raised a CA Select team and the playing schedule was maintained.

    Our additional entries for 2018 came from Nottinghamshire, Hertfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Berkshire and Oxfordshire, the latter team having previously played in the event. Ivor Brand took over the management of the division two event at Compton.

    At Southwick the competition started with an all play all giving us a total of eleven rounds with each team having a Bye round. I am sure most players expected that Nottingham with four -4's on board would manage a 100% record but quite obviously Kent had other ideas and in round 2 managed a 2-1 win over Nottinghamshire. I suppose this was to be expected as Kent were only just behind in the handicap stakes having two -4's supported by two -3's. Kent managed to keep their winning form for the rest of Saturday but were still in second position at the end of the day as Kent had taken their BYE round but Nottinghamshire had not. Both Nottinghamshire and Kent had six match wins but were closely followed by Somerset with five wins and Northamptonshire with four. Although rather dull for most of the day, the rain had managed to keep away.

    Four rounds were needed on Sunday morning and early afternoon to complete the all play all. Yorkshire/Durham started the day well by taking out Kent with a 3-0 win whilst Nottinghamshire finished the session with three 3-0 victories. Somerset carried on in their winning ways to finish a very creditable third with seven wins and the overall figures after the all play all are shown below. Luckily for the Manager, no ties to sort out and all teams were quickly ranked in results order and separated into four pairs and a three for the final two games. Each of the four pairs played one another twice with the doubles and singles roles being reversed in the second meeting. The intent of the format was that each team in the pair had to had to win both of the final matches to claim the upper position in the pair. If the matches were shared, then the result of their game in the all play all would determine the upper placing.


    In the Championship pair, Nottingham had to win both final matches as Kent had won their first meeting but they managed two 2-1 victories to claim the title. In the second pairing Somerset and Yorks/Durham shared the 2-1 wins but Somerset took third place with their 2-1 win over Yorks/Durham in the first meeting. In pair three, Northampton ensured they kept fifth place with a 2-1 and a 3-0 win over Hertfordshire. In the pair four matches Middlesex gained two 2-1 victories over Dorset to claim seventh place.

    The bottom three teams were treated differently in that they each played each other once but by splitting the singles and doubles into separate rounds, they were able to complete the three matches in only two rounds. Hampshire ensured they were free from the relegation zone by beating both Leicestershire and Sussex 2-1 and taking ninth place. Leicestershire beat Sussex 2-1 taking tenth place.

    CA President, Quiller Barrett, finished off the day by presenting the trophy to Nottinghamshire.

    Bill Arliss 
    Manager Division One

    The second division was played at Compton and used an all play all twice format. It was originally intended to complete the day with a play off as the likelihood of a tie was quite large. However at the end of the all play alls, the results were well defined as the table below shows and it was agreed by the Manager and all teams that no play off was necessary and a reasonable finishing time could be maintained.

    The six counties battled on well prepared lawns and by the end of the first day Glamorgan hand a slender lead over the following chasing pack all seeking to finish as champions and so secure their pending promotion to division 1 next year. The air show was a bonus to witness and the 'Red Arrows' provided a great display for us all to enjoy. (some the of croquet was'nt all that bad either) Only a few games went to time which again reflected the excellent conditions of the lawns that the grounds man had prepared. At this point I should apologise for the extra 20+mins that I and my opponent Richard took on the 13th hoop in round 1.(after this initial hiccup time was caught up and the event ran generally to time)

    The following table shows the full results from the all play all format.

    CA Select4105

    Thanks goes to all the staff at Compton especially Hillary for helping to make the tournament run smoothly and most importantly an enjoyable weekend, which I hope will be repeated next year?

    Ivor Brand 
    Manager Division Two

    Promotion and Relegation

    No doubt this is very much in the minds of some Organisers but it will depend to some extent on the number of teams that enter next year. Whatever the outcome, the top two at Compton are guaranteed a place in the first division next year but the number of relegations may only be one if the total entry does not exceed eighteen.

    Any potential new teams are warned to have their proposals ready by the end of the season as any growth more than one will require a change in venue which has to be arranged this year.



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