York travelled to Nottingham for the first semi-final of the CA's Short Croquet Inter-Club competition. The Indian summer provided very pleasant playing conditions and Charlie, Nottingham's groundsman, had done a wonderful job of preparing four half-sized lawns. The York team arrived with captain Alison Larard as designated driver.
After a welcoming tea or coffee, play got under way. The morning session featured Mark Lansdale (with a SC handicap of 4) & Paul McGuire (7) against Alison Larard (7) & Carolyn Kirk (10) and two games of singles: Ellen Gee (7) v Denise Foster (10) and Mike Hedge (8) v William Bosanquet (8). Mark & Paul won the doubles fairly easily but the singles were much tighter, with narrow victories for Ellen and William.
So 2-1 to Nottingham at lunch. Excellent fare provided by Bob Thompson was followed by two sessions of pre-drawn singles. The first session was split 2-2 with victories for Ellen and Mike for the hosts and Alison and William for the visitors. All to play for in the final session. After much serious ebb and flow with either result possible, the hosts finally took all four games. The highlight was a +1 golden hoop in extra time for Paul against Carolyn, who had only started playing croquet in June. This was one of those matches that was a lot closer than the final score suggests. Nottingham now play Penrith in the final.
With three sessions of 75 minute, full-bisque games on short lawns, this competition is an excellent introduction to competitive croquet for newcomers to the game, and deserves to attract a bigger field of entrants next season.