We had a most enjoyable outing to the delightful Merton Croquet Club on Friday 13th August.
Roger D and Steve played a doubles match in the morning against Carolyn and Lavinia. As the higher handicapper, Lavinia got started first using several bisques and made good progress. Then Steve had a chance and set up a four ball break with some great positional shots then proceeded round to Two-back without much problem, save a couple of blobs at hoops, remedied with bisques. Carolyn and Roger also made good progress, and the game was extremely close in scores. Steve tensed up and played Roger’s ball by mistake but Merton could not capitalise. He then nervously tried to use the remaining half bisque, in order to separate Merton’s balls, but missed a sitter! The Edney jab was back… grrrrrrr… Roger did a marvellous three ball break to get round to 4-back, and Carolyn displayed some canny hoop running to move to Rover. Finally, at 19-18 to Ember, Steve had the chance to make the game safe having returned to form to set up a hoop run at Penultimate only for the “jab” to return as he took on the hoop. Luckily, Lavinia had too much to do to achieve the equalising hoop after the time bell rang, and Ember were one-up. 19-18 it remained.
We then had a jolly good lunch under a Gazebo next to the lawn.
In the afternoon, Simon (14 handicap) played Julie (9), and Roger S (14) played Colin (12). As the author of this post left well before the conclusion of either game, here are the first-hand accounts of the players themselves:
Simon wrote: “My opponent, Julie, nine handicap, knew what she was doing: ran 10 hoops using one of her 3 bisques. I ran 11 hoops using 4 of my eight. She then ran 12 hoops using her remaining 2 bisques. I then ran 12 hoops using my remaining four bisques. I fluffed a shot which gave her a chance to run the remaining 2 hoops with yellow and then peg out, which she almost did, but fluffed the pegging. So I again had a chance but my split roll from corner four wasn’t quite good enough to secure the necessary hit-in for me to finish off the remaining 3 points required. So Julie then had a simple peg out to secure her victory. We had 30 minutes left on the clock.”
Roger S told me: “I used 2 bisques in my first turn to get to rover and split the balls up into the 4 corners. Colin just joined up and kept the innings declining to use any bisque and playing safe and cleverly to make progress 1 or 2 hoops at a time. He used the odd bisque to get out of trouble. During this time I made 2 attempts at making another big break but both failed leaving me on 9 with only 2 left and Colin with 4 or 5. I decided to be cautious and make him work to catch up and hopefully use his bisques in the process. Eventually he had a small break to take his brown to peg but finished his bisques in doing so and left the balls in playable positions. This gave me the confidence and opportunity to go for peg using a bisque to set up. Using my other bisque I was also able to peel my other ball through rover also. Blocked by the hoop from safely pegging out and with all the balls in the centre of the lawn I was able to clear his green and peg out his brown to make it very difficult for him to catch up and leaving me set up to peg out assuming he didn’t hit in – which he didn’t. Game over with about 15 mins to spare.”