The three amigos (Roger, Simon and Steve) feared the worst at midday on Sunday 15th May. Sheltering under the gazebo, the downpour was now relentless, and according to Roger’s five different weather apps (I exaggerate) it was going to continue until well into the afternoon.
The plan was to get an even mix of experienced members paired up with new members and guests, to run an internal GC tournament during the afternoon.
Would anyone else show? Would the boys have to retire to the bar or resort to a game of AC with puddles?
Then Geraldine arrived on her bike, shortly followed by Pat on foot. A missed call on Steve’s phone – his neighbour Don was on his way but without Linda. Then along strolled Hugh, followed by his friend Nick. The mood was lightening and so, gradually, was the rain.
It looked like we had four doubles teams, though two of the better players would have to play together. Then another message on Steve’s phone. This time his wife Karen said she’d come and play!
So the teams were picked as: Geraldine and Don; Hugh and Nick; Simon and Pat; Steve and Karen; and Roger, with the hope Tom might brave the elements after a heavy roast dinner later in the afternoon. You missed a great afternoon Tom, but you did the right thing, as it was very soggy.
As the guests had a practice on the main lawn, Roger and Steve introduced the game of Molkky Croquet to Pat. Molkky is an established game where players throw a baton shaped piece of wood at twelve numbered “pins”. To win the game a player must score precisely 50 points. If the player knocks down one of the pins, e.g. the pin numbered 6, then he will score 6 points that turn. If he knocks down “Pin 2” down as well he would score only 2 points. The maximum he can score on one turn is 12, either by knocking down “Pin 12”, or by knocking all twelve pins down such that they are all lying on the ground. As the game progresses the pins disperse and so it becomes possible to knock down specific pins. That way it becomes a more skillful game, for example, Pat needed seven points to reach fifty. He managed to knock down the “Pin 7” on its own. Previously he had exceeded fifty, so his score was reduced to 25.
What about the croquet? Well, instead of throwing the chunk of wood, Roger, Steve and Pat used their mallets to knock a croquet ball safely along the ground towards the Molkky pins, thus practicing the accuracy of their croquet shots, and preserving the much hallowed, flat croquet lawn.
Meanwhile, back to the main event. Golf Croquet!! The games progressed and were evenly contested. Each guest (Don, Nick and Karen) were given four extra shots per game (‘bisques’).
Don played admirably given it was only his second time, he listened and carried out Geraldine’s instructions to the letter and sometimes to the inch, plus he managed to keep everyone abreast of the West Ham v Man City game. One-nil, Bowen. Two-nil, think it was Bowen again. Two-one, Grealish grrrr…
Nick talked and produced measured performances too, which included a masterfully executed jump shot to great applause and doffing of caps. He would be a great asset as a member but lives down in Hampshire so he has just joined another club who play in a small field. He needs to move up the M3, or lodge with Hugh in the Summer months.
Karen armed with umbrella played some marvellous shots and ran more hoops than her erratic husband. She managed a couple of games then left Steve to play on his own. Likewise Pat played three of his allotted four games partnering Simon.
The scores of matches were as follows:
Hugh/Nick beat Geraldine/Don 7-4
Simon/Pat beat Steve/Karen 7-5
Roger beat Hugh/Nick 7-5
Geraldine/Don beat Simon/Pat 7-5
Simon/Pat beat Hugh/Nick 7-5
Roger beat Steve/Karen 7-4
Hugh/Nick beat Steve 7-3
Roger beat Geraldine/Don 7-6 (Golden Hoop)
Steve beat Geraldine/Don 7-5
So, one game left. Roger on six points with three wins, Simon (and Pat) sharing second with Hugh/Nick on 4 points, with two wins each…
Simon beat Roger 7-4…
…which meant, they were tied on six points. However, hoop difference decided the victors.
Simon and Pat won the tournament, scoring 26 hoops against 21 hoops. Roger was runner-up with 25 hoops against 22 hoops.
And as the winner walked from the lawn, the sun started to shine at last. It was nearly 7pm by this time, the Baird’s were closing the bar, the milk had run dry, and Hugh had run off with the remainder of Don’s generous gift of Pannetone. So we all went home, after a most enjoyable day. We plan to do it again perhaps in July? We will let you know. It was introduced to encourage new members to integrate with us seasoned pros, so we will have to make sure other commitments (and the weather) do not prevent that from happening next time.
Who knew GC could be so much fun?