A great event coming up – “In The Footsteps of Shackleton”, a lunch followed by a talk on Shackleton’s adventures by Martin Thomas. To book email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 07768 632684. Bookings open January 2nd and are £15pp.
AC Open Singles KO: Simon (v Roger S)
AC Handicap Singles KO: Simon (v Roger S)
AC Handicap Doubles KO: Roger S and Pete (v Roger D & Tom)]
GC Handicap Singles KO: Simon (v Roger S)
GC Handicap Doubles KO: Tom and Pete (v Simon & Louise)
Ember Croquet – AC Handicap Singles Knockout Competition Final – 2023 Report
Simon wins the AC handicap singles trophy after two outstanding consecutive turns, firstly running 11 hoops to rover and secondly taking his partner ball from hoop 2 running the remaining 11 hoops plus a peel and pegging out. Congratulations to Simon. This is how it happened.
On a beautiful warm, sunny, late August afternoon, Roger S and Simon took to the lawn to compete the AC Handicap singles final, last contested pre-covid, Roger being the current holder. Roger has the advantage of a single bisque. Pete had dutifully mown the lawns in the morning, presenting them in pretty good shape, considering the effects of a variety of summer stresses, and now playing nicely fast and smooth. Roger and Simon checked the width of hoop 3, which had become slightly too squeezed following recent nightly critter digging activity. The new hoop clamp (funded by the Tesco grant) proved most useful in providing the necessary precision.
Roger won the toss and elected to play first. Simon chose the sunshine colours. Roger, with the midnight colours, opened to the east boundary, Simon to the west, hitting in with his second shot – yellow to red. At this point it was concluded that the boundary lines were too faint, having been largely washed out by heavy rain over the previous couple of weeks. The string line was therefore employed to provide the clear definition needed.
All now ready, Simon restarts, playing it safe by splitting up blue and black, and joining up with red … But, not so safe! … Roger hits in, black to blue. Black makes hoop 1 but slightly over-runs on the approach to hoop 2 so joins up with his partner ball. Simon misses the consequent long roquet. Roger gets going with blue, running hoops 1 and 2, but over-running at 3. Simon hits in, yellow to red, on the west boundary by hoop 2, take off to blue and black by hoop 3, rushes black towards hoop 1, and runs it. Take off black to get yellow up to red by hoop 2, but misjudges it, yellow running off the west boundary to leave a near-treble target for black. Roger assuredly makes the long hit in on red but breaks down with a split roll taking black off the west boundary. Time to take that bisque? … it’s early in the game … save for later …
Simon sees a chance to get red going, runs 11 hoops to penultimate, leaves black and blue wired from each other at hoops 2 and 3, respectively, and yellow and red joined up south east of hoop 1. Black shoots at blue, to join up, and a chance of a favourable rub of the green? Not on this occasion. Time to take that bisque? There’s still a long way to go …
Yellow rushes red to pivot position, takes off to blue and black at hoop 3, gets an adequate rush for hoop 2, plays a long split roll and runs it, four-ball break is in place. The break starts to become slightly out of shape from 1-back, as nerves, tiredness, or doubt creep in. Simon manages to hold it together but can’t avoid putting partner ball red as pioneer at 4-back, instead of the preferred route to a peel finish, by rover. The break continues, red is croqueted from 4-back towards peel position at rover. Simon’s continuation shot after penultimate is slightly hampered by blue, over the better-positioned black. The necessary improvisation works, getting blue to east side of rover, black to the south west of it, and a decent enough rush position on red. Yellow peels red, runs the hoop, roquets blue, the croquet shot moves red clear of the hoop. Roqueting black to get rush position on red is a formality, and pegging out of red and yellow quickly follows. So, victory, 26-3, for Simon, a new AC Handicap Singles KO champion, his first honour in club handicap competitions. Commiserations to Roger.
The two finalists have improved their games markedly this year, having benefitted from the wider variety of play from competing in the SECF ‘S’ League, and from seeing some of the matches at this year’s AC World Championships in action. Well done to both.
Congratulations to Jenny Baird who won the Mens vs Ladies Championship match tonight to round off a great weekend of bowls at Ember. Some great fish and chips on the night to celebrate too courtesy of the local chippy!
A blustery afternoon eventually turned into a beautiful tranquil evening. Similar conditions for the organiser too! But we had fun!
We had ten members and seven guests turn up for a GC tournament. Two guests (my wife Karen and my neighbour Jan G) had bad wrists so they got to share stalwart Tom. The two male guests (Adam and Steve G) are a right pair, so had to play together. Adam’s wife Jan D got the canny Roger S. Steve went into battle with daughter Hannah. Hugh and Gary had a great laugh last time so we put them together again. Sue joined former member Geraldine. Louise was paired with Oaklands Avenue neighbour Pat. Last but not least, husband and wife, Peter and Pauline, brought years of teamwork to the lawns.
As ever, there was some lively action. Shot of the day was Karen’s jump shot. Ask Tom about it! I captured quite a few photos from the play. Here are some of the pic(k)s:
Here are the results:
And to finish off, the winning shot by Jan D:
Sports’person’ship at its finest! Well done to Jan and Roger S! Well done everybody!
Simon played Colin from Merton in the morning singles just as the early rain stopped. Simon was quickly into his stride and without bisques achieved some good breaks, and did not allow Colin to threaten the inevitable result – 26-9 to Simon, well within the 3 hour 15 minute time limit.
At the same time, Roger joined Steve, as a terrified, nervous doubles pairing, against Julie, who had two years before beaten Simon in a thrillingly close match, and Jordan, whose handicap is just -0.5. Ember were really not sure what to do and there was plenty of cagey sparring with balls going to places never seen before. Luckily for Ember, Julie was also baffled, and could not get started. Roger and Jordan got started for both teams but luckily the latter did not tee up Julie for a run. Steve had chances and set up the balls beautifully for a long break only for his hoop running to fail again. That was Ember’s downfall sadly and eventually Julie got a good break together and Merton had 23 on the board, to Ember’s 17 when time was called.
Sandwiches for lunch under the small gazebo erected next to the lawn. The weather was quite nasty at this point but it soon cleared for the afternoon. It remained, however, incredibly muggy.
Roger took on Jordan in the afternoon singles with 11.5 bisques to his name. Again, there were some puzzling placements of balls at the start from Jordan, designed to eat away at Roger as well as Roger’s bisques. However, our man was unflappable and, though he probably used more bisques than he would have liked at the start, he built a break and played his first ball to rover, leaving Jordan no obvious way to get started. Surprisingly, Roger was left a relatively easy path to get going again with his second ball, and with six bisques left, if he could hold it together, he had every chance. Happily he did, including an excellent peel, and with one bisque left he ran out the winner 26-0. Well done Roger, it was a fantastic result!
In the doubles, it was more of the same unfortunately! Simon played beautifully and glided round, but when it was Steve’s turn, each time there was a glimmer of hope he’d break through the nerves and play his usual flowing style but the hoop-running gremlins returned. Julie and Colin bided their time and ground out a win, 22-14 at the bell.
It was a splendid day, despite the downpour, and Ember were relatively happy with the drawn result, though in reality it could have been 4-0. It was also fascinating to see Jordan play, and we wish him good luck in the qualifiers for the AC World Championships at Southwick next week.
On Sunday 2nd July, we staged an internal Golf Croquet (GC) tournament for twelve members, playing fifteen doubles matches on both lawns, from 2pm to 6.30pm.
Self-appointed team selector Steve gave each player a seeding so that the top seed was paired with the lowest seeded player, and so on. This nearly worked but we forgot to include Geraldine, and then Hugh did turn up, so we had to do a little bit of a jiggle of teams 5 and 6.
The teams were as follows:
Roger S had found and selected the best permutation of games to be played, so that each team had to play at least one game on the small lawn, and everyone was clear who played whom and when. This certainly meant changeovers ran smoothly and we were able to conclude the tournament in a timely manner this time around.
Each game was timed to last 35 minutes maximum, and of course the main lawn was double-banked so some delays were inevitable. Once time was up, each player could have two more turns each. It was good to rest up from time to time, and to catch up on the cricket score and the controversies unfolding at Lords.
There were some close games including a draw, which ultimately prevented one team from winning the tournament. Three points were awarded for a win, two for a draw, and one for a loss. Everybody stayed the distance and there were no walkovers.
The final league table looked like this:
|Geraldine & Patrick
|Roger S & Sue
|Steve & Louise
|Simon & Pauline
|Hugh & Gary
|Tom & Peter
So Pat and Geraldine were declared the winners by virtue of a better hoop scoring difference (DIFF column above), Roger and Sue were in second place, and Steve and Louise came a creditable third. Tom and Peter came sixth but had the role of giant-killers, winning 5-3 against the eventual winners. Pat’s spectacular long hoop run to clinch the draw against Sue and Roger S, was the shot of the tournament.
Here are some photos from the day: