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CROQUET - Southern Challenge report...

SOUTHERN CHALLENGE 2014 of Golf Croquet.
This year, the Southern Challenge took place at Southwick, just to the west of Brighton over 2 days July 5th and 6th. Winchester CC having won the 2nd Division last year were promoted to the 1st Division this year, where the competition was expected to be particularly severe.

The tournament is open to all clubs mainly in the south, and organised by the South Eastern Croquet Federation and managed by Bill Arliss. It is a particularly good way of promoting Winchester CC as a way of getting known particularly amongst its peers, possibly better than the Inter Club Championships (Longman’s Cup, Secretary’s Shield etc) where results tend to get lost in the Croquet Gazette and participants have to travel sometimes long distances on several occasions, whereas the Southern Challenge involves only one weekend travel away.

The competition was ‘all plays all’, level play, and each match versus an opposition team with 2 rounds of one doubles and 2 singles, reversed in the second round, making 6 games in all.

On this occasion, the other clubs involved were Dulwich, Sussex County, Canterbury, West Worthing, Littlehampton, Ryde and Winchester. Winchester had a Bye on the first round and came up against a strong Canterbury side first and lost 4-2, but beating Littlehampton by 5-1 afterwards and leading Sussex County by 2-1 by the end of the first day. On resumption on the second day, Winchester consolidated their lead over Sussex County and won by 4-2 games. This was followed by a good win over West Worthing also by 4-2 but a defeat by Dulwich also 2-4, pre-tournament favourites. Match fatigue was being shown for our last game versus Ryde, who are always keen to beat Winchester and we lost heavily by 1-5!

One difficulty we found was keeping the scores accurately in such a way that having handed in our Results Sheets at the end of the Tournament to the Manager, we had no way of knowing our own scores! Something for next time perhaps

Participants for Winchester were Ian Harrison, Glynis Hassell on day 1, Nigel Hind, Keith Mackenzie Ross, Jo Burnaby and Norman Perkins on Day 2 and, meriting special mention, David Nicholson and Jan Johnston who played on both days and David in every match, winning all games but one, your correspondent believes!!

At the end of the Tournament therefore Winchester had 3 wins out of 6 and came 4th out of 6 teams, which is quite creditable as the majority of players had handicaps in the 0-3 bracket. Next year it is believed the Tournament will be held 2-3 weeks later which may release Roger Barnacle to play who has been on Wimbledon duty for the last 2 years.

Keith M Ross

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