The croquet season came to an end last weekend with the very popular Thornton Trophy, which attracted 24 players for a double’s competition.
The tournament requires skilful organisation because the intention is that over a five-game round robin, everyone is paired with a different partner each round to play against different opponents. Each pair includes a low-handicap player alongside a higher-handicap player.
At lunchtime one of last year’s winners, Phil Poulton, led with three wins, but by the end of the afternoon, six players had four wins each and on hoop count, Judy Keith, Mick Abbott, Harry Oldham and Nick England were in the final. Mick and Harry were matched against Judy and Nick. After six hoops Nick and Judy were ahead 4 -2, only to be pegged back by their opponents, who took the next three.
Nick and Judy fought hard to win the next two, and looked as if they would win on the 12th only for Harry to clear Nick’s ball from in front of the hoop. The game was won on the deciding 13th ‘golden hoop’, after Judy led off to place herself six feet in front of the hoop. With her next shot, she played her ball into the jaws of the hoop, allowing Nick to peel her through to win an absorbing and tight contest. In presenting the trophy to the winners, director, Steve Hayns, declared Judy the player-of-the-tournament.
The Ryde Lawn Tennis & Croquet Club’s Golf Croquet B team won the Southern Croquet Federation B league. Despite losing the first game of the season, they won the next four to win the league by one point. Those who represented the team included Steve and Debbie Hayns, Joan Grove, Jim O’Keeffe, Gareth Noott, Vernon Gibbs, Sue Peters and Nick Wakefield.