Three Victoria-area croquet clubs sent competitive members to take on fierce opposition in the recent Golf Croquet Singles and Golf Croquet Doubles Opens, hosted by the Canadian Pacific LBC.
Competition in the Singles, held on September 15, was close and down to the wire. Three of the four entrants ended the first three rounds of play with 2-1 records, many of the games won by only one point. In the semifinals, CP’s Michael Dowling beat VicWest’s Mavis Pillar while CP’s Mike Holt beat VLBC’s Hilary Sandford. In the final, Dowling avenged his earlier 6-7 loss to Holt by reversing the score for victory. Hilary came in third, handing Mavis one more loss.
The weather for the singles was mildly threatening, but proved excellent for croquet. All the games were played on a single, full-sized court, double-banked.
Ten players entered the Doubles competition on September 29, playing in two-person teams. With more games to play simultaneously, Tournament Director Chris Percival-Smith opted for two 3/4-size courts. In each round of the round robin, four teams played while one sat out.
VLBC’s Rolf Bertsch and Ralph Street handled all their opponents in convincing fashion during the robin, coming out undefeated at 4-0. VLBC’s Peter Rassenti teamed with CP’s Mike Holt for second, CP’s Michael Dowling and Steffen Preusser finished third, and VLBC’s Lorne Oakes and Hilary Sandford came in fourth. With a fifth-place finish, the team of CP’s Chris Percival-Smith and VicWest’s Mavis Pillar did not make the playoffs. In the semis, Rolf and Ralph won again, defeating Lorne and Hilary 7-4. The other match saw Mike and Peter take down Michael and Steffen 7-5. Michael and Steffen came back to take third place over Lorne and Hilary, 7-1. In the final game, Peter and Mike handing Rolf and Ralph their only loss of the competition, 7-3.
All entrants played well most of the time, making long hits and hoop shots. Steffen stood out for successful jump shots, though several others were made as well. Hilary’s play was notable for being strong and accurate throughout the day despite her breaking her wrist in the first game — moving out of Michael’s sight lines to avoid distracting him, Hilary tripped over a hoop, threw her hand back to break her fall, and cracked a bone in her wrist. She wore a brace for the rest of the day, but gamely played on. We all wish her well as she mends. Mavis also deserves a word of salute. Mavis finished the introductory course in early September, and competed in her first tournaments later in the month. While her inexperience showed, it was also clear that she has a good eye, a good sense of weight, and is making good tactical decisions. She’ll be a contender moving forward.