British Columbia sent three entrants to Bayfield, Ontario, in June, 2022, to compete in CroqCan, the Canadian national croquet championships. This year’s CroqCan was divided into two competitions — the Golf Croquet championship, held at the Toronto Cricket Club, and the Association Croquet championship, held in Bayfield. British Columbia’s three AC participants all came from Vancouver Island, and two of the three are members of the Canadian Pacific LBCC.
Chris Percival-Smith enjoyed the greatest success, taking second place and rising considerably in the world rankings by playing some of his best croquet ever. Chris’s work has prevented him from getting as much practice as he would like, and recurring problems with his wrists have also required him to change his style over time. Despite these factors, he has ranked as one of Canada’s top players, and represented Canada at the World Championships in Australia a few years ago.
This year, though, he went through the preliminary matches with a 9-2 record, which put him into the semi-finals. His first two-out-of-three matchup put him against the Canadian with the highest world ranking going into the event, Brian Cumming. Brian has won the Canadian championship several times, as well as the US championship, but Chris won this encounter, 26-0tp, 9-26, 26-9. The “tp” stands for “triple peel”, a complex maneuver that requires precision and control, and prevents the opponent from getting additional turns.
Chris moved on to the final, which he played against US entrant Doug Grimsley, who has also won both the US and Canadian championships on previous occasions. This battle did not go Chris’s way, however, as Grimsley won 26-10, 26-9. Chris finished ranked second in Canada, Brian Cumming still ahead.
Pierre Dunn emerged from the competition with an improved ranking, rising to number nine in Canada, despite losing seven games, most to the high-powered players Chris was defeating.
Brian Wasylyk of Campbell River was the third member of the Western contingent, and played in the second twelve, where he finished with an 8-3 record that took him into the semi-finals. Brian is now ranked eleventh in Canada.
Vancouver Island’s other strong AC player is Michael Dowling, currently ranked eighth in Canada. Michael, a former CP member, now plays on his own newly-constructed lawn at the Happy Valley CC in Langley.