|Sweet Pea Golf Croquet Tournament
8-10 Mar 2009
Maitland Croquet Club
Traditionally this carnival is held very close to St. Patís day, hence the name.
Maitlandís unique three day DOUBLES tournament attracted 33 teams of players from Urunga in the North to Jamberoo in the south and lots of in between and local support. Each of the six blocks (A, B, C - 6 teams each and D, E and F - 5 teams each) were extremely well matched on paper and the prospect of ONE ROUND OF LEVEL play followed by ONE ROUND OF HANDICAP play was absolutely salivating.
Wonderful weather helped make the tournament a great success
Block A looked really promising with lots of 2 and 3 handicaps fighting each other for the attractive prize money rewards while in other blocks, handicaps were close and the scene was set for an interesting 3 days.
Early registration on Saturday saw many teams take advantage of practice on the magnificently presented lawns. Some stayed for a session of croquet under lights and enjoyed the experience very much. (We are trying to keep this a secret because it is soooooooo goood.)
Sunday morning saw "level" play begin at 8:30 sharp (after each block had its photo taken) under clear skies and humid conditions.
Keen interest was evident as the tournament progressed
Play on the first day was fairly brisk with games completed usually well under the allotted 1hr. (I suspect some slightly wider hoop settings may have been responsible here) (Second and third day play was much more measured and a few games did not reach 7 points for winning team).
Block A, at the end of round 1 (just before lunch on Monday) had Maitland pair,- Barry Wells and John Compton (both on handicaps of 3) undefeated while Ron and Ros Johnstone from Sutherland were still in the hunt on 4 games.
Block B had the Maitland team of Alan Pearson and Marlene McDonald also undefeated one game ahead of Pam Gentle and Robyn Compton.
Block C was very closely contested with the Jamberoo team of Pat and Dot Moroney leading the wily Noel Carmody and rising star Trevor Black on countback to who beat who. It was close.
Jamberoo players were a fabulous addition
to the list of competitors
Block D had the Jamberoo team of Roger and Brenda Evans comfortably leading and not losing a game while Toronto pair Shirley Page and June Muston were in second place by I net point over Jamberooísí Margie Long and Betty Ball.
Block E was even closer with Branxtonís Helen Haines and Ruth Harden on 3 game and 9 net points being pipped by Frank and Marie Keatly also on 3 games and 9 net points but having vanquished Helen and Ruth on the way. Third place was also on 3 games and with 5 net points not far from challenging seriously. A great tussle with lots of excitement.
Block F was just as frenetic as Block E with the combination of Gerry Hasset and Ranee Silverston having the wood on the Maitland pairing of rapidly improving John Purnel and Barbara Leake also on 3 games and 8 net points who lost to the visiting team to be in second position at the end of the first round.
Noel and Trevor
under the watchful eye of Dot and the Referee
Stage is now set for revenge and general mayhem in the second round where handicaps come into play.
Strangely positions in Block A didnít change, though Wells and Compton did manage to drop 2 games while the Johnstones only dropped one. Both finished on 8 games but the boys had 22 net points compared with 13 for our blue attired challengers. Jim Hicks and rising protťgť Bob Doepel were impressive also in this block.
Robyn and Pam kept up the challenge to Alan and Marlene, but when Alan had his ball ricochet off two other balls to go through the hoop at almost 180 degrees to which it was hit things very difficult for the girls. Branxtonís Jacky McDonald and Robert Hildred used their handicap play very effectively in this round to only lose 1 game and sneak into third one hoop and 1 net point behind Pam and Robyn.
Pam Gentle demonstrates the skill for which she is widely known
Noel and Trevor demolished the opposition and didnít lose a game in the second round (the handicapper caught up with Trevor at the end of the day) reversing the position at the end of round 1. Rita Murphy and Therese Krick (Maitland) also used their handicap well to finish next best to Trevor and Noel in round 2 and 3rd overall.
Roger and Brenda continued in their winning way and fished the day undefeated in block D. A wonderful effort considering the opposition. Shirley and June fought bravely to real them in but finished a creditable 2nd with Margie and Betty chomping at their heels in third.
The tussle in block E continued in earnest during Monday and Tuesday and the girls from Branxton (Ruth and Helen) turned the tables on the first round leaders and took the top prize-6 game/5 from Frank and Marie who were lucky to hold out rapidly finishing John and Katherine Love.
Some worried faces and nervous gestures crept in
as the tournament unfolded
Clare Clark and Anne Freeman really used their handicaps well to win all games in the second round and were able to sneak into second place behind John and Barbara (who I believe is now an Ambassador in the food tasting business). Gerry and Ranee finished a creditable third.
The weather had threatened on Sunday afternoon and most of Monday but Tuesday was refreshing and very pleasant. Referees were relatively relaxed over the tournament with players showing excellent knowledge and courtesy.
To liven proceedings, raffles with many intriguing and interesting prizes were drawn each lunchtime.
The tournament was marked by a friendly and relaxed atmosphere in the beautiful surroundings of Maitland Park with lots of brightly coloured people milling around chasing brightly coloured balls on rich green lawns creating an idyllic picture for all who participated.
Joy Lavette adds to the colours of the carnival
Presentation time saw a healthy crowd of players and spectators witness the winners collect $75.00 each while the runners-up were each $40.00 dollars richer. All players left with a colour photo of their block, a copy of the results and a display envelope containing all the draws and communication connected with the carnival.
As is usual in these events, a band of dedicated people worked behind the scenes and sent competitors and visitors home very satisfied with their three days in Maitland. They did Maitland Croquet club proud.