2017 REPORT July 1st &
2nd (Manager and reporter: Tim)
John-Paul Moberly won the National
Forest GC tournament for the second time in three years, with a 7-1, 7-2
victory over David Bell in the final.
aside his opponents and only had one wobble when Martin French managed to
win the first game of their quarter-final. Moberly kicked on from that set
back and won his following, final six games in the knockout 7-0, 7-1, 7-1,
7-3, 7-1, 7-2 against the strongest selection of the other players.
On the three
courts at Ashby, the qualifying Swiss for the Championship involved each
competitor playing six games in a balanced, pre-drawn sequence. These games
were each 13 points.
The first round
of the Swiss was the only one that saw any major shocks with Kath Wright
(versus David Bell) and Ray Mounfield (versus Mark Daley) both succeeding
against top five players in the event (7-6 in each case). These shocks
aside, the finest performance of the Swiss was from Christine Wood, who
performed above her ranking with three game wins. She was unlucky to miss
out on qualifying (coming ninth on net hoops) but went on to claim victory
in the consolation event.
Manager battled with the vagaries of play being slightly slower on the Saturday
than in 2016 and the need to put Moberly on the last train back to
Edinburgh on the Sunday. This battle included, contrary to the original
plan, only persuading one quarter-final to play a first game on Saturday
Play did start
early on the Sunday but the quarter-finals all went to three games and the
Manager was then involved in a three-game semi-final, which was a close
contest until Bell showed superior jump shot technique to make some vital
hoops in the third game.
All is well
that ends well; Moberly conserved energy by the strength of his performance
in the semi-final and was ruthless (and swift) in winning the final, so he
had a calm and orderly journey to catch his train. The spectators had shown willing by
cheering brief flashes of success from Bell in the final but he was never
able to find the consistency that would be needed to put any pressure on
his dominant opponent.
threat to Moberly taking the title was his admission that his handicap card
had not been up to date when play started with him having announced himself
as a -4. He used the time he had saved by his superior play to put previous
results on his card and discovered that his excellent form at the Open
Championship had actually taken him to -5.
The Tournament Manager showed discretion and decided that a
disqualification incident would not have befitted the "crime"!
Bell both qualify for the English National GC Singles Championship on 16
and 17 September at Nottingham.
the usual green and pleasant setting, with hoops posing a moderate (but
fair) challenge; rain on Thursday and Friday having taken the real edge off
what would have probably have otherwise been very tough conditions.
Moberly beat Martin French 5-7, 7-0, 7-1
Mark Daley beat
Richard Bilton 7-3, 5-7, 7-3
David Bell beat
Graham Good 7-6, 4-7, 7-6
Tim King beat
Mike O’Brian 6-7, 7-4, 7-3
Moberly beat Mark Daley 7-1, 7-3
David Bell beat
Tim King 7-5, 5-7, 7-3
Moberly beat David Bell 7-1, 7-2
Full results on
Tim referees a shot played by Mike in
a game against Ray
L-R: Winner John-Paul Moberly; manager Tim King; runner-up David Bell
2016 REPORT July 2nd &
3rd (Manager and reporter: Tim)
Ipswich player Martin French won our
National Forest GC Tournament at Moira, defeating David Bell (of Leicester
and Ashby) in a close final.
Martin French held his nerve through a tough second day of the National
Forest GC Championship, winning the final 7-6, 2-7, 7-6 against David Bell.
This was the
sixth running of the championship, hosted by Ashby Croquet Club in the
former mining village of Moira.
National Forest often not living up to its name, the club's courts are
surrounded by plenty of trees in a generally quiet
rural setting. The club only has three courts, so the championship is not
able to provide as much play as larger clubs when the entry reaches the
maximum of 16 players.
Manager was Tim King and he was determined to conduct the main event
knockout as three rounds of best-of-three, 13-point games on the Sunday.
required a suitable scheme for play on the Saturday and, after careful
consideration, the manager found a solution in the form of a pre-drawn
Swiss. This solution gave each player six games, facing (using seeding
position as an indicator of strength) the same total difficulty of
opponents as every other player.
The entry for
the championship reached a total of 16, consisting of four clear top seeds,
all from beyond Ashby, with the remainder of the field including a further
four visitors and eight local players.
proceeded smoothly and exactly three quarters of the games were won by the
higher ranked player.
In terms of the
expected eight qualifiers for the quarter-finals, the two under-performers
were Arthur Rowe and Ray Mounfield, who only won three games between them.
The top seeds,
in general, made expected progress. Defending champion and top seed
John-Paul Moberly was undefeated, beating both Nick Mounfield and Martin
French. Nick, though, also suffered the most surprising result of the day,
losing at the golden hoop to Eileen Buxton (15th seed).
top performer of the day was Kath Wright, who failed to qualify but four
losses included three of 6-7 (and the other was 5-7). Kath, as a
consequence, achieved a net hoop score of +2.
qualification cut-off fell in the midst of three local players on three
wins (with two places available): Mike O'Brian; Chris Mounfield; and Martin
Wroughton. Mike had played and beaten Chris, so
Chris and Martin played off for the eighth spot in the quarter-finals. The
former won 7-3, with this extra game still only taking the close of play to
with a continuation of the largely fine weather of the Saturday.
quarter-finals each progressed steadily and although three of them included
a 7-6 score in the second game, all finished in two games.
7-6 was somewhat
of a feature across the weekend, with a total of 20 games (out of 77) going
to the golden hoop.
The results of
the quarter-finals went to seeding and, thus, the semi-finals pitched
John-Paul Moberly against David Bell and Martin French against Nick
Mounfield. Nick had been a doubt at times during the weekend as he battled
with a sore shoulder but he continued his determination into his match
against Martin, who twice looked comfortably clear but both times had to
hold on and survive at the golden hoop after late surges by Nick.
other favourite was having even more of a struggle.
unbeaten in his eight previous games, John-Paul went 0-2 down in three
successive games. His considerable talent hauled him back in the first but,
under pressure for the first time in the weekend, he lost his rhythm and
David made a series of clutch shots, including some mid-range jump shots
that held John-Paul firmly back from swinging the momentum.
The defeat of
John-Paul took almost 3.5 hours and showed the potential downside of
playing three best-of-threes in a day. The result
also broke the sequence to date of the trophy always going to a player no
older than 24.
The final was
no less of a battle than the semi-finals with Martin once again undaunted
in tight finishes. He played steady croquet to take the first game 7-6 but
then began to show tiredness and lost control in losing the second 2-7.
fell behind in the third game to make Martin the clear favourite at 5-3,
despite the latter bemoaning to the few remaining spectators his lack of
energy. David kept on hitting enough of his big shots though and the final
climaxed in the archetypal third game, hoop 13 battle.
just enough advantage from having first approach, leaving David on the back
foot. The former, however, left the possibility of a final dramatic twist
but David was only able to hit the inside leg of the hoop from seven yards,
leaving Martin a trivial last shot to finish the day at 19:15 with almost
everyone else having left to other engagements.
Each of the top
four had their spell of looking like the potential champion but Martin
showed the mental strength necessary to take advantage of his
tournament winners will have four 7-6 wins across the combination of
semi-final and final, along with a net hoop score of -1 across the two
In the plate
event, Kath Wright continued her excellent form from the Saturday and won
all three of her games to come top of the super block formed by those who
did not qualify for the main knockout. She was a deserved winner of a
bottle of wine for her efforts.
and David Bell qualify to play in the Ascot Cup final, to be held at Hurlingham on 17 & 18 September.
Full results (CroquetScores)
Martin French receives the National
Forest GC trophy from Tim King (Photo: David Bell)