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From left: Geoff Price, third; Ken Geenty, second; and John Watson, first. Photo: SUPPLIED

Thames hosts national croquet comp

With a backdrop of blue skies, sparkling blue calm sea, and blue flowering agapanthus, the Thames Croquet Club with its five full sized courts was the perfect venue for the Croquet New Zealand 3+ Championship tournament. 

Players with handicaps of three or more battled it out over the three days of 12-14 January, playing six games of singles a day in the scorching heat of 28 to 30 degrees.

The standard of play was high and kept local and visiting spectators entertained.

Tournament manager Lyn Stowers from Morrinsville said the Thames Croquet Club was the perfect host. 

“You did yourselves proud, keeping our visiting players hydrated and fed,” she said. 

“You went that extra mile.” 

Players attended from Canterbury, Wellington, Wairarapa, Manawatu/Wanganui, Auckland, Bay of Plenty and Northland, with two from Thames Croquet Club.  

“While the numbers of players were disappointing, I feel the time of the year played a huge part,” Lyn said. 

“We did end up with a really good three days, with the winners not being confirmed till the last round on the last day.”

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Two players were equal on wins. John Watson from Manawatu-Wanganui took out the

Championship win with higher net hoops over Ken Geenty from Wellington, who took out second. 

Third place again came down to net hoops, with four players having the same number of wins. Third place was awarded to Geoff Price from Canterbury, with the highest net hoops of the four. 

With such close competition, tournament referee Pat Anderton was kept busy. 

“The Thames Croquet Club are to be congratulated on all the work that was done in the lead up to this tournament to fulfil the requirements necessary in the preparation of the lawns,” Pat said. “Even with the unfortunate water ban by the council and the extreme heat over the tournament,  the lawns held up very well. The standard of play and sportsmanship exhibited by all players were a pleasure to witness.”

Two of the players were locals. Lin Parsons, and Thames club president Sheryl McConnell gamely entered the competition to boost numbers, and despite being up against players with much lower handicaps had an enjoyable, if challenging three days. 

“On reflection, after three days of play in very hot conditions I decided I did enjoy the tournament,” Sheryl said. 

“It was a stretch for me to compete against very good players, who I found were generous and gracious in their encouragement. I enjoyed meeting players from as far away as Christchurch and as far north as Waipu. My game lifted to meet the demands and I came away feeling very pleased to have joined such a great group of people with a love of the game I love.”

Geoff Price looks on as Ken Geenty strikes the ball. Photo: SUPPLIED
Local Player Lin Parsons is watched by Theresa Jessop from the Bay of Plenty. Photo: SUPPLIED
Geoff Price congratulates Ken Geenty on winning their last game. Photo: SUPPLIED