Day 4 of the 2019 Championships of Irish Croquet saw the onset of the maiden Alternate Shot Doubles competition. On lawn 1, the inestimable Simon Williams was partnered by Paul Cotter against Beverley Cardo and Sandy Knuth with Williams and Cotter ultimately prevailing by a scoreline of 15 hoops to 6.
Vicky Johnston and Tony Kemp took on Alison Maugham and Anne Marie Piggot, the denouement seeing Johnston and Piggot taking the spoils, 17-6.
Sandy Greig' s winning record in recent years is evocative of the domestic hegemony of his compatriots, Glasgow Celtic Football Club under the sadly departed Brendan Rodgers. The Scot teamed up with fellow Carrickminder, Anne Woulfe Flanagan, for a titanic battle versus Jodie Rugart and Tom Cooper. Anne clinched victory with a golden hoop in overtime.
David Maugham and Karen Davidson-Perrins mastered the dark arts of alternative shot doubles quickly, emerging victorious 18 hoops to 8 versus the American partnership of Rich Schiller and Val Terry.
Hamptworth pair Richard and Diana Stephens eclipsed the duo of Loretta Cooper and Mary Rodeberg in a close fought 10-9 win.
In the USCA salver, Jeanne Branthover enjoyed a 16-7 win over Sylvia Briggs.
Meanwhile, in the Steel Cup - Dave McGrath bested Robert Miller by 20 hoops to 13.
After lunch, the Newell Candlestick took precedence on lawn 4 with Paul Cotter beating Rich Whelan 6 hoops to 4 and Michael O'Mahony overcoming the challenge of Mary Dobbyn.
Former club president Alan Looney teamed up with highly esteemed scribe Myles McWeeney in their 12-7 Alternate Shot doubles victory versus tournament manager Nathaniel Healy and Martin Gilmartin. Nigel Werner and Geraldine O'Rourke came through a gruelling battle against Gerard Osborne Burke and Terence Flanagan, with a golden hoop separating the competitors.
In the Green Cup, Dave McGrath eked out a win versus New Jersey resident Loretta Cooper whilst Dawn Jupin saw off Jodie Rugart by 10 hoops to 8.
In the third set of the day's matches, the Newell Candlestick featured Richard Whelan besting Mary Dobbyn 6-5 in a narrow win with Paul Cotter pegging out in a 14-6 victory over Michael O'Mahony.
Beverley Cardo saw off compatriot Rich Schiller in the Green Cup by 21 hoops to 2 whilst Gerard Osborne Burke overcame Richard Stevens by 26 hoops to 8.
In the USCA Salver, double banking on lawn 3 resulted in an 11-5 Toni Kemp win versus Richard Assaf as Vicky Johnston triumphed 8-5 over Val Terry.
Those purists who stayed on late doors in search of croquet mastery were treated to an elite exhibition of friendly singles featuring Simon Williams versus Alison Maugham on lawn 1. Their practice play will serve them in good stead with the championship events to kick off in earnest tomorrow. Carrickmines clubmen Simon Williams and Andrew Johnston will each be keen on annexing the trophy but a phalanx of highly skilled competitors, both local and international, stand in their way.
On a day that witnessed mixed weather via occasional showers, the afternoon tea was exemplary. Both Anne Marie's in addition to Claire and Tony are owed a heartfelt thanks for their sterling efforts in providing much needed sustenance to the competing players.