Day 5 saw a feisty lawn 4 alternate shot doubles battle between the Geraldine O'Rourke Myles McWeeney pairing and an Allwright McGrath duo take place this morning. Mid-game and one of the quartet was deeply covetous of the win. They were overheard humming the Grease tune: "You are the one I want, you, you, you."
3 hoops ahead with 15 mins left, some overly cautious Steve Davis-style safety play let the former pair in. A true ding dong affair, it was 9 all with time called, and the commencement of golden hoop sudden death. Cultured scribe McWeeney stuck in the jaws from point blank range on hoop 3 before the oppo's tidy up job left O'Rourke with a 30 yard Hail Mary roquet tester to stay in the ball game. The Carrickminder delivered a beaut with her partner following up with a precision take off under maximal pressure. GO'R then ran the golden hoop nervelessly to seal progression to the next round proper. The technically excellent McWeeney would later meet croquet stylist Nigel Werner on lawn 3. One of McWeeney's many likable traits is his willingness to attack. A Brenny Rodgers in Europe type approach to playing in the right way. He bravely took on an early angled hoop run on 2. Later on, he had a nice 4 baller going and missed a tiddler with 4 back on his menu.
Abhár díospóireachta (subject of debate) this week: are skorts here to stay ? The combination of undershorts and skirt in a single garment has over-taken Sheryl Sandberg-style "Lean In" assertiveness as the must-have summer 2021 item for female croquet players.
Learnings for the unnamed: don't wear stripey multi-coloured cacks beneath white shorts when on lawn.
Early doors in the Robert Miller McGrath Green Cup clash and the latter was already ag rá a chuid paidreacha ar son Athbheochain (praying for a Renaissance/revival in his play). Miller knows his way around the lawn and has a very cool temperament that goes hand in hand with his velvet strokes. He went round to 4 back with his first ball, conceding the lift but he had cannily spread the balls. DMcG experienced a change of fortunes and with time called, walked off the lawn one hoop ahead. A schoolboy error of judgement meant he completely forgot that RM was due a lift.
He had left his opponent's ball north east of 4 back having just run the same hoop himself (followed by a missed mid distance roquet on his partner ball which was at rest one yard south of penult. RM was due the lift and he plucked his partner ball from near hoop 4, taking it to B baulk before making 4 back and penult' to seal the one hoop overtime victory. As Mike Babcock once said: "Life: a textbook of lessons learned." Miller was visibly cockahoop, his mothúcháin (feeling/emotion) comparable to the days when his athletic prowesss made him a nationally-feared 100 metre runner.
Something we all took away from day 4 is that tournament gaffer (Alan Looney) possesses a left peg as sweet as that of Liam "Chippy" Brady. A lawn 3, corner 3 slide-rule pass to partner off a post-rush striker's ball at rest was straight out of the Andres Iniesta locker.
In other news, the McGowan Whelan doubles duo lost out to the measured strokes of prolific hoopman Osborne Burke and his able co-conspirator, Terence Woulfe Flanagan.
Lawn-side chinwagging saw financial gurus Johnston (Andy) and Bennett swap stock market tips as our national recovery plan kicks into place. The retention of multinational tech giants features prominently at the top of Minister Pascal Donohue's obair bhaile (homework) notebook. That is not to say that the pair are out of touch with the national mood but rather that they see individual private market enterprise as the most expedient course of action to seek a return on capital.
Some see rising poverty as evidence of the failures of the neoliberal system which can be successfully blamed on the "other" by cunning politicians. See the rise of the far right in Italy.
William Moulton displayed some outstanding shots in yesterday's lawn 2 doubles match where he was partnered by Trinity graduate and bassoon-worshipper, Simon Williams.
At one point, an unidentified spectator was heard to query the whereabouts of golf croquet hotshot, Evan Newell. The powerful shot-making of the Meath man allied to an astute association croquet brain once made him a championship singles and doubles fixture come the Augustan week.
Late doors on 4 and Tim Furlong and Max Miller locked horns in a USCA Salver clash. The lawn itself is groundsman Simon's favourite on account of the pleasant bordering offered by the vertiginous trees on the eastern boundary. The adjacent M50 motorway might well as be in Kaliningrad (which by the way offers good value breakaways for those willing to think beyond the Med). An oasis of tranquillity exists within the 35 by 28 yard enclosure. Miller is truly a man for others in the best sense of the Jesuitical aspiration whilst Furlong's contribution to his pobal áitiúla (local community) attests to his own character. A slua mór (large crowd) congregated at the junction of gym exit and overhanging lawn 2 canopy at the crucial 4pm afternoon tea window. Heavy day 4 showers softened the lawns and made long take-offs a smidgen more difficult.
Ice hockey coaching doyen Mike Babcock's 2010 exhortation unto the Great Unwashed still resonates 11 years on. A lockeroom take on his successful helming of Team Canada's winter Olympics gold winning feacthas (campaign), the cross over with croquet is obvious. In consulting the indexed "Babcock dictionary", one soul-scraping question hits home powerfully: "Are you giving the world the very best you've got ?" A question that many will self-pose this week from the committed scratch players to the relaxed Shandypants-type unfulfilled talents, I think we can all take something from Babcock's fealsúnacht (philosophy).
An interesting lunchtime comhrá (conversation) between Tony Allwright and Padraig Thornton. Oil man Allwright remains a passionate advocate of breoslaí iontaise (fossil fuels) whilst PT is a proponent of fuinneamh malartach (alternative/renewable energy). The latter fell short in the Salver versus Terence Woulfe Flanagan on lawn 4. He was heard to declare mid-match: "Rule number 1 of croquet: Make sure it's your opponent's turn when it starts to rain !"
Tim Furlong restored the faith of many in this magical game and indeed his actions revealed yet again our national propensity to do the right thing at the right time. We never succumbed to the rising threat of extremism sa 20ú haois (20th century) when other countries around Europe suffered from a brutal totalitarianism. Others will lament the power then enjoyed by certain pillars of our society which have since been weakened irrevocably perhaps, by certain social forces.
With time called and needing 2 hoops to take the ball game, TF called a foul on himself when taking croquet for non-movement of his partnered/croqueted ball. His opponent Terence Woulfe Flanagan triumphed by 12-11 but the real winner was the game of croquet itself.