The South Leinster Open Championship (SLOC) was competed for by a smaller entry than hoped for, but there was a strong field with Championship of County Dublin finalist Danny Johnston and two time SLOC winner Andrew Johnston among them. Thank you to Harry Johnston and Nathaniel Healy for keeping their lawns in great condition to allow top quality play during a pleasant July weekend.
Danny Johnston shot out of the gates with a speedy triple peel (TP) against Nathaniel Healy, who had home advantage. So fast in fact he decided to do it again before his next match just for fun.
A good fight back from Fiachra Carroll was cut short and Andrew Johnston went on to win his first game while Robert Barklie showed all of his experience beating Kieran Murphy.
The lunches both days were generously provided by Orla, and the players couldn’t have been happier. We owe Orla great thanks for her effort, she was a wonderful hostess.
After lunch there was no stopping Danny as he went on to finish the day on four wins from four, disposing of Andrew, Kieran and Fiachra.
Saturday finished with Danny in pole position and already qualified for the final, but with Andrew on two wins and everyone else on one, all the other playoff places were still up for grabs.
An afternoon tea that would make Simon Williams envious and wishing he hadn’t missed the event was enjoyed by all. Flint was particularly partial to a slice of banana bread or two.
Andrew picked up a win against Robert on Sunday morning as did Kieran against Nathaniel to set up a showdown for the remaining spot in the final. Kieran required a healthy win over Andrew to progress and got off to a good start hitting in fourth turn after Andrew’s hit in third turn. Andrew then proceeded to hit in fifth turn and complete a triple peel on his opponent (TPO). Andrew made the most of an error by Kieran and completed a tidy three ball finish.
So the final was between Danny and Andrew. Danny had progressed to the final unbeaten and was playing very nice and confident croquet with his “wonder bat”. With Johnston destined to be engraved on the trophy, they began.
Game one went to Danny after Andrew made an error on a finishing TP. Danny pulled out an excellent TP of his own to take the 1-0 lead.
Andrew battled back in game two and completed his standard TP to level the match.
A couple of uncharacteristic errors by Danny in the third game handed Andrew the innings and he finished with a good TP following some difficulty with the penult peel.
Credit to both players in the final, Danny had three TP’s from 8 matches. Andrew had three TP’s also but in addition had his first ever in competition TPO. Congratulations to Andrew Johnston on winning his third SLOC and good luck to Danny for his trip to Edinburgh, hopefully he keeps up the good form.
Experience was the order of the day as all three young contenders were beaten in their pursuit of glory. Nathaniel won in the third place playoff, narrowly beating Kieran +2. Robert triumphed in his battle to avoid the wooden spoon. Fiachra, playing in his first A class event performed very well, beating Robert in the block stage and competing well in most games. The future is bright.
Full list of result:
Andrew bt Fiachra +19
Robert bt Kieran +16
Danny bt Nathaniel +26tp
Kieran bt Fiachra +20
Danny bt Andrew +4
Nathaniel bt Robert +13
Danny bt Kieran +14
Andrew bt Nathaiel +17
Fiachra bt Robert +5
Andrew bt Robert +26tp
Danny bt Fiachra +16tp
Kieran bt Nathaniel +17
Andrew bt Kieran +11tpo
Danny bt Robert +20
Nathaniel bt Fiachra +10
Andrew bt Danny -15tp, +20tp, +25tp
Third place playoff
Nathaniel bt Kieran +2
Fifth place playoff
Robert bt Fiachra +17 (ot)