Irish Open Championships 2021 Day 6

Irish Open Championships 2021 Day 6

Newsflash; Úna Walsh and Patsy Fitzgerald will contest the handicap doubles final on Saturday. Their only defeat in the 2 life draw thus far has come at the hands of a Greig/Allwright double act. They will meet again on Shabbat.

"This is what in Ireland we call a soft day". Sharpshooter Sandy's words to visiting hotshot Eugene Chang as the pair looked out onto sheets of rain which seemed to be blowing sideways across the lawns. Simon was out mowing lawn 3 as the competing players arrived for the 9 30am coin toss on Day 6.

Chang and Greig would meet in a tantalising championship game later in the afternoon that would see strange betting patterns detected in the City of London. 

"The good thing about croquet is that you're only on the lawn half the time." Greig's words are perhaps not best self-applied: the winningest competitor in championship week monopolises lawn time with his brilliant play leaving his adversaries to enjoy the copious tea and coffee which arrives on a trolley in the committee room at start of play and in mid-afternoon. Tony Allwright feels all talk of climate change is a load of pony. "There's enough oil to last another 500 years at least. Each year, they're finding more new oil than we consume." 

The observation of Covid protocols has been exemplary this week. Of course, it is probably too early to say that given the incubation period of the virus but credit is due again to Covid officer Looney, one of the multiple hats he is sporting this week.

"We need to get some quality into the ball club" - the words of the Boston Red Sox General Manager in 2003. The World Series pennant arrived at Fenway Park in 2004 and it was proof positive that in order to succeed in sport as in life, infheistíocht (investment) is needed. These four lawns have received a few bob but it is the TLC afforded them by Simon that makes them baize-like, whatever the weather.

A clash of the Men in Black in lawn 1 as the two North Face---clad tyros of McGrath and Werner faced off. The latter was all business and quickly made five hoops before roqueting DMcG's white ball out of hoop one where it was lodged awaiting a handy hoop run. Werner went round to peg with his first ball then made hoop-by-hoop progression with his second. The Kildare Street club comhalta (member) enjoyed a tasting evening comprising the finest Bordeaux wines last night therein. He is on the coiste fíona (wine committee) at the exclusive establishment that includes Little Museum of Dublin founder, Trevor White, amongst its baill foirne (membership). In clinching his fourth win in the Green Cup block play, Werner advances through to Saturday's final. He could yet be joined by maiden Green Cupper Robert Miller. With two wins already and Geraldine and Myles to play, Miller has a firm cuspóir (objective) to achieve. Getting past each doubles partner in these singles games will be no easy task.

O'Rourke and McWeeney met the Dalkey duo of Briggs and Thornton in an early morning alternate shot doubles contest. Two hours in and GO'R asserted: "They haven't put a foot wrong so far." The relaxed Thornton was heard to inquire what was the name of the dark pink and purple plant to the rear of lawn 3. "Japanese anemone" came the reply from Werner, who was stood enjoying a post-victory rock shandy during a brief break from the rain. Briggs and Thornton took the game by a 22-9 margin with an unused bisque in the mála (bag).

Danny Johnston was in on lawn two in his championship singles versus Sandy Greig. An initial untidy hoop approach was out of character but his measured style with pendulum swing motion meant that he soon garnered hoops as lawn monopolist Greig was forced to down 'tocks and admire the break play. 26 nil in the first game of the best of 3 encounters. Later in game two, Greig's long-distance roquet from downtown down the eastern flank was applauded by the watching Johnstons as the Scot reminded everyone just how good he is.

Patsy Fitzgerald took the first game versus Fiachra Carroll on 1. Carroll's book and record store is worth both a cuairt (visit) in person on Sráid Cill Mhantáin (Wicklow Street) and also ar líne (online at

Lawn 3 also boasted a championship clash with a Simon Williams Russell Harris bout. The latter arrived early with his trusty elixir in travel flask - said to be a combination of water, electrolytes and a mysterious ingredient from the summit of the Comeraghs. Harris went to peg off his first ball but it wasn't enough to halt the march of the Rock Road alumnus. "Follow it up, follow it up - that's the way to win the cup." The Leinster Schools rugby cup battle cry proved prescient as Williams closed out the match two-nil. He failed with two triple peels and was visibly dissatisfied as he partook of a double lunch featuring an Irish stew/panini combo. 

Blackrock College's Holy Ghost cousins - St Michael's, have overtaken the blue and white hooped boymen as the eminent schoolboy egg chasers these days.

There is a plethora of top-class croquet still to come this week and the uninitiated will be warmly welcomed to a world of sumptuous afternoon teas and strange lingo. 

Dave McGrath