The 2013 Silver Medal was contested in Carrickmines C C on the 18/19th of May.
This is one of the CAI's top-tier events, and it provided the first AC tournament play of the season for several members of the Irish test team, as well as players playing against Scotland for the Appleton the following week. The tournament was also the first Irish event to employ the new croquetscores.com service provided by Tim Murphy. Scores were live online seconds as soon as they were in the managers hand!
Andrew Johnston was chasing his third successive medal, the current Irish and European champion looking to recover his excellent 2012 form after a suffering a surprise early exit in the Coles Championship earlier that month. Past winners Simon Williams and Ed Cunningham, fresh from the GC World Championships in Cairo, were keen to break Andy's streak and add to their already impressive collection of medals. With international competition on the horizon, Nathaniel Healy and Rónán Rogerson looked to take a few scalps and prepare themselves for the Scots the following week. Lastly, Danny Johnston sought to improve upon a slightly disappointing display in the NZ Open in January and begin his preparation for the 2013 World AC Championships in London.
The event began largely according to form, with a succession of wins for Williams, Johnston (A) and Cunningham. Williams appeared to have the upper hand on the two past winners, beating them both in fairly quick succession, but Healy kept the competition wide open by taking him down in one of the last games of the day. The play was generally of a high standard, with multiple peeling turns being completed on interesting lawns (which were running quickly considering the cold spring that preceded the event).
On day two, the sun came out and sped up the lawns further, paving the way for an interesting finish. Williams continued his run early on, struggling past D Johnston who was having a slightly error strewn tournament. From here on the day was Simon's, completing three triples and a sextuple peel to take his first Silver medal for some years.
Congratulations to Simon, and thanks to Carrickmines for hosting the event (and providing brunch on Sunday), Ed for managing and Simon for having the lawns in impeccable competition.
Full results can be found at http://www.croquetscores.com/2013/ac/cai-silver-medal