Day 2 and cyclist supreme, Nigel Werner, is truly i mbarr a mhaitheasa (in the prime of his life) on the croquet lawns. He went round to penult' early doors in his handicap doubles morning opener before setting up his partner, Duncan Styles, in a great position to make hoop 1. The latter's tactical interjections belied his relatively new entry to the sport. A rapt Werner took on board the telling tactical observations as they plotted a collective path around the manicured surface. Styles' economical shot-making was to leave an imprint of class in a game of vacillating vicissitudes. They won out and march on with confidence.
Meanwhile, the double banking duo of Anne-Marie McGowan and Tim Furlong were locked in a USCA Saver clash. McGowan's clever game management saw her make an early break before Furlong got in to show his mettle. A 26-7 win to the Dun Laoghaire man there.
A handicap singles game on lawn 3 featured financial sage Richard Whelan pitted against the quasi-teutonic efficiency of Gerard Osborne Burke. The habitual owner of a top-end German motor, Osborne Burke is a renowned figure in the ailltireacht (architecture) ball game. Whelan is notable for wearing golf gloves on both hands, his gripmanship steady in all-weathers thanks to the soft and natural feel of his Footjoy merchandise. Osborne Burke prevailed. He is now arguably the best pound-for-pound imreoir (player) north of Cairo.
In the Green Cup on 1, Meath man Frank Martin faced off versus the eloquent scríobhneoir (writer) Myles McWeeney. Martin went round with brown early doors as he sought to limit McWeeney's lawn time. Ireland's Bard was not easily denied and he rallied with commendable vigour. Martin was notably resplendent in a short sleeve green gîlet that was Robin Hood meets Charlie Dimmock. Ultimately triumphant by 26 hops to 4, he will fancy his chances in the Green Cup as he eyes a 2022 championship singles berth. He later grabbed a second "W" in the same competition. Martin made an angled hoop run on Rover that would see most practitioners kek themselves. That American achmhainní nadúrtha (natural resource), Mo' Mentum, is rapidly accruing in his croquet credit union ledger.
Elsewhere, Conor O'Sullivan and Terence Woulfe Flanagan clashed in a handicap singles on 1. Deft mallet conjuring from the pair that would not look out of place in the championship singles proper. O'Sullivan has the lethal instincts of his namesake, who had the fitting sobriquet of "Dagger". The latter once opined Jamie Heaslip as lacking sufficient heft to be an international back row forward. Dagger may have erred there but he did deliver multiple Triple Crown triumphs but ultimately fell short of Grand Slam glory. Terence Woulfe Flanagan is the star turn in the Carrickminder team that will take to Devon later this month for an invitational club clash.
Sandy Greig was far too strong in his 26-0 whitewash of Andrew Johnston in their handicap singles game on 4. "Defence wins you championships " as Alan Hansen used to say. What would Glasgow Celtic give for the watertight defensive soundness of the Sandman right now?
In the handicap doubles on 2, eminent ealaíontóir (artist) Paddy Fitzgerald was joined by fledgling talent, Úna Walsh, versus the young fogies of Daniel Bennett and Conor O'Sullivan. Bennett wore the guerrilla flat cap left behind by Argentinian réamhbhlóidí (revolutionary) Che Guevara on his sole visit to Ireland. While content to enjoy what many see as a past time of the bourgeoisie, Bennett did share his sumptuous ceapairí (smoked salmon, in case you're asking). Patsy has form in producing saolathar ealaíne (works of art). "Can I peel my partner four times and peg her out for a fifth point ?" Oh, to be a true Renaissance Man.
4pm and a flavour of SW19 @ C & CLTC. Tim Furlong the provider of some sensational strawberries and cream.
An 8-hoop finishing salvo from Max Miller saw him best Geraldine O'Rourke with the duais (prize) of facing GO'R love match Gerard Osborne Burke. The watching GOB avoided a Cogadh na gCarad (civil war) as the Aloysius Gonzaga devotee pegged out proper to cement the next round clash.
The spirit of the game can sometimes deviate from butterscotch-accented niceties to guttural roars from cornered animals. The main cnámh spáirne (bone of contention) this week seems to be; "Did the croqueted ball move on that take-off ?" The gaffer has decreed that we should not call each other out on it. Let's make hoops, not war.