Report by Simon Williams
Played at Carrickmines on the 13th-15th of September, as usual, the singles attracted a paltry 21 entries, with 12 doubles pairs contesting the Maggie Cup. Travelling from GB, Charlie von Schmieder and Henry Bagwell, and players from Herbert Park, Newbridge House and Newcastle joined the locals. The weather was fine, and boxed lunches supplemented the usual bar service. Thanks to Carrickmines for making everybody comfortable and welcome.
The 1st round Swiss “melee”, played on Friday, was designed to give extra games while unambiguously reducing the field to 16, but it didn’t achieve the second object, and CelineReilly and Aileen Kirstein had to play a hurried play-off on Saturday morning, for the honour of being swept aside by one of the seeds! The Manager has learned his lesson, but is it too late? Losers in the main draw had “minor place play-offs” to keep their competitive juices flowing. The mixture of singles and doubles was smooth this year.
The Handicap Doubles Maggie Cup was played as a two-life “Draw & Process”. The final playoff was won by Fiachra Carroll and Huw Spiers from Sylvia Briggs and Alan Looney
Most matches went by the form book. Nicola Kelly took a game off Charlie, but he powered ahead in the third game. Sylvia Briggs pressed Henry Bagwell, losing 7-5, 7-6. Simon Williams had a tough quarter-final opponent in Robert O’Donoghue: I think a peel by the opponent was involved in his win in three games. In the semi-finals, Mark Stephens, the defending Champion, made short work of Charlie von Schmieder, and then waited and waited for the result of the four-hour gruelling battle between multiple former champions Simon and Patsy, which went to the last hoop. Patsy played first, to very deep position, Simon shot short, Patsy blocked his first ball, but in good position, and Simon’s second ball luckily ran the hoop backwards by about 15cm. Patsy’s jump managed to remove this ball sideways, but as his own ball disappeared to the far boundary, he shortly after faced a 30m shot to save the match, which he missed.
Although it would be unfair to call this the ‘real final’, the actual final – although the games were divided 2 to 1 - was much less charged with suspense, as all three games were rather one-sided. Simon went 4-0 up in games 1 and 3, and held his lead to claim a fifth title. Full results may be found on www.croquetscores.com. The final placings were:
1 Simon Williams
2 Mark Stephens
3 (joint) Patsy Fitzgerald & Charlie von Schmieder
5 Robert O’Donoghue
6 Fiachra Carroll
7 Alan Looney
8 Henry Bagwell
9 Karen Davidson Perrins
10 Nicola Kelly
11 (joint) Celine Reilly & Mark McCann
13 Jane O’Neill
14 Huw Spiers
15 Sylvia Briggs
16 Yvonne Marrinan