Southport Short Croquet Tournament ( Sunday 17th September 2023 )

Southport’s inaugural one-day Short Croquet tournament was a most enjoyable finish to the summer season. Competitors with handicaps between 10 bisques and 1 mandatory peel played in two blocks in the warm, dry beginnings of autumn on the smooth seaside lawns.

Block play was competitive with many close finishes but after the implementation of several layers of tiebreaks, Cas Sinclair and Charles Harding emerged as the block winners to set up an all-Bowdon final. It was a closely-fought game which went to time on a three ball ending after Charles had pegged Cas out. This allowed most of the other competitors to watch the closing stages. Some enjoyed the opportunity for friendly heckling, led by the manager, of Charles’ tactics, peeling strategy and controversial attempt, after time had been called, to peg out his forward ball without having completed his mandatory peel. Charles barely noticed and with characteristic calm and aplomb, secured the game and the top spot.

The Southport setting and hospitality were outstanding as ever, and everyone left hoping that this format of competition will be a permanent addition to the fixtures calendar. For players considering making a first foray onto the tournament scene, it would be the ideal start.