15 June - Young triumphs amongst the young at heart (80+ Singles tournament)
Russell Robinson reports:
Nine octogenarian gentlemen of Phyllis Court with handicaps (croquet, that is) between 1 and 14 gathered today to contest the annual 80+ Singles tournament (for the Yellow Ball trophy).
Where were all the ladies, I wonder - next year, maybe?
It was a beautifully sunny day, prompting one of our lady onlookers to ask me to make sure that everyone was drinking enough water as we didn’t want an incident!
The tournament was played as a Swiss, which flowed well with the odd number of players.
The trophy bears testament to the fact that the tournament had been won by Mike Fensome (1) for each of the last three years, and with his nearest rivals being handicap 6, he was a very hot favourite to retain the title.
Indeed, he and David Young (8), the latter making his debut in the 80+ event, having only just met the age criterion, were the only players to win their first two games. Cunningly, they were kept apart until the final round in anticipation of a grand finale.
Colin Morgan (6) was the only other player to remain in contention deep into the tournament, but he fell away after failing to overcome Fensome in the fourth round.
Ultimately, third place was actually sealed by Robin Morrell (6) who recovered from a disappointing start, losing his first two games, by winning his final three.
So, it was that Fensome and Young, undefeted after four rounds,who fought out the “winner takes all” decider in the fifth and final round.
Fensome was left rueing his lack of accuracy on the longer clearances, which allowed Young to have his nose in front for most of the game, although it was tense throughout with Fensome pulling the score back to 6-6.
Young had “first-up” advantage to the hoop 13 however and he took his first opportunity to slot pink through the uprights with a difficult angled shot from about three yards.
So, a new name will go on the trophy, and hearty congratulations to David for an outstanding day beating four supposedly "better" players, garnering 66 handicap index points on in the process.
A good return for a day in the sun!
Results: David Young (8) (5 wins in 5 games); Mike Fensome (1) (4/5); Robin Morrell (6) (3/5); Colin Morgan (6) (2/5); Ralph Chambers (6) (2/5); John Maguire (8) (2/5); Jim Walter (9) (2/5); Martin Cranstoun (12) (1/4); Fred Macksey (14) (0/3).