Today we are going to Muse about Croquet and the Beach Club 2013 Invitational Tournament. If this is your first visit, welcome to Musings. If you have been here before, welcome back. Over time we are going to talk about many things: the past, the present, perhaps the future, travel, art, society and more. Wherever my musing takes me. I hope you will come along with me.
Colored text is a link. Clicking on the text will provide additional information about the subject.
Beach Club 2013 Invitational Croquet Tournament
My whites are in the laundry. For the past week I, and everyone around me, have been dressed in white. This was the week of the Beach Club 2013 Invitational Croquet Tournament. What an interesting week it was!. Let me tell you about it.
The tournament had over 100 players. That makes it the second largest tournament in the US and clearly the largest in Florida. It may be the largest ever in Florida. Even better, the tournament attracted a field of highly skilled players including the top ranked player in the world, Danny Huneycutt. In order to accommodate the skill level of the contestants a “Super Championship Flight” was created. (I did not play in that flight).
Here you can see the center in the morning sun before the matches began. This is a nice facility.
People can have lunch on the veranda or inside and they can enjoy themselves in the lounge.
And there are twelve lawns making the center the world’s largest croquet facility.
On Sunday and Monday before the tournament, Danny Huneycutt conducted a series of clinics at the Beach Club. These dealt with strategy and shot making. I was taken by the ease of Huneycutt’s play and the accuracy. Jeanette and I took four of the clinics. They were very helpful.
Here you see Danny setting up to demonstrate a shot.
And here are players in the clinic working on various shots, I think in this case the roll shot.
The tournament play began on Wednesday and continued through the week with the final playoffs being held Sunday morning. I didn’t have to worry about that. By the time Sunday rolled around I was relaxing.
Wednesday I played three doubles matches, followed by three singles matches Thursday, two singles matches and one doubles match Friday and one doubles match Saturday. In my flight I was the highest handicap player, meaning I was the weakest player. And the games proved that to be true. I lost more than I won but I had a good time just the same.
The Super Championship Flight finals match was played between Mike Gibbons, -2 handicap, and Danny Huneycutt, -4 handicap. It was a stunning demonstration of skill.
Here you see Mike and Danny about to start the match. Mike won the toss and started the match. He sent Blue into the game and used his continuation shot to send his ball to the corner behind the fourth wicket. That took two strokes: one through the wicket and a second to the corner.
As an aside, if you are not familiar with croquet, let me explain. At the start of the game after a player comes through the first wicket, his next target wicket, Wicket 2, is straight ahead at the other end of the court. Wicket 4 is diagonally across the court from the target wicket. By going to that corner, Mike sent his ball as far away from his next wicket as possible. Strategy!
Danny was now to play Red. He tapped the ball and moved it a couple of inches, but far short of going through the wicket. So Red at this point was not in the game. Strategy!
When Mike commented on it, Danny said, “When you are not sure what to do, its best not to come into the game.”
Mike sent his black ball through the first wicket and into the game. He used his continuation shot to send the ball over to his blue ball behind Wicket 4. That was stroke three and four.
Danny came into the game with Yellow and went to the corner behind the starting wicket, at the opposite end of the court from Wicket 2, his next target.
After Mike adjusted the position of Blue, Danny came into the game with Red and the two players defensively adjusted their positions along the boundary line for the next couple of turns. The critical play came when Red and Blue were both on the back boundary behind Wicket 2.
Mike attempted to strike the red ball with Black. However such a shot is dangerous because the red ball was near the court boundary. If the red ball were to go out-of-bounds, Mike’s turn would be over and Danny would have three balls to work with. And that is what happened. Mike struck Red lightly but hard enough to cause it to roll out-of-bounds. That ended his turn. By this time Mike had played eight or nine strokes.
At that point Danny took over. He methodically used a three-ball-break to send one ball to the wicket he would play after he made his next wicket. He used the other ball to put himself in position to make the next wicket. And he went from wicket to wicket methodically one after the other until he had scored all the wickets with his red ball. In the next to final shot of the turn, he caused Mike’s black ball to move about four inches.
It was now Mike’s turn. Black to play. And, it became obvious what Danny had just done when he moved Black a few inches. He had moved Black to a position where it was blocked by a wicket from hitting Blue. That prevented Mike from using his partner ball to get a run started. Black had to get off the court so it couldn’t be used by Danny when his next turn started. So, Black went off the court, out-of-bounds. One more Stroke.
Danny then played a three-ball-break using Red, Blue and Yellow to repeat his performance. He advanced his yellow ball around the court wicket after wicket until he had scored them all and then he pegged out with both balls. Score 26 to 2. Mike only played about ten Strokes.. Amazing. The game was scheduled to go 90 minutes. It went 45 minutes. Just a stunning demonstration of skill and strategy.
Both Mike and Danny are to be congratulated for a terrific tournament.
So all in all it was a full week of croquet, with something for all levels of ability.
Books by Thomas L. Tribby Available
Click on title below to preview
New Limited Edition Croquet Prints
- Waiting for Turn
- Click to see