A Week of Croquet


Hello

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.

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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).

The Beach Club has three courts 80% regulation size.  In addition to the Beach Club lawns, the tournament used  eight lawns at the National Croquet Center in West Palm Beach.

National Croquet Center

National Croquet Center

Here you can see the center in the morning sun before the matches began.  This is a nice facility.

Between Games

Between Games

People can have  lunch on the veranda or inside and they can enjoy themselves in the lounge.

National Croquet Center Bar and Lounge

National Croquet Center Bar and Lounge

And there are twelve lawns making the center the world’s largest croquet facility.

Clinics

Getting ready for the clinic

Getting ready for the clinic

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.

dh getting ready to demonstrate

dh getting ready to demonstrate

Here you see Danny setting up to demonstrate a shot.

Clinic students working on shots

Clinic students working on shots

And here are players in the clinic working on various shots, I think in this case the roll shot.

The Tournament

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.

Doubles Play at the National Croquet Center

Doubles Play at the National Croquet Center

Josie Jackson Keeping the Deadness Board

Josie Jackson Keeping the Deadness Board

Jeanette on her way

Jeanette on her way

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.

Waiting for Super Championship Games to Begin

Waiting for Super Championship Games to Begin

Prior to the match

Prior to the match

Start of Match Mike Gibbons Danny Huneycutt

Start of Match Mike Gibbons Danny Huneycutt

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.

6-wicket court

6-wicket court

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!

Red does not enter the game

Red does not enter the game

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.

Huneycutt makes his move

Huneycutt makes his move

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.

 More to come

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Books by Thomas L. Tribby Available
Click on title below to preview

Works on Paper

On The Waterfront

Impressions of Florida

Tribbyart’s Boutique

 

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New Limited Edition Croquet Prints

Waiting for Turn
Waiting for Turn 
Click to see
The Watched Shot
The Watched Shot  
Click to see

Black for the Wicket

Black for the Wicket 

Click to See

The Gallery

The Gallery  

Click to see

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About Thomas L. Tribby

Professional artist: painter, sculptor, print maker. Maintains a studio in West Palm Beach, Florida
This entry was posted in art, croquet, games, life style, tourism, travel, Uncategorized, work and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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