Today we are going to Muse about the Beach Club Invitational Croquet 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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The Beach Club Invitational Tournament
We just finished a week of Croquet; Jeanette and I played in the Beach Club Invitational Croquet Tournament here in Palm Beach and West Palm Beach, Florida. This is one of the largest tournaments held in the United States. This year there were 82 contestants.
The tournament is very social and if the matches were not tiring enough the parties alone would do you in. Tuesday the contestants picked up their playing schedule. That evening there was an opening cocktail party. Wednesday the doubles matches started. That evening there were cocktails and hor d’oeuvres at a local restaurant. Thursday the singles matches started. That evening there was a cocktail party at a private home. Friday singles and doubles matches continued. That evening there was grand buffet dinner with cocktails at the club. Saturday the playoffs began. That evening the Beach Club had a Casino night of which we took advantage. There were plenty of cocktails. Sunday the finals were held. Play finished in time for us to waddle off to the award ceremony followed by an exquisite brunch with cocktails. Oh my!
I went home feeling like a gorged tick.
But back to the tournament. With so many players and with skill levels ranging from the best players in the country to novice beginners there were five flights of singles matches and five flights of doubles matches. Some people, like myself, competed in both singles and doubles matches; others played one or the other.
In singles matches two players compete against each other, each playing two balls. In doubles matches four players in teams of two compete, each playing a single ball. Wins or losses in singles matches effect a player’s national handicap. Some people will only play doubles because it cannot effect their handicap. Or they may prefer doubles because it is less tiring since they only play one ball.
The Beach Club has three very nice courts but with a tournament of this size more courts are needed. Matches were played at the Beach Club and at the National Croquet Center in West Palm Beach, Florida. Contestants came from around the country. Most were local of course.
This gives you an idea the scheduling process. John Osborn was the Tournament Director and this was his responsibility.
This was an interesting set of games. There were many upsets. In my case in singles I won four of the five initial games. This put me in the first round of playoffs.
I then lost to Huston Huffman, who also qualified for the first round of playoffs and whom I had previously defeated. That ended my play. Huston then went on to the finals and very nearly won the flight. Unfortunately for him Vickie Johnston played well and came from behind to win.
Here you see her advancing yellow.
It was early in the morning and cold. As you can see the spectators had not yet arrived. They were holding off for the Championship Flight game which came later in the morning. As the day progressed the gallery grew.
The Championship Singles Flight final match was played between Tim Bitting and Michael Todorovich. Here you see Tim going to his next ball as Michael prepares to take a shot.
By handicap Tim was favored to win. However, early on Michael took control and advanced his red ball around half of the court before “stuffing” it in a wicket. Tim was not able to capitalize on the situation. Michael then ran his yellow ball around the entire court scoring eleven wickets. After that Tim had one more shot but, previously. Michael had moved Tim’s ball to a position that limited Tim’s options. Tim shot from across the court at his only option and narrowly missed. Michael then took the game to completion. He pegged out both balls. It was an upset!
more to come
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