Alternate Stroke Doubles AC at Crake Valley, Saturday 6th April 2019
On a beautiful, warm and sunny day the 2019 competitive season started with sixteen enthusiastic players from across the NW Federation gathered at Crake Valley Croquet Club for the annual Alternate Stroke Doubles Tournament. The players were from Bury, Pendle, Keswick and Penrith as well as Crake, and the tournament lived up to the expectation of high-low partnerships allowing practice for the pairings in a friendly but competitive environment. The ninety minute/14 point games were generally decided by a couple of hoops and everyone got plenty of lawn time allowing for both break-building skills and winter rust to show.
The play was organised into two seeded blocks of 4 pairs on an ‘all play all’ basis. The block winners went through to the final with an additional game to decide 3rd and 4th places. The strong partnership of Barbara Young and Margaret Eccles from Bury decisively won Block 2, but the news of the day was from Block 1 where Simon Robins paired with David Cornes (in his first attempt at AC) representing Crake. The results were impressive with 3 wins out of 3, setting up a highly competitive final.
From the start the final swung first one way then the other with the lead changing hands several times, until Robins and Cornes were leading by 2 hoops, but the result was still in the balance during the final turn for Eccles and Young. With one misplaced rush that could have proved decisive and set up a 3 ball break for the final hoops, just nine inches out – the margin between first and second positions.
The third and fourth place play-off was between the top seeds, Gary Wilson (Pendle) paired with Steve Skelton (Keswick) against John Henderson and Robin Swindells, both of Penrith, this match also exceded expectations and produced a Golden Hoop finish with Wilson and Skelton emerging victorious.
Many thanks must go to all the visitors who made the event so enjoyable and to Crake members whose efforts made it possible.
David Lloyd – Tournament Manager