The Millennium AC Handicap tournament on 11th June attracted a field of only four. However, the quality of play was very high on Chester lawns that had turned into glass by the sun and gusty wind, (Keeping a long distance take off on the lawn was a nightmare).
In the first round Bury’s Chris Alvey scraped an 18 -17 win over his wife Anne (apparently the first domestic victory!!)
Whilst the rapidly improving Ged Smolskas (also Bury) comfortably beat Paul Taylor of Chester.
In the second round Chris turned up the heat for a big win over Ged whilst Anne had a solid win over Paul.
The final round produced dramas. Against Chris, Paul ended a steady break by burning through his remaining bisques. Victory should have been easy for the lower handicapped Chris but Paul steadily ran hoops whilst Chris spent his energies on marginally missed roquets or blobbed hoops . The result an 18-3 win to Paul.
The final game between Anne and Ged was for high stakes; any win by Anne gave her the tournament whilst Ged needed a big win to take first place. When time was called the scores were level but Ged kept his nerve to score the winning hoop.
Chris took home the trophy his wife had won and retained for the last two years;
And Ged gained the runner up trophy (a magnificent seventy year old memento donated to the CA by the CA of Australia).
Some great croquet in very tricky conditions – Tournament Manager: John Dawson.
Many thanks to the competitors and to the Chester helpers for a great tournament.