2020 AC Doubles at Cairnlea
The Victorian Open Doubles Association Croquet tournament was held on 28-29 December at the Victorian Croquet Centre, Cairnlea.
The risks associated with the COVID-19 pandemic reduced the field down to 5 pairs this year.
The event was also shortened, in part due to the sad passing of John Grieve.
Vale John Grieve
John Grieve of the Williamstown Croquet Club passed away on 21 December 2020.
During his working life, John was a Primary School Teacher. He finished this career as a School Principal in the Newport area. He used the skills he developed in these roles throughout all aspects of his life.
Posted by: Kevin Beard
Posted on: 2021-01-05
News Type: Association
The Vic Open Singles AC Championship in a COVID year
The Victorian Open Singles Association Croquet Championship held at the Victorian Croquet Centre at Cairnlea from 30th December to 3rd January was quite different this year. The pandemic reduced the field to 15 players and there was a huge workload keeping the venue COVID safe.
The tournament began with players allocated to round robin blocks of 7 and 8 players. The top 4 in each block then qualified to play in the best-of-3 games Quarter Finals, Semis and Final.
Mike Gidding from Ballina in regional NSW won Block 1 with 5 wins out of 6 games. Callum Hyland (a regular player in this event, originally from Tasmania), Chris Grant and Lachlan Berryman (both Ringwood) also qualified for the knockout with 4 wins. The top seed in the block (me) failed to qualify.
In Block 2, Simon Watkins (last year’s winner, from Brighton) won the block with 6 wins from 7 games. David Johnston (Ballarat Alexandra) and Greg Hill (Brunswick) were next with 5 wins. Tricia Devlin (Castlemaine) gained 4th place on 4 wins due to her higher net points over Alan Honey (Canberra), also on 4 wins.
In the first round of the knockout, Mike Gidding and Greg Hill qualified for the Semi Finals in two games whilst Simon Watkins beat Lachlan Berryman 2-1 and Chris Grant beat David Johnston 2-1 by a single hoop in the third game.
Mike Gidding played particularly well in the Semi to beat Chris Grant 2-0. Greg Hill had a very big battle against Simon Watkins and prevailed in the 3rd game.
The final was a very tight affair with Mike Gidding winning the first game by one hoop and Greg Hill winning the second by one hoop, with both games going to time. At this point it was 7:30 pm on the final scheduled day of the tournament and there were not enough daylight hours left to complete the match before dusk (the light towers have been removed from the Victorian Croquet Centre for safety reasons). Both players were gracious enough to come back and play the final game the following morning – even though heavy showers were forecast and arrived.
Both players had chances in the early part of the game but there were no decisive breaks until Mike went from hoop 5 to peg out his ball and give contact to Greg with 9 minutes left on the clock. At this point Mike was 15 hoops ahead. When the timer went, Greg was in play and he needed to do two peels and peg his ball off to level the scores. A tough ask with only 3 balls on the court. He started well and was able to collect Mike’s ball out of corner 4 to give himself a fighting chance, but he failed to run a longish hoop 4 which ended the match. Mike Gidding won the Final 22-21, 12-13, 16-4. Congratulations Mike.
The Y event (for 5th place) consisted of the first-round losers of the knockout. It was won by Callum Hyland beating Tricia Devlin 26TP-3, 26-10 in the final.
The Plate was conducted using a Swiss format and was won by Kevin Beard (Yzrrawonga) who won all 4 of his games. Kerri-Ann Organ (Canberra) was next with 2 wins out of 3.
This year there were many more unfinished games than in previous Vic Opens. This is probably due, in part, to less time being allocated to games in the block rounds (2.25 hrs versus 2.5 hrs previously), to fewer top players entering this year, and to players being less aggressive than usual (preferring to run away to a corner rather than backing themselves to hit a roquet). In general, the conditions were better than most Vic Opens (with less wind and no really hot days) and so this wouldn’t have made games more difficult to finish.
The Centre had been closed for months while Melbourne was in lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic. As soon as things opened up, volunteers led by Lester Hughes have done a power of work to mow and prepare the courts and surrounds for events like this. A big thank you to Lester.
Many thanks to Chas Quinn for moving the hoops and Stephen Forster for marking the lines prior to the event.
Thank you to the Tournament Referee Brian Foley and referees Mike Cohn, Marie Calthorpe, Kate Patrick and Mignon Johnston. An extra mention for Mike for coming back and refereeing the 3rd game of the Final on the morning after the event was due to be finished.
Thank you to the players who played in great spirit and followed the COVID protocols as directed. We are also very grateful that the players understood the heavy dependence on volunteers and helped the managers considerably with tasks both on the courts and inside the clubhouse. Very much appreciated.
Finally, a big thank you to Alan Honey, Larissa Honey and Kerri-Ann Organ for organising, preparing and cooking a BBQ for the players and officials after play finished early on New Years Eve. It was a great social occasion.
We trust that the threat of COVID will be substantially diminished by this time next year and many of our regular Victorian and Interstate players can participate once again.
Full results at: https://croquetscores.com/2020/ac/vca-open-singles
Kevin Beard / Brian Reither
COVID-19 restrictions loosen for Victorian clubs
Updated Return to Croquet guidelines were circulated today, Monday 11 January.
Clubs are also expected to maintain a current COVID-Safe plan, using the template circulated to secretaries
Cancellation of Croquet Australia events
Croquet Australia has announced that due to possible COVID-19 ramifications for players travelling interstate, it has cancelled the following national events which were to be held in February and March: