AC Association Croquet

This Tournament is a one-day Association Croquet singles competition held at Watford and open to members of the national Croquet Association. It is also listed in the CA fixtures calendar.

Title: Watford One-Day AC Tournament Watford AC Open Tournament
results by year:

Handicaps: AC: 16-
Date: Saturday 7 June 2014
Number of places: 12
Secretary: Email:   click on link to send an email
Phone: 01923 241582
Address: please ask, or log in and obtain it from the CA member's directory
Manager: Simon Hathrell
RoT: Arthur Reed
Trophy: The Alfred Purvis Memorial Cup (current holder: Gary Bennett)
Entries: Allocation: 1 April. Closing: 31 May.
Entries should be submitted using the standard CA Tournament entry form.
If you have a preference between Level Advanced and Handicap Advanced, please remember to indicate this with your entry.
Entry fee: £8. Cheques payable to "Watford (Cassiobury) Croquet Club".
Format: Two independent blocks:
Block 'A': Level Advanced (4 to 8 players, subject to entry)
Block 'B': Handicap Advanced (4 to 8 players, subject to entry)


  1. Play starts at 09:30, and players must be prepared to play three games in the day.
  2. Refreshments and a light tea are provided free of charge but please bring your own lunch.
  3. Dawson balls will be used.
Click on images for an enlargement

A sunny summer afternoon

As tournament day approached the weather forecasters issued dire warnings about thunderstorms and torrential rain, and memories of last year's tournament soaking flooded back. Fortunately, however, as things turned out Watford was spared any storms, the flooding was limited to memories rather than an actual deluge, and the rain was limited to a rather unremarkable morning shower which merely dampened spirits for a while. By lunchtime the rain had stopped, the courts had not suffered significantly, the clouds had disappeared and the sun had come out for a warm and pleasant afternoon.

In the Level Advanced block favourites Gary Bennett (1) and Terry Mahoney (1) made short work of their weaker opponents in the first two rounds, with Terry in particular looking to be in good form. But Arthur Reed (2½) was having a harder time with his two games against Alan Clark (6) and Brian Havill (6), and eventually lost both of them on time. So for the final the defending champion Gary Bennett was up against Terry Mahoney.

Gary Bennett (R) receiving
the trophy from club
chairman Arthur Reed

Terry got off to a quick start and set up a break after making hoop 1 off partner by executing with a rather spectacular split roll to put out his pioneer at 3 while getting to a ball in corner 2, followed by a good approach to make 2 and pick up the 3-ball break. But having done all the hard work and contrary to his earlier form he was unable to sustain the break, and let Gary in. In due course and after some good breaks Gary emerged on top for the end-game on peg-and-peg against 2b and 4b, but the pressure of the moment then seemed to get in the way, and his final rush on partner to peg was woefully short. After missing the peg-out peel, as Terry's balls were well separated he then laid up for a second attempt to rush to peg; but after Terry failed to hit in, Gary's second peg-out rush was also poor and led to a second missed peg-out peel. At this point Gary decided to peg out striker's ball instead to leave a 3-ball finish, peg vs. 2b+4b. Terry made quick progress to peg with his backward ball as Gary missed several long-range shots rather badly, and Terry soon reached rover with his second ball too. But with only a short backwards take-off needed to make rover the pressure of the moment interfered and Terry's approach was bad. Gary was then finally able to hit the 10-yarder he had been left at Terry's ball for a simple take-off to peg and a +3 win to retain the title.

Thomas Cullis (R) receiving
the Handicap Advanced shield

In the Handicap Advanced block, newcomer Thomas Cullis (11) was playing in his first CA tournament and appeared to be thriving on it, despatching Wendy Spencer-Smith (16) and then Susan Fulford (14) by comfortable margins. Meanwhile Heather Bennett (11) won a close game against Susan and an easier one against Wendy, who was having trouble with her swing, to set up a final against Thomas to decide the block. Both were 11-handicappers, so the game was actually played level. By now Thomas was on good form and was able to achieve a solid +17 victory to win the block.

Meanwhile there was still plenty of interest in the other games taking place in the last round. In the Handicap Advanced block former multiple world champion Robert Fulford turned up to watch Susan in action. His effect was evidently positive, as Susan then won her game against Wendy. And in another 'A' block game between two quite experienced players who might prefer to remain anonymous, there was a remarkable sequence of events which left some of the spectators in a state of disbelief: player X, we shall call him, was playing pink and white with pink for 2b and white for 3b, and with a lift following opponent's breakdown. He lifted pink and hit white but then took croquet instead playing white in error, leaving pink somewhere south of 5, and with white roqueted one of his opponent's balls near 2b. At this point when about to approach 2b he realised that the white ball was actually for 3b, but instead of realising that he was now playing the wrong ball towards the correct hoop, he assumed that he was approaching the wrong hoop with the correct ball. So he changed his croquet shot to take off to pink where he had left it south of 5, rushed it to 3b, took croquet off pink a second time, made 3b (illegally, of course) and continued with his break. His "ever vigilant" opponent Y meanwhile had been watching the whole time but had failed to notice anything wrong either, while the spectators were biting their tongues! However, justice was done in the end because in spite of this unpunished combination of errors player Y did eventually win on time.

Click on images for an enlargement


Block ALevel Advanced
Gary Bennett   +3   +19       +13 3 3 +14
Terry Mahoney -3         +14 +21   2 2 -6
Mark Homan       -5T     +6T +7 2 1 +10
Geoff Johnson -19   +5T     +6T     2 0 +14
Arthur Reed           -1T -11T +22 1 1 -30
Alan Clark   -14   -6T +1T       1 0 +5
Brian Havill   -21 -6T   +11T       1 0 +3
Robin Barry -13   -7   -22       0 0 -10
Block BHandicap Advanced
Thomas Cullis   +17 +21 +18 3 3 +30
Heather Bennett -17   +2T +18 2 1 +10
Susan Fulford -21 -2T   +11T 1 0 -10
Wendy Spencer-Smith -18 -18 -11T   0 0 -30
Gary Bennett,
Thomas Cullis
Name Club H'cap
Gary Bennett Watford 1
Terry Mahoney St. Albans 1
Arthur Reed Watford
Geoff Johnson Watford 5
Alan Clark Watford 6
Brian Havill Watford 6
Mark Homan Watford 7
Robin Barry Watford 10
Heather Bennett St. Albans 11
Thomas Cullis St. Albans 11
Susan Fulford Colchester 14
Wendy Spencer-Smith Watford 16

Handicap change: Arthur Reed 2½ to 3, Thomas Cullis 11 to 10

Gary Bennett

Thomas Cullis

Terry Mahoney

Geoff Johnson

Arthur Reed
Click on images for an enlargement