Croquet competition returns for autumn

Lilydale Croquet Club captain Craig McCracken was up first in the return of the autumn croquet competition. Picture: STEWART CHAMBERS. 309068_03

By John Thomson

Last year, the Autumn and Spring Croquet Shield competitions were cancelled. It is now great to have the Autumn and Spring competitions back, but under a different name and with a couple of different clubs this year.

The name of the new competition is the Southeast Metro Competition and the clubs are Mornington, Sandringham, Monash, Ringwood, Lilydale and Kew.

On Mondays there will be the Level Play competition and on Thursdays there will be the Handicap competition, the same as previous years.

Last Thursday was the start of the season with the Handicap competition getting under way.

Lilydale Croquet Club played at home against Kew. With no real competition for 12 months it was going to be interesting to see which team had good early season form.

With the weather bureau forecasting high temperatures and strong northerly winds the committee of management decided to modify the draw and start the day a bit earlier.

First game was singles. Lilydale’s captain, Craig McCracken played and was starting minus 1 hoop with his opponent starting with a positive 2 hoops, this meant Craig had to make up 3 hoops to get even. Craig as always battled hard and slowly made up ground, eventually winning in a very close game 7 hoops to Kew 6 hoops.

The next game was doubles with Lilydale’s Mick Crawley and Graham Rhodes pairing up. Mick and Graham got off to a good start but part way through the Kew players started to run their hoops and were making up ground, Mick and Graham stayed focused under the pressure eventually winning 7 hoops to Kew 5 hoops.

In the next singles game Lilydale’s Mick Crawley played. This game was an epic battle with both players going hoop for hoop. Mick started 1 hoop behind so he had a bit of extra work to do. The pressure and probably the conditions getting to both players as they both struggled to make plays they would normally make. Eventually Mick took out the game 7 hoops to Kew 6 hoops.

The last game was doubles and the husband and wife team of Kerri and Craig McCracken paired up. This was Kerri’s first game for the day and being a fresh player in these conditions was probably an advantage to Lilydale. Kerri was playing very well running hoops and clearing their opponents balls away and Craig was as steady as always. Lilydale had a comfortable win 7 hoops to Kew 3 hoops.

The final score for the day was Lilydale 4 games 28 hoops to Kew 0 games 20 hoops.

Although Kew did not win a game there were 2 games that went 7 hoops to 6 so very close and could have easily been won by Kew.

This was a very good start to the season for Lilydale.

Monday marked the start of the level play competition. Lilydale has a team in division 1 and also a team in division 2.