SOUTH AUSTRALIA AND WESTERN AUSTRALIA LEADING
INTERSTATE CUP AFTER FIRST TWO OF FIVE DAYS OF PLAY
by Tony Hall, Australian correspondent
The Interstate Cup was originally contested by teams of four players
from each of the six Australian states. In the 1920s and 1930s they were
almost completely women, and then gradually changed over time until few women
qualified to play for their state. It was then changed so that teams
consisted of four men and four women, with two doubles and four singles of
each sex played each day.
For many the Interstate team play is the heart and soul of the 16-day
Australian National Championships. Each of the six states is asked to field
a team consisting of five men and five women - allowing for one alternate of
each sex, and the teams have one day to compete against each of the other
teams, which makes a five-day competition. Our correspondent Tony Hall,
drafted to play as a Tasmanian when that team came up short of male members,
has so far failed to win a match for this southermost Australian state.
During the past year it was decided to allow each team to have five members
of each sex but to still play only two doubles and four singles
each day. It was hoped this would allow new players to be blooded and to
solve the problem of reserves for injured players. With six states, all
playing all, the competition lasts from Monday to Friday.
South Australia, last year's winners, and Queensland,
last year's runners-up, were joint favourites.
Coming into the competition this year, South Australia, last year`s
winners, and Queensland, last year`s runners-up, were joint favourites. The
South Australian team, led by Creina Dawson and Colin Pickering, had been
playing well and the Queensland players were also in good form. Victoria
lost a number of strong players last year and the replacements seemed to be
still inexperienced. A new addition to their team is Trevor Bassett, aged
16, a fluent and straight roqueter. The New South Wales team is stable and
has been in third or fourth place for some years. Western Australia has some
stars, Jeff Newcombe and Helene Thurston, but also has a few players new to
this level of competition.
Perennial cellar-dwellers, Tasmania had been unable to field a full team of
men and had asked the Australian Croquet Association what to do. All
states agreed that the host state should be asked to provide "reserves" to
enable a full team to be fielded. So Greg Burnes, dropped from the NSW team,
and Tony Hall were invited to become honorary Tasmanians for the duration of
Sydney has a problem in staging the Interstate Cup, as three four-
court venues are needed, and there are none. It is not as exciting if the
women and men play at different places. This year for one venue we are
using the three courts at Chatswood and have borrowed two adjacent tennis
courts to make a fourth court.
The other two greens are needed for bowls and cannot be allowed to grow.
We therefore have two of the tastest courts I have seen.
The second venue is at the Cheltenham club, where we have borrowed three
bowling greens to go with the single croquet court. Luckily they were able
to let one of the greens grow so that it is reasonably well matched to the
croquet court for speed. But the other two greens are needed for bowls and
can not be allowed to grow. We therefore have two of the fastest courts I
The third venue is the three courts at our headquarters, Tempe (near Sydney
international airport), and one rather slow court at Marrickville, about two
miles away. We have a Mazda "people-mover" emblazoned with "1997 Australian
Croquet Championships - sponsored by Mazda" to shuttle players to and from
the two venues.
On Monday, the first day, Victoria beat New South Wales 9 matches to 3. All
the men won and the women split 3 - 3. This was a surprisingly bad defeat
for NSW, although points were 253 to 246, so it was really quite close.
South Australia and Queensland fought out
a close one, SA prevailing 7 to 5. Points were 210 to 209. Harley Watts and
Dean Paterson both completed triple peels. Western Australia thrashed
Tasmania 11 to 1, the real Tasmanians John Davis and Peter Worsley winning
their doubles against Martin Clarke and Alan Sands (who had won the
Australian Doubles Championship only a few days earlier) 26-10.
On the first day, there were no big surprises.
The second day saw an upset when NSW got up to beat Qld 6 matches
all, 225 points to 223 points. Both men and women split 3 - 3. The
outstanding match was Barrie Chambers against Greg Bury. Greg made the first
break to 4-back, Barrie peeled Greg`s forward ball through the last three
hoops while going around and pegged it and his own ball out with the
remaining two clips both on hoop 1. Barrie finally won the two ball game
WA beat Vic 7 to 5, their women winning 5 and men 2. Ashley
Faulkner (Vic) trippled in both the doubles and singles. SA beat Tas 9 to 3
with Colin Pickering doing an excellent triple on one of the very fast
bowling greens, while John Davis beat Harley Watts 19-15 after three hours
on the other.
So after two days, South Australia and Western Australia are the only two
undefeated teams, and Tasmania the only one beaten twice. Wednesday sees
Queensland v Western Austrlia, South Australia v New South Wales, and
Victoria v Tasmania. South Australia and Western Australia will play on
Day Thursday, the fourth day of the Interstates.
Our next report from the Autralian National Championships will be Tony
Hall's story on the conclusion of Australia's Interstate Cup play.