CHAMPIONSHIP SINGLES QUALIFIERS!
Jeff Soo has compiled and reported the 16 qualifiers for the singles knockout as originally announced: the top four in each of the four blocks comprise the seeded double-elimination playdown. Some of the placements--between competitors who each had won three or four games--had to be determined on the basis of very narrow differences in points.
BLOCK A: Huneycutt, Lawrence, Bach, Spradling
It should be noted that for each block, as few as 3 and as many as 11 of the games saw the winners claiming their victory at the peg.
CHAMPIONSHIP DOUBLES RANKINGS
American Rules doubles are notoriously volatile, compared to singles. But in this tournament, some doubles teams excelled in getting to the peg. The paired of Lawrence and Cumming was especially impressive: They took six of their seven wins at the peg, settling for a 23-16 win against the second placers in their block, McBride and Osborn. Both McBride and Osborn narrowly missed making the singles knockout, on points.
BLOCK A COMPLETE RANKINGS:
BLOCK B COMPLETE RANKINGS
FIRST FLIGHT RANKINGS
In doubles, the placements are:
Singles are not quite complete, but here are the standings after the end of play Wednesday:
The weather has been kind to the tournament, so far. Clouds have helped to moderate the heat and reduced the direct sunlight--important because the one remaining effect of Hurricane Matthew is the loss of the shading in the gazebos while the canvas coverings are being cleaned before re-installing them. As for rain, there has been little more than light sprinklings so far.
I'll make a further update tonight, after visiting the courts.
- Bob Alman, Editor
Preview & Players
"Nothing of any particular interest happened at the National Croquet Center on the first day of the week-long National Championship in American rules."
That's a lead you'll never see in a newspaper. Actually, it's not quite true. Because In mid-afternoon on Sunday, when I decided to keep deadness board for my friends Bob van Tassel and Dick Sullivan (I played with them in the North Carolina mountains this summer), Leo McBride, one of the two Canadians in the event and one of their doubles opponents, came up and asked me NOT to keep the board. He explained that keeping his own board helps him stay "in the game." I couldn't object to that point of view, because that's one reason I like to keep a board for friends at major tournaments. Naturally, I retired. I will keep a board in singles later in the event. (Singles began on Tuesday; and I DID keep a board on Tuesday.)
But the sun is still hot in early October. So four Ten x ten tents have been installed in the gazebos, courtesy of SandyJames, to provide shade for players. And though the start of play was delayed until 1:00 PM on Sunday, all the elements of the week-long event remain intact.
The lawns have never--NEVER--been in better shape than for this event. That's mostly due to the great new (for the last year or so) three-man grounds crew, taking care of all the plantings on the place, including the turf. So you won't find many "safe boundaries" on these courts--maybe a couple of corners on the south side the southern tier of four courts, but nothing you can count on. So players: Make the most of your breaks and your grooms!
Once again, the USCA's top team of managers and directors are running this one: Jeff Soo assisted by Rich Curtis and Doug Grimsley. Grimsley and Curtis as playing, but Soo isn't. In fact, Soo is in North Carolina trying to straighten out the player's roster and the schedule, after some people didn't show up following Matthew. Jeff Soo has worked very hard to get the Players List below together, in the face of all the uncertainty caused by Matthew.
But the Players List below (which isn't accurate, exactly) includes almost 40 players, with handicaps ranging up to nine, and six or more players with handcaps better than Minus 2.5. So Huneycutt, at Minus 4.5 will have some competition, we'll assume, including local champ Derek Wassink, at Minus 3.
The Championship Flight singles is divided into four qualifying blocks--two of eight and two of seven--from which 16 players will emerge for the knockout. Doubles is in two qualifying blocks, again culminating in a double-elimination playdown. The finals are on Saturday. (You can see why this tournament takes a week to play!)
Rick Landry--who has finally moved his family to Florida for his year-round gig as NCC pro--told me that the Dawson balls have been graded for uniformity on each court, with the hoops set for a clearance of 1/16 to start. "Superhoops" are being used for the Championship Flight.
Landry has had another Great Idea. (No, really!) He's found out that a set of "croquet cards" can be produced for less than $10.00 each, with 20 players in each set. For a prototype, he's testing the Rick Landry card, complete with photo and vital statistics. If it works, I wouldn't be surprised to see the cards being offered at auction or even in the pro shop. Who knows: mid-century, some kid on Facebook may be offering to swap two Grimsleys for one Rothman.
Shereen and the USCA staff are at the Center all day each day to welcome players and guests and manage the social events. AND THE PLAYERS ARE....
Sherif Abdelwahab -2.5 Peter Bach 1.5 Gary Bennett 2.5 John Brown 3 Randy Cardo -1.5 Missy Chilton 9 Bob Chilton -1 Loretta Cooper 4.5 Thomas Cooper -0.5 Brian Cumming -3 Richard Curtis -1.5 Stephen Grassbaugh 5 Matthew Griffith 0 Doug Grimsley -3 Bill Hartmann 0.5 Danny Huneycutt -4.5 Linda Huxtable -1 Sandra Knuth-Walsh 4 Rick Landry 1 Stuart Lawrence -2 Anne Licursi 7 Leo McBride -3 David McCoy -0.5 Deborah Millican 7 Ron Millican 4.5 Johnny Mitchell -1 Stephen Morgan -2 John Osborn -2.5 Daniel Pailas 3 Mary Rodeberg 2.5 Britt Ruby -2.5 Scott Spradling 2 Suzanne Spradling 7 Lynda Sudderberg 4 Dick Sullivan -1 Michael Todorovich -1 Robert Van Tassell-1.5 Derek Wassink -3 Macey White 0.5
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