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Brian Hitchins Trophy Day 15 Sep 2018 (Eynsham Croquet Club) .

What a day we had yesterday to mark the inaugural Brian Hitchins Trophy competition. It was a thoroughly enjoyable day on all counts, the sun shone throughout the day, the company was lively and entertaining, the cakes were superb. And, oh yes we did play a bit of croquet, in fact we played 30 games throughout the day! Not bad for a first time trial of a completely new competition in a new format. With it being handicapped based, some nerves were jangling beforehand when the handicaps had been revised and announced. A certain amount of ribbing ensued with "How did he get that!!!" . Everyone accepted the revisions in good humour (I think)! and play commenced in a 4 pool format with each player playing each other in the pool. Games were supposedly limited to 40 minutes but timings became somewhat elastic during the morning sessions and we dropped a bit behind schedule. However a stricter regime was imposed and we were back on track. 3 of the 4 pools were won by members winning all 3 games ; Tony, Ann and John(Gorton) and Neil made up the semifinal having won 2 of his games. The semis ran out as follows: Tony 7 v Ann 3 Neil 7 v John 3 In the final, 19 hoops for a change, Neil set off and was quickly 2-0, then Tony quickly equalled to 2-2. The court did not help improve the standard of play with balls jumping in all directions. The score stayed level until Tony's experience showed by clearing Neil to the far side on 3 successive turns. However Neil kept coming back to the hoop but was cleared again as Tony took possession in front of the hoop ready to run the winning hoop, finishing 10-8. An excellent final with all its ups and downs. Meanwhile in the Plate competition, the runners up in the 4 pools went forward to their semifinals with the following results: Ruth 6 Jo 4 Mike 7 v Jan 4 It was good to see 3 relative newcomers in the semis. In the final, experience showed and Mike ran out the winner at 7-4 but well done Ruth for coming back from 6-2 to finish at 7-4. Presentations, photocalls and a quick round of the Hokey Cokey (if you were there, you will know)brought the day to a close but not before more cake and tea in the Pavilion. For those that were there, I hope you enjoyed the day, for those absent, you missed a great day of croquet and camaraderie.

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