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Golf Croquet “WORLD CUP” Played in Johannesburg

See www.gcwtcroquet.co.za for further competition details.

The inaugural CCJ WCF golf Croquet world Teams Championships took place in Johannesburg from 26 November to 2 December. The top eight ranked teams in the world took part, namely Australia, Egypt, England, Ireland, New Zealand, South Africa, Sweden and USA.

Country Club Johannesburg (CCJ) was the main venue and lead sponsor for the event, while some matches were also played at Morningside Country Club.

The courts at both venues were true and fast, in fact some of the players said they were amongst the best they had ever played on. The weather, which had been cloudy and wet for a few days when the teams were arriving and getting in some practice, cleared on the afternoon of 25 November while the players were having the briefing so that the Opening Ceremony was held on a beautiful summer evening.

A Field Band consisting of 85 musicians and dancers played while the ± 150 guests assembled. The teams entered to their National Anthems and welcome speeches were made before players and guests repaired for drinks and snacks. This set the scene for the following week.

Monday to Wednesday was the Block Stage of the Event with Egypt, New Zealand, Australia and Sweden in Block A and England, South Africa, USA and Ireland in Block B.

The main event semi-finals were Egypt vs England and USA vs New Zealand and these were played at CCJ over Thursday and Friday. Meanwhile at Morningside, the plate semi-finals were being played between Sweden and South Africa and between Australia and Ireland.

The weather from Monday to Friday was superb with sunshine nearly all the time and just a couple of evening thunderstorms which hardly impacted on the playing schedule. Fortunately both venues had floodlights as a few of the rubbers (best of 3 games) were very long with one extending to 4 ¾ hours.

The line up for the finals was as follows:

Egypt having beaten England, took on New Zealand, who had put out USA, who up till then had been unbeaten.

In the Plate finals, South Africa played Ireland. Both finals and play-offs for minor places were all at CCJ over the final Saturday and Sunday. Unfortunately cloudy and wet weather set in for the weekend which deterred a lot of would be spectators. A TV programme of the Event was also being made and most of this was also filmed in the rain while the finals were being played.

South Africa emerged as the winners of the Plate Event while the main final between New Zealand and Egypt was a very close run competition. At one stage, New Zealand was leading 5-4 with the last four rubbers on court simultaneously. New Zealand was leading on court 1 but losing on courts 2 and 3. The rubber on court 5 looked like going to a decider as New Zealand was up in the second game. Suddenly a few quick hoops went Egypt’s way on court 5 and that was enough for the win. Then the rubbers on courts 2 and 3 also finished in Egypt’s favour and the final was decided 7-5 with one rubber still being played which was then abandoned. Exciting stuff.

During the week a number of very successful social functions were held including a Gala Dinner on the Saturday evening. Many compliments were received from the players, both on the standard of the venues and also on the organisation of the event.

Congratulations and thanks go to the Organising Committee, the Tournament Manager, who came over from England, the Referees, Scorers, Hoop Setters and other helpers and supporters for what was generally held to be an incredibly successful championships.  

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