SACA AC Nationals – all the news!

Monday 6 November, saw a small group of die-hard AC croquet players congregate at Country Club Johannesburg for the 2023 AC National Championships. 

CCJ was a truly spectacular venue, with the four lawns in top condition. The Indian Mynahs and Hadedas were in full voice and the lizards scurrying around to get the best view for the games that were to follow .

We kicked off on Monday with everybody finding their feet and there certainly weren’t any fireworks with only 2 of the 11 games finishing within the three hour time limit. Most of the games were tight bar for Neil McHardy thumping yours truly 26-2 (HS) in the first session of the morning (Welcome back to AC competition Allan).

Day two was a challenge to say the least, the scorching heat from Monday had been replaced by consistent rain throughout the day.  After a miserable three hours in the rain, the rumbling of thunder rolling in and those playing looking like drowned rats, play was suspended for the day. Through the gloom and puddles, 4 games were completed leaving us playing catch up for the rest of the week.

Wednesday and the sun was back, with it some great croquet being played (4 sessions/2.5hour time limits). Peter Dreyer and Neil McHardy set themselves up as the front runners in the level and handicap singles, whilst Peter and Silvia had yet to lose a game in the level doubles. Mike Corcoran was hanging in there with his unique style of play and with partner Lloyd Jackson were dominating the handicap doubles.

Thursday unfortunately saw Peter Dreyer have to withdraw from all events due to ill heath.  Neil McHardy upped his game even more, positioning himself for the level and handicap singles, and with brother JayJay’s 21-4 win over Clive Coulson, made it a McHardy vs McHardy Handicap Singles final to come on Friday.

On Friday there was one session to play before finals and with Neil beating Silvia, it secured his place in the level final, with a three way tie on wins for the second final spot. Victor Dladla (+6), Silvia Short (+4) and yours truly (-2) with Victor thus going through to meet Neil, but first up was the battle of the brothers (photos taken beforehand in case of what might transpire). 😏

The HS Final started with JayJay hitting in down the boundary from B-balk, unfortunately with Neil’s ball, therefore a foul stroke. Whilst JayJay recovered from this setback Neil had built up an early lead. The game however went down to the wire with JayJay catching up to within 3 point, and Neil winning 16-13.

It was great to see Victor (who had been struggling all week) come back to some form in the LS Final, it was a ding doing battle between the two, with great AC being played. Neil applied the first pressure by going around to three back, but Victor not to be outdone, made a break of his own and it was pretty even going through the halfway stage. Neil however got in again, just before time, increasing his lead and leaving Victor not much to work with for his last turn. The final score 23-15T to Neil and the end of a great weeks croquet.

See all results on

To finish things off we had a lucky draw for three bottles of Triple Three Just Juniper Gin and as if taking the trophies home wasn’t enough, they were won by Mike Corcoran, Neil McHardy and JayJay McHardy.

Thanks to Chris & Christine Wakeham and all involved at Country Club Johannesburg for hosting a fantastic event. See you next time… Allan Ware.

View of the lawns


Mike Corcoran

JayJay and Neil

Triple Three Just Juniper gin