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Club Team Championship Won by National Croquet Center

12-16 March 2008
National Croquet Center, West Palm Beach, FL
by John Osborn, Tournament Director

It was the day before the Club Team Championships and Les Kelley was stirring his drink, perhaps reflecting upon future glory. In what has become a yearly tradition, Les had arranged for his Bombay (St. Croix) team to convene for a practice/lunch session at Palm Beach’s beautiful Mar-a-Lago Club. As to how much practice actually occurred remains speculative, but now, sitting upon the beautiful patio, the drinks were flowing. “We shall conquer all,” stated Les. “We are doomed,” muttered Karen Heckman. “Isn’t rum great?” offered Bernie Pattie, the only comment to find no argument.

Les, simply referred to as “The Commish” during the Club Team Championships but for reasons long forgotten, did have a good history to back up his positive thinking. This marked his and Bernie’s 20th straight Club Teams, and in fielding a record thirteen teams last year, St. Croix had captured the Division I Lyon’s Trophy. With the numbers almost identical, Les felt good: “I feel good,” he said. “Doomed, I tell you, doomed,” whispered Karen. Bernie, now out of rum, looked confused and when John Warlick uttered something undecipherable, the meeting was adjourned.  

The Club Team Championships, always filled with colorful characters, is, without doubt, one of the more unique events upon the USCA calendar. There is no singles and individual teams must derive from and represent the same club. The Lyon’s Trophy, the Holy Grail of the event, is split into three divisions, each club falling into the large, medium or small division dependant upon total club membership, not representation. Granted, the more teams a club can send the better the odds are of gaining points toward a Lyons Trophy. St. Croix figured this out last year. This year they were not alone.

While it does not set an all time record, one hundred colorful characters, representing seventeen clubs, showed up to this years event, numbers not seen in about two decades. All twelve courts at the National Croquet Center were used with six time slots allotted each day. Four Flights were in play and matches were timed at one hour and fifteen minutes. Block play to a double elimination ladder was the format. There was no double banking, but should the entrants continue to increase, that may become a luxury of the past.

PGA National may best demonstrate the rejuvenated spirit in this event. Last year PGA sent one team – this year, under the guidance of Paula Phaneuf, the club sent eleven. Bert Myer deserves an award for his attempt to convince the USCA that all New Hampshire clubs should be considered one contingent. Unfortunately for Bert, since all New Hampshire players did not belong to the same club (now), this motion failed. Even so, Bert managed to encourage almost all (six teams) of his Hampstead Club to participate and was rewarded for it. If Les Kelley didn’t feel warm breath upon his neck, he should have.

Of course, no matter how many members a club brings, good play does have a huge bearing upon the final results. The National Croquet Center entered only three teams, all in the Championship Flight. Still, with a 26-5 victory by Stewart Jackson-Johnny Mitchell over the PBCC’s Dick Brackett-Derek Wassink, combined with a fourth place finish by Ted Quimby-Josie Jackson, the NCC made a serious run at a Division I Lyons. In the First Flight, Bert, teamed with Jay Digeronimo, secured the Division III Lyons with a 12-9 win over PGA’s Bill Taft-Gordon Paul. The star-studded Heatherwood Hills Club sent four teams this year, but while three of these four finished out of the money (top five or six in each Flight), Peder Theiste-Brad Mol defeated (14-9) Randell McAndrews-Perry Mattson to gain five points and capture the Division II Lyons by one point! Peter Oleson-Morgan Wayson (West River Wickets) overcame (13-11) Hampsted’s Jim McLaughlin-Marie McLaughlin in the Third Flight.

Naturally, amongst all of these numbers, there are questions still to be answered. Was Les Kelley’s enthusiasm warranted? Did Bernie “The Attorney” Pattie ever find more rum? Was Karen Heckman’s vision accurate? And what was it that John Warlick was actually trying to elicit?

The St. Croix would not find a team in the Finals of any Flight; actually had no team entered in the Championship division. Bombay would, though, secure three Third Place finishes, two Forth Place finishes and three Fifth Place finishes. Those numbers, when added together, were enough to capture the Division I Lyon’s Trophy. As to Bernie, his quest proved to be successful, particularly during the Player’s Dinner, where he and a slew of rum-driven maniacs entertained the crowd with The House Band’s version of the Ref-Rap classic. Karen’s spirits improved, and while finishing out of the money upon the croquet lawns, enjoyed the fantastic lunches and great camaraderie for which the Club Team Championships is so well know.

As is always the case, the Club Teams certainly stands out as the Social Tournament of the year. Silent auctions, the Annual Meeting and evening activities kept everyone’s interest up, even if they had been eliminated from the event. Great thanks go out to the entire USCA and NCC staffs for their attentive and friendly assistance throughout. Further thanks go out to Archie Peck and an incredible ground’s crew for the hustle and professionalism used to accommodate so many players and so much play.

Whatever John Warlick said probably doesn’t matter. And what the numbers will reveal during the Club Team Championships next year is also, for now, a mystery. But isn’t that simply half the fun. For now, here are the facts …

Final Order

  Championship Doubles
1st STEWART JACKSON & JOHNNY MITCHELL NCC
2nd DICK BRACKETT & DEREK WASSINK PALM BEACH CC
3rd GENE FUSZ & ROSS FUSZ EVERGLADES
4th TED QUIMBY & JOSIE JACKSON NCC
5th JERRY WAECHTER & BARRY GIBSON
BRITT RUBY & BOB CHILTON
PGA
DALLAS CC
6th
7th DAVE THEISTE & DAN MOL
TREVOR HERIN & TOM HERIN
HEATHERWOOD HILLS
HEATHERWOOD HILLS
8th
9th TED PRENTIS & CHUCK LOVING
GARY WELTNER & JIM TAYLOR
MIK MEHAS & DAVID McCOY
JOHN PHANEUF & PAULA PHANEUF
PALM BEACH CC
NCC
AT LARGE
PGA
10th
11th
12th
13th AL DILLEY & CHUCK WHITLOW PGA
14th KENSTER ROSENBERRY & LARRY MOORE PATUXENT
15th REID FLEMMING & CARL MYER HAMPSTEAD
16th JOHN SCHOTT & PETER GREY HAMPSTEAD

  First Flight Doubles
1st BERT MYER & JAY DIGERONIMO HAMPSTEAD
2nd BILL TAFT & GORDON PAUL PGA
3rd BILL HOY & ANNE ROBINSON BOMBAY
4th JIM HAMLIN & BOB YOUNG PGA
5th JOHN WARLICK & STUART KNUDSON
LIZ HUHN & LUCILLE MARESCA
BOMBAY
PGA
6th
7th TONY MAYO & BOB YOUNT
LES KELLEY & BERNARD PATTIE
AT LARGE
BOMBAY
8th
9th BETTY WHITLOW & LINDA PRICKETT
CAROL MAYO & ZOE deROPP
PGA
WESTHAMPTON
10th
11th PAULA MOL & BETH ANN THEISTE HEATHERWOOD HILLS
12th GEORGE ENOCHS & JANE ENOCHS ETOWAH

  Second Flight Doubles
1st PEDER THEISTE & DAVE MOL HEATHERWOOD HILLS
2nd RANDELL McANDREWS & PERRY MATTSON WOODLAWN CROQUET
3rd LEE HANNA & LYNN LeBLANC BOMBAY
4th ANN MORRIS & NORMAN PIKE BOMBAY
5th GEORGE FULMER & TED COOLEY
TINA THEURKAUF & RON ATKINS
BOMBAY
GREENWICH
6th
7th BILLIE JEAN TAFT & MARY ANN PAUL
CYNNIE CAGNEY & MARSHAL TRAMMELL
PGA
CC of FLORIDA
8th
9th NATALIE PRAY & HARVEY GEIGER
ANN MYER & MARY CATHERINE DEIBEL
WEXFORD
HAMPSTEAD
10th
11th JOHN JOSEPH & JENNIFER JOSEPH
SHANDA STEPHENSON & JOY BRADFORD
BOMBAY
PGA
12th

  Third Flight Doubles
1st PETER OLESON & MORGAN WAYSON
WEST RIVER WICKETS
2nd JIM McLAUGHLIN & MARIE McLAUGHLIN HAMPSTEAD
3rd CAMERON JAMES & NANCY JAMES BOMBAY
4th LEON LEITHER & JULIA CARRELL BOMBAY
5th GUY BROWN & MARY ROBB
SARAH SCHOTT & DEBORAH BURESS
BOMBAY
HAMPSTEAD
6th
7th MAE HAMLIN & JOAN MURPHY
KAREN HECKMAN & DAN LAWRENCE
PGA
BOMBAY
8th
9th HELEN JONES & MISSY DIACK
KAREN COOLEY & MONA FULMER
PGA
BOMBAY
10th

Overall Lyons's Trophy Totals

Division I
16
BOMBAY MALLET CLUB
9 NATIONAL CROQUET CENTER
THE CROQUET CLUB at PGA NATIONAL
5 PALM BEACH CROQUET CLUB
1 GREENWICH CROQUET CLUB
0 NEW YORK CROQUET CLUB

Division II
5 HEATHERWOOD HILLS
4 EVERGLADES
2 DALLAS CROQUET CLUB
0 PATUXENT CROQUET CLUB
WESTHAMPTON MALLET CLUB
COUNTRY CLUB OF FLORIDA

Division III
10 HAMPSTEAD
5 WEST RIVER WICKETS
4 WOODLAWN CROQUET CLUB
0 ETOWAH
WEXFORD CROQUET CLUB

 

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