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Merion Cricket Club Invitational Won by Doug Grimsley, and
Michael Todorovich

12-14 September 2008
Merion Cricket Club, Haverford, PA
by John Osborn, Tournament Director

I can almost picture it, my imagination drifting back some nineteen years. There they sat, a small group of enthusiastic croquet players relaxing upon the beautiful Merion Cricket Club veranda. While they may have been drinking tea, odds are better that it was something like gin, or bourbon, or perhaps many (many) mint juleps. No, I cannot put names to these faces, but I can hear the voices well. Player one: “Hey, why don’t we invite a whole bunch of strangers over and have a knock?” Player two: “Sure, that sounds easy enough.” And with the simplicity of this thought and as the waiter arrived with the fifth round, the future of the Cricket Club’s croquet history was created.

Today, the Merion Invitational has set hard-to-meet standards in many ways. From year to year it proves to be not only the largest of its kind but offers the whole package — an incredible facility, fantastic friendly service, cuisine phenomenal in every fashion and croquet lawns (20 this year) that stretch the boundary of the eye. Between the opening reception and an amazing player’s dinner, between the full-course breakfasts and lunches — between all that is offered at Merion, the play is aplenty. Bob Kroeger is there to give clinics and oversee the beginner’s flight. Archie Peck and David Bent are there to respond to any mallet raised into the air. The croquet committee members are always within an ear’s shot should any question or desire need attention. No, there is nothing simple about hosting such a perfect event, but the beauty of it all is that the Merion Cricket Club does, indeed, make it look so easy.

The weather, of course, is about the only thing over which there is no control. Friday was notable in that it brought with it steady and sometime hard rain. While Saturday was beautiful, Sunday threatened to set the record heat high. Nonetheless, throughout all of the changes in atmosphere, the attitude of players never wavered. Matches were timed at one hour and fifteen minutes and double banking was sparse. The four flights of doubles used a Waterford format while the singles, split into three flights, were then divided into individual sections, each including eight players. The exception, the Championship “A” Flight, held ten players and offered one singles Final match.

Noteworthy items throughout the three-day event include the impressive play of Doug Grimsley. Certainly the most active player of the year, Doug went 9-0 by capturing the Championship A singles. Stuart Lawrence, runner-up, was also impressive throughout the event and accomplished a rare triple-peel along the way. In the Championship B division, Michael Todorovich, who failed to win a match the year before, went 11-0 to capture both the singles and the Championship Flight doubles! Results also worthy of note include the demonstration by Bob and Iris Chenoweth, each capturing one of the two Second Flight single’s divisions. Connie Van Housen, who for years has organized the administrative aspects of this event, was more than impressive in capturing the Third Flight doubles!

In an event of this size, there are dozens of stories to be told, of both success and heartbreak. In doubles, in particular, the percentage of matches that were either won or lost by one point was quite astonishing. And yet no matter how the players finished within this adventure, the spirit exemplified by all of the players was more that admirable throughout. A simple conversation nineteen years ago has turned into something beyond special.

Speaking from the outside, great thanks go out to the players for their enthusiasm and great spirit. And, speaking for the players, the hard work and efforts made by the Merion Croquet Club Croquet Committee was so much appreciated. Lest we forget, the ground’s crew was as professional as I have ever seen! Congratulations, in particular, go out to Frank Tatnall (Committee Chairman) and Jim Armour (Tournament Chairman) for overseeing a hard working group too large to mention.

The Merion Cricket Club hopes to see both old friends and friendly strangers next year. It’s only three days, but they will certainly be some of the most enjoyable days you will ever have!

Final Order

  Championship Singles Championship Doubles
Block A
1st Doug Grimsley

Michael Todorovich

2nd Stuart Lawrence Kenster Rosenberry
3rd Kenster Rosenberry Stephanie Paduano
4th Barry Gibson Dan Maguire
5th Dick Sullivan Doug Grimsley
6th Tyler Thomas Stuart Lawrence
7th Neil Houghton Blaine Davis
8th David Lyon Dick Wyrough
9th Don Mathieson George Blake
10th Blaine Davis Sandy Walsh
11th   Casey Knoll
12th Tony Freeman
13th Tim Rapuano
14th Neil Houghton
15th Delores Gallagher
16th Tyler Thomas
17th Don Mathieson
18th Barry Gibson
19th Sheila Davis
20th Ron Shiftan
21st Peter Grey
22nd Sean Hartley
23rd Barbara Leeming
24th Ceci Shiftan
25th Jan Balson
26th Bill Grimsdale
27th Jim Armour
28th David Lyon
29th Geoffrey Mattison
30th David McCoy
31st Al Paul Lefton
32nd Dick Sullivan
Block B
1st

Michael Todorovich

 
2nd Peter Grey
3rd George Blake
4th Bill Grimsdale
5th Ceci Shiftan
6th David McCoy
7th Tony Freeman
8th Ron Shiftan
Block C
1st

Casey Knoll

 
2nd Tim Rapuano
3rd Geoffrey Mattison
4th Jan Balson
5th Delores Gallagher
6th Barbara Leeming
7th Sheila Davis
8th Jim Armour

  First Flight Singles First Flight Doubles
Block A
1st Kevin Betz

Betty Crisler

2nd Dick Wyrough John Joseph
3rd Jonas Spatz Ken Northrop
4th Dan Maguire Kevin Betz
5th Sean Hartley Pat Colt
6th Stephanie Paduano Ed Wilford
7th Sandy Walsh Sandra Rhodes
8th Al Paul Lefton Conrad Rugart
9th   Evan White
10th Rilice Lefton
11th Gerry Dolezar
12th Sanford Brown
13th Lucie Bard
14th Ray Dacey
15th Betty Anne Brine
16th Richard Palmer
17th Richard Watson
18th Frank Tatnall
19th Joe Knoll
20th Bob Bozeman
21st Ron Atkins
22nd Jonas Spatz
23rd Templeton Peck
24th Jim Wyer
Block B
1st

Ken Northrop

 
2nd Mary Tatnall
3rd Ed Wilford
4th Jodie Rugart
5th Jim Wyer
6th Lucie Bard
7th Evan White
8th Bob Bozeman
Block C
1st

Betty Anne Brine

 
2nd John Joseph
3rd Sandra Rhodes
4th Rilice Lefton
5th Joe Knoll
6th Sanford Brown
7th Richard Palmer
8th Ray Dacey
Block D
1st

Gerry Dolezar

 
2nd Richard Watson
3rd Pat Colt
4th Betty Crisler
5th Ron Atkins
6th Frank Tatnall
7th Templeton Peck

  Second Flight Singles Second Flight Doubles
Block A
1st

Bob Chenoweth

Leon Leither

2nd William Cole Robert Lentz
3rd Maureen White Iris Chenoweth
4th Peter Timmins William Cole
5th Jennifer Joseph Jack MacNeish
6th Robert Lentz Peter Timmins
7th Monica Uhlhorn Maureen White
8th Kate Plummer Rocco Mango
9th   Lauren Hammond
10th Bob Chenoweth
11th Monica Uhlhorn
12th Suzannee Lammers
13th Betsy Atkins
14th Raymond Swanson
15th Albert Marron
16th Charlotte Neagle
Block B
1st

Iris Chenoweth

 
2nd Lauren Hammond
3rd Leon Leither
4th Betsy Atkins
5th Walt Plummer
6th Raymond Swanson
7th Rocco Mango
8th Cheryl Wren

  Third Flight Doubles
1st

Connie Van Housen

2nd Steve Grassbaugh
3rd Mary Lou Wagner
4th Cheryl Wren
5th Mimi MacNeish
6th Pamela Marshall
7th Julia Wallace
8th Jane Mango
9th Mary Leither

 

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