Carissa Price on her way to winning the NZ Women’s Invitational Open in Masterton. PHOTO/SUPPLIED

CROQUET

CHRIS COGDALE
chris.cogdale@age.co.nz

Masterton’s Carissa Price has won her first open croquet tournament, with victory in the Croquet New Zealand Women’s Invitational Open played at the Masterton Croquet Club over the weekend.

And in the process, Price, ranked 34 in the world, ended hot favourite Nina Mayard-Husson’s golden streak of 16 unbeaten games.

Mayard-Husson cruised into the three-game final as the only undefeated player in pool play, setting up an eagerly anticipated contest with second-placed Price, who qualified with four wins from five matches.

The first game of the final was played on Saturday afternoon where Mayard-Husson continued her form from pool play as she got the better of Price 26-9.

Overnight, both the weather and Price’s form changed. The rain returned and with it, Price took control of a tight contest half way through the second game, eventually running out a convincing winner, 22-12.

During that second game it was clear Mayard-Husson was struggling for form on the wet and heavy lawns and was in some pain.

With no end in sight to the persistent drizzle making the lawns heavy going, Mayard-Husson withdrew from the third and deciding game, due to her injury, handing the victory to Price.

On being handed the Wills Silver Salver, Price thanked her coach [and father Terry] as well as paying tribute to the support and assistance she has received from fellow Masterton club players and her employer Southey Sayer.

“I’ve been very lucky to get such great support from Leanne [Southey] and that’s given me the flexibility I’ve needed to be able to pursue croquet at the top level in New Zealand,” said Price.

“It makes all the difference and I’m very grateful.”

In the play-off for third and fourth place, Wellington’s Baubre Murray defeated Taranaki’s Bonnie Johnstone 26-15, 10-24 and 18-17. In the play-off for fifth and sixth, Bay of Plenty’s Cindy Clarke beat Waikato-King Country’s Heather Richardson 21-14 and 26-10.