Competitors for the Edith Spackman Plate – Back row: Vic Wilson, Palmerston North; Gordon Thompson, Marton; Claire Brown, Whanganui [runner-up]; John Kirby, Masterton [third]. Front row: Liz Marsden, Masterton [fourth]; Neil Stantiall, Palmerston North; Seth Garrison, Hutt Valley, [winner]; Cathy Penney, Masterton. PHOTO/SUPPLIED
Masterton players John Kirby and Liz Marsden finished third and fourth respectively in the Edith Spackman Plate 14-plus handicap tournament held at Masterton Croquet Club over the weekend.
Top honour went to Hutt Valley teenager Seth Garrison [Waimarie] who beat Whanganui’s Claire Brown 18-9 after pulling way from a handy early lead in the final.
In the playoff for third and fourth, Kirby finished strongly getting a two-hoop advantage over Marsden in the final play of the match to win 10-8.
Brown and Marsden finished equal first in section one play with the Whanganui player advancing to the final on a superior net hoop total.
The contest for a final spot from section two was a battle of attrition between Kirby and 16-year-old Garrison which lasted the full two hours and 45 minutes before the latter won with a two-hoop last play.
This year’s tournament was keenly-contested with entries from Marton, Whanganui, Palmerston North and Waimarie, Hutt Valley, along with three from Masterton Croquet Club competing for the trophy.
The trophy was donated in 1982 by Ashley Heenan, who is part of a great NZ croquet-playing family.
The trophy was created in honour of Spackman’s 92nd birthday but nothing else was known about her, Marsden said.
Terry Price, the Masterton Club captain, found the plate in a cupboard, a bit tarnished and forgotten, and decided to make it the trophy for this new tournament he created to encourage high handicap players, especially beginners, to experience tournament play with people of similar handicaps.
“The tournament was a great success, with all players having good battles with all their various opponents, meaning that the handicapping system is working well,” Marsden said.
“Hopefully, the players will be encouraged to try further tournaments at home and other clubs, so that this fascinating and maddening form of croquet grows and prospers.”