The CNZ GC Invitation Events were held over the weekend with the wet weather impacting play on Saturday and Sunday. The Rose Gardens Croquet Club hosted both the Top 10 as well as the Second 10 GC Invitation events, while the Takapuna Croquet Club welcomed the players in the Third 16 Invitation event.
Top 10 GC Invitation Event
The Top 10 tournament saw top seed Nathan Bullen (Wellington) off to a solid start with six straight wins in best of three matches and not dropping any games. After six rounds it was clear that the only challenge was coming from local player Paul Kaiser (Canterbury) now representing the United Croquet Club in Christchurch, where he studies at university. Kaiser had only dropped one match losing to Josh Smith (Manawatu-Wanganui) The second last round saw them facing each other and the match did not disappoint with all games going to the 13th hoop. Kaiser prevailed in both games winning 7:6, 7:6.
In the final round Kaiser faced John Borner (Canterbury) and Bullen played Smith, with both winning their matches but Bullen dropping one game. With both players on the same number of wins and net games, Kaiser was crowned winner having won the direct match against Bullen.
Second 10 GC Invitation Event
The event saw three players battling for the top spot with Nicola Clement (South Taranaki), late replacement Nicholas Flood (Manawatu-Wanganui) and Mark Thornton (Counties Manukau). Thornton only came into the tournament as a reserve a week before the event following a withdrawal. After three rounds all three players were on two match wins with Clement and Flood only dropping one further match in the tournament. It was however Thornton to come out on top winning all matches following his only loss in round 2 to Clement.
Third 16 GC Invitation Event
While the tournaments at Rose Gardens were able to be completed despite the rain the event at Takapuna unfortunately saw play cancelled on the Sunday following persistent rain and flooding of the lawns. This meant that the results of the first two days were used to determine the winner. The field of twelve players were competing in a double round robin with 16 of the 22 games per player completed by the end of Saturday. All players managed to record some good wins with the three top seeds standing out. Neal Henderson (Counties Manukau) only dropped four games out of 16, while Bill Morrison (Auckland) dropped three games. It was however top seed Geoff Price (Canterbury) to finish on top with only two losses out of sixteen.
Congratulations to all the winners and thank you to the two clubs and volunteers for running these events in very difficult conditions!