Nikhil Taduka wins the Arthur Ross

The CNZ AC Handicap finals, the Arthur Ross Memorial, were hosted by Croquet Marlborough and played at the Blenheim Croquet Club’s courts in Pollard Park from 22 to 24 March. Ten champions from around New Zealand represented their regional Associations in a single round robin of nine games played over three days. 

On the opening day, Friday, Greg Bryant (Nelson) was the only player to win all three of his games, playing a succession of elegant 12-hoop breaks that he continued through the tournament. Five other players won two of their three games.

Saturday saw Greg take two more games before he met Nikhil Taduka (Wellington) in the afternoon.  Nikhil, a relatively new player, took advantage of a collection of bisques to peg out both balls for a 26-10 win. Meanwhile, Frank Robinson (Auckland) and Dennis Bulloch (Manawatu-Wanganui) won all three of their games. At the end of Saturday’s play Greg Bryant and Frank Robinson both had five wins out of the six games played so far, with three players close behind on four wins. 

Sunday morning opened with an interesting twist in a game between Conrad Petersen (West Coast) and Dennis Bulloch. With only two balls left on the court, one for hoop 4 and the other for 3-back, both players ended up with their ball on the non-playing side of the same hoop, daring the other to be the first to break a potential impasse. 

On another court Greg Bryant lost his second game of the day to Peter Parkinson (Canterbury), while Nikhil Taduka pegged out his first two games with increasing confidence. 

By mid-afternoon with only the final round left to play, three players, Greg Bryant, Nikhil Taduka, and Frank Robinson, shared the lead with six wins each.

By a curious chance of the random draw, a thrilling final round saw each of the three leading players play one of the three next-highest scoring players, meaning that none of the leaders was given an easy path to victory.  Nonetheless, all three won their games to end the order of play with a three-way tie of seven games each. The victor was therefore determined by a count of net hoops. 

On this basis, Nikhil Taduka was declared the winner of the Arthur Ross Memorial trophy with +110 net hoops, followed by Greg Bryant (+89 net hoops) and Frank Robinson (+29 net hoops). This is Nikhil’s first piece of CNZ silverware.

CNZ would like to thank the tournament organisers, the players and Croquet Marlborough for ensuring that our handicap tournament was such a success.