Glorious Canterbury weather set the scene for what would be an enthralling weekend as the NZ U21 Team took on the NZ Select Team in a 2-Test Match Golf Croquet series at United Croquet Club on the 8th and 9th of January 2022.
Each Test Match was made up of 9 best of 3 matches. 3 doubles matches in the morning sessions and 6 singles matches in the afternoon sessions.
Despite early technical difficulties, the singles of Test 1 and all of Test 2 was streamed live to the Croquet New Zealand YouTube channel. Lesley Murdoch, James Duggan and Myles Duggan covered the games on Saturday (including the first doubles match which was not broadcast live). While the Duggan’s returned to bring all the action on Sunday.
With an abundance of experience in the NZ Select team, they charged through the first Test doubles to an early 3-0 lead. Helen Reeves & Sonya Sedgwick beat Jessica Bullen & Paul Kaiser 7-4, 7-5, although they got a little of help from their opponents in the first game with Bullen & Kaiser peeling them through 4 hoops including hoops 11 and 12.
Edmund Fordyce & Duncan Dixon also won in straight games 7-4, 7-3.
The feature lawn, Lawn 5, provided an intriguing match on the first morning with scores that did not reflect the competitiveness of each game. Felix Webby and Jenny Clarke beat Josh Winter and Levi Franks 7-2 in the first game before getting beaten 1-7 in the second to force a third. Their experience showed, bouncing back to win the third game 7-2 and secure the 3-0 lead for the NZ Select Team.
The NZ Select Team didn’t let up in the afternoons singles, winning 5 of the 6 matches to take the first Test in commanding fashion, 8-1, including Clarke sealing her match by running hoop 13 in game three from the boundary to beat Franks 7-3, 4-7, 7-6. The U21’s only match win coming from Bullen who beat Reeves 7-4, 3-7, 7-3.
Looking to bounce back in the second Test on Day 2, the U21 Team started strong taking the first doubles match with Joel Steele and Michael Lauer beating Reeves & Sedgwick 7-2, 7-6. However, the NZ Select Team would take the other two doubles matches to ensure they took a 2-1 lead into the lunch break.
The U21’s were able to pick up a couple of early wins in the Singles matches with Bullen picking up her second win of the weekend with a 7-6, 7-4 win over Sedgwick and Steele emerging victorious with a 7-5, 4-7, 7-6 win over Clarke. With two games still in play, the NZ Select Team held a slender lead 4-3. Dixon then secured his victory over Kaiser in straight games 7-1. 7-6 to give the NZ Select Team the Test Match win and a 2-0 series victory. Fordyce then completed his victory over Winter to make the final Test score 6-3.
For full scores, click here.