The Terminator Mallets U21 GC Championship was held at the Waireka Croquet Club in Ashburton over the Easter weekend. This year’s tournament saw a significant increase in entries including a number of new players.
The doubles event saw 10 pairings compete in a single round robin, with the top four pairs qualifying for the best of three knockout. Joel Steele (Hawkes Bay) and Levi Franks (Canterbury) finished top of the block with nine wins from nine, followed closely by Nathan Bullen (Wellington) and Michael Lauer (Nelson) on 8 wins. The other two qualifiers had to be decided by net hoops with three pairs finishing with three wins. Ultimately James Duggan and Josh Winter (both Canterbury) qualified to take on Bullen and Lauer. In the other semifinal Te Kiri King (South Taranaki) and Curtis Mead (Australia) faced Steele and Franks. Duggan/Winter managed to get their revenge for the loss in block play to beat Bullen/Lauer 7:3 and 7:6 to reach the final. The other final saw Steele/Franks prevail 7:6 and 6:5.
In the final Duggan/Winter won the first game 7:6 before Steele/Franks took control in game 2 winning 7:2. It was match on in game three going to hoop thirteen with either pair one hoop from the title. Steele/Franks held their nerve and managed to run the last hoop and win the title.
In the singles we saw 24 players competing in two sections of twelve played as single round robin. The top four players in each section qualified for the Main knockout with the remaining players going into a Plate knockout. Block one saw the doubles winner Franks qualified in first with Nathan Bullen in second place. The other two qualifiers had to be decided on net hoops with four players finishing with seven wins. Steele qualified in third place and Patrick Conolly (Canterbury) in fourth. Conolly was on equal net hoops as Curtis Mead however beat Mead in block play.
The other block saw Te Kiri King finish top with James Duggan in second place. The third and fourth qualifiers were again decided on net hoops with three players finishing with seven wins. Paul Kaiser and Luke Francis (both Manawatu-Wanganui) joined King and Duggan in the main knockout. The quarterfinals saw Franks, Duggan, Bullen and Steele prevailing, resulting in Franks having to play fellow Cashmere Croquet Club member Duggan. The two North Island players facing each other in the other semifinal. As fate would have it the two doubles winners emerged victorious to face each other in the final with the chance to add the singles title to their doubles title. Franks got off to a strong start winning the first two games in the best of five final 7:4 and 7:5 respectively before Steele took game three 7:6. This triggered renewed focus from Franks determined to avoid a fifth game, dominating the fourth game winning 7:1 and claiming the singles title.
Unlucky to not qualify for the main knockout, Tasmanian player Curtis Mead reached the Plate knockout final with only Mattie Clarkson (Counties Manukau) posing some serious competition and winning one game against Mead. The other finalist was Ethan McDonald (South Taranaki), again only dropping one game in the semifinal against local South Canterbury player Reece McCorkindale. Mead won the best of three final in two games 7:5 and 7:2.
Congratulations to all the winners and well done to all the players, especially our new players who caused some upsets, some scares and certainly earned the respect of players, officials and spectators.