Cantabrian Josh Winter has had a week to remember during the GC Nationals held at Waireka Croquet Club, South Canterbury, from the 16th to 22nd January 2022.
Beginning the week, Winter and Levi Franks combined to defend their GC Nationals Doubles Title. This marked the third consecutive year that Winter had won the event. The pair only dropped a single game on their way to winning the 2021-22 title, beating Joel Steele and Paul Kaiser in the final in straight games 7-5, 7-4, 7-3.
Winter carried that form into the Singles competition where he only dropped a single game on his way to his second consecutive GC Nationals Singles Final. He was joined in the final by last years champion, and 9-time winner, Duncan Dixon.
The rematch of the 2020-21 GC Nationals Singles Final lived up to the hype as it was streamed live to the Croquet New Zealand YouTube channel. The pair went game for game, recording identical scores, through the first 4 games in the best of 5 match, 4-7, 7-4, 5-7, 7-5.
Dixon went 2-up early in the 5th game but by the turn, scores were again tied at 3-all. Neither player gave an inch, going point-for-point to the 12th where Dixon looked to be in control and a point ahead. However, Winter’s aggressive match saving single bounce jump over two balls from the peg to steal the 12th ensured the 2022 title would be decided on the 13th hoop in the 5th game. Dixon’s first ball was tight and tantalisingly close to securing his 10th championship title, only to come unstuck with a disastrous placement with his 2nd ball. Winter withstood the pressure with a series of clearances, and eventually taking his first opportunity to run a 1-yard hoop for the 2021-22 GC Nationals Singles title.
In the plate, James Duggan ensured all of the silverware would return to Cashmere Croquet Club with a one game margin over Nathan Bullen.
Full coverage of the 2021-22 CNZ GC Nationals Singles Final can be found on the CNZ YouTube channel, here.
The CNZ GC 3+ Championships held in Canterbury from the 21st to 23rd January 2022 was a close affair. Starting with 2 blocks of 6, the top 3 from each block advanced to the super-section to compete for the 2021-22 CNZ GC 3+ title.
It was local player, Melanie Stevenson who claimed the title winning 4 of her 5 games in the super-section, securing yet another piece of silverware for the Cashmere Croquet Club. Earlier in the weekend, Stevenson qualified for the super-section top of Block 1 with 8 wins in 10 games.
The runner-up was settled by net-hoops as 3 players finished the super-section on 3 wins. It was another local player, Bruce McLay, who was awarded second with +6 net hoops.