Every year as the croquet season approaches an end, all Southport club’s internal competitions culminate in Finals Day, a day when the most successful players compete for the honour of annual trophies, and some players compete for several.
In bright morning sunshine spectators were sympathetic as David Key lost to Gordon Melville in the 18 Point competition, after a ding-dong battle which took them into extra time Gordon took victory as he won the vital last hoop.
The President’s Cup fell to John Mawdsley who was on sparkling form. Tony Thomas made a single error which let John into the match and he was away, hoop after hoop in excellent style, leaving Tony sitting beside the lawn with no room for a comeback.
Meanwhile, Jennifer Mawdsley proving that there was more than one able player in the family was giving David Key his second defeat of the day, 10-8 in the Short Croquet final. But things were all set to change in the afternoon.
A unique part of the Finals Day is the 1st/2nd year Golf Croquet competition and as usual this proved to be a great competitive encounter in a friendly spirit, but giving the tensions of competitive croquet for the first time. Leaders Bryan Roberts, Roger Fieldhouse and Terry Dunbar, finished with a three way knockout final, a thrilling encounter where Terry Dunbar remained undefeated to win his first club trophy.
The golf Croquet final saw John Mawdsley on the lawns again, this time facing Derek Lunt, fresh from his team’s success in the regional league. Golf is played best of three games and with every hoop a major challenge the first game ran almost to time, Derek using his last bisque to align his shot and taking the last hoop with 7 seconds to go, winning the first game 7-3.
A larger crowd was gathering as David Key played his final match, which was against Margaret Flemington in the 14 Point final. With massive concentration he was feeling their support as his confidence returned, gradually gaining hoops to finally peg his colours out 14-3 to the loud applause of the crowd.
Meanwhile, the second Golf Croquet game had started between John Mawdsley and Derek Lunt. Derek showed the lead all the way, with great skill and accuracy to win the second game 7-3. This gave him the best of three games he needed to win and waltzed off the lawns on a dancing high; the conclusion of a great season for him.