European Championship 2005

16-18 September 2005, Jersey

Bruce Rannie was the Scotland representative in the 2005 (13th) FEC European Championships, held from 16 to 18 September at Jersey Croquet Club.  Seeded 7th of the 19 participants (there was a last-minute withdrawal by a Spaniard, and no replacement available), Bruce was in a block with Matthew Burrow, Rodolphe Dourthe (France), coming back into the game after several years, John Swabey (Belgium) and Simon Carlsson (Sweden).  Other top seeds were holder Stephen Mulliner, the eight-time winner and three-time finalist from his twelve previous starts, Phil Cordingley (England) and Tony le Moignan (Jersey), also coming back into the game after several years.

In the Blue block, Rodolphe beat Bruce, 9th v 7th seed but handicap -1 v scratch, whilst other games went as expected, the highlight being Matthew Burrow's first-ever sextuple peel in competitive play, including a straight quad, starting from a position after John Swabey missed after Matthew did not get in front of 1-back.  In the rain, double-banked.  Matthew won his other games with TPs, giving him 15 peels in the four games, and Rodolphe, Bruce and Simon did not take croquet.  In other blocks, the big surprises were Sarah Burrow's victory over Stephen Mulliner, and Kevin Garrad's (Isle of Man) victory over Cliff Jones (Wales).

In the knock-out Bruce Rannie came up against Patsy Fitzgerald, probably the most-improved player in Ireland at present, and although he had chances, he was markedly second-best.  The last eight were largely as expected, and with Stephen's block-loss, the 2004 final against Matthew Burrow was repeated in this year's quarters, with Stephen coming out the 2-0 winner, one TP, one TPO.  Patsy had a long 2-1 win against Tony le Moignan, Phil Cordingley and Sarah Burrow also came through to the semis.  Stephen beat Phil reasonably comfortably, whilst Patsy and Sarah had another marathon, Patsy just coming though, again 2-1.

The final was high-class and much speedier - Patsy had chances in Game 1, but a blob of 4-back with the TP finish in sight, followed later by a missed long return roquet after penult, gave Stephen the first game, and the second was over in the sixth turn - Stephen retained the trophy for the third year in succession and the ninth overall.

Matthew Burrow TP-ed his way to the Plate trophy, and after three days of solid croquet, Simon Carlsson received the trophy for the most-improved player at the event.

Bruce Rannie