European Team Championship 2009

25-28 June 2009, Cheltenham and Nailsea

The Scottish team of Keith Aiton, Jonathan Kirby and Martin Murray beat England 2-1 in the final at Cheltenham to win the second Mitsubishi Motors WCF/FEC European Team Championship.

The Championship, played for the first time in 2007, was expanded this time to include two teams from outside Europe - Canada and South Africa - and two teams of mixed nationalities assembled by the World Croquet Federation.  (The WCF Juniors team was a substitute for the intended New Zealand Juniors, and consisted of the two available NZ players, Jared Keeman and Jarrod Coutts, plus Manuel Alvarez-Sala from Spain.  The WCF Select team was formed to replace Finland, which had to withdraw.)  In addition the 2007 winners Wales were allowed a second team.  With 17 teams in all, the initial stages were played in two blocks, with the top four teams in each block proceeding to the knockout stage.

Matches consisted of two single games of Association Croquet, counting for one point each, and one best-of-three Golf Croquet match, counting for one point.  In the final the AC was extended to best-of-three for each player.

In the Red Block England won its matches against all the other teams to finish in first place, with 7 matches and 19 points - followed by Wales A (6 matches, 18 points), South Africa (5 matches, 10.5 points) and Belgium (3 matches, 10 points).

In the Yellow Block Scotland won its first seven matches, and came first despite a loss to Jersey.  The qualifiers here were Scotland (7 matches, 19 points), Jersey (7 matches, 17 points), Canada (6 matches, 16 points) and WCF Juniors (6 matches, 14 points).

Scotland beat Belgium 2-1 in the quarter-finals, and had another 2-1 win over Canada in the semi-finals to reach the final against England.  This was an evenly balanced match.  In the Association Croquet Keith Aiton lost in straight games to Chris Clarke, and Jonathan Kirby won in straight games against David Foulser, with triple peels throughout, leaving only the Golf Croquet still in play - a close contest between Martin Murray and Ivor Brand.  Martin won the first game 7-6, but Ivor came back from "certain death" (according to the live email reporting by Andrew Gregory) to steal the second - missing a clearance by a foot, flicking another ball, and running hoop 12 with an "in-off".  So it all came down to the final game - and, as it turned out, to the 13th hoop of that game.  Ivor came back from 6-4 down to level the game at 6-6, but as he ran hoop 12 by only a few inches he gave Martin the advantage at hoop 13.  Martin played an excellent lag to position two feet in front of the hoop, and had only to hold his nerve to run it and win the Championship for Scotland - which he did!

(supplied by Chris Williams)

Third match in each is Golf Croquet, first two are Association Croquet.

Scottish results in Yellow Block:

Scotland 3 Czech Rep 0
Keith Aiton beat David Hajn +23sxp
Martin Murray beat Ivo Martak +26
Jonathan Kirby beat Pavel Gasek 7-3, 7-3

Scotland 3 Austria 0
Jonathan Kirby beat Klaus Gollhofer +19
Martin Murray beat Martin Guntner +18
Keith Aiton beat Max Walderdorff 7-3, 7-2

Scotland 3 Wales B 0
Keith Aiton beat John Evans +26tp
Jonathan Kirby beat Garry McElwain +17
Martin Murray beat Kevin Ham

Scotland 2 Sweden 1
Keith Aiton beat Simon Carlsson +12
Martin Murray beat Anders Moldin +22
Jonathan Kirby lost to Jonatan Andersson 7-3, 3-7, 3-7

Scotland 2 WCF Juniors 1
Jonathan Kirby beat Jarrod Coutts +23tp
Martin Murray beat Manuel Alvarez-Sala +15
Keith Aiton lost to Jared Keeman 3-7, 2-7

Scotland 3 WCF Select 0
Keith Aiton beat Gordon Weir +24
Jonathan Kirby beat Ulf Soderberg +24tp
Martin Murray beat Hana Marekova 7-2, 7-3

Scotland 2 Canada 1
Keith Aiton beat Brian Cumming +26tp
Jonathan Kirby beat Leo McBride +26tp
Martin Murray lost to Louis Nel 5-7, 3-7

Jersey 2 Scotland 1
Tony Le Moignan beat Keith Aiton +20
James Le Moignan beat Martin Murray +10
Richard Sowerby lost to Jonathan Kirby 3-7, 7-4, 3-7


England 3 WCF Juniors 0
Chris Clarke beat Jarrod Coutts +26tp
David Foulser beat Manuel Alvarez-Sala +26
Ivor Brand beat Jared Keeman 7-3, 7-3

South Africa 2 Jersey 1
William Louw beat Tony Le Moignan +23tp
Judith Hanekom lost to James Le Moignan -26tp
Victor Dladla beat Richard Sowerby 7-2, 7-3

Canada 2 Wales 1
Leo McBride beat Ian Burridge +26tp
Brian Cumming beat Sam Tudor +25tp
Louis Nel lost to David Walters 4-7, 6-7

Scotland 2 Belgium 1
Jonathan Kirby beat John Swabey +26tp
Martin Murray beat Tony Falcon-Uff +25tp
Keith Aiton lost to Pierre Beaudry 3-7, 7-4, 5-7


England 2 South Africa 1
Chris Clarke beat William Louw +15tp
David Foulser beat Judith Hanekom +23
Ivor Brand lost to Victor Dladla 5-7, 7-4, 5-7

Scotland 2 Canada 1
Keith Aiton lost to Brian Cumming -19
Jonathan Kirby beat Leo McBride +9tpo
Martin Murray beat Louis Nel 7-6, 6-7, 7-2

Third place playoff:

Canada 2 South Africa 1
Brian Cumming beat Judith Hanekom +17
Louis Nel lost to Victor Dladla -6
Leo McBride beat William Louw 7-5, 7-2


Scotland 2 England 1
Keith Aiton lost to Chris Clarke -26tp, -15tp
Jonathan Kirby beat David Foulser +26tp, +24tp
Martin Murray beat Ivor Brand 7-6, 5-7, 7-6