GC advantage team day trial

Report by Ted Flexman

Yorkshire Croquet Federation Advantage GC Team Day

Ripon Spa CC           Sunday July 7th

Ripon hosted this second Federation Day exploring the Advantage system, in particular seeking out the implications within a team tournament.  This report will give details regarding the administration and play and also recommendations for team captains if the Federation wish to create a Handicap League based on the Advantage system.  If any of our players or clubs want to venture into National competitions the experience of playing under the Advantage system will be invaluable even though it can give new challenges to team captains and league managers.

Play on the day.

12 players from four different clubs played today – York U3A, Brodsworth, Bishop Monkton and Ripon were all represented.

Two teams of three were already formed and two more created by mutual agreement during the welcome period, then teams were assigned opponents and courts and so the Avocets played the Bullfinches on courts 1 and 4: the Chaffinches played the Dunnocks on courts 2 and 3, keeping to these courts for 3 rounds of doubles and singles as in a usual Federation match.

We got off to a delayed start because of sorting out teams, handicaps and starting scores so only managed 2 rounds before lunch at 12.30.   After the third round we had two winning teams from those pairings, Bullfinches won 4 -2 against the Avocets and the Dunnocks were impressive winners against the Chaffinches 6 – 0.

The fourth round, in which teams could choose which player played singles, was then a semi-final.  The Bullfinches played the Chaffinches and won 2 – 0 and the Avocets triumphed over the Dunnocks by the narrowest of margins:  the Avocets won the doubles 6 – 5, however,  the singles resulted in a 5 all draw.  The win was awarded to the Dunnocks according to the comparison of scores in an unfinished game but the match went to the Avocets 1 ½ – ½ for the scores on paper.  It would have been fairer to have played the singles to an on court winner probably – one of the strange positions that this system threw up. 

The fifth round then produced a final and 3rd, 4th play off in which the Dunnocks triumphed over the chaffinches again. However, the Avocets and Bullfinches finished the doubles 7 – 4 to the Avocet doubles and 7 – 4 to the Bullfinches singles!  Since the Bullfinches had won over the first three rounds they were awarded the prizes of the personal Advantage GC scoring devices – may they use them merrily into the future!

My thanks to Alex Whitfield, Alison Holmes, Bob Strover, Chris Higgins, Eric Mawer, Frank Northfield, Jack Upsall, Jill Barraclough, John Atack, Michael Franklin, Robert Mumford and Sue I’Anson for a sportingly fought team tournament, and congratulations to Michael, Robert and Eric for coming out top of the perch!

Huge thanks to the Studley Royal ground staff  in helping to prepare four courts so there would be no double banking and to the Ripon Spa team in providing refreshments, laying out the courts and clearing up and keeping track of the scores.

What we have learnt from the day.

  • A tournament for four teams of three is great fun but it is far easier to run a match between two teams under the Advantage GC  Handicap system. On reflection a round of 3 singles for the semis and final must have produced a clear decisive result.  If this idea is repeated we’ll know in the future.  I suppose at the back of my mind I was trying to avoid double banking on the grounds of time and all those clips everywhere!
  • Team captains and players need to be aware of how the doubles and singles starting scores are calculated and how scoring clips are used.
  • Hosting clubs need plenty of scoring clips.  We placed negative scoring clips on the centre peg and positive clips on the court number post.
  • Scores should be clearly announced after each hoop run as well as clips being put in place.
  • If there are time constraints  ( we played to 50 minutes + 5 ) it is really important that all players are decisive, think ahead and play promptly.  This applies in particular in doubles when prolonged discussion and deliberation can consume far too much playing time.  In many matches more than 13 hoops needed to be run to produce a straightforward result.  Today 12 matches had a clear 7 hoop winner and 8 were cut short by time even with this generous timing.
  • We finished play after 5.15pm, then had tea, cake and presentations and for players with distances to travel this can make a long day.
  • The benefits of playing freely without having to consider the use of extra strokes are in my view considerable and I would encourage clubs to keep trying Advantage games within their club sessions.
  • I think the score sheets will work but it would be good to make the Home and Away starting score boxes smaller and the Players boxes larger so there is room to put the handicaps for doubles and singles against the players’ letters in the central boxes,  but alas I can’t do that!! Help, I’m sure somebody can!

Many thanks to the Federation for supporting days like this, several players had their first team tournament and indeed first tournament experience, it brought players from different clubs together and helps make us a stronger Federation.

Ted Flexman

7th July 2024

You want your starting score already ?
Jill deciding
Will she ?
Scorers enjoying a short break