Triton Hearing Tournament 2020

Rex Oliver

From 11 to 16 January, the Rose Gardens Croquet Club hosted the 31st Triton Hearing Tournament on their lawns in the Esplanade. With seven events over six days, and drawing players from around New Zealand, this is one of New Zealand's larger Association Croquet Club Tournaments.

The weekend was fine and saw a good start to the tournament with the completion of the doubles events. Local players did well, with players from Rose Gardens featuring among the winners. In the Open Doubles event, last year’s winners, Steve Jones (Rangatira) and André Murray of Rose Gardens, were unable to repeat their win, finishing runners up to Dennis Bulloch, also Rose Gardens, and Jace Hobbs of Nelson. This is the first time in four years that Murray’s name hasn’t appeared on the trophy. In the Handicap Doubles event, local players, Nicholas Flood and Neil Stantiall went through unbeaten to take the trophy with Vince Neall and Jeremy Neild, also from Rose Gardens, in second place.

Monday and Tuesday were taken up with the Open and Scratch+ Singles, with some top players participating. Unfortunately, on Monday morning, rain brought waterlogged lawns and interrupted play, after the first round, with one game being pegged down to be completed the next day, along with the rest of the games. Fortunately, Tuesday was fine and, after some rearrangement of the draw, the two events were completed. Bulloch followed up his success in the weekend’s doubles by beating last year’s winner, Steve Jones, 26-16 in the final of the Open Singles. In the Scratch plus singles, young Flood played better than his handicap would indicate, winning all his section games and qualifying for the final. However, experience told here, and he went down 15-9 to Carey Johnstone of South Taranaki.

Wednesday and Thursday were taken up with three events for the higher handicap players. Local teenager, Paul Kaiser was outstanding in the 4+ event, winning all his games to carry off the trophy. Also from Rose Gardens, Vince Neall came second on a countback from Flood (in his third event of the tournament) and Stewart Pye of Wairarapa. The 9+ event culminated in  a final between June Saunders-Francis of Wellington and Gary Engelen of South Taranaki, Engelen winning 26-3. Two local players, Neil Stantiall and Jeremy Neild battled it out in the 14+ Handicap event, finishing with five wins each, Stantiall the winner with a much superior net hoop count.

It was a very successful tournament, particularly for the host club, Rose Gardens members winning five of the seven events. In particular, Bulloch and Stantiall had two wins each, Flood, a win and a second place, and Neall and Neild, two second places each.