The New York Croquet Club Tiger Wicket 2019
July 28–29, New York, NY
The full report with photos is available for download.
Eye of the Tiger
This tournament is dedicated to the memory and feistiness that was Lila “Tiger” Baitschova for her long-time passion for the sport and constant dedication to Central Park and the New York Croquet Club. The Golden wicket trophy was designed to resemble tiger stripes in honor of Lila.
Returning to our original mid-summer weekend at the end of July, the event garnered a lot of interest with 18 participants making for some excellent competition. The weather was hot but not rainy or too humid. That being said, the lawn was in pretty bad shape, but it gave the advantage of leveling the playing field.
A Special Format
Doug Moore is the founder of this tournament which takes inspiration from the National Collegiate Athletic Association, where the best ranked team goes head to head with the lowest ranked team. This format was spun as a great learning opportunity for new and seasoned veterans who may not otherwise have an opportunity to play a top level championship flight player. To further incentivize the w ould be fodder , all players who lose their first match are entered into a modified double elimination plate event. Players who win their first match but lose their second or third are also entered into a losers bracket within the winners playoff ladder. The format guarantees a minimum of 3 matches per player, win or lose.
With the fantastic turnout of players, the first three rounds were limited to 45 minutes with all subsequent games going the full 75 minutes. Most of the games were double banked and only Dawson balls were used.
This year the handicaps were quite stacked with 5 players exhibiting minus handicaps and only another 5 with double digit handicaps. While some victories were easily predicted, others were quite surprising in both the Championship ladder and Plate ladders. On the left side, former NYCC student member Noé Jimenez defeated 2016 Club Champion David Isaacs, while Paul Neubecker made quick work of the 2008 Champion, Preston Stuart. On the right side newcomer Mike Dreeland upset President Peter Timmins, while Martine Fournage dominated Templeton Peck, 10-6.
Final matches in the championship and plate were quite exciting as well. Shane Hettler went undefeated in all his games with some tough matches against last year’s champ, Stuart Lawrence, and the tournament director, Timothy Rapuano.
Coming from behind in the losers bracket of the Plate, President Peter climbed back to victory winning every match. The showdown was a nail-biter against Jeanne Branthover, 18-16.
Congratulations to the new NYCC Champion, Shane Hettler, and our very own President, who won the plate. Trophies this year were messenger bags with artwork designed by Chris Kaas.
So long and thanks...
With great weather and great camaraderie, it was a joyful event by all who participated. A big thanks goes out to everyone who helped set up, take down, refereed shots, kept everyone hydrated and kept deadness boards and spectated. We were even greeted by the first champion, Rebeca Bergofsky who won the event in 2007.