Country Club of Jackson 2019 Invitational Croquet Tournament
October 18-20, Jackson, MS
The Country Club of Jackson (CCJ) 2019 5th Annual Invitational Tournament (American-rules croquet) was held October 18–20. Except for a short burst of rain Sunday during the playoffs, the weather was delightful, perfect for croquet. Two brackets were filled with players from Virginia, Maryland, Florida, Texas, Oklahoma, the Gulf Coast of Mississippi and the Jackson area. All past champions from Championship flight returned to compete again this year, the coveted king’s crown being vied for.
As is their custom, CCJ rolled out its finest for this wonderful field of players. The new bakery chef delighted players with croquet themed sweets, including desserts decorated with the Club’s croquet logo. Other chef specialties were devoured at the opening reception, the Saturday night banquet and the Club’s incredible Sunday brunch. Snacks and beverages were provided daily at courtside.
This is a singles only tournament with eight players each in Championship and First Flights. Joe Moore was tournament director again this year with Mark Fields serving as tournament manager. On-site referees, Joe Moore and Arthur Olson handled all player questions, and Bob Kroger assisted as the off-site referee and advisor. This is the second year Moore has utilized his slow-motion camera to rule on crushes and double taps and other pertinent calls. Video evidence is remarkably reliable.
CHAMPIONSHIP FLIGHT: With all past champions returning to give it a go, the intrigue started quickly. There were seven rounds in block play with four players moving to the playoffs Sunday. Britt Ruby, reigning champion, squeaked into the playoff by virtue of having more net points than three others with tying records (Arthur Olson, Edward Erlich and Mark Fields). Ed Becker rounded out championship flight. As fourth seed, Ruby had to face George Cochran in the quarterfinals and Cochran prevailed. On the other side of the semifinals, inaugural CCJ champion Calvert Chaney faced Jackson’s godfather of croquet, Mike McRee. Although McRee prevailed in block play, Chaney managed to earn the victory in the bracket. Lastly, Cochran prevailed over Chaney in the finals and took home the trophy and the coveted king’s crown.
FIRST FLIGHT: First flight did not have the intrigue Championship flight had. Warwick Alley was on the rampage right out of the first wicket in the first game. Mike Harris somewhat slowed his progress, taking one game. Linda Trifone had a come-from-behind victory in the semifinals but could not knock Alley off his game in the finals. Alley won eight out of nine games to win first flight. Others in first flight included, Arlene Stevens, David Trigiani, Neville Boschert, Eddie Guillot and Dale Jordan.
—Linda Trifone, CCJ Croquet Committee Chair