2020 WCF Association Croquet World Championship
February 15–23, Melbourne, Australia
For complete scores see the croquetscores.com listing for the tournament.
Essick takes silver at Worlds
Matthew Essick (USA), playing in his first-ever world singles championship, went all the way to the final. His opponent in that match was Reg Bamford (ZAF), holder of six previous world titles, four in Association Croquet and two in Golf Croquet. Bamford won +14tp, -12, +17tp, +26tp to claim yet another WCF gold medal.
Earlier in the tournament, Essick had qualified from his block by winning seven of nine games. Once in the Knockout, he kept control through four matches, never allowing an opponent to get within one game of winning the match. In the round of 16 he beat defending champion Paddy Chapman (NZ) in four games. He then beat Felix Webby (NZ), owner of three WCF medals, also in four games. And in the semi-finals he beat Robert Fletcher (AUS), former world champion and frequent #1 in the world rankings.
Essick is the third American to reach the final of this event. Current GC world champion Ben Rothman played Bamford in the 2009 final, and David Maloof played Stephen Mulliner (ENG) in an epic five-game match in 2016. At just twenty-one years of age, and with his sights on winning individual and team world championships, Essick is only just getting started.
2/21 update: Essick in semi-finals
Matthew Essick (USA), playing in this event for the first time, has reached the AC World Championship semi-finals. He qualified for the Knockout by winning seven of his nine block games, with four triple peels. He started the Knockout with a 26-0, 26-0 win against Dominic Nunns (ENG). He then faced defending champion Paddy Chapman (NZ), winning 26-9, 26-0, 0-26 TP, 26-0 TP.
His opponent in the round of 8 was Felix Webby (NZ), who had just beaten current GC World Champion Ben Rothman (USA). Webby was also fresh off captaining NZ to a win at the GC World Team Championship. Essick won this match 26-4, 26-24 TP, 22-26, 26-11.
In tomorrow’s semi-final Essick will face Robert Fletcher (AUS), the 2013 AC World Champion. The other semi-final will feature four-time AC World Champion Reg Bamford (ZAF) and Edward Wilson (AUS). Like Essick, Wilson is a young player with tremendous talent.
A few hours into the match, Fletcher and Essick are tied at a game apiece in the best-of-five semi-final. The match is becoming more interactive as the lawn dries out and speeds up.
On the adjacent lawn, Bamford has taken a commanding 2-0 lead, but Wilson has made the first break in game 3, and Bamford has missed the lift.
Essick leads 2-1
Essick has won game 3 to take a 2-1 lead. Wilson had started peeling, but took an aggressive line and failed a long return roquet after hoop 6. Bamford now has control.
ESSICK IN WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP FINAL
Matthew Essick has beaten former world champion Robert Fletcher three games to one, to advance to the final match in his first world singles championship.