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2023 USCA Club Teams 6W

Carla Rueck & Johnny Mitchell - TDs | Published on 3/16/2023
USCA Club Teams 6W
March 16-19, 2023
National Croquet Center

Croquet Week is always a busy time for the USCA, but “Week” might be a misnomer when it is all said and done. With a lineup of croquet schools, a Golf Croquet Tournament, the USCA Annual Meeting and Awards Dinner and culminating with the USCA’s Club Teams Tournament it is almost two weeks. The annual Club Teams event has always been considered one of the more fun events in the USCA calendar and with a lineup of 100 players, this year was no exception.

Club Teams Group

Championship, First Flight, and Second Flight were each played as cross blocks of six to allow the maximum number of games within each flight while the Third Flight was composed of two blocks of seven. This allowed for each flight having six games in block play and everyone made it to the playoff ladder.

Block play began on Thursday as did the fun. In the spirit of our departed Comish Les Kelly, Karen Heckman organized fun and games Thursday evening with the traditional “Shoot the wicket and hit the bottle of Rum” that Les oversaw in his many years of bringing a little of St. Croix and the Bombay Club to Florida. The evening was topped off with a pizza party with pizza generously donated by David Isaacs, Karen Heckman, and an anonymous donor. Speaking of donations, we would be remiss for not acknowledging the very generous donation from Freear Pollard which helped lower the cost of the tournament for all. Then there was the Friday night reception that was donated and hosted by Randy and Bev Cardo along with Carla Rueck. All of this was instrumental in making this the successful event that it was. St. Paddy’s Day has also been a popular element to Club Teams and this year was no exception with players donning their best St. Paddy green. Always a fun diversion from the normal “Croquet Whites”.

Bombay - IMG 0478
John Young & Doug Moore
Craddock & Hamel
Mary Craddock & Donna Hamel
helms - IMG 0480
Conner & Jane Helms
Yen Sullivan
Yen Sullivan

Championship Flight block play was competitive except for the teams of Danny Huneycutt & Jodie Rugart and John Brown & Bob Pulitzer who went undefeated with Brown/Pulitzer coming out on top due to net points. Surprisingly, Bob Van Tassell & Dick Sullivan, who were the lowest handicapped duo and last year’s winners, were third overall in block play. None of this really mattered except for seeding purposes in the playoff ladder where Van Tassell & Sullivan began their run to the finals eliminating both Huneycutt/Rugart and Brown/Pulitzer. On the other side of the ladder, the team of David Isaacs and Temp Peck rolled through the ladder in a similar fashion to make it to the final game. When it was all said and done Van Tassell & Sullivan repeated their victory to claim the title for the second year in a row.

Sullivan & Van Tassell
Championship Winners
Dick Sullivan & Bob Van Tassell

Peck & Isaacs
Championship Finalists
Temp Peck & David Isaacs

In First Flight the competition was just as fierce with Jeff Morrison & Yen Sullivan going undefeated in block and the teams of Vickie Johnston & Jeanne Branthover and Larry Lynch & Karen Heckman finishing block with only one loss. The Morrison/Sullivan team continued their winning ways through the ladder and remained undefeated to get to the final game. On the other side of the ladder Lynch/Heckman fought their way to the final game meeting Johnston & Branthover in the semis where one was bound to lose their second game of the tournament. Larry and Karen were successful in their run to the finals and didn’t stop there. They proceeded to give the Morrison/Sullivan their only loss of the tournament and it was a costly one. In a close 18-16 victory Lynch & Heckman took the First Flight crown.

Lynch & Heckman
First Flight Winners
Larry Lynch & Karen Heckman

Sullivan & Morrison
First Flight Finalists
Yen Sullivan & Jeff Morrison

Second Flight saw a continuation of the competitive spirit of Club Teams with hard fought games in block play as well as the playoff ladder. In block play the teams of Mary Cassidy & Alan Lazarescu, Richard Corey & Melissa Nelson, and Eileen Cornacchia & Allison Worthington each had only one loss with Lin Irey & Priscilla Flowers close on their tail with two losses. As with the other flights, block play was just a prelude to the playoffs for seeding purposes. Everyone preformed as expected except for Joe Leary & Boyd Parker from Houston who entered the playoffs with a 3-3 record but managed to turn it up a notch to not only make it to the finals but to come out victorious over Cassidy/Lazarescu who up to that point had only lost one game.

Parker & Leary
Second Flight Winners
Boyd Parker & Joe Leary

Lazarescu & Cassidy
Second Flight Finalists
Alan Lazarescu & Mary Cassidy

Since Third Flight had 14 teams it was divided into two blocks of seven. In the first block Carl & Kit Detering from Houston made it through undefeated with another Houston team, Walter & Mary Cain, close on their heels with only one loss (to the Deterings). In the other block, Tom & Yolande Hadlock from Westhampton led the field with only one loss in block play. When you talk about a close field, this third flight really fits that bill. In all the ladder games, only two games were decided by a margin of 5 points. All the rest were by 3 or less points. By the time everyone made to the Semi Finals, three of the four teams were from Houston which goes to show that Houston was there to compete. In the end the Deterings proved that they came to play by winning the flight without losing a single game and a win against the Hadlocks. They were the only team in the tournament who had no losses.

Kit & Carl Detering
Third Flight Winners
Kit & Carl Detering

Tom & Yolande Hadlock
Third Flight Finalists
Tom & Yolande Hadlock

After the dust had settled and the flight winners had been determined, it was time to determine who would win the Lyons Trophy for the top club. Clubs are divided into divisions so that smaller club turnout wouldn’t have to compete against larger clubs. There is an advantage to sending a gaggle of teams. Points are then awarded to teams who finish in the top five of their respectful flights. Division 1 is for the larger clubs and this year only two fit the bill. It came down to Houston and Westhampton with Houston winning out for the second straight year. It also really helps to have teams that finish high in each flight as points are awarded to the top five places. Division 2 had Bombay, the Beach Club, Lenox, and the National Croquet Club with the National Croquet Club besting the pack. Division 3 was composed of Belleair Country Club (last year’s winner), the Everglades Club, Scissortail Club, and West River Wickets who ended up on top.

Division 1 Winners
Division 1 Winners - Houston Croquet Association
Division 2 Winners
Division 2 Winners - National Croquet Club
Division 3 Winner
Division 3 Winner - West River Wickets

In retrospect, this year’s event was an overwhelming success. Play was competitive, social events were fun, and the camaraderie was amazing. Club Teams will continue to be one of the more enjoyable USCA events to participate in. If you have never played in Club Teams, it is one that you should put on your calendar.


Johnny Mitchell & Carla Rueck

Co-Tournament Directors

Final Order

Division 1 – Houston Croquet Association

Division 2 – National Croquet Club

Division 3 – West River Wickets


Championship Flight

1. Bob Van Tassell & Dick Sullivan – National Croquet Club

2. Davis Isaacs & Tempelton Peck – Bombay Mallet & Wicket Club

3. John Brown & Bob Pulitzer – Houston Croquet Association

3. Arthur Olsen & Kevin Hansley – Westhampton Mallet Club

5. John Young & Doug Moore - Bombay Mallet & Wicket Club

5. Danny Huneycutt & Jodie Rugart – The Beach Club

5. Conner Helms & Jane Helms – Scissortail Croquet Club

5. Mary Rodeberg & Ron Eccles – Lenox Croquet Club

9. Tom Cooper & Randall Roe – Everglades Croquet Club

9. Calvert Chaney & Hal Denton – West River Wickets

9. David Ekstrom & David McCoy – National Croquet Club

DNF Randy Cardo & Beverley Cardo – Westhampton Croquet Club


First Flight

1. Larry Lynch & Karen Heckman - Bombay Mallet & Wicket Club

2. Jeff Morrison & Yen Sullivan - National Croquet Club

3. George Peterkin & John Craddock - Houston Croquet Association

3. Vickie Johnston & Jeanne Branthover - The Beach Club

5. Lee Hamel & Mark Stamey - Houston Croquet Association

5. Jim Watrous & Frank LaValla - Belleair Country Club

5. Bill Sadowski & Lovejoy Duryea - Westhampton Croquet Club

5. Tom Tribby & Missy Chilton - The Beach Club

9. Liddy Chaney & Rodney Calver - West River Wickets

9. Richard Lummis & Jackie Wallace - Houston Croquet Association

9. John Grabow & David Kepner - Westhampton Croquet Club

9. George Claffey & Rita McNamara - Lenox Croquet Club


Second Flight

1. Joe Leary & Boyd Parker - Houston Croquet Association

2. Mary Cassidy & Alan Lazarescu - Westhampton Croquet Club

3. Eileen Cornacchia & Allison Worthington - The Beach Club

3. Lin Irey & Priscilla Flowers - National Croquet Club

5. Don Chapoton & Mary Jo Chapoton - Houston Croquet Association

5. Richard Corey & Melissa Nelson - Westhampton Croquet Club

5. Georgia Carter & Mary Craddock - Houston Croquet Association

5. Jennifer Loving & Jeff Scholz - The Beach Club

9. Jeanette Hodgkins & Donald Kent - Belleair Country Club

9. Linda Grady & Rosemarie Maccario - National Croquet Club

9. Anne Licursi & Freear Pollard - Westhampton Croquet Club

9. Sonia Alexadra & Jane Pflug - National Croquet Club


Third Flight

1. Carl Detering & Kit Detering - Houston Croquet Association

2. Tom Hadlock & Yolande Hadlock - Westhampton Croquet Club

3. Walker Cain & Mary Cain - Houston Croquet Association

3. Bass Wallace & Carmela Lummis - Houston Croquet Association

5. Patricia Peterkin & Donna Hamel - Houston Croquet Association

5. Linda Gutherie & Peter Gutherie – West River Wickets

5. Lynn LeBlanc & Flavia Logie – Bombay Mallet & Wicket Club

5. John Bannister & Carol Bannister – National Croquet Club

9. David Beccia & Jessica Beccia - Westhampton Croquet Club

9. Kathleen Lomas & Lynn Lomas - Westhampton Croquet Club

9. Ken Heim & Hilary Michaels – Lenox Croquet Club

9. Barbara Ann Busch & Nancy Hunt – Belleair Country Club

9. Jeanette Tribby & Sally Ohrstrom – The Beach Club

9. Maude Carter & Mathilde Hoefer – Houston Croquet Association