New York State Golf Croquet Championship
A New York State Championship Like No Other
Way back before Peter Timmins (Club President) and I were members, the Clayton Cup, which was played every Father’s Day weekend in June, was known as the New York State Championship. It was a USCA 6W tournament, which is not surprising given the history of the USCA and NYCC. Sometime about 15 years ago, the New York State Golf Croquet Championship was brought back as a short high-low doubles activity played with 7pt games following the Clayton Cup finals. Prizes were typically awarded in cash. I personally loved this idea but wished it could be expanded and given the full respect that GC deserves. In 2016 as Mid Atlantic Regional Vice President I sought to bring back the State Championship. After failing to get it properly hosted at a nearby venue, I moved it to Central Park in late August. 16 singles players and 7 teams of doubles enjoyed fierce competition on two of our abbreviated lawns.
Shortly thereafter, the New York Croquet Club stopped hosting the Clayton Cup, but continued to use the time slot for other croquet events. After a couple years of hosting Association Croquet tournaments, the path was paved for a full GC event on 4 lawns. But then like everything else, we had the pandemic.
A Format For All
Building on the success of the 2016 GC Championship and AC events, 3 days in June were set aside to use courts 1 and 2 on the New York Croquet Club lawn
and courts 3 and 4 on the New york Lawn Bowling Club lawn. Constant Contact was used to schedule and advertise the event. USCA helped to get the word out, and much to our surprise, we received interest from all over the country. Over 230 attended with many coming from as far California, Colorado, Texas, Oklahoma, Florida, Virginia and other far away lands.
Our schedule was a bit tight with no room for any rain delays. Anyone who has played an invitational in New York City knows that precipitation is our greatest enemy and can wash away entire days of play. Thank the
weather gods for 3 beautiful sunny days with no more than a few raindrops.
Friday June 19th saw 13 teams in a singles doubles flight battle it out in an occluded block providing (4) 1hour 13pt games on 4 lawns measuring 105’ x 52.5’. A full length and narrow width is our standard for accommodating groups larger than 20 people on grass made for lawn bowling.
All doubles teams would play on Sunday but would be split into a three tier playoff ladder or plate event, depending on their block scores. The top team in the playoff ladder and two top teams in the plate knockout received byes. Singles players began their matches on Saturday June 20th. Twelve Championship Flight players enjoyed 4 block 13pt games while First and Second Flight each had (3) 13pt games. After block play, the bottom 8 of the championship flight played a sweet sixteen round 19pt 3
match to vie for a chance to play a 19pt quarterfinal match with one of the top 4 players who received byes. The bottom four players of the first and second flights began their quarterfinal with a single 13pt game. All winners of the quarterfinals advanced to semi-finals on Sunday.
The Double Cross
The doubles quarterfinals for both the main knockout and plate event got underway at 8am on Sunday. Matches were single 13pt games timed at 1 hour. In the plate ladder, Timmins & Margalis made swift work of the Quogue Field Club pair, Don Allison and Janet Allison in a 7 to 3 match, while the SprattSki™ team of Mark Ski and Patricia Spratt propelled ahead of the longest team name, Fitzsimons & Richmond. Meeting up in the semifinals, Ski & Spratt continued their dominance over Goddard & Myers (7 to 2) to meet in the finals. On the other side, McCoy & Simmons surprised Timmins & Margalis with a 7
to 3 defeat, but could not withstand the avalanche of SprattSki™ in the doubles plate final,
losing 3 to 7.
In the main KO, the undefeated team of Patmore & Prillman (who captured the bye) watched the quarterfinal results unfold. On court 1 the second seeded pair of Peck & Austin defeated Bown & Zhao (pictured above) in a nail biting match that went to time, while on court 2 the 6th seeded pair of Berbig and Rapuano swiftly shut out the team of 4 Ezra & Roth, leaving nothing to change, 7 to 0. Berbig and Rapuano would go on to the finals following their victory over Peck & Austin in the semifinal match. Court 3 saw the doubles favorite of Lozano and Creasey outfox the stalwart team of Eccles & Claffey and ascend into the ring with the number 1 tag-team of Patmore and Prillman. Hot off their success in the quarterfinals, Lozanao and Creasey stayed one step ahead of Patmore & Prillman to clinch the entry into the finals. In the Open Doubles Final, Justin Berbig exercised precision defense against the California and Colorado team of Brian Lozanao and James Creasey, while Tim Rapuano picked up a few wicket shots to win the match, 7 to 3. This is the 2nd time Berbig and Rapuano won a GC doubles final, repeating history from the 2016 NY State Championship.
The Solo Path to Victory
With the sweet sixteen and singles quarterfinals completed Saturday afternoon, only semis and the final matches remained. In the second flight, undefeated Ford Austin looked to be the clear winner. He received a bye for his block standing and advanced to the finals after defeating the ever persistent Jane Zhao. On the flipside, newcomer George Claffey went toe to toe with USCA social media coordinator Stephanie Margalis. Stephane bested George, but ran off to the airport before completing her final game. I am told that Ford and 5 Stephanie may meet up in Texas or Oklahoma to contest the ownership of the first place trophy. The first flight ladder was designed exactly like the second flight and double
banked all the same courts except the final. In the semi finals Ezra Roth bested the undefeated Pam Heyer in a close game 6 to 5 while top seeded player Patricia Spratt found victory against Trudy Crowetz from the National Croquet Center. The finals would see an all-NYCC match up between Ezra and Pat. Pat and Ezra had close games in both the block and the final defeating each other by just 1 point. In the block Pat won 7 to 6 and in the final Ezra took it 7 to 6. Moving on to Championship flight Sunday action, the semis and finals would showcase a best 2 out of 3 match set between showrunner Tim Rapuano and Denver’s Ron Eccles on court 3 and Mission Hills Pro Brian Lozano against Chesapeake Bay’s Bo Prillaman on court 4. Tim defeated Ron in 2 games, 7-6, 7-6, while Brian and Bo put on a little more of a competitive show, 7-1, 4-7, 7-4. After a long day of three doubles games and a multi-match semi final, the exhausted Brian Lozano and Tim Rapuano calmed their nerves to play the final games of the tournament. With a few long wicket points, dirty jump shots, and far away clearings, Tim emerged victorious 7-5, 2-7, 7-5.
Thanks and Farewell
During the final games, Mark Ski coordinated cleanup efforts, removing wickets and reeling in the boundary string. Likewise Ezra Roth helped to remediate wicket holes in the bowler’s lawn before releasing it back to them, and President Peter Timmins kept everyone well-fed and hydrated throughout the tournament, including an off-court toast and tally at Tavern on the Green and lunches catered by Le Pan Quotidien and Mike’s deli on Arthur Avenue. Thanks go to all the volunteers who pounded hoops, set up balls and timers and restored our croquet lawn for daily play. And thanks to all the players who hung in there in the sometimes unbearable heat and humidity. Over the 3 days we accomplished over 100 games!
1. Timothy Rapuano
2. Brian Lozano
3. Bo Prillaman
4. Ronald Eccles
5. Mark Ski
6. James Creasey
7. Justin Berbig
8. Bill Simmons
9. David McCoy
10. Templeton Peck
11. Lois Clay
12. Peter Timmins
First Flight Singles
1. Ezra Roth
2. Patricia Spratt
3. Pam Heyer
4. Trudy Crowetz
5. Klaud Lucas
6. Tom Bown
Second Flight Singles
1. Ford Austin
2. Stephanie Margalis
3. George Claffey
4. Jane Zhao
5. David Goddard
6. Trula Myers
1. Timothy Rapuano & Justin Berbig
2. Brian Lozano & James Creasey
3. Bo Prillaman & Chris Patmore
4. Templeton Peck & Ford Austin
5. Ezra Roth & Klaud Lucas
6. Ronald Eccles & George Claffey
7. Tom Bown & Jane Zhao
8. Mark Ski & Patricia Spratt
9. David McCoy & Bill Simmons
10. Peter Timmins & Stephanie Margalis
11. David Goddard & Trula Myers
12. Donald Allison & Janet Allison
13. Diane Fitzsimmons & Pat Richmond