Home Victory in 2008 Millennium Cup

July 3rd 2008

Bath’s own Richard Stopforth was a deserving winner of the 2008 Millennium Cup held over the last weekend of June. He convincingly defeated fellow Bath player David Perkins +17 in the final of the two day handicap event. In so doing Stopforth reduced his handicap to 10, won his CA Bronze Award and finished the tournament with 6 wins out of 6.

In an enjoyable and keenly fought tournament 16 players from clubs as far afield as Bowdon in Cheshire, Cornwall, Cardiff and Blewbury near Didcot took part. On the first day players were divided into sections and required to play 3 matches. Bristol’s Deirdre Duggan played a remarkable shot in her first round victory over 15 year old Chris Balshaw of Blewbury. Her front ball had been pegged out and after running 4 back with her back ball she shot at the opponent balls but a bizarre mis-hit meant that her ball went sailing through penalt! She was then able to hit the opponent balls, make rover and peg out for a +8 victory.

At the end of the first day 3 players, Richard Williamson of Bristol, Richard Stopforth of Bath and Gordon Weir of Cheltenham had won all 3 of their blocks games. These players along with 5 others entered the quarter-finals on Sunday morning. One of the most entertaining moments of the whole tournament occurred when Tony Backhouse of Cornwall marched on to the lawn in his match against Richard Stopforth and rushed green with brown whilst exclaiming that his opponent could at least have left the rush in the right direction. It was only a few moments after playing the stroke that Tony realised that he was not actually playing green and brown and that his opponent had infact left the pink and white balls well split up. For the rest of the match onlookers were regularly heard to say “you’re playing pink and white Tony” as he stepped out to play!

Bath’s David Perkins had a very good tournament and in beating Bristol’s in form Richard Williamson in the quarter-final he won his CA Bronze Award by scoring a 10 hoop break with bisques. Williamson himself finished the tournament with an excellent 5 wins out of 6 and a handicap reduction to 10. Francois Garcia of Bowdon, playing in her first CA tournament showed great potential in reaching the semi-final only to lose out to the consistancy of Richard Stopforth by 14 points. In the other semi-final Perkins defected Deirdre Duggan by 9. Over the whole tournament Stopforth played with great confidence and consistant break play and was a very deserving winner of the 2008 Millennium Cup.

Richard Stopforth was subsequently awarded with 2008’s Most Improved Player Award at Bath Croquet Club’s Annual Dinner held in October 2008. Other members including Nick King, Richard Jelly, Roger Hayes, Richard Mills and Jim Field were awarded with trophies for the club’s 2008 internal competitions at the dinner held at Bath University.