20.04.2006 Alter: 12 Jahre
2nd Rheingold-Pokal 2005
The 2nd Rheingold-Pokal triangular tournament between Switzerland, the holders, Austria and Germany was played in variable weather conditions over Whitsun weekend (13-16 May) at CERN Croquet Club, near Geneva.
Originally planned for four players per country, Tournament Manager Peter Payne's careful calculations were somewhat upset when the format changed from 4 to 3 players per side (and some teams still fielded 4!).
Meanwhile, one of the Austrians flew in directly from Boston (Massachusetts not Lincolnshire) via
London, Vienna and Zurich! As they went on to win the event it must have been part of a cunning plan!
It was decided to play a combination of Association and Golf croquet on a round robin basis, so that each player got 6 games of each, playing all members of the 2 opposing sides at both forms of the game. Thus 54 games had to be arranged on 2 lawns over a weekend – mission accomplished!
Play started in fair weather on Friday evening for the early arrivers and Switzerland took a rapid 3-2-1 lead which was not to last. Saturday was one of those days when your correspondent wonders why he ever took up the game - not due to the results of his labours but thanks to inclement meteorology. It rained, it blew, it was thoroughly cold and miserable and even the Germans gave up their usual favourite beverage for large quantities of hot coffee and tea! Luckily it improved somewhat in the afternoon but by the end of the day Switzerland had been blown away and the score now stood 9-8-6 in favour of Austria.
Sunday restored everyone's faith in life, the universe and everything croquet. Waterproofs were swapped for sun cream. Beer was consumed. Croquet played. Matches won and lost, the former in large numbers by Austria so that at close of play the score was 19-13-13 in their favour as the players wound their way to the lakeside for a traditional Filets de Perche (Perch fillets) dinner washed down with lavish quantities of local wine.
The wine had obviously done its job and Switzerland staged a comeback on a wet Monday but to no avail, the damage had already been done and Austria finally emerged worthy winners with 21 points (Gollhofer 9, Walderdorff 7 and Hackl 5) followed by Switzerland in second place with 18 (Eatough 9, David Payne 7, Gerard and Davids 1 each). The Germans had a difficult weekend but won the wooden spoon hands down with 15
points (Vinnen 6, Hess 5, Magin 3 and Böer 1). A special mention should be made of Michael Böer who
only took up the game last year and showed skills well beyond his current 24 handicap.
Next year the Rheingold-Pokal will be played in Austria where we look forward to a weekend of croquet, entertainment, good company and possibly even decent weather!