The weekend of 6/7 October 2012 the inaugural Swiss GC event was held at the CERN croquet club under the auspices of the Swiss Croquet Association (SCA).

The seeds of which had been sown by CERN Club member, Des George, and now brought to fruition by the newly elected President of the SCA, Dave Underhill. The request was to hold an event in which everyone could participate, and inclusivity was the operative word. It turned out to be the most players ever for a SCA championship, 28 players in all from 6 different countries. Most players turned up on the Friday to get some practice in and be fresh for the start of play on Saturday. We were fortunate enough to play the first day of croquet in glorious sunshine.

Considering the number of participants and only 2 lawns a backup plan for a third lawn had been foreseen on the cricket ground (thanks to the CERN Cricket Club), but fortunately wasn’t needed. With some cunning formatting we had 4 groups of 6, with some triples (2 against 1) being played.
After the first day the quarter finalists had been decided.

That evening most of the players and spouses dined together at the Cafe de Mategnin, yet another logistical challenge for the organisers.

On Sunday play started a bit late due to the surface water after a heavy night of rain. Surface water was present particularly on lawn 2. Fortunately we had sufficient numbers and mallets to push most of it off the lawns on to the sides. The rain wasn’t too heavy during the day and the lawns remained reasonably dry.

The top 2 from each group competed for the quarters, semis and then the finals. The other players competed for the doubles trophy.

There was quite a difference in levels and the groups were seeded, we had players ranked in the top 50 in the world (Roar Micalson) to relative beginners. The idea being to promote the game with a mixture of eating, drinking, socialising, visits to CERN, etc.

The quarter final pairings were the following (group winners first):
Roar Micalson (Norway) v Kevin Ham (Wales)
Roar being the strong favourite, winning his group comfortably, Kevin having lots of experience and tactical awareness. Roar didn’t get off to a very good start making too many mistakes. Kevin always managing to be a few hoops in front, and eventually winning 10-5.
Ian Sexton (CH) v Don Rutherford (England)
Ian was a strong favourite after winning 5/5 in the group stage. Don put up a spirited fight but Ian proved too strong on the day winning 10-6.
Birger Stene (Norway) v Bernard Thys (Belgium)
This at least on paper looked like a close game and the result certainly suggested that, Birger finally triumphing 10-8.
Des George (CH) v Sarah Melvin (Wales)
Despite Des winning his group and Sarah coming 2nd in hers, Sarah was the definite favourite in this battle. Her hitting-in proving decisive, winning 10-2.

Kevin Ham v Birger Stene
Kevin having beaten the championship favourite Roar was hoping to complete the double on the Norwegians. Birger won the first game on the deciding hoop. Kevin came back to win the second game 7/2. The decider was another very close game, Kevin keeping his cool winning 7/5 and completing the double over the Norwegians.
Ian Sexton v Sarah Melvin
This turned out to be a shooting contest, which player could clear the most often, both players hitting-in from distance consistently. Ian was playing particularly well always in control of the hoop. Sarah was having a few problems with the lawns not always achieving a good length, allowing Ian to benefit and keep prime position. 
Ian winning 7/1, 7/3

Ian Sexton v Kevin Ham
Ian was certainly the home favourite, Kevin having a lot more GC experience and having already knocked out the favourite it had all the ingredients for a well matched encounter. Kevin getting off to a good start, but Ian was hitting and clearing extremely well. Managing to keep in touch and ultimately take the first game 7/5.
The second game a more one-sided affair with Ian’s superior hitting and hoop running took the second game 7/2 and the Championship.
Champion: Ian Sexton 7/5, 7/2
Bryan Allardyce (CERN) won most doubles games but with a variety of partners so while he was awarded one of the pewter goblets, the other (a third is ordered) was presented to the doubles pairing of  Kevin Collins and Sims from Zurich,
A special thanks to the organiser and Swiss Croquet President Dave Underhill, for all the hours or work and organisation that went into making the event a huge success.

par Croquet