JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA -- Reports are coming in now that Egypt has won the WCF's Golf Croquet World Team Championship 7-6 over New Zealand. Scores are available from croquetscores.com:
In such a close test there are likely several key moments, but Stephen Mulliner noted this segment in his extensive summary on the Nottingham List, which seems crucial:
NZ looked good value for their 5-4 lead after the morning doubles were shared. Egypt could be said to have been fortunate to win even one doubles because in the Dixon/Crashley v M. Nasr/Abdelaziz match they had been under the cosh for most of game 1 and the normally highly reliable Duncan faced a 5ft slightly angled 12 to take that 7-5. To everyone's surprise, his ball spilled out of the hoop. Mohamed ran the hoop by very little shortly afterwards but even then NZ did not capitalise and eventually lost 7-6. The Egyptians closed out the match 7-4 in the second. (http://nottingham-lists.org.uk/mailman/private/croquet/2012-December/059755.html)
FROM THE WCF WEBSITE
In a closely-fought and exciting final, New Zealand came close to upsetting the favourites, Egypt, in the first ever Golf Croquet World Team Championship. Over the last two days, the final of Division 1 in Johannesburg, eventually saw Egypt triumph 7 matches to 5 (with the last match abandoned with NZL game up).
England narrowly beat USA for third spot, although were exactly tied on games and net points.
The hosts, South Africa, won the Plate event, for those teams not making it to the semi-finals.
The final order was:
1. Egypt - winning the Openshaw International Shield
2. New Zealand
5. South Africa- winning the Plate
The Second Division, with another eight countries competing, starts in Cairo on December 9.
Seeing New Zealand and Egypt make it through to the finals lends validity to the theory that Block A was probably better top to bottom. Prior to the event, I based that opinion on Australia and New Zealand as two of the Big 4 being lumped in with GC superpower Egypt. In Block B, you just had two of the Big 4 with the U.S. team and England. Here's how the complete blocks lined out:
A: Australia, Egypt, New Zealand, Sweden
B: England, Ireland, South Africa, USA
From a geographical perspective, the blocks make sense with one exception -- it seems Sweden and South Africa were misplaced. That placing could be explained as an attempt to strike a competitive balance.
Really though, the geographical approach shows some foresight as I think the WCF can move this event to a full 16 nations for the next edition in 2016 (pending of course reviews from the Division II event). If we are going to wait four year for the next event, then I think they need to be aggressive in growing the event. Time is marching.
If 16 teams in one location is not viable, then that geographical approach might be the answer as the event could potentially be staged in two segments with regional events in the first segment. In such case, this might make sense for a regional first round:
- England, USA, Wales, Scotland
- Ireland, Sweden, Norway, Latvia
- Germany, Belgium, Czech Republic, Spain
- Australia, Egypt, New Zealand, South Africa
The U.S. team is the geopraphical odd-ball, which forces Ireland to a more eastern block. I suppose the U.S. and Ireland could switch places. Looks like the USCA needs to do some country developing in the Americas.
Overall though, the main point is that the event looks to be a major success and the WCF now has a huge opportunity to exploit.