2012 AC CroqCan Report

Jim Bast emerged as 2012 Canadian Open champion. In the Red flight David Druiett went undefeated, but there was a three-way for the 2nd and 3rd prizes. The new Minimatch method was used to break this tie.

The Open flight of 8 players started out as two blocks of 4, with the top two of each block continuing in a best-of-three knock-out, seeded according to entry grades. The four eliminated players continued in a consolation block. Brian Cumming reached the final by defeating Louis Nel, Jim Bast got there via Stuart Lawrence. Both matches were over in two games. Stuart then beat Louis for 3rd Prize, also in straight games.

The first game of the final was clinical. Bast went to 4-back. Cumming hit the lift and also made 9 hoops. Bast also hit the lift and triple peeled. The second game was quite different. Both players missed easy shots. Was it is perhaps the fire drill at 2.00 a.m. in their hotel that affected their mental stamina? Bast was first to recover and reached 4-back. Cumming also recovered form, hit the lift, did a TPO without hiccups in which both rovers were pegged out, Bast's remaining clip on 1, Cumming's on 4. In the ensuing one-ball battle, Bast played aggressively and narrowed the gap. He was about to catch up at 4-back when a substandard rush lead to failure. Cumming finished in the next turn. Game three was formally uneventful in that Cumming never took croquet, but Mother Nature provided a little drama in the form of a torrential downpour that interrupted play for about an hour, significantly changing the lawn speed. Bast resumed without problem, winning the match +17TP -4TPO +26TP.

The lawn was easily paced. Bast produced a total of 5 triple peels, Cumming 4 and Lawrence 2. Patrick Little (bottom seed of the Open flight) made good use of his opportunities in the Consolation Block to obtain a nice upward grade adjustment.

This year the two greens at the Elmdale Lawn Bowling Club were supplemented by the green at Highland Park, just 6 minutes drive away and similar in quality. (The Central green, used in previous years, is destined for final retirement in the near future. At the tournament dinner we drank a requiem to it.)

The eight players in the Red flight played a Round Robin. David Druiett, undefeated, was the clear winner. Three players were tied on wins for 2nd and 3rd prize. Minimatch tie-breaking (see appendix below) gave 2nd place to Brigitte Westaway and 3rd to Alison Streight. Georg Dej, while not successful in the minimatch, did well as bottom seed to reach the tie and reaped the reward of appropriate upward adjustment to his grade.

Finishing positions

Open flight

1 Jim Bast
2 Brian Cumming
3 Stuart Lawrence
4 Louis Nel
5 Patrick Little
6 Paul Emmett
Peter Westaway
Jane Beharriell

Red flight

1 David Druiett
2 Brigitte Westaway
3 Alison Streight
4 Georg Dej
5 Chris Loat
6 Bill Grimsdale
7 Ken Shipley
8 Christian Paquet
Louis Nel

Tournament Manager (jointly with Ken Shipley)




Introduction of this new method arises from our dissatisfaction with the traditional head-to-head and net points criteria. If A and B are tied on wins and A has defeated B the head-to-head criterium puts A above B. But to be tied with B it is usually the case that A lost to a player C that was beaten by B. It seems arbitrary to double the effect of the A v B game while canceling the effect of the A v C game. If A has better net points than B, this may arise mainly because a player C played a complete break against B while breaking down quickly against A. Why should the erratic form of C decide who of A and B gave better performance? In view of these considerations, we believe additional information about the players to be preferable. An additional play-off game is a natural choice, but is often impossible for lack of time. In case of a three-way tie it is even more problematic. The Minimatch approach -- like the shoot-out used in soccer -- creates additional data about relevant skills in a short time.


A minigame is a game played under Association Croquet laws subject to the following changes:

(MG1)  Two or more players can play (the tied players).

(MG2)  Each player has just one turn and is the only player on court during the turn.

(MG3)  Two balls are used: the striker ball (SB) and some other ball (OB). These are placed at starting positions indicated by ball markers. The starting positions are at the discretion of the official in charge. The same starting positions are used for all competing players.

(MG4)  There is a prescribed hoop which every competing player should attempt to run.

(MG5)  A player scores one point by roqueting the OB, playing a croquet stroke, running the prescribed hoop in the continuation stroke and then again making a roquet on the OB in the subsequent continuation stroke. A player who fails to do all this scores 0 in that minigame.

A minimatch is a succession of at least four minigames, each with its own starting positions and prescribed hoop. The minimatch score of a player is the sum of his scores in the minigames that comprise the minimatch.

Minigame N means the minigame in which Hoop N is the prescribed hoop (N = 1,2,3,4)

Typical starting positions:

Minigame 1:           SB on south boundary south of Hoop 4;

OB about 10 yards from SB on the rush line to the hoop.

Minigame 2:           SB on corner 1 spot;

OB about 1 yard north of it.

Minigame 3:           SB on corner 2 spot;

OB where it requires a significant cut-rush towards Hoop 3.

Minigame 4:           SB on corner 3 spot;

OB about 2 yards from it on the rush line to Hoop 4.

Tie-breaking procedure

The tied players initially compete in the minimatch, comprising minigames 1,2,3 and 4 described above. The order in which the competing players take their turn in minigame 1 is decided by coin toss; thereafter the order rotates systematically.

The competitor with the highest minimatch score is the winner. In case of tied minimatch scores, minigames 1, 2, 3, 4 are repeated, possibly with different starting positions, one at a time, until the tie is broken.


Starting positions are selected so as to test typical skills needed in Association croquet. If all competing players get a score of 0 for a given minigame, then the starting positions for that minigame will normally be made less challenging to the players when it has to be repeated. Similarly, when all competing players get a score of 1 the starting positions will be made more challenging when repeated.