We - being Colleen Reynolds, Gaynor and I who had played in The Vets plus Jayne - arrived in Wanganui in time for a glass or two of wine before dinner on Friday evening. We were staying with Gill and Betty in their two houses in Wanganui.
Jayne collecetd us from The Vets in Lucy her van (a van being what we call a van in the UK with windows and seats). Jayne was, as she constantly reminded us, too young to play in The Vets. Jayne and Colleen are usually partners but Gaynor had partnered Colleen at The Vets and I had a local lady as a partner. Gaynor had invited me to partner her at Wanganui.
The first day of play was the Handicap Singles. There were two divisions for players with handicaps of 6 to 12. Mine is 6. The top players were in a separate 0 -5 division. I won my division with 6 wins and a draw (we ran out of time). Colleen Stephens - a lady from our Club who is one of the top Association players but who hadn't played a lot of Golf Croquet competitions recently - won the other 6 -12 division. So we played each other in the final: my first tournament final play-off and against one of the icons of Hawkes Bay Croquet and in front of an audience. That was daunting.
I'm not a nervous person but the start of the game was hard and my only thought was "Please don't let it be a whitewash". My opponent was brilliant and actually spent the first few minutes settling me down - she even was kind enough to point out that I was about to play the wrong ball. I then put my ball about 6" from the second hoop. From the length of the court she knocked it away (her Association skill and experience showing). I really do regret that I called her a bandit. The final result was a 7:6 win for Colleen. The better player had won and I hadn't disgraced myself. All in all a Good Day.
After going home to change we went to the St John's Club for the evening with a large group of the other players. I can tell anyone who is in their 40s that until you've been out with a gang of ladies in their 60s, 70s and 80s who have just spent 7 hours on a croquet lawn and probably each walked well over 3 miles in the blazing sun, you have no idea how fit some people of that age are and just what a riot they can be on a night out.
Yes it was a very Good Day.
Sunday was not such a successful day but, hey, it was a day playing croquet so that's ok.