My partner for the Rose Gardens Doubles Tournament in Palmerston North was Zoe: A fifteen year old with huge potential to go all the way in New Zealand croquet and who has dropped in handicap from a 12 to a 10 in the last few weeks. I don't think I have ever played with anyone with whom I've had a greater understanding. We seemed instinctively to know what each of us required from the other. We won the Tournament without dropping a single game. It was exceptionally rewarding.
At one stage I was flagging. I'd played a hard week in the Nationals and this was our fifth or six game of the day. I was walking up the lawn towards my ball when Zoe came up behind me and casually said "Come on Graham. Lift your game." Had any other partner said that to me I'd probably have been slightly miffed. As it was it seemed to be so natural. It lightened me and, guess what, I lifted my game. I now need a little Zoe to sit on my shoulder whenever I'm down in a match to remind me.