In a year of U.S. Croquet Association-sanctioned tournament cancellations due to the pandemic, this year’s Rochester Invitational segued to a one-day, singles only tournament to draw in more regional players at a lesser entry fee.
With Tyler Hathaway flying in by gyroplane from Clermont, there was a field of 11 players vying for the limited edition watercolor prints this year.
Paul Neubecker, of Buffalo, swept block play undefeated in Championship Flight. While handily winning against Rich Laging, of Rochester, 22-12 in block play, with permission of tournament director Rich Curtis, the two elected to skip their second game and go to finals play. Lighting up the courts in finals, Laging won 26-15.
In First Flight, Bob Gannon, of Buffalo, went undefeated in block play and maintained his perfect record winning finals 18-16 against Peter Sherer, of Rochester.
The real surprise of the day was in Second Flight. A newcomer to the sport and never having played in a USCA tournament, Beth Nash, of Spencerport, lost 16-26 and 11-26 to Bill Vrooman, of Lewiston, in block play, only to take first in finals against him with a 23-22 defeat.
The final results, starting from first place, were Laging, Neubecker and Hathaway in the Championship Flight; Gannon, Peter Sherer, Peter Bowers, Sue Sherer and Linda Bowers in the First Flight; and Nash, Vrooman and Denise Ireland in the Second Flight.
The tournament was hosted at the Rochester Croquet Club, a sports ministry of First Bible Baptist Church at Grace & Truth SportsPark in Hilton. Call (585) 474-3753 or visit roccroquet.org for information.