Croquet, not known as the most competitive or interesting of games, had a re-birth as Chancellor battled Chancellor, Vice-Chancellor battled Vice-Chancellor and Sports Union President battled, well, you get the picture. In the end, Lancaster emerged victorious.
Set on the final day of the Roses tournament, loyal supporters huddled together against the wind as the powers-that-be of both Lancaster and York battled, not for points, but for pride. The usually low-key game of croquet was elevated by the presence of YSTV, URY and Nouse all keen to get a few words with the competitors. Sadly, the dignitaries tended to be too involved in actually attempting to understand the intricacies of the game to provide the hungry media with sound bites.
The match was intense. Drunk York supporters entered into what could only be described as a verbal sword-fight with the last Lancastrians who had managed to hold out against the depressing lack of action and grim weather. Megaphones were used, pints were thrown and leggings were removed, but the York-Lancaster croquet game went on.
After a nail-bitingly tense hour and a half (remember it took 30 minutes for Alex Lacy to figure how to set the thing up), Lancaster Vice Chancellor Paul Wellings displayed impressive levels of mallet-wielding skills and did what professional croquet players describe as “scoring a rover hoop”. Or maybe a “run a hoop”. Or potentially a “rush”. Either way, they won.
Croquet, long the chosen competitive sport of lawn parties and little girls, finally entered the major leagues on Sunday afternoon. The bitter sting of the loss will stay with an understandably distraught Greg Dyke until opportunity for revenge arises next year at Roses 2010 in Lancaster.