Great Britain v United Sates of America 6th – 9th August 2013
GB Retain Their Grip on the Trophy
The Solomon Trophy is an Annual International Croquet Event between GB and the USA similar to golfs Ryder Cup. Originally introduced in 1985 its aim was to improve the standard of croquet in the US the trophy was donated by the CA and named after John Solomon. The event comprises of two teams of six and they play a mixture of singles and doubles over four days. The venue fluctuates annually between the two countries and this year Hunstanton has been selected to stage this prestigious event.
On the morning of the first day of play Players and Officials gathered at the club for the opening ceremony. On a beautiful summers day with a gentle south west wind in evidence and after many weeks of hard work and preparations put in by the member the club putting on its best bib and tucker had really arisen for the occasion. After a short welcoming speech given by the Club Chairman Terry Kendal, CA Vice President Stephen Mulliner and The Town Mayor Councillor Elaine Clutton both team were introduced by their respective Captains which, was followed by a group photograph.
Front Row: GB:- Stephen Mulliner, Marcus Evans, Samir Patel (Capt), Robert Wilkinson,David Maugham, James Hopgood.
Back Row: US:- David Maloof, Robert Hurst, Doug Grimsley (Capt), Chris Patmore, Mike Taylor,Paul Bennett.
Photo by Quiller Barrett
Play than commenced which for the first day consisted of doubles only. Before an appreciative audience of spectators the GB team making it very clear that they would not be letting the trophy go without a fight building up a commanding lead by the end of the days play. In the evening the guests enjoyed a fish and chip supper in the clubhouse followed by a presentation by members of the Hunstanton Civic Society on the American connection with the town and the award of the George Medal to Reis Leming in 1953 which was well received. Despite being provided with a large pimms No 1 and wine before and during the meal, conspicuous amounts of alcoholic drinks were still consumed by both teams that the following day it became necessary to re-stock the club bar.
The second day once again basking in warm sunny weather comprised of a round of singles in which the US team did marginally better but making no head way against the first day’s lead of the GB side. It was noticeable that we attracted considerable higher public attendance this being put down to the visit of an ITV Anglia news reporter and a short report broadcast on the local channel the night before. This being a free evening with no formal events planned both teams decamped to sample the delights of the local hostelries.
The third day saw the arrival of guests Quiller Barrett President of the CA and John Solomon after whom the trophy is names. Play consisted of both doubles and singles in which again the GB side dominated retaining the trophy with one day to go.
In the evening a Tournament Dinner was held at The La Strange Arms Hotel in Old Hunstanton which was chaired by Quiller. The event was very well supported by club members and after a superb three course meal they were addressed by the Guest of Honour John Solomon who gave a very interesting a witty after dinner speech which was well received.
The fourth and last day of the event was concentrated on finishing the outstanding doubles which finished around mid-afternoon. The Club President then summed up the week in his final presentation thanking all those who had worked so hard to make the tournament a outstanding success. Each player was then presented with a metal club badge to commemorate their visit. This was responded to by Stephen Mulliner CA Vice President who also thanked the club for making their facilities available and the hospitality shown to all the players and officials. Finally, the Trophy was presented by John Solomon to the Captain of the victorious GB team Samir Patel who also responded with grateful thanks to the club for organising such a splendid tournament and making his task as manager so much easier.