Croquet Classic opens with top-notch players



Doug VanGorder, above, takes a shot from the far side of the croquet court on the first day of the Claremont Hotel’s annual Croquet Classic. VanGorder lost to Luke Fox 32-6, with Fox receiving the highest possible score in a singles match. ISLANDER PHOTO BY MATT MITTERHOFF

Doug VanGorder, above, takes a shot from the far side of the croquet court on the first day of the Claremont Hotel’s annual Croquet Classic. VanGorder lost to Luke Fox 32-6, with Fox receiving the highest possible score in a singles match. ISLANDER PHOTO BY MATT MITTERHOFF

SOUTHWEST HARBOR — The first day of the Croquet Classic at the Claremont Hotel here saw great performances from veteran players, with one match-up won by a 15-year-old who got the highest possible score.

The day began at 8 a.m. with a doubles match between Don Whalen and Doug VanGorder and the team of Paul Madeira and Wes Day. Madeira and Day won by a score of 19 wickets to 15 wickets.

Later, VanGorder lost to 15-year-old Luke Fox, with Fox receiving the highest possible score in a singles match of 32 wickets. VanGorder only passed through six.

Luke is a member of the legendary Fox family, who is known at the Claremont for placing first and second in many singles and doubles tournaments over the past couple of years. Last year, Luke’s mother, Ellen, and brother Will came in first in the doubles competition.

Up next was a singles match between Whalen and Alan Madeira, who serves as President of the Clark Point Croquet Company. Madeira defeated Whalen 30 wickets to 10.

There were two singles matches in the mid-afternoon time slot: Rick Slagter against Holly Hosmer, and Ellen Fox against Andrew Fox. Slagter defeated Hosmer 16-9, and Andrew Fox defeated Ellen Fox 17-15.

The rest of the day consisted of one doubles and three singles matches. The team of Geoff Schuller and Hosmer was defeated by Ellen and Luke Fox, 11-10.

In the singles matches, Dave Fox beat Randall McAndrews 24-11; Dave Nelson defeated Skip Strong 30-14; and Will Fox defeated Schuller 19-16.

Schuller said that losing to one of the Foxes by three wickets is quite the feat for anyone.

“My goal is every year to outfox the Foxes,” he said. “I can’t, they’re good … my God.”

This year, the tournament attracted 17 singles players and 11 doubles teams, which is below the typical turnout. These players and teams will compete until Saturday, when the singles and doubles championships will be held between those that make it through the tournament.

The Claremont plays with double elimination, meaning that a player or team can come back from a single loss if they are able to defeat another player or team twice.

This bodes well for the players and teams who lost last weekend.

The Claremont welcomes spectators to come and watch the match-ups until the end of the tournament, especially those who wish to learn about the game.

“This is hard to understand from a rulebook,” Alan Madeira said. “You kind of have to see it in action.”

Matt Mitterhoff

Matt Mitterhoff

Matt Mitterhoff

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