Roehampton played host to the inaugural European Club League final. Six teams had won through qualifying heats across Europe to be represented CERN (Switzerland), Dulwich (England), Ealing (England), Ikskile (Latvia), Roehampton (England) and Sherry (Spain).
The all-play-all tournament was exceedingly closely fought. Each four player match was played to a best of 10 format (2 doubles, 8 singles) and the largest scoreline achieved in any match was 8-2. The final round pitted all the teams against their closest rivals. CERN beat Ealing to secure 5th place and Ikskile beat Sherry to come 3rd.
The deciding match was a close affair with Dulwich only needing to draw the match to win the title, after Roehampton had only managed to draw with Sherry the previous evening. Dulwich took a quick 3-1 lead but Roehampton were able to peg this back to 3-3 before the final round of singles. Andrew Hobbs scored first for Dulwich, beating Mark van Loon, at hoop 13 to leave Dulwich needing just one of the remaining three games for the title. However, Joel Taylor and Nick Yates beat Guy Scurfield and Johnny Claxton respectively to make in 5-4 to Roehampton. With Pierre Beaudry leading 6-3 against Tim Russell it was still looking good for Dulwich but Tim managed to take the game to the golden hoop. Tim had the first two attempts from 4 yards 45 degrees and the boundary but the second failure left Pierre a 2 yard hoop to secure the title for Dulwich.
The lawns at Roehampton were in excellent condition for the time of year and they extended excellent hospitality towards all the visitors, including hosting a tournament meal on the Saturday evening.
And next year - 2024:
The event is aimed at club sides from all over Europe. Next year there will be qualifying heats in, Carrickmines (Dublin, Ireland), Ealing (London, England), Hambury (Germany), Ikskile (Riga, Latvia), Novo Sancti Petri (Cadiz, Spain) and Telc (Czechia), leading into the Grand Final. Full details will be sent to national associations and made available on the WCF website in the coming months.
Congratulations to Dulwich
The 2023 European Club League Champions
Dulwich 4 wins, 1 draw
Roehampton 3 wins, 2 draws
Ikskile 3 wins
Sherry 2 wins, 1 draw
Ealing 0 wins
Full results can be found here https://croquetscores.com/2023/gc/european-club-cup-finals