Congratulations to Begoña Elzaburu, from Spain, winner of the 2022 European Women's GC Championship.
The first ever Women's European Golf Croquet Championship took place in Latvia between Thursday 30th June to Sunday 3rd July 2022. The event was played across two venues: the Ikskile Croquet Club (IKK), Vecnorinu iela 18, Ikskile, LATVIA, where there are three full size courts, and a satellite venue in Sigulda with one full size court.
Latvia surprised the foreign players not only by perfect lawns, excellent organisation, and warm hospitality, but also by tropical temperatures of 30 degrees and above. There was not a single drop of rain during the four days of the games, although the lawns were flooded by a sudden thunderstorm just a few hours before the opening ceremony.
Among 28 players from 7 countries, 5 countries were represented by their women’s ranking leaders, Jane Morrison from Ireland being the top seeded player with DGrade just over 2000.
Spain was represented by 10 players, Latvia benefited from the host country status and was able to enter 6 players.
Players were seeded into 4 blocks of 7, and top 4 players of each block were promoted to the main knock-out. After the block stage, there were 6 Spanish, 5 Latvian, two English, two Irish, and one Swiss player among the top 16.
There have been several surprises during the Championship. Sabine Martinsone, from Latvia, won the Shield trophy having been seeded just number 19. Rocio Mato, from Spain, was seeded number 27, and finished 8th. At the same time, the third seed missed the knock-out, and the number one seed lost in the first round of the knock-out.
The first semi-final on Sunday morning between Paz Gonzalez de Aguilar, from Spain, and Michelle Leonard, from England, finished relatively early in two games in favour of Paz with 7/5, 7/6. Another semi-final between Begoña Elzaburu, from Spain, and Silvija Freimane, from Latvia, required 3 games and lasted over 4 hours before Begoña secured an all-Spanish final by beating Silvija 7/6, 6/7, 7/5.
The final match presented some high-quality croquet, however Begoña gave very few chances to her friend and opponent Paz, beating her in two games 7/4 and 7/5.
The third-place match between Silvija and Michelle was the last one to finish before the awards ceremony could start. Silvija secured a victory in two games, 7/4 and 7/6.
Another two young Latvian players, Sabine Martinsone and Tania Varsa, won the Shield and Plate trophies respectively, and the top seeded Jane Morrison, from Ireland, won the Bowl.
The Championship has contributed greatly to promotion of croquet. There have been a number of interviews on printed media, two rather long stories on television, and non-stop streaming of the games throughout the days.
The Opening ceremony was attended by three Ambassadors. The Spanish Ambassador also arrived on the final day to watch the finals and awards ceremony.
Apart from the opening and closing ceremonies, the was a river cruise on Thursday night and an official dinner on Saturday night.
According to the forward calendar of the WCF, the next Women’s GC European Championship is scheduled to take place in 2024.
Report by Roberts Stafeckis
Winner: Begoña Elzaburu from Spain, Runner Up: Paz Gonzalez De Aguilar from Spain, 3rd Silvija Freimane from Latvia, Shield Winner - Sabine Martinsone Latvia, Bowl Winner - Jane Morrison from ireland and Plate winner, Tania Varsa from Latvia.