- Author: Jim Coats
The first and last CS croquet match for June, 2008, played out under smoky skies as the Sacramento Valley coughed and blinked its watering eyes at the fifth day of pervasive smoke from 1,000+ wildfires in the north state. To conserve fuel and minimize their overall time outdoors, the players opted to play on the patch of lawn next to the CS Davis offices rather than the infinitely more playable (and aptly named) Playfields Park. The contestants thus played their round on turf that was both undermowed and overwatered, such that a clear shot at any time or at any thing was practically impossible. Balls hopped or dribbled where they pleased, thankfully passing now and then through a hoop or into a stake.
Jim Coats (red), playing one-handed as a result of his late-May bicycling encounter with a wayward loaf of French bread, took an early lead. He Kiai'd his way nearly to the halfway point with Linda Ribera (blue) and Leigh Dragoon (yellow) in close pursuit. Missed wickets were, however, the order of the day, and when Coats skipped wide of number 5, Ribera saw her chance and took the lead into the midway post. Whether because of the mid-90s heat, the haze, or toxic combustion gases in the surrouding air, however, Ribera momentarily mistook the halfway point for the finish and had launched her ball well away from wicket 10 before she realized her mistake. Coats re-took the lead then, but made another bad shot and fell back on the approach to number 12. Two very lucky strokes later, Ribera had the match. Coats finished on his next turn, and Dragoon conceded from wicket 6.
THE RESULTS: 1ST: Ribera (blue); 2ND: Coats (red); 3RD Dragoon (yellow) Game time: approx. 25 minutes
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