2019 Big Oyster Tournament Report

by Macey White · 6 October 2019

2019 Big Oyster Tournament Report
2019 Big Oyster Tournament Report photo of participants Photo by Macey White

The 2019 Big Oyster at the Chesapeake Bay Croquet Club was a unique and interesting experience. This was Chesapeake’s first one-day tournament and turnout was good. 22 players total. 8 came from St. John’s College in Annapolis, 7 from West River Wickets in Maryland, 5 from Chesapeake Bay and 2 from North Carolina.

This 6-wicket tournament was conducted in a modified-Swiss format. The Swiss is a non-eliminating tournament format. This tournament featured five rounds of competition. In round 1, competitors played opponents of similar estimated handicap. In later rounds, players were paired based on win-loss records and players did not play the same opponent more than once. Starting in the third round, there was a standard 8 person knockout embedded in the Swiss which was used to decide the top 8 places. Players were selected for the knockout based on their performance in the first two games. Interestingly, 7 of the 8 were from the original top 8 seeds. The surprise was beginner, and bottom seeded Steve Thurston made it in with two wins and no losses.

The Swiss-system is a great format for a tournament that does not want to eliminate players when they lose, allow a wide range of handicaps and allow players of similar ability to play one another while still doing a good job of determining the overall winner. In this tournament there were 22 players and 5 rounds of competition. Any player wanting to win the tournament simply had to win 5 games. All players were assigned 4 matches and given the option of playing a 5th. Other than the two players in the finals (who had to play a 5th) about half of the participants decided to play the 5th game which counted for the overall standings. After each game, playing assignments were made for the next game, based on win loss record, avoiding repeat matchups, and minimizing matchups between players from the same club. It was a big task for the tournament directors to get these matchups made between games but Macey White did it and everyone had a good time.

One thing about this format is that there must be an even number of participants to make it work and all games need to start on time. Thanks go to all of the players for helping to make this work!

Lee Jorde, was the tournament director and he came up with the idea for the tournament. Macey White was the assistant TD and did the pairings. The idea behind the one-day was to attract players who are otherwise busy during the week. People who work, students and players who just didn’t want to tie up a whole weekend to croquet were happy with the format. In addition, it seems to be easier to encourage new players to play in a one-day tournament than in a longer tournament. This tournament had 8 players who had never played a sanctioned 6-wicket tournament before.

CBCC charged only $25 to enter the tournament and provided lunch. In the future CBCC will probably charge $40 to allow for better trophies and have a discounted price of $25 for students.

After the second round, seedings were made for the embedded 8 player “knockout” which decided the top 8 finishing positions. Players who got knocked out of the “knockout” continued to play in the tournament like everyone else. It was no surprise that upcoming star Tom Balding from St. John’s was 1st seed. Local favorite Rick Darnell was seeded 2nd followed by Sean Miller (St. John’s), Carl Johnson (CBCC), Steve Thurston (CBCC), Rodney Lassiter (NC), Jared Bassmann (St. John’s) and Lee Jorde (West River and CBCC). In the first round of the embedded KO Lee Jorde had a surprise upset over Tom Balding in a game that featured several long breaks and few mistakes. Carl Johnson bested fellow CBCC’er Steve Thurston in a close match, Sean Miller beat Rodney Lassiter by 1 point Jared Bassman beat Rick Darnell. So in the first round or the embedded KO, the two favorites were defeated. In the Semi’s, Lee Jorde beat Carl Johnson and Sean Miller beat Jared Bassman by one point to set up the Jorde/Miller final. The final game was a spectators delight with the lead going back and forth until Sean Miller finally prevailed in the end.

Everyone had a great time and all are checking their calendars to select another date to do this again. The order of finish was decided by the embedded knockout and then by win loss record for those not in the “knockout”.


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