Leading up to the start of the third quad of this year’s States Shield event, there was some uncertainty if it was actually going to happen. Two weeks out, the Illinois team of previous years had to be reorganized due to work and schedule conflicts and thankfully Jeff Lee of Chicago was able to secure Matt Brown and George Saad for the team.
One week out the players got the word that the Minnesota team had to withdraw due to schedule conflicts, however, with the Indiana, Wisconsin, and Illinois teams intact, the Midwest Quad was able to go on.
If you ever find yourself in the Chicago area, I highly recommend checking out the Prairie Lights Croquet Club located an 1-1/2 hour drive southwest of the city. You feel as though you’ve literally stepped into the movie Field of Dreams. I couldn’t help but think, “build it and they will come!” Owner Mickey Huttenhoff meticulously maintains the lawn to superb condition and he, along with his wife Ronnie, are the most gracious of hosts.
Play got underway Friday evening with temperatures still hovering in the 90s. Once the sun went down and the lights went on, the first test match between Illinois and Wisconsin battled on until 11:00 p.m.
The Wisconsin duo of Mary Feind and Cheryl Bromley got things rolling with a solid doubles win, followed by Bob Feind’s (WI) singles victory over George Saad (IL). Bromley (WI) took out Matt Brown (IL) and Wisconsin found itself with an early 3-0 match lead.
Illinois followed up with two singles wins to close the gap with both Saad (IL) and Jeff Lee (IL) defeating Mary Feind (WI). Bob Feind (WI) then pulled out a clutch win over Brown (IL) hitting a one-handed backwards jump shot at hoop #13 to snag his match. The last match of the evening between Bromley and Saad had more theatrics as Bromley scored two hoops in one shot when she hit a jump shot over Saad’s ball in the jaws at hoop #1 with the momentum carrying her ball through hoop #2.
Wisconsin finished up the night with a 5-2 test lead needing just one more match in the morning to win the test. Saturday’s games started off with Lee’s (IL) victory over Bob Feind (WI). It was looking as though Illinois would grab another win as Brown (IL) held the lead in his match until the 13th hoop when Mary Feind (WI) managed to score the winning hoop and the test for Wisconsin. Bromley’s (WI) win over Lee (IL) was icing on the cake.
Next up, Wisconsin faced another tough team from Indiana and would need to pull off another 6 match wins to take the Test and win the overall Quad. Bromley and M. Fiend (WI) started with a 7-6 doubles win over Russ Dilley and Michael Leaming (IN) followed by another stellar singles win by Bob Feind (WI) over Mark Troiano (IN). Bromley (WI) also defeated Troiano (IN) while Dilley (IN) took down Bob Feind (WI). Wisconsin now had a 3-1 match lead. Dilley (IN) went on to defeat Mary Feind (WI) and Bromley (WI) closed out a match with Leaming (IN) keeping Wisconsin in the lead 4-2. Bob Feind (WI) skillfully got past Leaming (IN) and now it was M. Feind’s 7-6 win over Troiano (IN) that sealed the deal for the Wisconsin win. Bromley (WI) and Dilley (IN) faced off in an encore match with Bromley coming out on top.
With a few hours of travel between them, Indiana and Illinois opted not to do a playoff for second and third place. Wisconsin’s team will now head to Tulsa, Oklahoma in August to compete in a national semi-final showdown with Colorado, Florida, and Missouri.
Individual game scores may be found at https://croquetscores.com/2019/gc/croquet-network-midwest-states-shield-quad