Huneycutt wins Nationals

Posted 13 November 2011 to , by Jeff Soo

Danny Huneycutt (Lexington, NC) won the singles at the 2011 USCA National Championships, held November 6–12 at the Mission Hills Country Club in Rancho Mirage, California. He adds his first American-rules national title to the Association Croquet singles titles he won in 2005 and 2010. He will also become the first-ever -4 handicap player in the USCA system.

His opponent in the best-of-three final match was four-time winner Jeff Soo (Durham, NC), making this the fourth all-NC final since 2001. Soo reached the final with a 10-0, +228 record. Huneycutt dropped one block game and then lost to 2003 champion Doug Grimsley (Alexandria, VA) early in the playoffs. He reached the final with five successive wins in the playoffs, ending with two wins over Grimsley, and a cumulative 11-2, +172 record.

Huneycutt ended Soo’s unbeaten streak in game 1 of the final, 26-2. Soo reversed that score in game 2 to force the decider. Game 3 took on a different character as both players repeatedly attempted and failed difficult attacks and break pickups, leading to many unusual tactical situations. Huneycutt had the one clean break of the game, and held on to win 20-10.

Huneycutt’s win makes it thirteen years in a row that at least one NC croquet player has won one of the USCA’s four major national titles (singles and doubles in American rules and Association Croquet), including eight of the last twelve American-rules singles titles.