Cutthroats take over in Bath tournament

Published 8:32 pm Saturday, May 11, 2013



BATH – They may be decked out in civilized gear, but their play is anything but. It’s cutthroat.

Surrounded by the festivities of Bath Fest, Beaufort County Community College Foundation’s 10th annual Cutthroat Croquet Tournament will take place on the grounds of Bath’s Bonner House Saturday. Tournament proceeds fund one or more BCCC scholarships to Bath and Belhaven students; scholarships that memorialize two outstanding Bath residents: Dot and John Tankard — Dot, Historic Bath State Historic Site’s first manager; and John, operations manager of the Bath outdoor drama “Blackbeard: Knight of the Black Flag” for 9 of the 10 seasons it ran.

While the cause may be good, according to BCCC Foundation Director Judy Jennette, the play can get pretty wicked.

“Cutthroat is every man for themselves,” Jennette laughed.

Every year, an average of 40 players show up to knock the competition out, then sit down to a nice civilized luncheon at noon, only to go right back at it again. And if there are plenty of players, there are plenty more spectators, said Jennette.

“They just kind of walk around and watch. It’s pretty funny the way people are fascinated by watching it, cheering people on,” Jennette said. “It seems like people are really intrigued by it.”

If the pitiless play is a little too hard to swallow for newcomers, Jennette said there is room for the less-experienced players in the Rapscallion flight.

“That’s why we created two flights. The more aggressive players tended to wipe out the less aggressive players kind of early,” she explained. “This way everyone gets to play at least three games.”

First round is mainly a practice round so that players can get a feel for the grass conditions; second round, competitors are playing to move on (and be placed) in the next. It’s after lunch that the competition gets fierce, said Jennette.

While golfers tend to get the hang of it more easily, Jennette said the game is based on more than skill: “Sometimes it’s just pure luck. There’s skill and strategy — it’s sort of like playing billiards on grass.”

For those new to the game, coaches are provided.

Prizes are given for the top four finalists in each flight; top prize, a croquet set valued at $350 for the Cutthroat Flight winner.

Cost to participate in the tournament is $35 per player; $20 per spectator. Both prices include lunch by Chef Paul Cyr. Registration is required for both by May 15.

For more information about the tournament, call 252-940-6326 or email Marcia Norwood at



$35 per player; $20 per spectator (includes luncheon). Players and spectators must register

by May 15.

9 a.m. Practice course opens

9:30 a.m. Play begins

12 p.m. Luncheon buffet

5 p.m. By 5 p.m. all play is usually wrapped up, prizes awarded