Millican Smashes the Pro Ceiling
Tuesday, May 9, 2017 at 8:12AM
MCA Website Admin in Billy Bob Breeden, Deborah Millican, Dylan Goodwin, Greg Adams, Lee's Summit T-Bone Tournament, MCA Nine Wicket Series, Matt Griffith

Millican on her way to the LSTB Pro Division Title

LEE'S SUMMIT, Mo. -- The MCA Pro Division now has a female player listed on the page of title champions. Deborah Millican worked through the long grass of the Lee's Summit T-Bone Tournament held this past Saturday at Howard Park in Lee's Summit to finish with a 25-9 win over Billy Bob Breeden to claim her first Pro title. It's a wonderful moment for the MCA and for croquet in general as the sport has always been marketed as gender and age equal. Scroll through that list of champions and you'll see the MCA is well represented across all demographics.


Most impressive though, Millican didn't catch any breaks on the way to her title. She had to earn it on the hard path. As projected, the two-time 9WS Champion took Block A with a 3-0 record and Billy Bob Breeden (US AC #36), fresh off his Kactus Creek AC win took Block B with a 3-0 record. In fact, Millican and Breeden met in the first round of the day with Breeden taking an 18-12 win.  But from there Millican recovered and ended up 2-1 to take the second seed in Block B.

Meanwhile, in the A Group, Matt Griffith's goal was pegouts and he took one in the first day of the game against Jodi Adams 32-20. And after a tight win over Greg Adams at 25-20, he faced Dylan Goodwin who was also 2-0 in the final game of the block and destroyed him with a 28-5 win.

Pro Finalists Deborah Millican and Billy Bob Breeden. Greg Adams (center) presented the awards. Click to ZoomInto the knockout, he steamrolled Jason Johnson 32-6 and everything was on plan for him to become the first player to repeat as the Lee's Summit T-Bone Champion. But fresh off a 19-15 first round knockout win over Greg Adams, Millican had a different plan. The first half of the game saw Millican out through the turn and Griffith saddled with a lot of deadness. In the end, Millican was able to pull off the upset with a 25-20 win and a berth in the title match.

Breeden wasn't quite running as smoothly as Griffith, but he was certainly on track as moved through to the finals after a 22-21 semifinals win over Goodwin. That game was of note in that the two players didn't use any opponent balls until well into the second half. Breeden controlled the action for the majority of the game, while Goodwin awoke just in time to make a late charge before stuffing the tying wicket in last turns.

So, Breeden headed into the finals with a 5-0 record and Millican was on a four-game win streak. Again, though Millican found the early hoops and worked out into the turn while Breeden battled deadness. She played a sound tactical deadness games and took some risks to keep one of Breeden's balls partner dead. It paid off as Breeden couldn't get an early break.

He did finally get a break with red roughly 35-40 minutes in, but it ended with a stuffed hoop at #5. There was controversy there when Goodwin intervened as a game official to stop Millican from playing blue when she should have been playing black. The intervention was called a referee error at the time and the matter has been reported to the newly formed MCA Rules and Competition Committee.

Regardless, play went on with the proper ball and Millican maintained control and never let Breeden mount a threat as she delivered with the 25-9 win. In the end, she had to run through the two toughest players in the tournament back-to-back and she delivered. 

And while the headline is that the MCA has its first MCA pro winner, Millican's win represents a victory for development across the Nine Wicket Series as she is the first player that started in the Gold Division to rise up and claim a Pro title. Upward mobility is a key for the series and the sport and her win shows that work being done in the Gold and Silver divisions can help players develop and move them to the top tier of nine wicket.



 --Dylan Goodwin

Article originally appeared on Midwest Croquet Association (
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