Jolliff retains Sidmouth B-Level Advanced Tournament title.

07:36 31 August 2014

Sidmouth B-Level Advanced Tournament was held earlier this month, writes David Temple.

This very popular event for players with Association Croquet handicaps between eight and two was fully subscribed early in the year.

Most of the players were regulars at the event and knew each other well. Nancy Temple managed the tournament for the fifth year.

Before the action started the assembled group were asked to remember Elaine Woodward, founder and previous manager, and Michael Poole, a regular player for a number of years.

In Block A, Tim Jolliff (Taunton, handicap 1.5) won five games out of six. Peter Nelson (Sidmouth, handicap 5) was the only player in the block to beat him.

Andrew Webb (Pendle and Craven, handicap 3.5) had also won five games and so Webb and Jolliff met to determine the A block winner.

Jolliff won the game in spectacular fashion 26-0 including a triple peel.

Howard Bowron (Penrith, handicap 5) and Roger Hendy (Sidmouth, handicap 5), also did very well in the block matches with four wins each.

In Block B, Robert Moss (Bear of Rodborough, handicap 2), Peter Balchin (Dyffryn, 3) and Colin Walls (Sidmouth, 7), all won five games out of a possible six. Colin had beaten Peter B and beat Robert in the decider and so won the block.

The two block winners, Tim Jolliff and Colin Walls met in the final.

The watching cognoscenti feared that Colin (7) might be overwhelmed by Tim (handicap reduced to 1.5 from two after the allocation date).

Tim has the reputation of being very accurate. There was an interesting contrast in styles between the two players. Tim had his characteristic ‘shuffle forward’ approach to each shot and Colin was more direct with his free swinging style. Tim started well and was quickly around to four back with his first ball. Colin hit in at this stage and made some progress. The initiative was seized by each player in turn following a number of mistakes. Tim, after hitting a number of long roquets, missed a very short one in the vicinity of hoop one back and handed the innings to Colin who caught up fast and took his first ball to the peg. Tim made use of the lift and in spite of the fact that Colin had created a reasonable leave, it wasn’t good enough. Tim hit in and went round to the peg and pegged out Colin’s first ball and his own. There were now only two balls on the lawn but Tim’s second ball was on two back and Colin’s was on hoop two. Tim was able to peg out his second ball within a few turns. Colin had given an excellent account of himself and during the tournament had reduced his handicap from seven to five, a considerable achievement!

Tim had a highly successful tournament, winning the competition for the second year in succession, and with his game against Andrew Webb, which included a 26 point win and a triple peel, he qualified for the CA Gold Award.

After the end of play at least one competitor was seen to be taking instruction in the ‘Jolliff shuffle’ from Tim. Maybe it will catch on!

Peter Nelson, chairman of Sidmouth Croquet, organized the presentation of the Regency Salver and other prizes for the runner up and the fastest game.

David Temple was called in to present the trophy and prizes. The ‘fastest game’ prize was won by Peter Balchin and he received a bag of Sidmouth fudge in an attempt to slow him down! Nancy Temple was presented with a bottle of her favourite wine and the chairman thanked all the helpers associated with another very successful tournament.

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