Acclimatised to scaled down lawn
Great match with Exeter
On a bright summer’s morning, David Clarke (captain), Robert Hammond and David Temple travelled to the Exeter Croquet Club for their final game in the SW Federation League.
Exeter lawns are only 70 per cent of the normal size, so Sidmouth had to quickly become accustomed to a change in the length of their shots. Nevertheless, David Temple (handicap 7) and Robert (6) beat Syclla Blackwell (15) and Adam Wimshurst (4.5). David Clarke (5) did not do so well in the morning singles, losing 26-4 to Mark Macnair (12). Mark is only in his second year of croquet, but played excellently and should soon be a scratch player.
The afternoon session was all singles play. David Temple won 26-19, Robert 26-23 and David Clarke, after a poor start against an opponent receiving ten bisques, won 26-23. Result: Exeter 1 Sidmouth 4
l The Sidmouth Federation League team has won all its games this year and will play in the final against Budleigh Salterton.
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A very enjoyable day culminated in an excellent tea and a glass of Pimms - very civilised!
l This year’s Golf Croquet High Handicap Singles Competition for the Cunningham Salver was played out against the very audible background of the Devon v Oxfordshire County Cricket match.
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Colin Walls continued his recent strong performances with three maximum scores in qualifying, followed by a convincing win in the final. Diana Davenport put in a good performance as runner-up and managed to win four of her six games. Mention should also be made of newcomers Edward and Margaret Colman, both of whom made it to the semi-finals.
Muriel and Tony Philpott, assisted by John Coombes, are to be thanked for organising this enjoyable event.
The following day, it was the turn of the low handicapped players. Everyone came with wet weather gear only to spend a very good day, mostly in sunshine. Ken Wallman, having won all four of his block games, found himself playing Richard Mills in one semi-final, with Richard winning a tight game 7-6.
Meanwhile, the other semi-final involving Ian Friedlander and David Temple was won by David. The final was untimed and proved to be a long drawn-out affair. Both David and Richard had to work hard for their hoops, but it was David who eventually emerged the winner +2.
Hatherley Cup Competitors and the Hatherley Cup finalists Richard Mills and David Temple (winner).
The annual Sidmouth B-Level Advanced Tournament for players in the 2-8 handicap range was held over the last weekend with 16 entrants split into two blocks of eight.
Six Sidmouth players took part and had mixed fortunes.
David Temple had by far the best result in winning six of his seven games and topping Group A, while Richard Wood performed well in Group B, which was won by Jonathan Wolfe (Taunton). In the final, it was Jonathan who turned in an impressive performance to win the Regency Salver.
The competition took place under generally fine playing conditions and was ably run by Nancy Temple in her first outing as a B-Level Tournament manager. The Salver was presented by Elaine Woodward, Tournament Secretary and Chairman of the Sidmouth Croquet Club.
? Sidmouth’s Advanced Play team of Richard Wood, Ken Wallman, David Temple and Peter Hills made the long trip to Cheltenham for their final match of the season. Conditions were damp for most of the day, with light rain falling throughout the morning games.
Despite this and their early morning start, the Sidmouth team were on good form against their higher-ranked opponents.
Richard won his morning game fairly quickly and was able to retire to the clubhouse to dry out and watch the others in relative comfort.
The doubles was a ding-dong battle with David and Peter always just having the edge and eventually pegging out as time was called.
Ken was not intimidated by his strong opponent, but eventually succumbed, leaving the lunchtime score at 2-1 to Sidmouth.
In the afternoon, the rain eased and eventually the sun made a tentative appearance.
Peter played excellently to achieve a quick win, but both Richard and Ken were struggling.
Fortunately, David always seemed in control of his game and finally won to secure the match. Ken eventually went down after a good fight, but Richard recovered to record a scrappy win on time.
The final score was an excellent 5-2 victory for Sidmouth.
This was a good end to a difficult season, with Sidmouth ending on two wins from five matches. The Cheltenham team were friendly hosts and entertained their visitors with some delicious, if calorie-packed, homemade cakes. Sidmouth look forward to hosting Cheltenham next year (and enjoying the couple of extra hours in bed!).
In the Federation League, a Sidmouth team of David Clarke (captain), Ian Friedlander, Peter Hills and Richard Mills were host to a team from Cornwall.
The match was closely contested under fine playing conditions and, with all Sidmouth players winning one of their singles games, Sidmouth emerged with a 4-3 victory.
? In the Intermediate League, a Sidmouth team of John Dixon (captain), Nancy Temple and Ian Friedlander were also at home to Cornwall.
Despite their two-hour journey, the Cornwall team were soon ready for action and, in perfect sunny conditions, provided formidable opposition.
The morning doubles game saw John and Nancy narrowly lose 15-18, but Ian retrieved the situation with a 10-point win.
In the three singles games after lunch, Nancy, in top form, won 25-9 and, in so doing, improved her handicap to 11. Ian lost a closely fought game, but John managed to hold off a late challenge by his opponent to win 22-19. Result: Sidmouth 3 Cornwall 2.
? For the third League game running, Sidmouth were hosts to Cornwall Croquet Club and this time it was the turn of Muriel Philpott (captain), Pam Bowra and Peter Nelson to represent Sidmouth in a B League fixture.
Under glorious playing conditions, the morning games produced a win for each team.
The doubles pairing of Pam and Peter (playing in his first match for Sidmouth) lost, but Muriel won her singles. In the afternoon, all three Sidmouth players won, resulting in an overall 4-1 victory.
l The 14 point High Handicap Tournament was held several weeks ago with the final held over until last week.
For new members, this is the first real chance to enter an Association Croquet competition and this year it was Colin Walls and Pam Bowra who made the final, with Colin eventually turning out the winner.
Philip Harris and Alsia Dixon performed well to come second in their respective groups.
l The home Federation match against Plymouth was held last Sunday, with a Sidmouth team of David Clarke (captain), David Temple, Mike Taylor and Graham Harford looking for a third straight win.
The morning doubles pairing of Graham and Mike managed to scrape through 15-14 in a fluctuating game, but David Temple lost –3, unable to overcome his opponent’s numerous bisques.
David Clarke produced what turned out to be the best win of the day +10, bringing the lunchtime score to 2-1 in Sidmouth’s favour. The afternoon session saw three singles wins for Sidmouth with only Mike losing 21-22 in an exciting game.
Result: Sidmouth 5 Plymouth 2
l Also last weekend, four players from the Nailsea SW Golf Croquet team came to compete against six Sidmouth players.
As 20 games must be completed, Nailsea players were each involved in six games, compared to three or four for Sidmouth – thus, hopefully, not getting as tired!
At lunchtime, after two doubles and eight singles, Nailsea had a narrow 5.5 to 4.5 lead.
After lunch, unfortunately, the Sidmouth players were overwhelmed by the stronger performance of the Nailsea team, who won seven of the remaining 10 games.
Sidmouth won three of the four doubles matches, but only four of the 16 singles. Wins were by Keith Thorley, Muriel Philpott, Helen Pryor and Graeme Pryor. John Coombes drew one of his games. The final result, 12.5-7.5 in favour of Nailsea, was a fair reflection of the total hoops run (109-84).