Busy summer for Sidmouth's croquet players

PUBLISHED: 10:00 10 July 2009 | UPDATED: 09:38 18 June 2010

David Laidler and Keith Thorley

David Laidler and Keith Thorley

Copyright Archant Ltd

This is a busy time of the year for Sidmouth Croquet Club with both Internal and League tournaments in full swing.

This is a busy time of the year for Sidmouth Croquet Club with both Internal and League tournaments in full swing. The newly introduced Singles Golf Croquet Competition is proceeding smoothly with 24 entrants of unrestricted handicap split into four groups and playing each other twice over the season.Some tournaments are more light-hearted than others, even when 'spoons' are to be won, and last Friday 12 high handicap players battled to win a Corbett Spoon, playing One-Ball - an Association Croquet game played with - yes - one ball! There were some closely-fought contests, resulting in semi-finals between Barbara Clarke and Keith Thorley and between Ann Ratcliffe and David Laidler. Keith and David made the final, which was won by the more experienced David, narrowly beating second-year player Keith.The following day, it was the turn of the low handicap players, when David Temple beat Ian Friedlander in one semi-final and Richard Mills beat Robert Hammond in the other. The final was won by David, who has now won the Corbett Spoon LH for the fourth year running!Sidmouth played host to Cornwall in the SW Golf Croquet League. This match saw an end to Sidmouth's unbroken run of success with a 14-6 defeat. Despite the poor overall result, many of the individual games were lost by only one or two points. Perhaps the best showing was by Keith Thorley, who won two of his three singles and one of his two doubles. Muriel Philpott impressed by winning one of her games with a spectacular 7-0 score.Also last week the Intermediate League team of John Dixon, Nancy Temple and Roger Hendy, travelled to Kingston Maurward on one of the hottest days of the year. As Kingston has only a single lawn, slightly under full size, it was only possible to play five games and, even so, play went on until nearly 6pm. In the morning session the doubles i of John and Nancy were well beaten, but Roger, playing a singles match, managed to win by a solitary hoop. All to play for after lunch. However, in the event, all three singles games were lost, giving an overall victory to Kingston Maurward by 4-1.Throughout the day the home team were better able to cope with the bone-hard condition of their lawn. Sidmouth are certainly spoilt in having lawns in excellent condition with the added benefit of the newly installed watering system.Although disappointed by the result, the defeat was partially offset by the pleasant surroundings, the good weather and the friendly atmosphere in which the games were played.One of Sidmouth Croquet Club's top achievements in 2008 was to win the 2nd Division of the Advanced League and thus return to compete in 2009 with the best teams in the whole of the South West of England.Sidmouth are privileged to have in their team the redoubtable Cliff Jones who plays off handicap -0.5, is a Welsh International, manager of major croquet tournaments and runner of coaching and laws courses. These commitments mean that Cliff's availability to play for Sidmouth is somewhat restricted. Nevertheless, as leading player by some measure, he has made himself available for the Advance League team, whose lack of strength in depth, however, suggests difficult times ahead. Sidmouth's team, for their first match against East Dorset, was Cliff Jones, Richard Wood, Peter Hills and Robert Hammond. Cliff and Richard each won one game. Manager, Peter Hills, declined to comment on the five defeats! Result: Sidmouth 2, East Dorset 5.On the positive side, the visitors were very complimentary about the welcome they received, the facilities and the excellent tea provided by caterer Gill Hodge.

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