Closely fought croquet battle

PUBLISHED: 10:52 04 June 2010 | UPDATED: 14:03 18 June 2010

Sidmouth with Cedar Park

Sidmouth with Cedar Park

Following a difficult season in the top division last year, Sidmouth s advance play team are hoping for more success this time in the lower division (known as the Parkstone Qualifier).

Following a difficult season in the top division last year, Sidmouth's advance play team are hoping for more success this time in the lower division (known as the Parkstone Qualifier).

They began their campaign on a sunny morning at the Fortfield against Cedar Park of Bristol.

On paper, Sidmouth's team of Cliff Jones, Richard Wood, Richard Mills and David Temple, had a slight edge over their visitors and Sidmouth got off to a great start in the morning session with Cliff and Richard Wood winning their singles games fairly comfortably.

Richard Mills and David, meanwhile, were engaged in a long and closely-fought doubles clash, with neither side able to dominate.

After well over three hours' play, it was decided to adjourn this game so that the afternoon singles could be started.

David's singles game was further delayed when his opponent managed to toss the coin into the gutter of Lawn 3 hut. Croquet players understand the value of money and the coin was rapidly retrieved, allowing play to get under way.

Cliff again showed his class to win quickly, making the score 3-0 to Sidmouth, who now only needed to win one further game for the match. However, the remaining singles games were all rather scrappy affairs and Cedar Park seemed to have the edge in all three. After a break to enjoy Gill Hodge's excellent tea, the captains agreed to impose a time limit on the singles games, since it was looking likely that the adjourned morning doubles would need to be completed to decide the match.

Richard Wood and David were duly defeated, but Richard Mills, energised by an extra teatime scone, managed to claw his way back to level when time was called, in a game that had looked all over for him just a couple of turns earlier.

To the great relief of the Sidmouth players (and possibly of the visitors' driver), Richard scored the "golden hoop" in extra time, to make the match score an unassailable 4-2 to Sidmouth. The teams agreed to abandon the adjourned doubles so that the players could get back to their homes. A good start to the season for the Sidmouth team and an enjoyable day was had by all.

lThe Sidmouth team of Ian Friedlander (captain), John Dixon, Graham Harford and Keith Thorley took the short journey over to Budleigh Salterton for an Intermediate League match, played under dry and sunny conditions with a cooling breeze. The usual format of one doubles and two singles in the morning and four singles in the afternoon was followed. Unfortunately, it did not turn out to be a good day for Sidmouth, although the morning session began well with Ian and John winning the doubles by the tightest of margins +1 and Keith overcoming his opponent +11.

The afternoon, however, failed to produce a Sidmouth win, though Graham and John only lost by -1 and -2 respectively.

Result: Budleigh Salterton 5, Sidmouth 2.

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