High-ranking players at Sidmouth
SixteeN high-ranking golf croquet players from all over the country competed for the Haste Cup in Sidmouth on a wet and windy weekend.
The players, with handicaps ranging from scratch to five came to Sidmouth from as far afield as Dyffryn, Worcester and Sussex to play in this important Croquet Association tournament, which is a qualifying round for the prestigious Ascot Cup played at the Hurlingham Club in September. This was played in two American blocks 'all play all', with everyone playing seven 19-point games.
The weather on Saturday was cold, windy and, at times, wet. By the end of the day six of the seven rounds had been played. During Saturday night the wind and the heavy rain came resulting in only one court (out of four) being fit to play for use on Sunday. This caused a problem and the tournament manager, Helen Pryor, made the decision that only the matches that were vital for getting to the semi-finals would be played. The semi-finals were shortened to one 19 point game instead of the 'best of three' 13 point games. Ryan Cabble (Nailsea, aged 19) beat Nicholas Cheyne (Surbiton) 10-7 and William Ormerod (East Dorset & Swanage) beat Richard Brooks ( Sussex CCC) 8-7. The latter game was very close and was decided by a 'Golden Hoop'.
The Final - 'best of three' 13 point games - between Ryan Cabble and William Ormerod was very exciting, and eventually won by Cabble.
Many of the other players stayed to watch this in not very good conditions.William won the first game in record time 7 - 4: Ryan easily won the second game 7 - 5; but the final game was a real fight and lasted almost as long as the 2 previous games put together. Eventually Ryan won the game 7-5, the match (2-1) and the tournament. Ryan was presented with the Haste Cup by the Croquet Club chairman, Elaine Woodward, and the runner-up William received a bottle of wine.
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A mention must be made of the sterling work of Philip Harris who spent most of the tournament on his knees in the rain adjusting the hoops which, because of the rather damp conditions, kept being knocked out of alignment. Thanks also to the Tournament Secretary, Derek Powell, and Referee, Ian Friedlander.
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