Sidmouth players deliver the goods at National Seniors Croquet Championships at Budleigh


- Credit: Archant

More than 40 players gathered at Budleigh Salterton Croquet Club for this hard fought competition that began on July 16, and continued in hot (and very hot!) sunny conditions until Sunday 21, writes Charles Townshend.

A number of players from local clubs took the opportunity to enter since next year the event will be held in Sussex after its three years here in Devon. The courts became increasingly fast as the week went on and proved quite a challenge but the complete lack of rain was welcomed by everyone except the Grounds Team who battled to see that all ten courts had a ration of water each night.

Play began on Tuesday with the Doubles. Twenty-eight players were involved and first round winners continued in a knock out to the X final in which Ken Wallman and Mike Taylor of Sidmouth saw off the challenge of Alan Cottle and Avril Rangini Machiavelli to earn the right to hold the CA Cups. The first round losers entered the Y competition and local pairing Barbara Thompson and Charles Townshend overcame Adrian Kirby and Wendy Dominguez and went off happy with bottles of wine!

The Open Handicap began on Wednesday in the same XY format. Peter Miller of Sidmouth used his bisques to great advantage and reached the final where he beat Ken Wallman (over here from Australia though formerly living in Sidmouth). Peter’s reward was the Quiller Cup. The Y event was won by another Peter from Sidmouth, Peter Hills, who succeeded in winning over Jane Hull from Cheltenham.

The main event was the Class competition where groups of players with similar handicaps played Level Advanced games in blocks with each person meeting all the others during the rest of the week. The A block had ten members (ranging from minus one to 1.5 in the handicap list) This meant that nine games had to be played and the final result could only be decided after all the games were played by teatime on Sunday. David Magee from Cheltenham was tied on seven wins apiece with Simon Hathrell and clearly ahead of the next two on five wins. David carried off the Trevor Williams Cup on the strength of his victory over Simon plus 16. In the B block with eight players a three way tie at the top with six wins each for Mary Knapp and local members Tony Bower and Chris Donovan. The verdict went to Mary who had scored 76 points (net) while Chris managed 64 and Tony 41. Her reward was the Colin Hemming Cup.

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The C block (also eight) gave victory (and the de Ansorena Cup) to Roger Hendy of Sidmouth who had six wins with Richard Williamson and David Temple close behind. In the D block, with players handicapped from six to nine, produced a clear win for Wayne Wiseman who notched up 80 points in his clean sweep of victories and collected the most modern trophy given in memory of Nigel Graves. The E block of seven players, was played on handicap and another clear winner in Jackie Hardcastle of Budleigh who managed a total of 40 points in her five victories.

Under Julie Horsley’s able and experienced management play came to an end by Sunday teatime with a prize giving in which Brian Shorney spoke on behalf of the CA to thank the members of the club for hosting the event and providing excellent lawns and perfect setting for the event. Players were warm in their appreciation of the food and drink provided at lunch time, tea time coffee time and the admirable Tournament Dinner. The flag came down once again to mark the end of another successful and enjoyable occasion.

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