Sidmouth players excel in the English National Golf Croquet Doubles Championship
- Credit: Archant
The first Croquet Association tournament held in the South West this year was The English National Golf Croquet Doubles Championship held at Budleigh Salterton Croquet Club last weekend, writes Philip Harris.
Due to the Covid-19 situation only 10 doubles pairs entered with players coming mostly from the South West.
Nevertheless, the standard was high with seven of the 20 players ranked in the top 50 in England.
On the Saturday all the pairs played each other with the top four pairs qualifying for the semi-final play-off.
The semi-final play-offs took place on Sunday morning.
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The first semi-final went to three games with Stuart M Smith (Sidmouth) and Steve Leonard (Winterborne Valley, Dorset) eventually beating Tim Joliff (Taunton) and John O’Gorman (Budleigh Salterton) 7-3, 4-7, 7-6.
In the second semi-final Jonathan Powe (East Dorset) and Stephen Custance-Baker (Taunton) beat Lionel Tibble (Northampton) and Louise Smith (Sidmouth) 7-4, 7-5.
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The finalists were the two top ranked pairs with Powe, Smith, Leonard and Custance-Baker individually ranked sixth, 11th, 20th and 48th respectively in England.
The Final on Sunday afternoon was an exhibition of long clearances and hoop running with Smith and Leonard winning 7-5, 7-3.
The remaining six pairs contested the consolation event on the Sunday.
The Sidmouth partnership of Philip Harris and Steve Pearson, playing in their first Championship tournament, having lost all their games on the first day, overcame their nerves to play better and win the consolation event by winning four out of the five games played.
Special mention must be made of Pearson, who, in the last game at the deciding hoop, placed his ball right in front of the hoop. Their opponents Ivor and Richard Brand (brothers from Cheltenham) both missed his ball leaving Pearson to coolly run the hoop and then celebrate with a victory jump.
Thus the four Sidmouth players had a successful weekend with Stuart M Smith winning in the final, Louise Smith reaching the semi-final and Philip Harris and Steve Pearson winning the consolation event.
The trophies and prizes were presented by Peter Nelson (Sidmouth) representing the Croquet Association.