Talented croquet players at Sidmouth

PUBLISHED: 14:21 15 June 2012

John Coombes and Marian Harris

John Coombes and Marian Harris

Copyright: Colin Walls 2009

The annual High Handicap Tournament was played on Tuesday in benign weather and the fast lawns caught out some players who had become accustomed to more swamp-like conditions, writes Colin Walls.

Combined with the rapid-play format (only one hour 20 minutes per game) scores were low in the morning. However, by the afternoon players were in the swing and scores improved. The two blocks were won by John Coombes and Marian Harris and the final between them was played with a good audience. Harris has found a new confidence this year and stormed ahead, running some difficult hoops with relaxed efficiency. Coombes struggled to get going and had only run one hoop after an hour's play. Although he then began to run hoops, it was too late and Harris won comfortably by eight hoops; a popular victory for the club's social secretary.

●Croquet players from all over the country converged on Sidmouth for the Mid-Summer Tournament.

In spite of some appalling weather, the combination of players with true British grit and groundsmen with giant sponges, saw the event successfully completed.

The Handicap Goblet was won in fine style by newcomer Roger Mills, who, along the way, earned a Croquet Association Bronze Award for completing a 10 hoop break and saw his handicap reduced from 14 to 12 (much to the relief of his future opponents).

The Dwerryhouse Cup, however, went to old-timer Peter Miller. Miller had a couple of years off from croquet, came back to find his swing didn't work any more, and courageously rebuilt it from the ground up into a dangerous weapon. He dominated his section and won all his games, in the process reducing his handicap from 14 to 12.

The David Rawkins Cup was dominated from start to finish by Roger Hendy. His play has progressed to a new level this season; he won all his games, earned a Croquet Association Silver Award for completing a 12 hoop break, and reduced his handicap from 7 to 6.

The top section, for the Challenge Cup, featured last year's winner Ian Mantle (ranked 369 in the world) who started well by beating local player Mike Taylor by 25 hoops. Taylor kept his nerve and won all his other games to win the section, and reduced his handicap from 5 to 4.5.

This is the first time that all sections of this tournament have been won by local players, so congratulations to the Sidmouth Croquet Club for nurturing so much talent.


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