Treat to watch class players
Sidmouth Croquet Club hosted their annual heat of the National Golf Croquet Singles Championship last weekend .
Sidmouth hosted their annual heat of the National Golf Croquet Singles Championship last weekend when 16 top-class players from as far apart as Durham and the Isle of Wight gave two days of scintillating play under rather cold and blustery conditions. Sidmouth's Tony Dustan-Smith and Ian Friedlander found themselves up against stiff opposition and were unable to reach the latter stages of the competition, though several of Ian's defeats were very close affairs.The best-of-three final was played on Sunday between Ivor Brand of Worcester and Ryan Cabble of Nailsea. This was a fascinating battle between experience and youth with Ivor being a scratch player and Ryan, aged 16, improving rapidly with a performance which will undoubtedly result in a lowering of his handicap from three to two. Nailsea have had some success in recruiting younger players and this is something that Sidmouth would very much like to emulate.In the event, Ivor came out the winner 7-3, 4-7, 7-6 in a match that was of very high quality and which could have gone either way. Ivor will go forward to the final at Hurlingham in September. The Plate competition on the second day was won by Timothy King from Ashby, who was one of the Tournament favourites, having reached the final two years ago.Feedback from the players was positive and confirmed that Sidmouth's playing surfaces and facilities are well up to the high standard required at this level of competition - for this club members can thank the work done by groundsman Colin Whitehall, caterer Gill Hodge and David Temple et alia for hoop-setting duties.l On Monday, Sidmouth were home to one of their regular Association friendlies against Budleigh Salterton. The weather was unsettled throughout the day and the start was delayed to allow water to clear from the lawns. In the past, this fixture has often been closely-fought, but on this occasion Sidmouth performed heroically, coming out winners 12-4. This is a good season warm-up for the players, with the teams deliberately chosen to represent a wide range of handicap levels.l April also saw a group of 14 doctors and dentists from East Anglia descend on Sidmouth for their annual sporting break. This was their second visit and they played some Golf Croquet games with local players joining in. The weather was fine and the guests thoroughly enjoyed themselves. It is intended to hold a mini-competition next year, playing for a unique trophy provided by the visitors themselves.