From the Croquet Gazette - 14 May 1914
Sidmouth croquet tournament for 1914 is a thing to talk about. Why? Because the little seaside place was looking at its best, all the orchards in full bloom and lashings of cider in the pavilion. The ground overlooks the sea, and with the Dreadnoughts buzzing about and Brixham trawlers, what more could you want, except good lawns which we have thanks to the good spadework done by Tate (The Groundsman) in the winter, and a fair entry; yet we could do with more.
Next year our worst lawn is to be levelled up, and we then challenge any of the Irish contingent to take the floor with us. Before I forget it I must remark that the sun had no need to buck about the way he gazed on us. With the good hotels and lodgings one wonders why the cracks don't pay us a visit, to say nothing of through trains from London.
We used to have a Devon County team!!
The legendary Humphrey Osmond Hicks [1904 - 1986] was a member at Sidmouth. He dominated the croquet world from the 1930s to the 1950s, winning 45 national titles:
President’s Cup six times: 1930, 1947, 1948, 1951, 1954 & 1961
The Open Championship seven times: 1932 1939, 1947, 1948, 1949, 1950 & 1952
The Men's Championship nine times: 1930, 1932, 1948, 1949, 1950, 1955, 1956, 1961 & 1966
Hicks represented England in three MacRobertson Shield tournaments, winning on two occasions.
In 2008 Hicks was inducted into the World Croquet Federation Hall of Fame.
John Solomon, the leading player of the latter half of the twentieth century, said of him "He was God [....] the best player there has ever been. His control was quite incredible." [Croquet Gazette March 1999]
Humphrey Hicks is remembered for his idiosyncrasies, such as wearing odd-coloured socks and for knitting while the out player. His fine mind allowed him to keep score on all 4lawns while never dropping a stitch.