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Croquet success for local players

Sidmouth Herald 3 Sep 21 - Article & Pictures Ed Dolphin

It has been a busy and successful couple of weeks for members of Sidmouth Croquet Club with wins in both codes of the game, Association and Golf Croquet.

The Sidmouth club hosted a B Level Association tournament for three days from the 12th August. This was open to players with handicaps from 1-6 and

attracted entries from across the South West and from as far as Nottingham.

The tournament was played in two seeded blocks; the block winners then played a final on the Saturday afternoon. Play on the first day commenced in light rain and persistent drizzle in the morning which made conditions unpleasant but thereafter the weather was dry and mainly sunny. Local member Philip Harris and Mike Hedge from Nottingham dominated Block A on the Thursday and Friday, and Mike Hedge accumulated enough points to end up as block winner. In Block B the top 2 seeds, both local players, were in contention by Friday afternoon, Chris Donovan with 5 wins and Roger Mills with 4. Their head to head match on Saturday morning was the decider with Roger Mills winning convincingly and thus progressing to the final.

The final between Mike Hedge and Roger Mills promised to be a close affair but Roger, with an early break of nine hoops, was never seriously challenged by Mike whose impressive accuracy in the earlier rounds seemed to desert him. Mike Hedge managed a late break at speed as time was running out, but Roger Mills won the game, and hence the tournament, the final ended with a score of 24 -13.

The following week, it was the turn of the home Golf Croquet players to contest the club’s two day doubles tournament. On Thursday, sixteen pairs played for the Cunningham Salver and Cup in the handicap competition, less able players having a number of extra turns against the more experienced ones. This makes for very intricate play as eight players share a lawn in the cut and thrust of the golf version of the game. As always with club tournaments, the games were competitive but good natured as opposing pairs would set themselves in front of hoops only to be cleared away by others hitting in. Married couple Roz and Paul Bradley won through to face good friends John Coombes and Rev. Roy Hubbard in the final with Roz and Paul holding out to take the trophies.

On the Friday the format changed to even play with the more able players coming to the fore. Steve Pearson and Ian Simpson won through to take the paired Salcombe and Peak Hill Cups.



As the doubles tournament finished, Sidmouth welcomed a team from Carrickmines in Ireland for a weekend challenge match. This is an annual event, but it was not able to run last year for obvious reasons. The match is a very friendly affair, members from Sidmouth collected some of the Irish team from Bristol airport and some of the players stayed with their Sidmouth counterparts.



The challenge match took the form of three rounds, each round being four singles and a doubles game. Perhaps they were jet-lagged, but the Carrickmines team were 7-3 down by the end of Saturday. They recovered their form on the Sunday morning, winning the doubles and two of the singles leaving the final score of nine games to six for the home team. Both teams enjoyed a very sociable weekend and next year’s challenge will see a team from Sidmouth travel to Ireland.

Ed Dolphin

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