With the Covid-19 situation continuing Sidmouth Croquet Club organised another series of friendly competitions for club players with high and low handicaps in the two forms of the game, Association and Golf Croquet. The first series took place in July and August when the winners were Roger Mills Association Low Handicap, John Garner Association High Handicap, Michael Hide Golf Low Handicap and Muriel Philpott Golf High Handicap.
A second series of competitions was organised to be played throughout September. The Association High Handicap competition was the first to be completed. Duncan Hasell (handicap 16) and John Garner (despite having his handicap reduced to 18 after the first series) played in the final. Duncan had won all 6 games in his mini-league and John had won 5 of his 6 mini-league games.
The rules were changed for this second series in that both players have bisques [extra turns based on handicap]. This is to encourage players to set up a break enabling them to run many hoops in succession.
John started with 12 bisques and Duncan started with 10 bisques. Both players are relative newcomers to croquet with John playing in his 2nd year and Duncan in his 3rd year.
For the first hour both players found the lawns running very fast and they both struggled to control the pace of the balls with the balls going off the lawn at regular intervals. Bisques were used to get out of trouble rather than set up a break. John in this period was more in control and was ahead 10 – 6. Duncan then decided to use a bisque to set up a break and ran 8 hoops before making a mistake. He then used another bisque to continue his break with 2 more hoops run, stopping at the last hoop (Rover). The score was now 16 – 10 to Duncan. John then used his bisques to run 5 hoops also stopping at the last hoop. So after 2 hours the score was Duncan 16 and John 15 and both had 5 bisques left.
Duncan hit in and using one bisque ran 7 hoops putting him well ahead 23 – 15. John was now forced to use his remaining bisques to keep going but could only run 6 hoops before he ran out of bisques. Duncan used two bisques to run the last hoop and peg out both balls to win 26 – 21.
Both players played ambitiously and are quick learners so with more experience they will both improve and their handicaps will continue to reduce. They will be an asset to the Sidmouth Croquet league teams next year if play returns to normal.