by Louise Smith at Sidmouth
15th August (GC)
Sidmouth Croquet Club was delighted to hold their first GC 'B' Level tournament as part of the National Series. The tournament was fully subscribed with 16 players from no less than 11 different clubs located around the country - Bristol, Swanage, Winterborne Valley, Nailsea, and Colchester to name but a few.
The format followed the one day 16 player format of 4 blocks of 4 players, with the top two players from each block going forward to the main event Knockout. The remaining players went into the Plate knockout which mirrored the same format, and all players are to be commended for finishing the tournament playing right through to contest even 15/16th position in the blistering heat.
Block A ended much as expected with top seed Tim Spores (Budleigh) taking top spot, followed by Keith Bryant (Dowlish Wake) in 2nd place, and an upset to the seeding for third spot with Victoria Stocks (Bristol) ending above Sue Nicholas (Cheam) who failed to get a game win. This was a positive start for Victoria in her first CA ranked tournament.
Block B caused the biggest upset with Anthony Nicholas (Cheam) failing to win any block games despite his pole position, and another newcomer, Trevor J Smith (Budleigh) gained a full house with three wins in his first CA ranked tournament. Michael Manning (Colchester) as third seed also managed 2nd place above Martin Strange (Winterborne Valley) with 2 block game wins.
Block C saw Marc Colson (Budleigh) and Steve Pearson (Sidmouth) take the top two places to progress to the main tournament Knockout, with Marian Manning (Colchester) and Michael Powell (Nailsea) going into the consolation Plate event.
Block D was interesting with local Sidmouth player Paul Bradley gaining an impressive full set of three wins, whilst all remaining competitors, Gill Hindshaw (Moreton), Tony Green (Swanage) and Gordon MacRae (Moreton) all only managed one win each. Tony Green took the 2nd place having the best net hoop difference.
The main Knockout saw the so far unbeaten new arrival Trevor J Smith lose in a tight quarter-final game against Steve Pearson 4/7. Steve Pearson went through to the semi-final against the thus far unbeaten Paul Bradley, and snatched victory at the 13th hoop, 7/6.
The other quarter-finals resulted in wins for Tim Spores and Marc Colson, the latter taking the semi-final win to face Steve Pearson in the main tournament Final.
Meanwhile, the Plate Knockout saw a great showing from the women competitors with Gill Hindshaw, Marian Manning and Sue Nicholas all progressing to the Plate Semi-Finals alongside Martin Strange. Both games featured close results with Marian prevailing over Gill, 7/5 and Sue taking the win at the 13th hoop from Martin 7/6, leading to an all-female Plate Final. The Plate Final was another close fought game, and saw Sue Nicholas triumphant over Marian Manning, with a 7/5 win, taking home the specially commissioned tournament Plate medal.
The main Final was contested under soaring temperatures, but did not disappoint the spectators. Marc Colson played strongly throughout but was countered by Steve Pearson's tight tactical play. However, once Mark gained the lead Steve was unable to reverse the tide with the eventual score ending at 7/4 to Mark. Added to his previous B Level win at Budleigh, Marc claimed the new Sidmouth B Level winner's title and silver bud vase trophy, confirming his place in the National Finals later in the season.