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Sidmouth Players excel in the English National Golf Croquet Doubles Championship

Photo: Philip Harris: Stuart Smith left and Steve Leonard on the right;

Peter Nelson, CA Representative and Sidmouth player, presents the trophies

Published in Sidmouth Herald 7 August 2020

The first Croquet Association tournament held in the South West this year was The English National Golf Croquet Doubles Championship held at Budleigh Salterton Croquet Club last weekend. Due to the Covid-19 situation only 10 doubles pairs entered with players coming mostly from the South West. Nevertheless the standard was high with 7 of the 20 players ranked in the top 50 in England.

On the Saturday all the pairs played each other with the top 4 pairs qualifying for the semi-final play-off which were played on Sunday morning. The first semi-final went to 3 games with Stuart M Smith (Sidmouth) and Steve Leonard (Winterborne Valley, Dorset) eventually beating Tim Joliff (Taunton) and John O’Gorman (Budleigh Salterton) 7-3, 4-7, 7-6.

In the second semi-final Jonathan Powe (East Dorset) and Stephen Custance-Baker (Taunton) beat Lionel Tibble (Northampton) and Louise Smith (Sidmouth) 7-4, 7-5.

The finalists were the two top ranked pairs with Powe, Smith, Leonard and Custance-Baker individually ranked 6, 11, 20 and 48 respectively in England. The Final on Sunday afternoon was an exhibition of long clearances and hoop running with Smith and Leonard winning 7-5, 7-3.

The remaining 6 pairs contested the consolation event on the Sunday. The Sidmouth partnership of Philip Harris and Steve Pearson, playing in their first Championship tournament, having lost all their games on the first day, overcame their nerves to play better and win the consolation event by winning 4 out of the 5 games played.

Special mention must be made of Pearson who in the last game at the deciding hoop placed his ball right in front of the hoop. Their opponents Ivor and Richard Brand (brothers from Cheltenham) both missed his ball leaving Pearson to coolly run the hoop and then celebrate with a victory jump.

Thus the 4 Sidmouth players had a successful weekend with Stuart M Smith winning in the final, Louise Smith reaching the semi-final and Philip Harris and Steve Pearson winning the consolation event. The trophies and prizes were presented by Peter Nelson (Sidmouth) representing the Croquet Association.

Photo: Philip Harris. Peter Nelson present the runner-up prizes - a bottle of beer!

Steve Pearson left and Philip Harris right

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