Sidmouth Herald published 23 May 2018
Photo: Julie Horsley in play
Sidmouth Croquet Club held its annual ‘Short Croquet’ internal competition and the event was graced with splendid sunny weather, writes Richard Thurlow.
Short Croquet is not, as the words imply, a game for those physically challenged, but is a shortened form of Association Croquet, played by passing through 12 hoops instead of 24 and with a reduced playing time of 80 minutes instead of 180.
Twenty-two players, in their competition whites, glinted in the sunshine, those men brave enough to wear shorts exhibiting a full range of knobbly knees.
Philip Harris, the organiser, gave a stirring introduction to the playing requirements and at 10am prompt, the players ambled onto the lawns, to play the first of their four matches in the day.
The scores were recorded in a manner known to croquet aficionados as ‘Egyptian’ (part of the mystique of croquet is its use of arcane words, specifically designed to confuse the uninitiated).
In the real world this means that everyone started from a base of 100 points, with 10 points gained for a win, and 10 points lost for a defeat.
Two rounds were played before lunch, during which those players with 120 points were able to gloat at those with only 80 points, but it was evident that the latter did have a better class of homemade sandwiches so perhaps that might be the reason.
After lunch, the excitement was almost uncontainable as the players started their third and fourth games.
After three games, Jon Ball (last year’s runner-up), Julie Horsley and Richard Thurlow were the leaders with 130 points.
In the fourth round, Julie lost to Jon, whilst Richard won his game, so at the end of the afternoon, Jon and Richard were the joint leaders with 140 points each.