Budleigh Croquet Club the perfect hosts for South West Championships

PUBLISHED: 12:38 10 August 2017 | UPDATED: 12:38 10 August 2017

Sally Hunt receives the Open Handicap Plate from Budleigh Croquet Club chairman Alison Maddaford

Sally Hunt receives the Open Handicap Plate from Budleigh Croquet Club chairman Alison Maddaford

Archant

The Budleigh Salterton croquet Club hosted the week-long South West of England Championship, writes Elaine Marsh.

The 37 entrants - who came from a wide range of English croquet clubs for this key event in the Budleigh Club’s calendar - were lucky this year with the mainly excellent weather. Even on the wet Wednesday the lawns drained rapidly to allow plenty of play, but the downpours allowed for some unusual croquet apparel!

There were two big shock results this year. Woking’s Sara Anderson, who plays off handicap a of plus two, beat Phyllis Court’s Chris Roberts (handicap minus two), in the golf croquet while a further surprise win was by Sara’s husband Ian (handicap two) over Urchfont’s Peter Nash (handicap minus one ) in the A class association croquet.

Several of the critical games could have gone either way. Sidmouth’s Peter Nelson narrowly lost to Winchester’s Roger Barnacle in one of the B class semi-finals while the other semi-final, between Sara Anderson and Budleigh’s Nigel Amos, was even closer, with Nigel winning by just one hoop. Roger was to overcome Nigel in the final to win this class.

Quite a crowd had gathered by the afternoon of the last day to witness an entertaining A class final between Woking’s Mike Town and Budleigh’s Peter Moore. Peter amused the spectators with an attempted triple peel of his opponent’s ball, but failed at the last hurdle allowing Mike an easy win in the first game, followed by a relatively straight forward win in the second.

Talking of triple peels, Dave Mundy and Roger Mills, both from Budleigh, both achieved this complex manoeuvre during the tournament but the prize went to Roger Mills as the higher handicapper of the two. It was a great personal achievement, as his last successful tournament ‘triple’ was three years ago.

Probably the most nail-biting game was the Open Handicap final between Roehampton’s Sally Hunt and Peter Moore.

The huge handicap difference between the two players gave Sally multiple extra turns and for a long time she looked certain to win. However she failed to peg out (hit the central peg with both her croquet balls) and so win the game, although a nervous performance from Peter gave her several chances to do so. Peter eventually overhauled her to win the Oliver Bowl, while Sally took the splendid runner-up plate and earned a handicap reduction from 18 to 16.

There were further successes for the home club as Budleigh members won the C Class (Tim Liles) and D Class (Rosemary Bradshaw).

The competitors greatly appreciated the high quality of the Budleigh lawns, the proficient tournament management by Mike Town and the work of the catering team led by Maureen Smith and Judith Heaney.

A summary of this year’s winners reads: Handicap Doubles winners - Sara and Ian Anderson; runners-up - Brian Shorney and Jane Hull; Handicap Singles winner - Peter Moore; runner-up - Sally Hunt; A class winner - Mike Town; runner-up - Peter Moore; B Class winner - Roger Barnacle; runner-up - Nigel Amos; C Class winner - Tim Liles; runner-up Andrew Thomas; D class winner - Rosemary Bradshaw; runner-up - Sally Hunt; Most improved lady - Sally Hunt; Most improved man - Mike Town; Triple peel - Roger Mills; Most singles games won – Peter Moore; Fastest game - Brian Shorney; Golf Croquet winner - Mike Town; runner-up - Ed Dymock; One Ball winner -Roger Mills; runner-up Tony Bower.

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