Budleigh Croquet August tournament success for Adam Wimshurst

PUBLISHED: 10:55 12 August 2014 | UPDATED: 10:55 12 August 2014

Croquet generic picture

Croquet generic picture

Archant

More than fifty croquet players from all over the UK were joined by entrants from as far afield as Australia and New Zealand for Budleigh’s annual August Tournament last week, writes Elaine Marsh.

It is one of the highlights of the season and has a faithful following of entrants who return year after year to enjoy a feast of croquet and the special atmosphere.

This tournament includes eight separate events catering for players at every level, and for both association and golf croquet.

The week started with block play in the Handicap Singles which was contested by entrants with a handicap range that extended over from 16 all the way down to minus one-point-five!

In croquet, nerves often overcome the advantage conferred on the weaker player by the handicapping system, which gives him or her extra turns (known as bisques). Here four of the seven blocks were won by low handicappers and only one mid-bisquer, Ian Anderson, survived the quarter-finals.

He beat two A class players in the knock-out stages to progress to the final where he beat a third, Peter Nash, by +26: the maximum score possible.

Ian was to go on to further success in the D Class (for higher handicappers) where he defeated all-comers in his block and beat Scot Alasdair Adam in the final. Along the way he gained his Silver Merit Award from the Croquet Association for scoring twelve hoops in a single turn, and emerged as the most successful player in the tournament with 15 wins from 16 games. This earned him a three step handicap reduction from eight to five.

Budleigh and Sidmouth players were well represented in the C Class, but the blocks were won by Ken Wallman visiting from Australia and John Crowe from the East Dorset cub at Poole. Crowe was the winner at plus 12 in the final.

The B Class saw local success as Budleigh’s Adam Wimshurst defeated Wayne Wiseman from Bristol in a final that turned into a real nail-biter. It featured uncharacteristic errors and slow progress by the players who both took time to settle in front of the spectators gathered around the Budleigh club’s show lawn. Unusually, the full three hour time limit was needed to conclude the game as Wimshurst’s lead was steadily eroded and then reversed by a late break by Wiseman. In his final turn of the game Adam managed to secure victory by just one point.

The A Class final was contested by Lionel Tibble from Northampton and Woking’s Mike Town. At this level players make very few mistakes and as in snooker, those on the receiving end can spend the game watching helplessly as their opponent makes a big break. This proved to be the case here and Mike Town had just a handful of shots in the best-of-three-contest. Tibble, who last won the event in 2010, won both games plus 26 and completed a triple peel in the second game. This is a feat requiring great skill and accuracy as the player has to peel one ball through its last three hoops while making an all-round break with the other. It is roughly speaking the equivalent of a maximum in snooker. Lionel’s relaxed and graceful style of play was greatly admired by the spectators. He also won the Golf Croquet event defeating Jim Field 7-5, 5-7, 7-4 in a final that was closely contested.

There was some compensation for Mike Town (who also managed the tournament with his usual quiet efficiency) in the Handicap Doubles. Together with partner Ian McDiarmid, also from Woking, he defeated the holders, Cliff Jones and Budleigh’s Elaine Norsworthy plus 12. The latter pair both made mistakes before McDiarmid completed a spectacularly long peg out to win the game.

For more on croquet visit www.croquet.org.uk

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