Busy season for Budleigh Croquet Club opens on encouraging note

PUBLISHED: 10:16 22 April 2014 | UPDATED: 10:19 24 April 2014

Rugby action Withy U11 v Sidmouth

Rugby action Withy U11 v Sidmouth

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Budleigh Salterton Croquet Club has announced its tournament programme for the 2014 season, writes Elaine Marsh.

In Association Croquet there will be week-long events in May and August, as well weekend fixtures for both handicap and advanced level play.

June will see the return of two national events. The National Veterans’ Championship for players of 60 and over is attracting a healthy entry including many members from Sidmouth and Budleigh.

However, the undoubted highlight will be the Men’s, Women’s and Mixed Doubles Championships, one of the premier tournaments in the Croquet Association calendar. In this event, Budleigh member Tony Bower will be testing himself against some of the top names in world croquet, including David Maugham, Steven Mulliner and Gabrielle Higgins.

In Golf Croquet Budleigh is introducing a new event at the end of August, an A and B Class Golf Croquet weekend for top players and those striving to break in to the upper echelon of the sport.

The season is now underway and on April 12, Budleigh sent four players to Nailsea, near Bristol to play in the annual Team Short Croquet Tournament held by the South West Federation of Croquet Clubs. This variant of Association Croquet is played on a small lawn, with a time limit of one-and-a-half hours.

As Budleigh only started playing the game last season, it was the first time they had entered the event.

Team members Chris Donovan, James Homer, Maureen Smith and her husband Jack did exceptionally well to come second in their division.

James, Maureen and Jack all won three of their four games against players from Sidmouth, Bear of Rodborough, Camerton and Peasedown and South West Federation Select. James Homer’s performance was particularly noteworthy as he was playing not only in his first tournament, but his first competitive match! Modest as always, James put his success down to the excellent coaching he received in the club as a beginner.

Chris won two games from four, but as a low handicapper had the most difficult job, as the rules mean he had to score one hoop in each game by peeling it through with his partner ball.

The day finished with Budleigh on 11 wins from a possible 16 and having lost only to Bear of Rodborough who won promotion to Division Three for next year’s event.

It proved to be a great day out and encouraged by their first experience, the team hopes to persuade other club members to put together an additional team for 2015.

A few days later the club hosted its first home tournament of the season, a two-day event for high handicappers that attracted entrants from clubs at Fowey, St Austell, Bath, Kington Langley and Hamptworth as well as the home club. After five games the eventual winner was Ron George from Cornwall Croquet Club who was undefeated, while Margaret Read of Fowey achieved four wins.

Budleigh member James Homer again did well with three wins and two narrow losses.

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