Mulliner wins European Golf Croquet Championship for the fourth time

PUBLISHED: 11:55 01 June 2015 | UPDATED: 11:55 01 June 2015

Steven Mulliner, eventual winner of the European Golf Croquet competition, played at Budleigh Salterton Croquet Club, lining up a shot.

Steven Mulliner, eventual winner of the European Golf Croquet competition, played at Budleigh Salterton Croquet Club, lining up a shot.

Archant

The European Golf Croquet Championship was played on some of the best lawns in the country over the last four days of May at Budleigh Salterton Croquet Club, writes Rob Weeks.

Thirty-two players from ten different countries competed for the prestigious title and shield, with the first two and a half days being devoted to contestants playing a ‘round robin’ series of matches in each of four blocks. At the end of this phase of the competition, there were few surprises, with all of the highly-seeded players going through to the knock-out stage of the tournament.

These last sixteen players then contested a place in the quarter final and the resulting eight players were from only three countries – England, Ireland and Sweden. Late on Saturday evening, following the quarter-finals, the last four remaining emerged as Stephen Mulliner, Rachel Rowe and Lionel Tibble from England and Lewis Palmer from Sweden. Palmer, born in England but becoming a Swedish national some seven years ago was the only wild card here since he had beaten Jonaton Andersson in a previous round – a player some eighty places above him in the world rankings.

The semi-finals did not produce any surprises with Mulliner, a three-times winner of this event beating Rowe in two games but only after both had produced an exhibition of precision long-range clearances. In the other match, Tibble was just too strong for Palmer, although Palmer upped his game considerably to almost take the match to a third and deciding game.

On a cold, blustery Sunday afternoon, with a strong north-westerly wind, the final produced some of the best golf croquet that the Club has seen in recent years. It was obvious that the players had completely differing styles; Mulliner was terrier-like, moving swiftly around the lawn with constantly aggressive play, as opposed to Tibble – much taller than Mulliner, almost strolling across the lawn and with a languid swing playing cautiously and often defensively. Mulliner was the clear favourite being ranked ninth in the world, whilst Tibble, although being an extremely difficult player to beat, was ranked much lower in thirty-sixth place.

The first game of the best-of-three final went according to the book with Mulliner just managing to gain a seven-six victory. Tibble then levelled the match with another game which went to the thirteenth hoop but not before Mulliner had amazed the large crowd with some seemingly-impossible clearances. It was obvious that there was very little to separate these two fine players but in the third and deciding game, Mulliner managed to get one hand on the trophy as he forged into a six-four lead, needing only one more hoop to win. Tibble, however, was having none of it and after a nail-biting, nerve-racking phase he somehow managed to claw back to six -all.

Play at the final hoop took almost twenty minutes, with both players missing difficult chances. Either player could have won, but in the end it was Mulliner who managed to regain his grip on the trophy by running the last hoop. He thanked all of the volunteers at Budleigh Salterton Croquet Club for their efforts in making the Championship a happy, exciting and enjoyable event.

Other Sport Stories

13:37

Ottery St Mary ladies were beaten 6-4 when they visited Budleigh Salterton for their latest Devon Women’s League outing.

Read more
13:06

The AVR handicaps have restarted and Megan Woolland won the January Junior handicap in 21:13, writes Dave Mutter.

Read more
13:01

The East Devon cup competition draws have been made. The competitions are traditionally run after the halfway stage of the Macron Devon and Exeter League campaign and the semi-finals and finals of all three – Morrison Bell, Grandisson and Golesworthy – are played at the Washbrook Meadow home of Ottery St Mary.

Read more
13:00

The Axe Cliff ‘Player of the Year’ for 2017, Brian Thompson, has taken his form into 2018 and made a terrific start to the new year, writes Dave Bruce.

Read more
Yesterday, 21:04

Honiton Hawks Under-9s returned to action after the festive break when they travelled to Taunton on Sunday morning.

Read more
Yesterday, 21:03

AVR athlete Jake Smith was second U20M in the SW (England Athletics) cross-country championships held at Aldon Hill, Yeovil, writes Dave Mutter.

Read more
Yesterday, 21:03

The Axe Cliff men braved the weather in a two-ball bowmaker, writes Dave Bruce.

Read more
Yesterday, 08:23

In the first full week back after the seasonal break, where rain, not snow, was the prevailing weather, 40 seniors ventured out on the 16-hole layout in the first of the seniors’ stablefords, writes Richard Jackman.

Read more
Yesterday, 08:23

Taunton host the Bathwick Tyres this coming Saturday (January 20) when the card boasts almost £79k in prize money and includes one Class 2 and two Class 3 events with the first race due off at 12.30pm, writes Richard Walsh.

Read more
Tue, 16:42

Tom Hayes has been crowned the Ottery St Mary ‘Player of the Month’ for December.

Read more

Local Weather

Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 7°C

min temp: 1°C

Most Read Sport

Useful Links

Family notices
Advertise in the paper
Submit a Story
Submit a Story
Buy Photos
Competitions
iwitness24
Facebook
Twitter
Google Plus Page
Reader Travel

Family Notices 24

Read Online

Image
Read the Midweek Herald e-edition E-edition

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Local business directory

Honiton's trusted business finder

Show Job Lists


Find planning applications