Budleigh Salterton’s short croquet festival draws over 100 competing players

PUBLISHED: 18:14 19 October 2018 | UPDATED: 18:14 19 October 2018

Martin Wicks receives the Rosemary Bradshaw Salver. Photo: ALISON MADDAFORD

Martin Wicks receives the Rosemary Bradshaw Salver. Photo: ALISON MADDAFORD

Archant

As the days shorten and the temperature drops the faster-paced versions of croquet come into their own - like Twenty20 cricket rather than the five day Test, writes Peter Moore.

Short croquet (SC) is one of the most exciting of these, played on smaller lawns with brisk time limits ensuring lively action. Budleigh has taken a lead in encouraging players from across the South West to adopt this format and prolong their playing season.

This year we again hosted both an individual SC championship open to players nationwide and the Autumn leg of the South West teams’ championship.

With 24 players in the former and 100 in the latter, we were delighted to host a splendid week of croquet at a time when in earlier years people had been polishing their mallets and dreaming of the spring!

A particular strength of SC is a handicap system that allows players of all levels to compete on equal terms. The two-day individual event featured entries ranging from seasoned internationals to virtual beginners. It was won by Martin Wicks of Taunton Deane in his first season of serious tournament play, beating, in the final, Peter Mallen of Budleigh. We will see more of Martin.

At the weekend we switched to team competition with 25 teams of four representing 15 clubs across the South West. In response to the growing popularity of this form of croquet we have added a fifth division to the league and gone from two to three days of competition.

Sadly, the October sunshine which had blessed the singles was over and storms lashed the club, but the players showed dogged determination and almost no playing time was lost to the weather.

Budleigh’s two teams performed splendidly. Our senior squad, the Roquets, won division two while the Rushes, in division four, were placed second, only one point behind the winners.

The South West Federation SC Division winners were: 1, Sidmouth Fortfield, 2, Budleigh Salterton Roquets, 3, Exeter B, 4, Weston-super-Mare, 5, East Dorset Parkstone.

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