Budleigh Croquet: Success built on enthusiasm of members
PUBLISHED: 09:05 04 November 2017
As acting and incoming croquet chairman, John O'Gorman was able to reflect on another busy and successful season at the Budleigh Croquet annual general meeting, writes Elaine Marsh.
He thanked the army of volunteers whose hard work has made it all possible.
Members have enjoyed nine sessions of organised croquet a week, more than 30 competitions for players of all abilities, and have had many individual successes in the tournament programme open to players from all over the country.
Winter training in Golf Croquet had resulted in all four Budleigh teams putting in good performances in the South West Federation leagues.
A renaissance in Association Croquet is underway with a healthy crop of new recruits and a revival of in-house coaching.
Thanks to the new groundsman, the already good lawns are now in superb condition and are the envy of visiting players.
Trophies were awarded and the following reports of competition finals are provided by Ray Virr and Judith Moore.
Finals weekend happened to coincide with remnants of Hurricanes Lee and Maria so the matches were all rescheduled for the Saturday.
The first match to be played was the final of the Westfield Trophy between Norman Cann and Tim Spores and this proved to be a tight game with fortunes ebbing and flowing.
Tim took the first two hoops, but Norman came back winning the next three, including a jump shot to win hoop four.
The next three hoops were won by Tim, but not without a stout defence from Norman, who made some excellent clearances.
They then traded hoops with Norman taking 9 and 11 and Tim 10. Finally, Tim took Hoop 12 with an excellent jump shot to win the match 7-5.
The next match was the Cooper Salver final, again featuring Tim Spores, this time teamed up with Martin Hebdidge. They were playing against Catherine Spores and Ray Virr. Tim was again in sparkling form and he and Martin ran out winners 10-6.
In the Thorverton Cup - a level play competition - Ro, handicap seven, against Judith, handicap 11, got off to an excellent start with a nine hoop break after hitting in on a double left by Judith.
There was some toing and froing, nerves getting the better of both players. Ro eventually prevailed although not until failing to peg out one of his balls and giving Judith the chance of a three-ball break.
However, she missed this opportunity and Ro pegged out his second ball to win convincingly 26-10.
The afternoon also saw the battle for the Short Croquet Tankard between James Homer and Elaine Marsh. This was a tight match eventually won by James by a margin of two points.
The final game of the day saw Peter Chadwick take on Ian Stratford for the Perry Cup in the worst conditions of the day. This final was played as a best of three games and was won by Peter 2-0.
A week later the Association Croquet Novices event was contested by five players, aided and abetted by their mentors. The weather behaved itself despite a bad forecast and they stayed largely dry.
Shelley Hennell, Margaret Attwood and Margaret Brett showed great potential, but after three games Ray Virr and Tim Spores remained unbeaten.
In their final, Tim Spores, carefully mentored by Tim Liles, overcame Ray, who had needed the minimum of mentoring from Judith Moore.
Both players are now deservedly under review for a reduction in handicap.