Over 40 players enjoyed one of the hottest and sunniest weeks of the summer down in Devon for this annual festival of croquet. The tournament was expertly managed by Mike Town (now in his 3rd year of running this event) and all the players were given schedules of match times and lawns well in advance - so there could be no excuses for being late or not knowing which lawn you should be on! Time for all games was kept efficiently by Mr Brian Fisk - and heralded by the piercing sound of a hooter! This caused much amusement - so much so that Jonathon Toye wrote a tournament poem, which was beautifully performed on the closing night pirates and chips evening. The lawns played relatively well - the only gripe heard on a regular basis was that the lawns were too slow. Many players leaving Budleigh with sore wrists will hope that the lawns will be cut a little shorter for next year's tournament!
In the handicap singles each player played 5 block games and from these results 8 quarter finalists were determined. In the semi-finals Brian Shorney won a closely fought game with David Harrison-Wood after David pegged out two balls. Brian proved his one-ball skills to set up an intriguing final against Kington Langley team mate Jane Hull. In the final Jane showed great determination to come out on top and also earn herself a handicap reduction to 10.
In the class competitions Jack Thompson came out on top against the more experienced Michael Hamilton in the D class final. Jonathon Toye took the C class against local player Robert Scadden. Eugene Chang from Bath played extremely well in the B class final to defeat Nigel Betts by 22 points. Eugene also earned a handicap reduction from 5 to 4. The A class final produced a fascinating contest between David Harrison-Wood and Peter Nash. Peter took the 1st game and was most of the way through a perfectly executed triple peel in the 2nd only to fail to run 4 back far enough through the hoop. He shot for his pioneer at penult but missed. David took his chance and won the contest with a superb triple peel in the 3rd game, only beginning it after running hoop 6.
The club held a tournament dinner on Wednesday evening, and as always the members made the guests feel extremely welcome throughout the week. Jonathon Toye persuaded a number of people to join him for "human croquet" after the dinner - and this proved to be great entertainment! (should any readers require a copy of the rules please contact Jonathon directly!)