The Sidmouth B-Level Advanced Tournament took place from Thursday 11th to Saturday 13th August. It was played throughout in more or less uninterrupted sunshine. Sixteen players took part and they came from clubs as widespread in the UK as Penrith, Cheltenham, Nottingham, Bristol, Taunton, Dyffryn , Kingston Maurward (Dorset) and ,of course, Budleigh Salterton.
The tournament was managed by Nancy Temple, with charm and a light touch, for the seventh successive year.
On the first day the lawns were very dry and fast and players had some difficulty controlling the balls...even keeping them on the lawns was not easy.
However, by the end of that day the players had become more used to the conditions. The sprinklers were timed to irrigate the lawns that night and the players were happier next day!
The setting in Sidmouth is just wonderful, particularly in good weather. Blue sky and sea to match, the sea dotted with picturesque yachts, with cricket on the adjacent field made a splendid backdrop.
However, the players had to concentrate on their croquet most of the time and some excellent close games were played.
The finalists were Richard Williamson (Bristol) with five wins out of seven games and Derek Andrew (Sidmouth) with six wins out of seven.
The final was played on the Saturday afternoon. The game started well with both players making good progress. However, after a while the game became more attritional and progress slowed but towards "time" Richard looked to be in control. On his last turn Derek made an excellent long roquet and took his yellow ball around several hoops and overtook Richard, thus winning the game and the tournament in a very exciting finish.
This was the first win by a Sidmouth player in this tournament since its inception in 2003. Well done Derek!