Over the weekend of 28th/29th April, Sidmouth Croquet Club held its annual Open Golf Croquet Championship, The Haste Cup. Sixteen players, with Handicaps ranging from -3 to 5, came to Sidmouth from various places, such as Dyffryn, East Sussex and Nottingham, to name but a few.
On the Saturday, the sixteen players were divided into two American 'all play all' blocks, everyone playing 7 games throughout the day. The top 4 players in each block went through to the Quarter-finals and the remaining 4 took part in another tournament, to be played on Sunday.
In the Quarter-finals Jonathan Powe (H -3) from Charlton beat Chris Roberts (H -2) from Phyllis Court;
Nick Archer (H -3) from Watford beat Colin Britt (H -1) and Tom Weston (H 1) from East Dorset beat Richard Bilton (H -2) from Nottingham in 2 games. The fourth match between Lionel Tibble (H -3) from Northampton and Roger Goldring (H 0) went to 3 long games, Lionel being the eventual winner.
While the Quarter-finals were in progress, the remaining 8 players started the Egyptian Tournament. For the first round opponents were randomly selected. After this, in further rounds, the winners played winners and the losers played losers. All players started off with 100 points, with winning players scoring 10 points and losers losing 10 points. After a couple of games, the losing Quarter-finalists joined in. Because of this and the fact that some games took much longer than others, it then became difficult to continue in an orderly fashion! Many players were reluctant to wait until slower games were finished. However, order was restored and by the end of the afternoon we had a winner, with a score of 130 after 5 games - Stephen Custance-Baker (H -2) from Taunton Deane.
Meanwhile, after lunch, the Semi-finals of the main event were played. Jonathan Powe beat Nick Archer in 2 games 7/2: 7/6, and Lionel Tibble beat Tom Weston also in 2 games 7/5: 7/1.
The Final was then played - Jonathan beating Lionel in 2 games 7/2: 7/5. This tournament is a qualifying tournament for the prestigious English National Golf Croquet Singles Championship (Ascot Cup), played later in the season. Both the winner and runner-up qualify for this.
While the Final was being played, the two losing Semi-finalists Nick Archer and Tom Weston played for 3rd & 4th positions - Nick being the winner.
This year, unlike most others in recent years, the weather remained dry, but was very cold. This resulted in fewer spectators than usual. Those club members who did come were entertained to some excellent croquet and most will have picked up some tips as they watched the very hard (accurate) hitting, long clearances and jump shots and very clever tactics of these top-class players.
To finish the day, Peter Nelson the Croquet Club Chairman, presented the Haste Cup to the tournament winner Jonathan Powe who, as a result of his weekend wins, now has a handicap of -4. The winner of the Egyptian, Stephen Custance-Baker received a bottle of wine.
Helen Pryor, the Tournament Manager, thanked everyone for coming and hoped many would return to Sidmouth next year.