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Jack Wicks won the Treasurer's Tankard

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pictureJack Wicks is presented with the Treasurer's Tankard by Peter Nelson (Photo: Ed Dolphin)

by Chris O'Byrne at Sidmouth
27th September 2022 (AC)

The 2022 draw for the Treasurer's Tankard threw up a couple of fun surprises from the selectors, including having the possibly over-qualified shy and retiring Jack Wicks, and the up and coming Guy Hewitt (a real contender for Most Improved this year, having risen over 200 ranking places in the past year), with a couple of the competitors in their first ever 8.

The Sidmouth lawns were excellent, with lawns being mowed and hoops reset nearly every day by the incredible volunteers at the club, and the flatness of said lawns encouraging a higher quota of aggressive shooting throughout. And it's always nice to be beside the seaside.

The weather was supposed to be awful, but after a dalliance in the first couple of days with stronger winds and sporadic rain, leading to continual outfit adjustments, things markedly improved.

While Wixy efficiently took about dismantling all in front of him, a number of names were bubbling away just behind, including Alex "Don't Mention The Crown" McIntyre, who comfortably exceeded his aim of 4 wins, through a combination of some solid break play and a fair bit of shouting at himself!

Every player was a threat to the others, and there was unsurprisingly a number of differing idiosyncrasies. Very few games were finished without the opponent taking croquet, and 10 of the games ended +3.

John Davis had casually mentioned early on that he'd only lost both head-to-heads once in all his previous (4?) Eights, which put a target on his back - David Warhurst succeeded in his mission to get added to the illustrious list!

As expected, the soul of the group was provided by Martin Murray, with his frankly ridiculous ability to recall croquet-based facts, and his proclivity to pounce on anybody who might not yet have heard them!

But throughout, Wixy was unassailable, going about things in his usual delicate, sweet and caring way, only dropping 2 games by the end, including to Andrew Killick who did an excellent job throughout of befuddling his opponents with his unusual but often highly-effective tactics; I think every player and spectator at some point mentioned his approach of firing his first ball into corner 2 from A Baulk, in every game, whether first or second!

After a long week of competing at this level, Guy finally managed to get his name on the board, winning his final game - he'll definitely be back and winning more in the future.

Sidmouth were superb hosts in a beautiful location - it's well worth the trip next season!

Chris O'Byrne


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