Andy Loakes wins the Budleigh GC Open Series Tournament
Andy Loakes receives the trophy from Jonathan Poweby Jonathan Powe at Budleigh Salterton
8th August 2023 (GC)
Andy Loakes (Camerton & Peasedown) won the Budleigh Open Series Tournament, beating Tim Russell (Roehampton) 2-1 in a match that provided a measure of revenge for Andy, having lost to Tim in the final of the GC Veterans in mid-July. The final was a high-quality affair, with some excellent clearances, good positional play and long-range hoop-running from both players. Tim looked in control in the early stages, taking the first game 7-3. The second game was much more evenly matched, but Tim appeared to have it sewn up at the 13th, with a ball a few feet in front of the hoop and both Andy's balls about 15 yards away. However, Andy pulled off a couple of outstanding clearances before wresting control and eventually running the hoop to take it to a 3rd game. In the final game, Andy romped to a 3-0 lead before Tim clawed his way back and - almost inevitably - the match was resolved at the 13th, with a superb 7-yard angled hoop-run from Andy. His win was thoroughly deserved and belied his handicap (0). His victory in the final match followed up a block-winning performance on Saturday and strong knockout wins against Martin French (Bude) and Neil Fillery (Taunton Deane).
Third position went to Neil Fillery, who played some very impressive croquet throughout the weekend, and David Thirtle-Watts (Hunstanton) won the Plate (and a rather nice Budleigh glass tankard), beating Niall Litton (Budleigh) in the final. Others who deserve a special mention are Adam Wimshurst (Exeter) who came 3rd in his block having been seeded 7th of 8, and our overseas visitors - Marina Clark and Raymond Morel from Switzerland, and Stephen Green from New Zealand - who added an international lustre to the weekend.
Budleigh's courts were in fabulous condition and the club could not have been more hospitable.
All the results are available on Croquet Scores at: https://croquetscores.com/2023/gc/budleigh-open-series-tournament