Thursday, July 31, 2014
Competitors from as far afield as Colchester, Hurlingham, Sussex, Bath and even one from Australia were at Budleigh Croquet club last week for the National Veteran’s (over 60) Golf Croquet Championship, writes Elaine Marsh.
There was a strong local presence with five Budleigh members among the field of 28 players; Tony Bower, Chris Donovan, David Hicks, Alan Rush and Rob Weeks.
People who imagine that croquet is just a gentle pastime should have been watching as the humid heat made the challenge of playing from 9.30am until 8p, each day even more demanding than usual.
Players were divided into two all-play-all blocks with the top four from each block going forward into a knockout. Budleigh player Rob Weeks topped Block A with eleven wins from thirteen matches. In B Block, Budleigh’s Tony Bower secured a notable win over Chris Sheen (28th in the UK rankings), but the overall winner was Nelson Morrow, a veteran of five Golf Croquet World Championships and a past winner of both the Musk and Ascot Cups. Other players progressing to the quarter finals were John Bowcott, Elizabeth Farrow, Australian David Wise, Chris Sheen, Tom Weston and Derek Strover. Here Nelson secured a 2-0 victory over John Bowcott, but all the other matches went to three games with Elizabeth, Chris, and Rob emerging as semi-finalists. Three games were also needed to decide both semis which were won by Nelson Morrow and Rob Weeks.
The final was a tense affair that could have gone either way, as Nelson won the first game 7-3 and Rob the second by the same margin. In the final game the score reached 5-5 before the deadlock was broken by the more experienced Morrow who managed to score both of the final two hoops.
Although disappointed not to have won, Rob Weeks greatly enjoyed playing in only his second tournament.
He said: “I am really pleased with the consistency of my performance and I hope that the experience I’ve gained will be useful when the tournament returns to Budleigh next year.”
Rob also secured a handicap reduction from two to one, while fellow Budleigh members Alan Rush and David Hicks both earned a reduction from three to two, by virtue of either number of wins or having beaten a number of lower handicapped players.