Victories for Mundy and Bower at Croquet Club Championships

PUBLISHED: 08:28 18 October 2017 | UPDATED: 08:28 18 October 2017

Budleigh Croquet Club. Ref exb 1326-19-07SH

Budleigh Croquet Club. Ref exb 1326-19-07SH

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The summer season and competitions in all forms of the game have been reaching a grand finale at Budleigh Croquet Club, writes Elaine Marsh and Steve Andrews.

The first event to be played was the Club Association Croquet Championship between two past winners: Dave Mundy and Tony Bower.

The six-step handicap difference between the two made the odds strongly in Mundy’s favour as the best-of-three match was played on level terms. But the contest was not to prove straightforward.

In the first game, Mundy gained the early initiative but took six hoops before establishing a classic break. Bower failed to gain a foothold, allowing his opponent to resume play with his second ball. Dave then made all twelve hoops in two turns and peeled his partner ball through the first of its remaining three hoops before leaving his opponent cross-wired at the peg. Somehow Tony still managed to get started and stuttered round the first five hoops - offering Dave chances which he wasn’t able to take.

However, there was still a very long way to go, and he made only one more hoop before Mundy hit a spectacular long roquet which allowed him to peg out.

The second game opened with a protracted spell of cat and mouse until Dave gave his adversary an easy start by breaking down at the first hoop. However, the balls were not favourably positioned and Tony had to exercise all his mastery of the game’s more difficult shots to make progress. Having left his opponent with a difficult shot he was able to resume play with his partner ball.

Once again he was very creative in establishing a break before breaking down at hoop five. Mundy made the most of this opportunity with a break of nine hoops and a perfect leave which meant he kept the initiative for his second ball. As in the first game, he only managed the first of three possible peels and again cross-wired Bower at the peg.

This time Tony’s shot missed and allowed Dave to make the last two hoops and peg out, taking the match +20, +13.

Three years a club member and three times a champion - at present Mundy is so far ahead of the opposition that it looks as though no one can catch him.

A few days later Tony Bower was again in action, this time in the Golf Croquet Championship for the Heathcote Cup. This was to be a close-fought and enthralling final in which Tony beat Adam Wimshurst 7 6, 5-7, 7-6 in the most dramatic manner possible. On the last hoop of the last game – with the scores tied at 6-6 - Adam was faced with a tricky jump shot. For this shot, the players hit downwards on to the ball to make it jump over their opponent’s ball and – hopefully – through the hoop. Adam executed it almost perfectly, but his ball ricocheted off both uprights before dropping back on to the playing side. It could not have been closer.

After his triumph, Tony said: “I’m naturally delighted to have won this year’s Heathcote Cup but the real winner on the day was the game of croquet.

“Adam Wimshurst and I have had many tense encounters in the past, but this was the closest and most exciting of them all.

“Adam was one-eighth of an inch away from winning the cup himself.

“It was truly a magnificent match on Budleigh’s superb lawns in the autumn sunshine and with a lovely view of Lyme Bay. What could be better?”

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