Elaine is awarded national honour

PUBLISHED: 09:22 31 October 2008 | UPDATED: 09:55 10 June 2010

AT LAST week's annual meeting of The Croquet Association, Budleigh's Elaine Norsworthy was crowned winner of the Steel Bowl, which is a national honour presented each year to the lady player considered to be the most improved over the course of the season

AT LAST week's annual meeting of The Croquet Association, Budleigh's Elaine Norsworthy was crowned winner of the Steel Bowl, which is a national honour presented each year to the lady player considered to be the most improved over the course of the season.No other lady player in the entire country achieved a better record than her score of 35 wins from the 50 competition games she played and, so successful was she over the season, that her handicap was reduced down to just 9.The Steel Bowl is an engraved glass trophy which is named after the most successful lady croquet player of all time, Miss D D Steel, who dominated the game in the years between the two world wars last century. The official written history of Croquet says of Miss Steel: 'She had intense determination and never played better than when in a crisis. 'She trod the lawn with a springy step on the balls of her feet as the queen of the game she knew herself to be; resolute, even a little grim, but the mistress of her art'.Miss Steel won the Womens' championship 15 times between 1919 and 1939, won the Open Championship four times (against some strong male opposition) and so took the Champions' Cup outright after her win in 1934. She also played in the International MacRobertson Shield matches against Australia with great success. After her death, in 1965, the cup was sold by her executors and resurfaced in 1978 when it was spotted in a Bedford jewellers' shop and bought for the Croquet Association. It was decided to award it annually to the most improved woman player and until 1993 that was done. It was stolen from the CA office that year and the present arrangement allows each winner to retain a lasting reminder of their own personal achievement and have a distinguished example to follow. Everyone connected with Budleigh Croquet Club salutes Elaine on her award.

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