Gaunt seals National title win at Budleigh.

PUBLISHED: 10:06 24 June 2009 | UPDATED: 11:14 10 June 2010

BUDLEIGH Salterton Croquet Club hosted the National Veterans Croquet Championship last week and welcomed the 58 players who came from all around the country to take part, writes Charles Townshend.

BUDLEIGH Salterton Croquet Club hosted the National Veterans' Croquet Championship last week and welcomed the 58 players who came from all around the country to take part, writes Charles Townshend.You do not have to be old to play croquet (some of the best players are in their twenties!) but the game can be played well and to a high standard into one's eighties and, occasionally, even beyond! The blocks of top players who were competing for the Rothwell Challenge Cup produced some excellent play with several triple peels being achieved. Roger Jenkins managed one and is clearly in good form as he prepares for a visit in August to defend his title as holder of the South West of England Championship. The best of three final was played on Saturday between Don Gaunt and Tom Weston. Gaunt was in excellent form in the first game and won decisively. The second game was much closer with both players taking their first ball smoothly round to the tenth hoop. To go beyond that point gives a big advantage to the opponent so players usually produce a leave that offers the adversary a fairly long shot and hope to start the break for their second ball during which the first ball can be manoeuvred through its remaining three hoops to the peg out, so completing a triple peel. This feat requires a lot of very accurate play as well as tactical skill and usually a bit of luck as well. On this occasion both players had their chances and it was Gaunt who was victorious and duly received the trophy. Michael Lester, one of our best local players, won the Felixstowe Cup defeating John Crowe in a tense final. The Final for players with higher handicaps was played between two local club members, Barbara Thompson and Rosemary Bradshaw. It was a hard-fought game with both players having their chances and, in the end, it was Bradshaw who finished ahead and received the Strickland Cup. The Open Handicap Final for the Meredith Cup was between John Crowe and Patrick Swales with Swales emerging as the worthy winner. Swales was also successful in the Handicap Doubles (for first round losers), in partnership with Richard Hoskins and the Gilbert Spoons were their reward. The Longman Trophies were the prize for the winners of the main doubles event and these were carried off by the formidable pairing of Don Gaunt and Nigel Groves.Cliff Jones was the manager for the week and is to be congratulated on achieving the near impossible feat of getting all the games completed in time for the presentations at teatime on Saturday afternoon. Don Gaunt, the Champion, thanked him for his efforts and expressed warm appreciation to the club and the many members who worked hard to prepare the lawns for play and to produce food and drink to support the players in their efforts.

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