Giles Pepperell (Llanfairfechan) along with David & Sandra Cornes (Crake Valley) made the (very) long trip to Budleigh Salterton having been selected for the Croquet Association’s prestigious National 3rd Golf Croquet Eights tournament over the August bank holiday weekend. Going into the tournament Giles was ranked 2nd, David 5th and Sandra last (8th). The format was “all play all” best of three games to be followed by a knockout.
The quality of the the lawns and the player opposition was extremely high and Giles did not quite perform to his usual (very high) standards. He did, however, achieve being the only player to beat top seed Diana Wilson in the 7 block matches. David, however, managed to win all 3 matches (2 games to nil) on Saturday before losing narrowly in his other group matches. Sandra excelled with 3 match victories, including wins against experienced, local players Louise Smith (Sidmouth) and Marc Colson (Budleigh).
The outcome was that David had to play England’s player Diana Wilson (Roehampton) in the semi-finals. A closely fought contest, which took over 4 hours to complete, saw Diana win the first game 7-6. In game two David came from 4-6 down and used his developing AC skills to execute a superb cut rush over 15 yards to promote partner (Red) ball before running hoop 12 (ahead of Diana’s perfectly positioned Black ball). An extraordinary run of shots at 13, eventually saw David run a difficult 4 yarder to take the match into a decider. Again, the third game was extremely close with David coming through 7-6.
In the Final, David played Phyllis Court’s Rick Lilley. Rick played solidly and took the first game 7-4. David responded with a 7-5 reply. The decider was also close but David had the misfortune to peel Rick through Hoop 10. Rick finished the match on the next hoop at 8.20pm, with the light faded to an extreme, to take the trophy.
In the Shield Sandra progressed through to the final only to be beaten by Marc Colson 3-7, 6-7.
The Federation wishes David well in his selection to represent England in the forthcoming WCF Golf Croquet Over 50 World Championship in Bunbury, Perth. For Giles, and Neil Adams (Westmorland) there is a reasonable to good chance of National B-level success at Eastbourne, this weekend.
The photos show the line up of players at the start of day 3 (Sandra 2nd left, Giles third and David fifth) and David looking on as Rick holds aloft the trophy with the evening dusk in the background.