Paul retains his trophy

CROQUET - NAILSEA Croquet Club held its annual B Level tournament.

NAILSEA Croquet Club held its annual B Level tournament. Most of the competitors came from the South West of England and South Wales, but one came from Woking and another came from Godalming, near Guidford; their handicaps ranged from one to nine.

The field of 14 was reduced to 13 when one player had to withdraw two days before the tournament due to illness. This caused complications for the manager who hastily changed the format to a Hands Ladder (commonly known as an Egyptian).

The lawns were fast and the hoops were rigid with only 1/16 inch clearance, making conditions difficult and many games went to time. The overnight leader was last year's winner, Paul Pristavec (handicap 2.5, from Dyffryn), with three wins out of three. David Hunt (9, Nailsea) was in second place with two wins out if two. Mike Huxley (2, Guildford and Godalming) was in third place with three wins out of four, having been beaten by David. On Sunday, Paul beat David and Mike beat Alwen Bowker (4, Cheltenham) to set up an exciting final.

After a downpour at lunchtime on Sunday the lawns became much slower and the competitors had to adapt to the changing conditions. In the final round, Mike took the early lead, but errors as he approached the last few hoops let Paul back into the game and he overhauled Mike's score to win by two on time (24-22).

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Paul was undefeated, he had a final rating of 70 and won the Margaret Fleming Shield. Mike finished in third place with a rating of 58. Meanwhile Jonathan Wolfe, who had suffered a defeat in the first round, beat David to sneak up and take second place with a final rating of 62.

The highest placed Nailsea player was Pat Long (4.5), who finished in fifth place with a rating of 54; David Hunt was sixth with a rating of 50. Paul and Jonathan both had handicap reductions, Paul to 2 and Jonathan to 5.

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Nailsea's Central B League team won an away match at Kington Langley by four games to one.

Doubles: Rob Royffe and Tony Griggs won +9T (14-5). Singles: Andrew Fraley won +7T (20-13) and +12T (24-12); Rob Royffe won +18; Tony Griggs lost -11T (6-17).

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