Tuesday, 16 August 2022

Roberts helps Oxon gain promotion

PHYLLIS Court’s Chris Roberts helped Oxfordshire to promotion to the top tier of the Association Croquet Inter-Counties Championship for the first time this week.

Together with his doubles partner and captain Dayal Gunasekera, Roberts won seven of nine games over the event’s four days that were split between Eastbourne and Southwick, near Brighton.

Oxfordshire were stronger this year thanks to the arrival of Ireland captain Danny Johnston for a research post at Oxford University and the continuing development of both Mark van Loon and Roberts who continue to climb the UK rankings.

The county’s second division title was in the balance right until the last round of games on Tuesday afternoon where Oxfordshire needed a 3-0 match win and a slip-up from Dorset in their last encounter.

It looked on with half an hour to go, when news came through to Eastbourne that Dorset were behind at Southwick, but a couple of loose shots during the run-in reversed fortunes and Oxfordshire had to settle for the runner-up position with promotion for next season as consolation.

Further west another Phyllis Court player Helena Fensome flew her Finish flag at the Golf Croquet European Championship at Budleigh Salterton.

Seeded sixth in her block and needing a top four finish to qualify for the knock-out stage of the main event, it was a tough ask for Fensome and her two match wins weren’t enough to progress.

She did recover well however on the third and fourth day of the tournament and reached the semi-final of the plate event, having the satisfaction of avenging defeats by some of her earlier opponents.

Closer to home, Phyllis Court’s Richard Peperell won the Roehampton Summer tournament Association Croquet C-Level event last weekend and is now becoming well known at the London Club for his successes, having won the handicap silverware there last year.

On home turf courts last Friday, the result of the Phyllis Court derby between their B and C teams in the SCF Golf Croquet Handicap League, which was rained off last month, hung on the last game to finish.

The lead that Phyllis Court C held after two rounds of doubles, was pulled back during the singles rounds where Robin Coates and Hugh Crook both caught the eye by winning twice and giving the B side the edge with the last game still playing.

C team captain Raghu Iyer rescued his side with good use of his extra turns against Mike Fensome and club harmony was assured by the 6-6 resulting draw.

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