SA Croquet National tournament

BRIAN MCLEAN

The Port Alfred Bowls and Croquet Club recently hosted a highly successful South African Croquet National tournament with a record 65 players attending from all over the country.

Unfortunately one of the entrants, Vince Atterbury, was killed in a car accident near George on his journey to Port Alfred and minute’s silence was held on the opening evening.

Another point to be made is that between them, C Burrows and P Fanner had a joint age total of 180 – being 93 and 87-years-old respectively.

Competition was stiff but enjoyed by all, according to Port Alfred croquet president Roger Darkes.

“Due to the number of players we had to utilise five lanes, meaning that four greens had to be used so no bowls was able to take place  during the competition. Many  thanks to the bowlers for standing down.

“Otherwise the weather conditions were excellent apart from a little rain on Friday,’’ added Darkes.

Of the local players, Ria Burger and Ellen Wolmarans lost their category semi-finals. Helmut Hartleb lost in the play-off in the restricted handicap singles and Peter Wansell was knocked out in the open singles by Peter Dreyer. East London’s Dave Venter emerged the winner.

As expected, the final game of the tournament, the open singles, was played between two players who have represented South Africa in the world cup, namely Judith Hanekom from Somerset West and Victor Dladla from Johannesburg. Following a close contest which ended at 6.30pm, the winner was Hanekom – a former world champion.

The competition was ended with a prize giving and finger supper with the prizes handed out by SA Croquet president Mike Moore and Port Alfred croquet club convenor, Noeline Kirsten.

Social croquet continues to be played on Wednesday and Saturday afternoons from 1.15pm. For any potential new players who may be interested in learning how the game is played, the Port Alfred Bowling & Croquet Club offers free croquet lessons. For more info contact Roger 082-373-8181 / Peter 071-552-9780.

Former world champ tries out Port Alfred’s croquet greens

“One shot at a time’’. That’s the advice former world ladies’ croquet champion Judith Hanekom has for all players.

TIME TO CHILL: Former world croquet champion Judith Hanekom relaxing before a game in Port Alfred recently

Hanekom, from Somerset West, was crowned world champ in 2014 after beating New Zealand’s Jenny Clarke in the final in Cairo.

Competing in the croquet SA Nationals staged in Port Alfred recently Hanekom said while she played hockey, tennis and squash at school she never really took to these sports.

So how did her interest in croquet come about?

“While at school I joined a Friday evening youth group and got to know Charles Barlow who was a croquet player. While walking one day I saw him busy practising and he invited me to join him.

“I was then invited by a player to play in a doubles event which I did and once I understood the basics of the game that’s when the croquet bug bit,’’ Hanekom said with a smile.

Hanekom, whose favourite food is sushi and whose hobby is acrylic painting, competed in two world championship events, both staged in Cairo. The first was a combined men and women challenge and the second for women only where she emerged the champion.

“I remember the final, which eventually ended under floodlights, was played for almost six hours,’’ she said.

The former world champion who is a deputy bursar at a private school in Somerset West and owns three dogs, has been playing croquet for about 30 years.

Asked about the different playing conditions, Hanekom said while wind could prove a problem for some people, you had to believe in yourself.

 

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