Teenager Aston takes national croquet crown

Sussex County Croquet Club at Southwick hosted the British Open Golf Croquet Championships, culminating in an exciting final.

Saturday, 10th July 2021, 9:00 am
The trophy is presented to Aston Wade
The trophy is presented to Aston Wade

Sussex County Croquet Club at Southwick hosted the British Open Golf Croquet Championships, culminating in an exciting final.

Covid resulted in a field three short of the normal 32 but with no fewer than 8 aged under 30, the tournament was wide open.

Reg Bamford and Stephen Mulliner had monopolised the Opens for the past 20 years - with shades of Federer and Djokovic - despite the best efforts of England captain John-Paul Moberly and others to end the duopoly. Would this be the year that the new guard could take the prize?

After the block rounds, the knock-out stages resulted in Moberly beating Mulliner in the first semi-final and 18-year-old Aston Wade winning through with an extraordinary performance by someone who only played his first ranked GC event in August 2020, to beat an on-form Richard Bilton.

Spectators were on the edge of their seats as battle commenced in the final, with Wade taking the first game and Moberly fighting back to win the second. In the deciding third game Wade had the upper hand throughout and ran hoop 10 from 15 yards for game, match and trophy.

It was an extraordinarily mature and impressive performance by a young player in this first Open Championship playing against one of the best players in the world.

Credit must go to the Croquet Association’s Youth Development Programme which has done so much to encourage a new generation of talented players in a sport which is experiencing a tremendous revival.