Roberts is given the number two seed a scare at the World Championship


PHYLLIS COURT has a triple presence at this week’s Golf Croquet World Championships at Southwick, near Brighton.

Chris Roberts (representing Wales) had a good first day beating outsider Moten Weaver (Norway) easily in straight games before facing a player from the other extreme of the skills level in Mohammed Karam (Egypt), the runner-up in the last championships in 2019 and this time seeded at number two overall.

Karam struggled in to convert through the firmly sited hoops set at a challenging 1/32in clearance, and Roberts’ more patient and cautious approach paid dividends.

Roberts took the world number two to 6-7 in their first game, won the second 7-4 and the surprise of the first day was on when Karem missed hoop 12 to tie the score in the decider and Roberts took aim for a giant killing win from eight yards. However, his shot hit the right post full on, allowing Karem to score and take the game to the deciding 13 hoop, but this time conceding the first approach to Roberts, only to see the Phyllis Court man fall short from the south boundary.

Six stokes later a relieved Karem scored for the game and match and the small crowd of players that had gathered to watch the possible upset dispersed, leaving Roberts to rue his elementary error at the pressure end on an exciting encounter. Phyllis Court’s other player in the field, Helena Fensome (Finland), suffered defeat in the morning at the hands of Alison Sharp (Australia), but took an afternoon game off Spanish international Jose Alvarez-Sala in a 2-1 defeat.

On subsequent days, Roberts beat Lewis Palmer (Sweden) 2-1, lost to Dominic Nunns (England) 2-1, and in straight games to Haguib Hossam (Egypt) and American Matthew Essick.

Fensome had a rest day on Sunday and then came up against some tough opposition on Monday, and went down in straight games despite a spirited fight to English pair Tim Jolliffe and Euan Burridge.

With one and three games remaining respectively for Roberts and Fensome, the plate event beckons for both.

The hardest working of the Phyllis Court trio at the championships was referee Frances Colman, who has officiated from 8.30am to 8pm every day.

Meanwhile on the Phyllis Court teams front, the D team were in action at High Wycombe last week in the closest of matches possible, in which all four rounds were tied at two games apiece, and ended with a three-victory ‘most valuable player’ performance from Trevor Day included a pressured match saving last hoop run for the 8-8 draw.

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