Airey is the man for Federation as they pick up late victory at Nailsea

SWINDON Federation Croquet team picked up a dramatic win as John Airey made a final hoop to pip Nailsea in the last leg.

With the match tied at three legs apiece Airey and Nailsea’s Jim Gregory both missed chances to take the victory but the Swindon man found his composure to take the game 22-21.

In the morning Swindon’s doubles pair Airey and Diana Trott had to play catch-up after Gregory and Brian Royson made a good start, eventually overtaking them to win 20-16.

In the singles Neil Morrison (Swindon) was unable to start against Andrew Wimshurst losing 0-26. Although Mike Graham trailed in his game against Nailsea captain Kathy Wallace he caught up in the closing minutes to win 23 -22.

In the afternoon Trott found the on-form Royson uncatchable before he pegged out to win 26-11, though Morrison was able to rediscover his form to beat Wallace 26-6. Graham found Wimshurst too much and lost to him 8 -26.

With the match tied after six legs, and with time was called in the game between Gregory and Airey, Gregory needed three hoops to draw. The Nailsea man held his nerve but it left Airey to take his last turn to score a hoop to win, but he was unable to take his chance.

With the scores level an audience grew, to see both players making simple errors.

Finally Airey was the first to steady himself and made a hoop to win the game 22–21 and the match for his side.

On Friday the B Team played The Bear of Rodborough away. The morning started well, with the Swindon doubles pair of Mary Bedells and Bill Marner taking an early lead. Though the Bear team of Crawford Alexander and John Ireland fought back and to draw level. Marner made an inspired roquet to give Swindon a chance, but Bedells failed to make the hoop and the home pair pegged out to win 14 -11.

Swindon’s Tony Mayer made a good start against Ian Rendell but the The Bear player gradually caught up and when time was called they had 11 hoops each. In the additional 30 minutes Rendell eventually found the winning hoop to win 12 -11.

After lunch Swindon’s Bedells then played Ireland, the Rodborough man scored a hoop with his first ball and looked as if he was set for a good run. Bedells fought back, hitting in and had two good breaks to get both her balls round to peg. Ireland then got one ball on peg and one on Rover (last hoop), and looked as if he would overtake her. However, he missed an easy roquet so Bedells was able to hit in and peg out, winning 14 -11.

Marner led Rendell all the way round but then the Swindon man’s accuracy departed him and Rendell got his eye in, slowly but surely overtaking him to win 14 -10 and put his side out of reach.

Mayer battled a close dead rubber against Alexander and was leading 7 -6 when time was called, leaving Alexander to score to save the game, but he failed to do this, gifting Mayer the victory, ultimately leaving the score 3-2 to the hosts.

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