RYDE'S Association Croquet (AC) team — boasting an unbeaten record this season — headed 100 miles north, to take on High Wycombe.

With high hopes they would go through to compete for the national Secretary’s Shield, the Island team were beaten 2-1 last week.

Both teams had come top in their respective leagues. 

AC is the traditional form of the game involving a long-term strategy, as well as the accuracy and judgement required for Golf Croquet, a simpler and more popular game. 

As in snooker, AC players gain extra shots by running hoops or hitting other balls, thus building up breaks. 

Ryde' AC team, unbeaten this season, comfortably won the Southern League. 

The match against High Wycombe comprised three handicap singles, in which the player with the higher handicap is given extra turns (bisques) to even out the skill level. 

Ryde’s top player, Jonathan Smith, could do little until his opponent ran out of bisques, by which time he was 22 hoops behind (out of 24). 

But when he was given a chance, Jonathan got his first ball through all 12 hoops in one half-hour turn. 

Well on the way to doing the same with his second ball, and winning the match, he made one fateful error, and the match was lost. 

Then Philip Kennerley came up against an in-form opponent and, even with the benefit of one bisque, came up short. 

The third game involved captain Harry Oldham, who had to play defensively until his opponent had used up his five bisques, by which time Harry was 15-4 down with less than half the time left to catch up. 

As often happens in handicap matches, the outcome was in doubt until the last few minutes, but by the time the buzzer sounded Harry had edged ahead to win 23-22.