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Croquet rookie Horrer’s major win

Masterton’s Stefan Horrer won the Arthur Ross Handicap Open croquet event in Christchurch over the weekend.

Held annually, this tournament is open to players nominated by local and provincial associations from across the country.

It is run on a handicap format so Horrer, on a handicap of 18, competed against some players with handicaps as low as minus four.

In croquet, handicapping involves giving the player with a higher handicap free turns, known as bisques.

Horrer was up against local Canterbury favourite Ian Campbell in the final where Campbell, on a handicap of minus one, gave him 19 bisques.

And Horrer took full advantage of that situation, winning comfortably 21-10.

Earlier, Horrer had finished second in group play, winning three of his five games before proceeding to the knockout phase where he reached the final by beating representatives from Wanganui-Manawatu and Otago.

Playing eight or so hours of croquet each day over three days including the final played on a very hot Christchurch Sunday, left Horrer exhausted but quietly satisfied:

“I only started playing croquet last December so this has been a huge revelation.

“But I did not do this on my own, I’ve had superb coaching at the Masterton Croquet Club from Duncan Adair and others and tons of the support from everyone I’ve met at the club.

“It’s really a team effort and a tribute to the club,” he said.

Croquet is undergoing something of a boom in Masterton currently, with good turnouts at club days, full lawns and plenty of friendly competition.

Italian-born Horrer says the warm welcome at the Masterton Croquet Club and its beautiful setting — surrounded by mature trees on the edge of Queen Elizabeth Park — have been inspiring.

‘It really is a slice of paradise.

“As a person new to the district and the country, I’ve been embraced by the local croquet community and it has made settling in so much easier.

“I’m looking forward to the next few club days so I can share this success with everyone at the club as they’re entitled to the lion’s share of the credit.”

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