Thursday, 28 July 2011

Two very different ball games

Budleigh Salterton Cricket Club, scene of a recent heart-stopping drama

I'm sometimes asked why my blog doesn't cover sports news.

I decided fairly early on that I couldn't cover everything, and in any case the local press does a good job in that respect.

But probably the main reason for my omission is simply that I don't get fired up about sports results, and that's probably something to do with my poor head for figures and maybe a lack of spatial awareness. I find it impossible to enthuse about a favourite football team's league position. Off-side rules just leave me confused. As for tennis scoring... well, I do try, every Wimbledon, to work out who's winning, but end up feeling my wife's pitying looks.

Of course interesting sports events do occur here. Just the other day we were all enthralled by the headline-grabbing story of how a cricket player's life was saved on Budleigh Salterton cricket ground by the swift use of a defibrillator. Luckily the player, who had suffered a heart attack, was part of a team of cricket-loving doctors and one of them happened to have one of those useful gadgets in his car.

The doctor's prompt action has made him "a bit of a hero" as the cricket club secretary put it. Maybe the skill and coolness he showed, rather than the number of wickets he'll take or the runs he'll score, will be what's recorded in the club annals as a truly notable event.

I have to admit a personal interest here, having learnt that the hero was my own GP.

The story may not have been read by my friends in our American sister-town of Brewster, even though it hit the world news stage - I read about it again on an Indian news site.

They don't generally play cricket in the US of course, whereas I imagine that any cricketing story is hot news in the sub-continent.

Budleigh Salterton's East Devon Golf Club. I moved to this part of Devon partly because of those rhododendrons

What they do play in America of course, apart from baseball and their own brand of football, is golf. Here again I have to admit to having absolutely no understanding of tees, birdies and handicaps in spite of living only a few minutes' walk from the splendid East Devon Golf Club. But my eye was drawn to a lyrical piece on the web by American sports journalist Scott Coen in praise of the Captains Golf Club in Brewster.

It's all golfish to me of course, but I thought that my Budleigh readers familiar with fairways, greens and the quality of sand traps might appreciate the piece.

They might even be tempted to cross the Atlantic in search of what is clearly another little golfers' heaven. I hope that they'd be given a warm welcome at the Captains.

Click on to read Mr Coen's article.

Websites for the Captains Golf Club in Brewster and East Devon Golf Club in Budleigh Salterton are at and

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