As the rugby players leave New Zealand another team of top athletes touch down including a familiar Ripon face.
Samantha Thompson will be with the elite team of top women croquet players from around the world arriving on New Zealand’s North Island for the Women’s World Golf Croquet Championship. Samantha has been picked as the number two seed in the six strong England team battling it out for the title.
Samantha, who is also the owner of the Ripon Spa Hotel, has a been playing top level croquet for a number of years, representing her country on a number of occasions.
But she says each occassion is just as nerve racking.
“The Women’s championship has grown in stature since it was first launched six years ago, the first one being held in Cairo, and I will be competing against the best players from all over the world.
“Being picked to play as no 2 seed is a huge honour and just at the moment, when I’m not at work, I’m out practising every spare minute I have.
“Fortunately we’ve had a lovely autumn and our lawns at the Ripon Spa Club are in absolutely superb condition so I’ve no excuse.
“There will be some formidable players taking part but the English team have an even chance and it would be very exciting to bring the trophy back to the northern hemisphere.”
The event runs from Saturday, November 19 to Saturday, November 26, in the coastal resort Bay of Plenty on New Zealand’s North Island.
Samantha is travelling out with friend and adversary, Finland’s no 1 seed, Helena Fensome, “Helena is is constantly on the go so I will have to make sure she lets me get some sleep on our flight out,” she said.