Fly past for National Croquet Day

Chester members were enjoying the sunshine at our monthly social gathering last Sunday when there was a fly past by a spectacular plane, an Airbus Beluga.  We would like to think that the pilot and crew were merely flying over to watch croquet in action on National Croquet Day but in reality they were on a routine flight from near- by Broughton.

Perhaps we should explain:  Airbus makes large commercial planes, notably the A320 and A380 series. The wings are made in Broughton but the final planes are assembled in Toulouse or Hamburg. Can’t stick the wings in the post so what do you do? The answer is an ingenious modification of an A 300 into the Airbus Beluga which can transport the wings in its “belly”.

So if you see an unusually large plane fly over your croquet club, you’ll now know what it is.

PS: An even bigger Beluga is under development to transport a pair of A 350 wings in one go. The wings of the A380, which are too large for even the Beluga XL, have to go by sea.

Our thanks to Airbus for providing the superb image and the accurate technical data.

The Airbus Beluga seen regularly over Chester Croquet Club

2018 Millennium Short Lawn

Late entrant snatches victory

Jayne Taylor of Chester ( who only entered to cover the absence through illness of another competitor) took the North West Federation AC short lawn Millennium title at the annual tournament hosted by Chester on Saturday, 12 May.  But it was no easy ride!

Eight experienced players ( two each from Fylde, Chester and Bowdon and one each from Bury and Southport ) assembled on Chester’s verdant lawns on a cool but sunny day.  As is normal with a Swiss format the two morning rounds spread the field. By lunchtime last year’s winner, Sally Slater of Chester, and Fylde’s low handicapper, Liz Wilson, found themselves at the bottom of the pack  ( ” Past performance is no indicator of future success ” as the financial pundits tell us) while Jayne and Barbara Young of Bury registered two wins apiece to lead the field.

An excellent lunch provided by Pat Clare and her team led to some changes in fortunes. Barbara lost both of her afternoon games to go down the field while Sally registered two victories ( but was too far back to make an impact).  Peter Wilson and Sylvia Steer played themselves into contention with narrow wins over Margaret Moss and Gail Moors respectively while Jayne extended her lead with a further win. The final key matches had the manager on tenterhooks. A win for Jayne would make life easy for him whilst a victory for Peter would lead to a three way tie with the manager frantically brushing up his tie break knowledge.

The match between Jayne and Peter was full of tension. Peter’s low handicap meant he had to make two mandatory peels and although Jayne had 6 bisques she knew that that the slightest slip would let the Fylde sharp shooter into the game. Furthermore it was by no means clear what was the best way to defend against the compulsory peels. Two thirds through the game Jane had a moderate lead but only one bisque left. Peter then carefully left his peelee in the jaws of hoop 3 with his other ball inches behind, threatening not just a peel at hoop 3 but a massive rush to 4 for the second peel. Jayne gritted her teeth and using her last bisque cleared both of Peter’s balls away from hoop 3. After a few more defensive manoeuvres Jayne secured a narrow win to take the title. Alas for Peter there was no consolation as Sylvia logged her second win of the afternoon to take the runner’s up spot.

Jayne took home not just the trophy but a bottle of the “world famous” Chester Sloping Lawn “vintage” wine ( to compensate for her handicap reduction to 5) while Sylvia opted for a Chester Club mug ( and the runner’s up trophy) as a memento. In short an enjoyable day with much excellent croquet played by all.

The winner, Jayne Taylor of Chester, receiving her trophy and a bottle of Chester’s Chateau Sloping Lawn from tournament manager John Dawson
The runner-up, Sylvia Steer of Bowdon, receiving her awards
The eight competitors in the 2018 Millennium Short Lawn tournament at Chester
A study in concentration by Sally Slater of Chester
Jayne Taylor of Chester watching her opponent, Peter Wilson of Fylde, in their final game
Barbara Young and Sylia Steer counting the hoops at the end of their game

Chester success in 2018 Millennium Advanced

Two Chester members, Jerry Guest and John Dawson, took part in the North West Millennium Advanced croquet tournament at Bowdon over the weekend.  Jerry secured the B section trophy by winning all of his five games. Former Chester player, James Hawkins, took second place in the A section.

Jerry Guest, right, receiving his trophy from tournament manager Ken Cooper

Season starts with taster session

Following heavy rain earlier in the week and cancellation of the first North West league match of the season on Saturday, the weather perked up for the annual taster session for newcomers to the game which was held on Sunday, 8 April. The weather on the day was calm and dry with even a little sunshine showing through at times.  The session started with an overview of the game, introduction to mallet and swing, followed by a demonstration and a game of golf croquet. Lunch was provided and was much appreciated. The afternoon was devoted to the shots, demonstration and game of association croquet.

Sixteen visitors attended the event of whom five signed up for the association croquet beginners course starting later in the month and seven for golf croquet.

A further taster session for the University of Chester is being held on Tuesday, 17 April.

Welcome and briefing by Sally Slater
So that’s how to play …


Death of Margaret Howard

Many of you will have known Margaret Howard from when she joined the club with her husband Clive. Due to poor health she didn’t play croquet last year, but still came round to the lawns to say hello and have a chat.

Her husband Clive died a few weeks ago and, very sadly, Margaret died on Wednesday, 7 February, the day before Clive’s funeral.

Arrangements for her funeral are as follows:

Thursday. 1 March 2018
1.00 pm   St Andrew’s United Reformed Church at Handbridge
66 Handbridge, CH4 7JF
2.00 pm   Crematorium
3.00 pm   Chester Golf Club at Curzon Park

Everyone is welcome at St Andrew’s Church but the service at the crematorium  is for family and very close friends only.

Please note that there is hardly any parking at Handbridge.  Best bet may be to park at the Little Roodee and walk over the bridge.  Alternatively the number 16 bus from the bus station or outside Boots stops at St Andrew’s.

Death of Clive Howard

We are very sad to report the death of another member, Clive Howard, who died  at The Countess of Chester Hospital on Sunday, 21 January. He had been ill for some time. He and his wife, Margaret, joined the club in 2004 and used to enjoy the weekly club games. Both were well liked by all club members and we were all grateful for his willingness to use his membership of the Chester Golf Club to organise our annual dinners there.

Death of Win Mealing

We are very sad to report the death of Win Mealing on Saturday, 9 December. She has been a keen and active member of the Club since 2007. Her funeral will be at 12.30 pm on Thursday, 28 December, at St Columba’s Church, Plas Newton Lane, Chester, followed by interment at Blacon Crematorium at 1.30 pm and then at Upton Royal British Legion.

Hers is the third death of a member this year. Dorothy Bayley died on 22 February and David Roberts only a month ago on 11 November. All were keen croquet players and will be greatly missed by the Club.