In their final North West weekend handicap league match of the 2018 season Chester ‘lost the battle but won the war’.
Representing Chester, David Boyd (captain), Robin Tasker, Brian Walton and Paul Watson played an away match against Crake Valley, Cumberland, last Monday, 1 October. The morning session of a doubles and two singles games saw Chester gain a lead of 2 games to 1, but Crake came back with a vengeance in the afternoon winning all four singles games to give them a 5 – 2 win for the day. However, by adding the two games won in the morning, Chester edged enough ahead in the league to beat second placed Bury Peelers to give Chester the league championship by a margin of just a single game.
Following an earlier victory in the North West level play golf croquet league, this latest result gives Chester two championships out of the North West Federation’s six leagues in 2018 – a brilliant success for the club.
Chester Croquet Club held its annual end-of-season Hibiscus Tournament on Saturday, 29 September, for players with relatively high handicaps. Nine members took part in the event which was blessed with glorious September sunshine. Playing conditions were good though the lawns were dry and still somewhat uneven after the summer drought making hoop approaches and judging the distance of shots particularly challenging. Overall winner of the competition was James Thomas of Penmaenmawr near Conway who won all five of his games. This was his second end-of season victory having won the Christine Long golf croquet competition earlier in the month. Runner-up was Val Sanders who won four of her five games. Last year’s winner, Doreen Leece, managed the competition and presented the winner’s trophy to James Thomas.
After beating the well-established clubs of Bowdon and Nottingham in previous rounds, Chester played against Watford on Tuesday, 18 September, in the semi-finals of the national Mary Rose advanced, level play association croquet competition on neutral ground at Edgbaston mid-way between the two clubs. The Chester team of Jerry Guest (captain), David Boyd, David Guyton and Mark Lloyd found themselves facing stiff competition from a stronger side who won the trophy in 2017 – Watford’s handicap ratings of 0, 1, 1 and 2 were significantly lower than Chester’s at 0, 2, 5 and 5. The weather and playing conditions were good and both teams enjoyed a cordial day’s play. However, Watford gained the upper hand in the morning winning the doubles and two singles games and their lead continued in the afternoon winning three of the four singles games. The final result was a 6 – 1 win for Watford who now go forward to face High Wycombe in the national final. Detailed results
Chester Croquet Club held their annual Christine Long handicap golf tournament on Saturday, 15 September. Eight members took part in a round robin format and enjoyed a full day’s competition.
There were many closely fought games with James Thomas emerging the outright winner with 6 wins out of a possible 7. Roger Haigh was runner up and Paul Taylor a close third. Taking part were, Mel Hagan, Pat Wheeler, Paul Taylor, James Thomas, Roger Haigh, Chris Thomas, Liz Subramanian, and Janet Jackson.
On the same day, Chester played away against Bury in the NW full lawn handicap league. The Chester team of David Boyd (captain), David Guyton, Brian Walton and Paul Watson faced a meteorologically and metaphorically damp start to the day losing the doubles and both singles matches in the morning resulting in the team being 0 – 3 behind by lunchtime. The weather and performance brightened in the afternoon with Chester winning three of the four singles games giving a final 4 – 3 win to Bury.
Two Chester members, John Dawson and Helen Brophy, took part in the regional final of the All England Association Croquet Handicap Competition at Fylde over the weekend of 1-2 September. Both won three out of five games but narrowly missed qualifying for the national final. Adrian Apps of Bowdon and Phil Nittall of Bury both succeeded in going forward to the final.
Chester Croquet Club were pleased to welcome a return visit by the Carrickmines Croquet and Lawn Tennis Club of Dublin over the bank holiday weekend of 25-26 August. The weather was more autumnal than summery but playing conditions on Saturday were agreeable with only brief rain in the morning followed by longish periods of sunshine in the afternoon. A range of friendly singles and doubles association and golf croquet games were played during the day followed by a convivial supper at Moules a Go-Go in the evening. However, the rain forecast for Sunday duly arrived which curtailed games planned for the second day allowing only two hasty rounds of golf croquet and one soggy game of association croquet. A ferry cancellation brought proceedings to a premature end. The overall result of the friendly encounter was that Chester managed to retain the Anglo-Irish Cup.
Alan Looney, the Carrickmines President and captain, presented the cup to the Chester club secretary and team captain, John Dawson, and declared “It’s been a great weekend. No matter how the Brexit discussions conclude the Chester team will be welcome at Carrickmines in 2019” and he presented the Chester Chair , Sarah Andrew, with a signed copy of the Carrickmines Club Centenary book. That done the Carrickmines convoy aquaplaned out of Westminster Park in hot pursuit of the Holyhead ferry.
After strong wins earlier in the week, Chester finished a very busy week with two more less successful NW league matches over the weekend, 11 – 12 August.
In the NW Handicap Golf Croquet League the Chester team of Pauline Walters (captain), Roger Haigh, Brian Hayes and Ian Graham lost 5 – 13 playing at home against Southport on Saturday, 11 August. Many of the games were very close with several golden hoops being played.
On the following day, Chester played away against Bowdon Bears in the NW Short Lawn League. The whole match was accompanied by big band music from a dancing competition in an adjacent hall. The Chester team of Roger Edwards (captain), Hugh Bray, Maureen Corrigan and Barbara Jones seemed to catch the rhythm and tangoed around the hoops rather than running them and ended up losing the match 2 – 14. Despite the score, it was an enjoyable day playing against friendly hosts.
Chester Croquet Club has had another busy week. On Tuesday, 7 August, Chester played Nottingham at home in the quarter finals of the Croquet Association Mary Rose competition for advanced croquet. Chester was represented by Jerry Guest (captain), David Boyd, John Dawson and Mark Lloyd. The teams decided to play without time limits and Chester won the two singles games in the morning but the doubles game was unfinished. Four singles games were resumed in the afternoon with Chester winning two of them after a marathon session lasting until nearly 8 pm. As this result gave Chester an unbeatable lead the fourth singles game and the unfinished doubles game in the morning were abandoned before completion. The final result was good 4 – 1 win for Chester with two games unfinished. Chester now goes forward to play Watford in the semi finals before 24 September.
Chester has also clocked up more two wins in NW Federation leagues.
Playing at home on Wednesday, 1st August, Chester beat Southport in the Advanced B League by a convincing score of 5 – 0 despite tricky lawn conditions.
Chester played a further home match against Bowdon Earls on Wednesday, 8th August, in the Mid-Week Handicap League. Because of the continuing drought, lawn conditions remained difficult but the Chester team of Helen Brophy (captain), Derek Bell-Jones, Alan Clare and Michael Miller put in a strong performance winning the two singles games and the doubles game in the morning and three of the four singles games in the afternoon to achieve another satisfying 6 – 1 win.
In between these three matches, Chester hosted a national level play golf croquet tournament over the weekend of 4-5th August in which Chester’s Garry Greenwood was winner and Trevor Farrell was runner-up in the competition for the Maggie Cowman trophy.
One of the Croquet Association’s national competitions for level play golf croquet was hosted by Chester Croquet Club over the weekend of 4th and 5th August. Fourteen top class players from all over the country, including Ripon, Watford, Cheltenham and Bakewell, contested the Maggie Cowman trophy over the two days of play. Five Chester players joined the competition, Trevor Farrell, Chris Thomas, Jayne Taylor, Garry Greenwood and Roger Edwards.
The final match for the trophy was between two Chester players Garry Greenwood and Trevor Farrell. After an extremely close match the winner at 10-9 was defending champion Garry Greenwood who received the Maggie Cowman Trophy and a personal medal. The Chester Bowl for second place was won by Ann Brookes from Colchester, and Steve Marsh from Bakewell won the Telford Plate.
David Guyton presented the trophies to the winners and thanked everyone for making it such a successful event for the third year in a row. David Crawford was manager of the tournament.