GC Elite Squad Practice

The England GC team are holding a warm-up weekend at Bowdon at the end of this month on Saturday and Sunday, 23-24 November. It will be over two days when the England team will play the Elite Squad. There will be singles and doubles. Three  full lawns will be in use by the squad over the weekend.

England – J-P Moberly, Stephen Mulliner, Tobi Savage, Richard Bilton
Elite Squad – Ian Burridge, William Gee, Rachel Gee, James Death

J P Moberly, captain of the England GC team

It will not only be a chance for members/spectators to see some of the country’s best GC players in action but also the England team. It doesn’t seem like there is much top level GC around this neck of the woods so it’s a great opportunity for people to come and spectate.

Check the Bowdon website for more information before travelling in case the weather or the lawns are unsuitable.

2019 NW Federation league trophies

Chester were presented with three league trophies at the NW Federation AGM at Culcheth on Saturday, 16 November.  In one of the most successful years for the club, Chester came first in the Advanced B Level league, the Weekend Handicap league and the Golf Level Play league and the team captains were at Culcheth to receive the awards.

Jerry Guest receiving the Advanced B Level trophy from NW Federation chairman Paul Rigge and David Boyd receiving the Weekend Handicap league trophy
Alan Clare receiving the Golf Level Play trophy on behalf of the Chester Centurions team
Chester’s team captains with the recipients of other NW Federation awards

2019 End of season supper

Chester Croquet Club celebrated the conclusion of one of its most successful seasons with a well attended supper and trophy presentation at Chez Jules on Wednesday evening, 13 November.

The club achieved victories in three of the six North West Federation leagues, was winner for the second year running in the short lawn section of the Southport Croquet Festival, and competed in three national competitions reaching the finals in one and the semi-finals in another. In addition, there was a record number of individual successes in various country-wide tournaments.

This year’s winners of the the club’s internal leagues and competitions were presented with their awards by club chairman, Sarah Andrew.

Fletton Trophy Mark Lloyd
Mason Cup James Thomas
Hibiscus Trophy Peter Fey
Hasting Wang Short Lawn Bowl Elaine Walton
Early Bird Golf Doubles Cynthia Graham & Angela Tindall
Hasting Wang Golf Singles James Thomas
Hermitage Golf Doubles Liz Baskerville & Pat Wheeler
Mollie McBride RAT Trophy Pat Wheeler
Peter Bingham Award Jill Foley
Christine Long Award Martyn Seal
Most improved player – AC James Thomas
Most improved player – GC Tom Grievson
Mark Lloyd receiving the Fletton Trophy for the club’s advanced croquet competition and James Thomas receiving the Mason Cup for the association croquet full lawn handicap competition. James also won the Hasting Wang Golf Singles Trophy and the Most Improved Player award for association croquet.
Peter Fey and Elaine Walton receiving their trophies for association croquet short lawn competitions
Cynthia Graham receiving the Early Bird Golf Doubles trophy, which she won with Angela Tindall, and Pat Wheeler and Liz Baskerville receiving their Hermitage Golf Doubles awards
Martyn Seal receiving the Christine Long Trophy for golf croquet and Tom Greivson receiving his Most Improved Player award for golf croquet

Individual successes during the year were:

    • Richard Smith won the Southport Advanced Tournament over the weekend of 27-28 April, winning all six games and raising his world ranking from 185 to 163. He went on to win the Cheltenham AC A Class championship on 7-9 June and was semi-finalist in the South of England Championship at Eastbourne over the weekend of 20-22 September raising his world ranking to 125.
    • John Dawson won the English Veterans AC handicap championship at Budleigh Salterton from 24 to 29 June, winning six out of seven games.
    • James Thomas won the North West Federation Short Lawn Tournament at Fylde on Saturday, 11 May. He went on to win the Jubilee Trophy Handicap Tournament at Fylde over the weekend of 27-28 July, winning all five of his games, was winner of the Bury Handicap AC Weekend on 3-4 August and was winner again at the national Open Short Croquet Tournament at York over the weekend of 28 & 29 September winning nine of his ten games.
    • Sally Slater playing in her first country-wide competition was winner of the High Bisquers Tournament at Cheltenham on 12-13 August.
    • Brian Walton achieved a Croquet Association Silver Merit Award by taking his second ball through all 12 hoops without the use of bisques and winning his game in the final against St Albans for the Secretary’s Shield.


2019 Secretary’s Shield

St Albans beat Chester 5-2 in the final of the national Secretary’s Shield competition in Chester’s last competitive match of the season on Saturday, 19 October.

After a successful run of victories against Tyneside, Broadwas and Ashby in earlier rounds of the knock-out competition, Chester found themselves facing St Albans in the national final for the Secretary’s Shield having previously encountered St Albans two weeks previously in the 3rd/4th round play-offs for the Longman Cup. The match was played on ‘neutral ground’ at Kenilworth, the final having to be rearranged when the previous fixture had been rained off. For this final match of the season, Chester’s team was David Boyd (captain), John Dawson, Robin Tasker and Brian Walton.

In the morning session Brian Walton achieved a Croquet Association Silver Merit Award by taking his second ball through all 12 hoops without the use of bisques and winning his game but Chester lost the other singles game and the doubles game. With St Albans having a 2 – 1 lead at lunchtime, Chester faced an up-hill struggle in the four singles games in the afternoon. All the games were close, including one going to a golden hoop, but St Albans succeeded in winning three of the games giving them a final score of 5 – 2.

John Dawson, a member of the Croquet Association Council and Secretary of Chester Croquet Club, presented the trophy to Chris Frost, the St Albans captain.

As winners of the North West Federation  weekend handicap league for 2019, Chester will have another opportunity to compete for the Secretary’s Shield next year.

John Dawson presenting the Secretary’s Shield to St Albans captain Chris Frost

Detailed results, St Albans names first:

Chris Frost (3.5) & Stuart Stafford (16) beat John Dawson (3) & Robin Tasker (5) 26-11
Heather Bennett (3.5) beat David Boyd (6) 26-22
Stephen Mills (11) lost to Brian Walton (8) 26-9

Chris Frost (3.5) beat John Dawson (3) 26-21
Heather Bennett (3.5) lost to Robin Tasker (5) 20-19T
Stephen Mills (11) beat David Boyd (6) 26-24
Stuart Stafford (16) beat Brian Walton (8) 26-17

2019 Longman Cup

After two strong victories in previous rounds of the national Longman Cup competition a team from Chester Croquet Club made the 440 mile round trip to play against Letchworth in the semi-finals and finals weekend at Surbiton on Saturday and Sunday, 5-6 October.

The Chester team of Robin Tasker (captain), David Boyd, James Thomas and Paul Watson found themselves facing unexpectedly strong competition from a Letchworth team that fielded a minus handicap golf croquet player with a generously high association croquet handicap. Perhaps unsurprisingly the player gained easy victories in his two games and the overall result was a 3 – 4 loss by Chester despite good performances in other games. Letchworth duly went on to beat Sussex 5 -2 in the final on Sunday.

On the Sunday after relentless overnight rain Chester played a fun game of water croquet with the other semi-finalist, St Albans, and drove back to Cheshire. The company was great, the venue, apart from the rain, quite superb and our hosts wonderfully hospitable. But the croquet was disheartening.

The scene at Surbiton on Sunday after overnight rain


Match reports week beginning 28 September

Another Chester Croquet Club player was successful in a national competition over the weekend of 28-29 September. James Thomas competed at the Open Short Lawn Tournament at York, which consisted of 24 entrants from all over the country ranging from handicaps of 10 to 2 peels. The weather held off, leaving the lawns running fast. There was a good spirit of friendly co-operative rivalry which made for a relaxed and enjoyable weekend. James took the trophy, winning 9 out of his 10 games and scoring 114 hoops.

James Thomas receiving his winning trophy

Many of the internal competitions at Chester croquet club have had to be postponed or rescheduled due to poor weather, so finally the Hibiscus AC competition was played on Saturday 28th September. This is a tournament open to those with a handicap of 8-10 (‘high bisquers’) and there were 6 hopeful participants who entered the competition on a surprisingly warm morning. The format of the day was initially a 4 round Swiss but as everyone was so enthusiastic it ended up being a round robin where everyone plays each other. With two participants in joint first place the final round saw Sarah Andrew up against Peter Fey. In a closely thought out game and a flurry of bisques, Peter Fey, a beginner to the game, won the game and the tournament.  Runner-up in the competition was Elaine Walton.

Competitors in Chester’s annual Hibiscus competition. Left to right: Sarah Andrew, winner Peter Fey, Pat Wheeler, runner-up Elaine Walton, Esther Noot and Val Sanders.

Chester croquet club held two of its internal competition finals on Wednesday 2nd October in warm sunshine. The Hermitage GC doubles is a handicap knock out competition where new partners are drawn every round. The eventual winners of the three way final were Liz Baskerville and Pat Wheeler, beating James Thomas and Janet Jackson by 6 hoops to 3.

Winners of the Hermitage Golf Doubles competition: Liz Baskerville (left) and Pat Wheeler (right) with competition organiser Sally Slater (centre)

The Hastings Wang GC singles competition was held on the same day, with the three finalists, Pauline Walters, James Thomas and Sally Slater playing each other. All matches were closely fought, but James Thomas beat Sally Slater 7-5 in the final game to take the trophy.

Match reports week beginning 23 September 2019

On a day that started with drizzle and ended with bright sunshine, Chester hosted Tattenhall in the North Wales & Cheshire Tournament Short Croquet competition on Sunday, 17 September. The Chester team of Robert Jones, Doreen Leece and Pat Wheeler (captain) won 3 games but Tattenhall won overall by 6 games to 3.

On the following Sunday, 22 September, Chester played an Advanced B league match away at Bowdon. The team of David Boyd, Brian Walton and Robin Tasker struggled against a strong Bowdon side who played some excellent croquet. The morning doubles match was hard fought but Bowdon pulled away at the end while in the singles Robin Tasker lost a scrappy game. The afternoon singles were all lost decisively although the Chester players all contributed fully and showed good form on Bowdon’s excellent lawns.

Then on Wednesday, 25 September, a Chester team of Jerry Guest (captain), John Dawson and James Thomas beat Pendle 4-1 in a further Advanced B league match.  The match was played at Chester in excellent conditions after the lawns were mowed by the Council that morning.

Chester Croquet Club member Richard Smith was a semi-finalist at the South of England Croquet Championship at Eastbourne over the weekend of 20-22 September. Before the event, despite having an Association Croquet handicap of -1, he was ranked 20 out of the 22 entrants. The event was a seeded knock-out, with each match best of three games. After winning his first round match, Richard went on to beat Great Britain internationals in the next two rounds to progress to the semi-final. Here his opponent was another international and previous open champion, Mark Avery. In the semi-final, Mark beat Richard, and then went on to win the event in the final. As a result of this success, Richard’s world ranking has improved from 160 to 125.

Lawns ready for play

After a successful day on Thursday, 21 March, setting out the lawns for the new season, the mop and mallet mob returned on Saturday, 23 March, and enjoyed some spring sunshine to finish the task and to spring clean the clubhouse.  Thanks to our volunteers, all the lawns are now ready for play and a clean and tidy clubhouse is now open for business. We wish all our members, old and new, an enjoyable and successful season.

The mop and mallet mob enjoying some spring sunshine