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

Chester receive NW Federation awards

Chester representatives received two NW Federation league awards at the Federation’s AGM at Culcheth on Saturday, 17 November.

Alan Clare received the trophy on behalf of the Chester Centurions team which won this year’s level play golf croquet league and David Boyd received the trophy on behalf of the Chester team which won the weekend association croquet handicap league.

Alan Clare (left) and David Boyd (right) receiving their league trophies from Paul Rigge, Chairman of the North West Federation of Croquet Clubs
Federation Chairman Paul Rigge (left) with 2018 League Winners – Alan Clare (Chester Centurions – Level Play Golf League); Derek Lunt (Southport – Midweek League); Francois Garcia (Bowdon – Advanced B League); Mike Hodgson (Westmorland – Short League); David Snaith (Westmorland – Golf League); David Boyd (Chester – Weekend Handicap League)



2018 End of season supper

Chester Croquet Club marked the end of another successful season with a supper and trophy presentation at Chez Jules on Wednesday evening, 14 November. 2018 saw Chester achieving a double victory in two North West Federation leagues, the Weekend Handicap League and the Level Play Golf Croquet League. Other successes during the year were winning the short lawn section of the Southport Croquet Festival in June and coming second in the full lawn handicap section.

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 Jerry Guest
Mason Cup Brian Walton
Christine Long Award James Thomas
Hibiscus Trophy James Thomas
Hasting Wang Golf Singles Jayne Taylor
Hermitage Golf Doubles Maureen Ivens & Sally Slater
Hasting Wang Short Lawn Bowl Sally Slater
Peter Bingham Award Brian Hayes
Most improved player – AC Barbara Jones
Most improved player – GC Brian Hayes
Left:: Jerry Guest receiving the Fletton Trophy for advanced croquet from Sarah Andrew having regained it from Mark Lloyd who won it from him in 2017. Right: Brian Walton receiving the Mason Cup for full lawn handicap association croquet.
James Taylor was the winner of the club’s two end of season tournaments, the Christine Long competition for golf croquet and the Hibiscus competition for short lawn association croquet
Left: Jayne Taylor receiving the Hasting Wang Golf Singles trophy and right: Sally Slater and Maureen Ivens holding two matching trophies for the Hermitage Golf Doubles competition
Left: Sally Slater receiving the Hasting Wang Short Lawn Bowl after winning it for the second year running. Right: Brian Hayes receiving the Peter Bingham Award for golf croquet. He was also awarded the club’s trophy for the most improved golf croquet player. The trophy for the most improved association croquet player was awarded to Barbara Jones who was unable to be present.
Former club chairman, David Guyton, receiving a Croquet Association Diploma for services to croquet and a bottle of the club’s unique Sloping Lawn wine. David was awarded the diploma at the recent Croquet Association AGM in recognition of his contribution over many years since joining the club in 2004.

Individual successes during the year were:

  • Jerry Guest was winner of the B section of the NWFCC Millennium advanced croquet tournament at Bowdon over the weekend of 14-15 April
  • Jayne Taylor was winner of the NWFCC Millennium short lawn tournament at Chester on Saturday, 12 May
  • John Dawson was winner of the C class title at the English Seniors Championship at Budleigh Salterton in July
  • Garry Greenwood was winner of the Maggie Cowman trophy and Trevor Farrell was runner-up in the final of the National Level Play golf croquet tournament at Chester on 5 August

Many thanks to Sally and Chris Slater for the photographs.




Lawn renovation begins



After many months of discussion with the Council about lawn maintenance, work finally started earlier today on Sunday, 4 November, when hollow tining was completed on all four lawns.

The photographs show the start of work on Lawn 4, the solid tining and soil core collector machines, the tining holes which have now been drilled across the whole site, and four piles of soil cores amounting to over eight tons awaiting removal.

Later this week or early next week, depending on the weather, the plan is to apply about 10 tons of top dressing and autumn fertiliser. This level of treatment is recommended every two or three years but has not been done for some years. It will complete the planned autumn maintenance work and the lawns will then be allowed to rest to avoid compaction and to enable the maximum penetration and absorbtion of moisture down to the roots of the turf which became dehydrated during the summer drought.

The annual programme includes further work in the spring at the start of the season followed by regular maintenance throughout the summer playing period. A key objective now is to ensure that the park’s watering system is repaired and made properly operational for next year so as to avoid the lawns drying out in the event of another spell of warm, dry weather. Hopefully this will mean that we can all look forward to the lawns being in a much improved condition next season.

Autumn renovation work starting on Lawn 4
The hollow tining machine (left), the soil core collector (centre), and the lawn after tining and collection of soil cores (right)
The first stage completed – the lawns after solid tining and piles of soil cores awaiting removal

CA recognition for two Chester members

Contributions by two Chester Croquet Club members were recognised at the recent Croquet Association AGM and Council meetings on Saturday, 20 October.

Club secretary John Dawson, who is the NW Federation’s representative on the CA Council, was elected as Vice-Chairman of the CA Council and Chairman of the CA Mangement Committee.

Former club chairman David Guyton was awarded a CA Diploma for services to croquet. David was Chairman of Chester Croquet Club from 2004 to 2015. During this time he oversaw major changes in the club, the lawns and the public park in which the club is situated. David has been an outstanding leading member of the club over many years. His notable achievements are:

      • Bringing a comprehensive management system to the club during a period of major expansion. Not only were roles managed to meet the needs of the club but he established a culture of willingness amongst members to do “their bit for the club”. As well as chairing the Committee for 11 years with all the normal duties that requires he initiated an annual planning evening where all members can raise issues and put forward ideas for the future of the club in a highly democratic manner. He continues to publish and manage a comprehensive annual calendar of matches and events.
      • New club house and 25-year lease. In 2008/09 we had a new clubhouse which made a huge difference to all the members and potential members. David was instrumental in persuading the outgoing Chester City Council to provide this clubhouse. He then painstakingly negotiated the long-term lease to secure tenure for the club.
      • Liaising with the local authority, a role he still performs for the club. This is probably the most thankless and frustrating task a club member can undertake. David has sent hundreds of emails to relevant council officials not just ensuring that the council fulfils its obligations to the club in lawn maintenance but driving officials to install a lengthy new fence. David tracks down the correct officials and councillors, organises meetings, explains the issues, and forces them into action by never giving up pestering. A prime example this year has been lawn watering. The lawns have been in grave danger from the drought without a sprinkler system. Over months officials have been stalling, giving excuses and doing nothing. David cut through all their objections, organised members to provide a working party to help the grounds-people and finally achieved daily watering of our lawns.
      • Club website. David taught himself the skills required to build a new website for the club. He has completely authored the club website and is still a major contributor to regular updates. This required many dozens, if not hundreds, of hours dedicated to the single task.
      • Contribution to the North West Federation and the CA. David has ensured that the club has played a full regional role. Under his encouragement the club hosts NW and National tournaments each year. David produced a new data protection policy for the club which was then taken up by others in the North West. He co-authored the note on roles within the CA to stimulate a more thorough approach to effective governance.
David Guyton receiving his CA Diploma from CA President, Quiller Barrett, at the Croquet Association AGM at The Hurlingham Club in London on Saturday, 20 October

Second league championship for Chester

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.



2018 Hibiscus Tournament

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.

The 2018 Hibiscus Tournament in full swing
Tournament winner James Thomas receiving the trophy from last year’s winner and competition manager, Doreen Leece
Competitors in the 2018 Hibiscus Tournament

Chester lose to Watford in the Mary Rose semi-final

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

Christine Long and match result 15 September

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.

Participants in Chester’s annual Christine Long handicap golf croquet tournament with the winner, James Thomas, in the centre, the runner-up Roger Haigh, centre right back row, and in third place Paul Taylor, centre left.

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.