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.
Chester Croquet Club members Helen Brophy and John Dawson competed in the All England Association handicap regional final held at Fylde over the weekend of 2nd and 3rd September. Both scored 3 wins out of 5 matches and narrowly missed qualifying for the national final.
Chester Centurions Level Play Golf croquet team were denied a clean sweep in the NW Federation’s 2018 LPG league. Having won all 5 of their previous encounters, the Centurions, represented by David Crawford, Trevor Farrell and David Boyd (captain), lost their final match of the season on Thursday 6th September away at Pendle, by 11 games to 6. However, despite this loss, the Centurions finished as the 2018 LPG league winners, which was helped partly by Chester’s other team the Chariots beating Bowdon, the rival team for the top spot, leaving Pendle in second place behind the Centurions.
On Friday 7th September, the finals of the Hermitage golf doubles took place. The internal competition took a different format this year with names being drawn out a hat each round. The final four were Maureen Ivens, Patti Evans, Sally Slater and competition organiser Pete Fey. Maureen and Sally were drawn together and played Pete and Patti in a best of three games. The first game was very close at 7-5 and the second game went to time with a win of 6-5 to Sally and Maureen giving them the overall title.
On a very wet day on Saturday 8th September, the short lawn team of Sally Slater (captain), Val Sanders, Barbara Jones and Roger Edwards played at home against Southport. By lunchtime the lawns were under a lot of water and the captains agreed to abandon the match. Southport conceded the match to Chester who were winning 6-2.
Chester croquet club often hosts community groups who want to try their hand at croquet and it was a MENSA group who came on Saturday 1st September. Dennis Holman, one of the club’s coaches, organised and led the day. The participants came from all over the country and two came over from Ireland. In the morning 12 people learnt about and played association croquet, and in the afternoon 22 others played progressive golf croquet. It was thoroughly enjoyed by all.
The beautiful Levens Hall in the South Lakes was the venue for Chester’s NW Golf Croquet league match against Westmorland on Sunday 26th August, unfortunately the weather was both very wet and very cold, with only a gazebo for shelter!! The team of Mel Hagan, Pat Wheeler, Liz Subramanian and Jayne Taylor (captain) were beaten 12-6 by Westmorland. Pat was playing her first match for the club and did well to win both a doubles and a singles game.
After winning the short lawn competition at the Southport festival, Chester was entered into the new national competition and met Bowdon in the first round. Bowdon had control of the match from the start, winning the first set of 4 games 3-1. This continued in the second and third rounds with two more 3-1 wins. In the final round of four, Chester found some better form to share the round 2-2. The final result was 11-5. However, all the matches were played in great spirit, and each of the Chester team recorded a win.
On Thursday 30th August the Chester Chariots level play team of Paul Taylor (captain), Sally Slater and Chris Thomas played away at Bowdon in the NW level play league. It was a glorious day and the Chester team won convincingly 13-5.
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.