Waste Recycling Centre visit October 22 2019

Thirteen people had been recycled to nine by the time we arrived at the Winsford waste recycling centre on Tuesday, but we were still met with a friendly reception. Matthew the ‘waste doctor’ and Lisa, who had a long, impressive title involving words like recycling and management, met us with high vis jackets and led us safely to the education building on site at the Keir waste management site at Winsford, ran by Keir on behalf of Chester and Cheshire West.
There was a constant stream of waste lorry traffic in and out of the site, but that did not detract from our concentration from the talk we received from Matthew and Lisa on what can and cannot be recycled in that plant. Although it was a talk largely aimed at younger people, we all found it interesting and there were some revelations along the way and we were able to ask questions. We were then shown the make-up of the different compartments of the waste lorry.
After the talk we were taken to a safe viewing point where we watched the two fork lift trucks empty the different compartments of the lorries. It was like a dance, done with speed and efficiency, and difficult to take your eyes off it. They only took a few minutes to empty each lorry, which then moved to another part of the site, where batteries and textiles were removed, before moving to a final section before leaving the site.
We then returned to the education centre where we had a talk on food waste, which was shameful in many ways. We were given literature, stickers and a reusable metal cup each and called into the Fishpool Inn for lunch on the way home. A trip worth taking. Thanks to Sandy for organising. Look out for others in the series!

Match reports week beginning 16 September 2019

It was a chilly, wet and windy day up at Earby on Thursday, 12 September, when the Chester Chariots golf level play team played against Pendle and Craven in the North West league. Chester faced a much more experienced side with lower handicaps and Jayne Taylor (captain), Paul Taylor and James Thomas lost 14-4 to Pendle and Craven.

The weather improved on Friday, 13 September, and a good day’s play was had at home by the Chester team playing against Llanfairfechan in the North Wales and Cheshire golf croquet tournament. Ian Graham captained the team of Liz Subramanian, Jill Foley and Tom Grievson and they won 14 -4.

Also on Friday, 13 September, Chester and Tyneside met for the second time this year, having played each other in the first round of the Secretary’s Shield they now competed for the opportunity to play in the final of the Longman Trophy. Once again the agreed venue for the match was midway between the clubs at Pendle and Craven Croquet Club at Earby. During the morning session of the double and two singles, Chester achieved a comfortable lead of 3 games to 0, then the first result in the afternoon singles was another win for Chester to secure a match victory, the final score line being Chester 5 Tyneside 2. The captain was David Boyd, with James Thomas, David Guyton and Paul Watson. Chester has now qualified to play in the semi-final / final, with three other clubs, at Surbiton early in October.

Match reports week beginning 9 September 2019

One up, one down and a draw – a mixed week for Chester Croquet Club but one critical win confirmed Chester as this year’s winner of the North West Federation weekend association croquet handicap league.

On Saturday, 7 September, Chester played at home against Bowdon Bears in the North West Federation short lawn league with the result an 8 – 8 draw.

Two more teams were in action on Sunday, 8 September. The Chester team of Chris Thomas (captain), Ian and Cynthia Graham, and Pat Wheeler played away against Southport in the North West Federation golf handicap league. Accompanied by overhead aerobatics from the Southport air show, each won one game but conceded a 14 – 4 win to their opponents. On the same day, Chester played at home in their eighth and final match of this year’s North West Federation weekend association croquet handicap league against a visiting team from Fylde. Playing for Chester, David Boyd (captain), James Thomas, Brian Walton and Sarah Andrew made full use of their home advantage and established a 3 – 0 lead during the morning session. They followed this with two early wins in the afternoon to clinch a match victory, the final score being a satisfying 6 – 1 win for Chester. This result means that Chester has won seven out of their eight matches confirming the team as league champions for the second year running. This is the second league success for Chester having also come first in the North West Federation level play golf croquet league in the previous week, again for the second year running.

Match reports week beginning 2 September 2019

In another particularly busy week Chester played at home against Pendle & Craven in the North West Federation mid-week handicap league on Wednesday, 28 August. Under grey skies and intermittent rain the Chester team of John Dawson (captain), Helen Brophy, David Guyton and Brian Walton faced strong competition from the visiting team. In the morning Brian Walton won one of the two singles games but Pendle won the other singles game and the doubles game. Pendle’s lead continued in the afternoon when David Guyton was the only winner of the four singles games. The overall result was a 5 – 2 win for Pendle.

On the following day Chester fielded two teams In the North West Federation level play golf croquet league on Thursday, 29 August. Chester Centurions took a strong team to Bury to play Bury Monarchs in the final level play match of the season. David Crawford (captain), David Boyd and Mark Lloyd won 17 – 1 and cemented their position as league winners. Mark Lloyd and David Boyd each won all their games. This win gave Chester Centurions a cumulative total of 12 points at the top of the table, ahead of Crake Valley with 6 points, and a total of 77 hoops scored against 31 hoops conceded to opposing teams. Having won the North West league for two consecutive years, Chester Centurions are now looking forward to defending their position in 2020. Meanwhile, the Club’s second level play golf croquet team, Chester Chariots, enjoyed good weather playing at home against Culcheth. For this match the Chester team was Pat Clare (captain), Chris Thomas and James Thomas. Chester won 12 – 8. Culcheth were worthy opponents and all enjoyed the games.

More rain was forecast on Saturday, 31 August, when Chester played away against Southport in the North West Federation weekend handicap league. The rain duly arrived promptly with the start of play. Southport’s lawns drained well but the wet turf slowed playing conditions. For this match the Chester team was David Guyton (captain), Sarah Andrew, James Thomas and Paul Watson. In the doubles game in the morning David Guyton and Paul Watson quickly gained a lead and managed to peg out 26 – 3 nearly an hour before time. The two singles games were very closely fought throughout with Sarah Andrew at the end achieving a lead of just one hoop in her game giving Chester a 2 – 1 lead by lunchtime. Another brief shower after lunch gave way to bright and warm sunshine for the rest of the afternoon and the lawns became noticeably faster. Southport returned reinvigorated by lunch and the brighter weather and won three of the four singles games, one with a lead of just two hoops, with David Guyton winning the only game for Chester. The result was a close 4 – 3 win for Southport. This loss by Chester comes after a run of five consecutive wins but still leaves Chester at the top of the league though with both clubs having one more game to play which could alter the outcome if Southport win again and Chester lose again in their final matches.

On the same day, Chester played at home against Llanfairfechan in the North West Federation golf croquet league. As usual, a friendly Llanfairfechan team provided entertaining opposition. Despite intervals of light rain, the weather brightened up during the afternoon and everyone enjoyed the occasion. Sandy and Tom Grievson were playing in their first match having only joined the Club earlier this year. Both played well, especially Sandy who won three of her four games, with Tom winning one and drawing one. Maureen Ivens and Roger Haigh completed the Chester foursome. By the finish, Chester succeeded in winning the match 10 – 6. This was a particularly satisfying result for Chester as the team comprised two new members and Llanfairfechan have been at or near the top of the league so far this season.

Also over the weekend, two Chester members, John Dawson and Sally Slater, took part in a two day North West regional qualifying round at Bury for this year’s All England Association Croquet Handicap Competition. John Dawson was one of the two finalists who now go forward to play in the national final at Hunstanton next weekend, 7-8 September.

Secretary’s Shield Match Report 24 August 2019

Chester was at home on Saturday 24th August for their third round / semi-final match in the 2019 Secretary’s Shield tournament against a team from Ashby CC (near Leicester). On a brilliant day with temperatures reaching the high 20’s C, shade from the sun was soon the refuge of choice for the out players. None of the games in the morning session saw any big break away scores although Chester managed to scrape a 3 games lead by lunchtime but, unfortunately for Ashby, the first result in the afternoon, a win for Chester, sealed the match victory for the home team. The remaining games also went to Chester giving a final result of: Chester 7 – Ashby 0.

Secretary’s Shield match against Ashby on Saturday, 24 August, with a short lawn match against Fylde in the background

1500 visitors give croquet a go at CountryfileLive at Castle Howard

A group of 50 enthusiastic croquet players drawn mostly from the Yorkshire Federation went to the new CountryfileLive at Castle Howard to give visitors to the 4 day event the opportunity to “give croquet a go”. Two small courts were set up on the lawns with the magnificent house in the background and over 1500 tried their hand at running hoops with some expert guidance. All of the visitors seemed to enjoy it ; any serious interest was captured and links are being made to clubs for follow up.
The weather was variable and as the show lasted from 9am to 6pm on each day the CA volunteers worked hard with some time off to enjoy the rest of the show themselves.
It is always difficult to assess the long term impact of this sort of activity but 1500 is a “serious” number of players and there is no doubt that the team of volunteers raised the public profile of croquet amongst the tens of thousand visitors to the show. As a result of the relationships built up at Blenheim the BBC Countryfile Live stars turned up en masse for an early morning publicity shoot and Matt Baker , Ellie Harrison and Adam Henson came back to hone their croquet skills watched by many of their fans. Some activities were shot on camera but we shall have to wait to see if any of the footage makes it to the Sunday night show.

CountryfileLive at Castle Howard 2019

Match reports week beginning 19 August 2019

The weekend handicap team recorded a good away win at Bowdon on Sunday 11th August by 4-3 after falling 1-2 behind at lunch. The Chester team of David Boyd, Paul Watson, Brian Walton and Robin Tasker played through a day of mixed weather and close matches with a couple being decided by a single point. The result means the weekend handicap team have now played and won 6 matches and with two matches to go they sit top of the North West Federation league.

In pretty much unrelenting rain, the Chester midweek handicap team of Sarah Andrew, Brian Walton, James Thomas and Robin Tasker beat a high handicap Southport team at home 5-2. In the morning session Chester lost the doubles but both Brian and James successfully won their singles matches. The highlight of the afternoon, aside from a lessening of the rain, was a splendid victory for Sarah in her singles match as Chester cruised to a comfortable match win.

Also on Wednesday Chester player Sally Slater won a highbisquers tournament at Cheltenham against association croquet players from other clubs. Sally was playing in her first tournament after taking up full lawn association croquet seriously this season. After the first day Sally won both her matches, and on the second day won with a peg out in the morning against a lower handicapped player to win 3 matches out of 3. One other contender had also won all 3 of his matches, but Sally pegged him out in 90 minutes to win the tournament and receive an engraved wine glass.

Match reports week beginning 12 August 2019

There were mixed fortunes for Chester croquet club teams in the North West Federation matches played this week.

On Thursday, the association team of John Dawson (captain), Sally Slater, David Boyd and Derek Bell-Jones travelled up to the beautiful Levens Hall in Cumbria to play Westmorland in the midweek handicap league. There were some closely fought games, but Chester lost 5-2.

Also on Thursday the Chester Centurions level play team played Bury Sovereigns at home. The weather was fine, but the lawns played quite slowly after rain. The visitors fought hard but were overwhelmed by the strong team of Garry Greenwood, Trevor Farrell and David Crawford (captain) and Chester won 16-2. Garry Greenwood won all of his 6 games.

The advanced B team played away at Crake Valley on Friday and it was declared a draw 2-2 after a Crake Valley player became unwell in the afternoon and couldn’t finish his game. Jerry Guest, Robin Tasker and John Dawson (captain) represented Chester.

The golf handicap match was played away against Bury North. There were challenging conditions at first with lots of puddles after much rain. Pat Clare, Maureen Ivens, Liz Subramanian and Jill Foley had some very close games with 6 of them going to the golden hoop, but after a very close match Bury North won 11-7.

Chester Croquet Club played their sixth match in the 2019 weekend handicap AC league away at Bowdon Firs on Sunday 11th Aug. T he team of David Boyd (Captain), Robin Tasker, Paul Watson and Brian Walton made a slow start in the morning session allowing Bowdon to take a lead of two games to one, however, the first two results in from the afternoon singles were wins for Chester so the overall outcome of the match now hung in the balance. The last two games were closely fought and went to time with one win to each club giving a final match result of a 4 games to 3 win for Chester confirming the team as the current NWFCC league leaders.

Match reports week beginning 5 August 5 2019

James Thomas of Chester and Llanfairfechan croquet clubs played his first Croquet Association tournament at Fylde last weekend. As usual it was a strict Swiss event of 5 rounds, the draw being made with numbered sticks of Blackpool Rock. Light drizzle fell slowly all day but the new drainage system kept the lawns unpuddled and entirely playable all day.
An early lawn inspection took place on Sunday due to constant overnight rain. Despite the nearby Seniors Open Golf at Royal Lytham being postponed until 1pm, the Fylde Lawns were entirely playable. Round four started with James Thomas and Philip Bass both on 3/3. James won that round +2.
During the lunch break the rain had stopped and the drainage worked, so round five was able to proceed in what turned out to be the best session of the tournament. James won his final game 26 – 0 with some bisques remaining, throwing in a well organised Rover peel to take the trophy.

James Thomas receiving his trophy

In the national Mary Rose competition Chester was knocked out by Nottingham by 5 games to 2 on Monday 29th July. However, in consolation Mark Lloyd won his singles game with a triple peel.

Match report 21 July 2019

In the North West handicap league, the Chester team of Richard Smith, Paul Watson, James Thomas and Robin Tasker beat Bury Peelers 6-1, although a couple of the matches were extremely close run affairs. There was some excellent croquet played throughout the day, but none more so than by Richard Smith who treated us to a sublime display of skill to beat his final opponent from 20 points down with two incredible turns to peg out.
Another match was cancelled due to rain, unexpected at this point during the season!