Match results 18, 20 May 2018

There were mixed fortunes for Chester in the North West Federation association leagues. The Chester team of John Dawson, Helen Brophy, David Guyton and Paul Watson lost 6-1 on Friday 18th away at Bowdon against Bowdon Griffins in the North West mid-week league.

On Sunday 20th Bowdon was again the venue for the weekend handicap league, where Chester played Bowdon St Mary’s and won 4-3. The team was Paul Taylor, Brian Walton, John Dawson and David Boyd.

Fly past for National Croquet Day

Chester members were enjoying the sunshine at our monthly social gathering last Sunday when there was a fly past by a spectacular plane, an Airbus Beluga.  We would like to think that the pilot and crew were merely flying over to watch croquet in action on National Croquet Day but in reality they were on a routine flight from near- by Broughton.

Perhaps we should explain:  Airbus makes large commercial planes, notably the A320 and A380 series. The wings are made in Broughton but the final planes are assembled in Toulouse or Hamburg. Can’t stick the wings in the post so what do you do? The answer is an ingenious modification of an A 300 into the Airbus Beluga which can transport the wings in its “belly”.

So if you see an unusually large plane fly over your croquet club, you’ll now know what it is.

PS: An even bigger Beluga is under development to transport a pair of A 350 wings in one go. The wings of the A380, which are too large for even the Beluga XL, have to go by sea.

Our thanks to Airbus for providing the superb image and the accurate technical data.

The Airbus Beluga seen regularly over Chester Croquet Club

2018 Millennium Short Lawn

Late entrant snatches victory

Jayne Taylor of Chester ( who only entered to cover the absence through illness of another competitor) took the North West Federation AC short lawn Millennium title at the annual tournament hosted by Chester on Saturday, 12 May.  But it was no easy ride!

Eight experienced players ( two each from Fylde, Chester and Bowdon and one each from Bury and Southport ) assembled on Chester’s verdant lawns on a cool but sunny day.  As is normal with a Swiss format the two morning rounds spread the field. By lunchtime last year’s winner, Sally Slater of Chester, and Fylde’s low handicapper, Liz Wilson, found themselves at the bottom of the pack  ( ” Past performance is no indicator of future success ” as the financial pundits tell us) while Jayne and Barbara Young of Bury registered two wins apiece to lead the field.

An excellent lunch provided by Pat Clare and her team led to some changes in fortunes. Barbara lost both of her afternoon games to go down the field while Sally registered two victories ( but was too far back to make an impact).  Peter Wilson and Sylvia Steer played themselves into contention with narrow wins over Margaret Moss and Gail Moors respectively while Jayne extended her lead with a further win. The final key matches had the manager on tenterhooks. A win for Jayne would make life easy for him whilst a victory for Peter would lead to a three way tie with the manager frantically brushing up his tie break knowledge.

The match between Jayne and Peter was full of tension. Peter’s low handicap meant he had to make two mandatory peels and although Jayne had 6 bisques she knew that that the slightest slip would let the Fylde sharp shooter into the game. Furthermore it was by no means clear what was the best way to defend against the compulsory peels. Two thirds through the game Jane had a moderate lead but only one bisque left. Peter then carefully left his peelee in the jaws of hoop 3 with his other ball inches behind, threatening not just a peel at hoop 3 but a massive rush to 4 for the second peel. Jayne gritted her teeth and using her last bisque cleared both of Peter’s balls away from hoop 3. After a few more defensive manoeuvres Jayne secured a narrow win to take the title. Alas for Peter there was no consolation as Sylvia logged her second win of the afternoon to take the runner’s up spot.

Jayne took home not just the trophy but a bottle of the “world famous” Chester Sloping Lawn “vintage” wine ( to compensate for her handicap reduction to 5) while Sylvia opted for a Chester Club mug ( and the runner’s up trophy) as a memento. In short an enjoyable day with much excellent croquet played by all.

The winner, Jayne Taylor of Chester, receiving her trophy and a bottle of Chester’s Chateau Sloping Lawn from tournament manager John Dawson
The runner-up, Sylvia Steer of Bowdon, receiving her awards
The eight competitors in the 2018 Millennium Short Lawn tournament at Chester
A study in concentration by Sally Slater of Chester
Jayne Taylor of Chester watching her opponent, Peter Wilson of Fylde, in their final game
Barbara Young and Sylia Steer counting the hoops at the end of their game

Golf croquet match results 1, 2 & 6 May 2018

On Tuesday 1st May, Chester Chariots level play golf croquet team played their first match of the season against a very strong team from Pendle in the North West federation league. It was an enjoyable day but very much a learning experience. Chester lost the match 6 – 12. The captain was Janet Jackson, with Paul Taylor and Roger Edwards. They each won 2 games. It was Roger’s first level play match playing for Chester.

The next day, the second level play golf croquet team, Chester Centurions, played Bury at Chester. The early rain stopped and the sun shone all day, cooled only by the wind. Chester won 12-8. Team captain was Garry Greenwood playing with Alan Clare and Trevor Farrell.

On Sunday 6th May, the Chester golf croquet team of Sally Slater (captain), Janet Jackson, Mel Hagan and Chris Thomas travelled up to Bury to play Bury South in the North West federation golf croquet handicap league. The score line of 13-3 to Bury belied the close nature of the match, with many games going to the golden hoop.

Match results 28,29 April 2018

Chester croquet teams were in action in three North West Federation matches this weekend.

On Saturday, 28 April, Chester played at home against Southport in the Handicap League. The weather was better than expected. It was the first match of the season for both teams and both sides felt a little lacking in practice after a long winter break and a slow start to the season because of cold, wet weather earlier in the month. In the morning, the Chester team of David Boyd (captain), John Dawson, David Guyton and Robin Tasker won the doubles game by one hoop and one of the two singles games giving a 2 -1 lead by lunch time. In the four singles games in the afternoon, Chester won two of the games giving a final win of 4 – 3 for Chester.

This match was a good example of gender equality in croquet as Southport was represented by an all ladies team playing against an all mens team for Chester, but the result could easily have gone either way, Chester were just lucky to have won the match with that one point victory in the doubles.

In the golf croquet league, Chester was represented by Jayne Taylor (captain), Chris Thomas, Janet Jackson and Jill Foley who played away in the beautiful setting of the Crake valley in the Lake District. The games were hard fought, the final score being 11-7 to Crake. Person of the match was Chris Thomas who won all of her four singles games.

On Sunday, the Chester team of Jerry Guest (captain), Elmyr Hughes and Paul Watson played away at Bury in the Advanced B league. In the morning Jerry and Paul won the doubles but Elmyr narrowly lost his singles game. In the afternoon however, he won his game 26-0, a fantastic result, but the other two singles games were lost, giving an overall score of 3-2 to Bury.

Early season events

Chester croquet club began the season with a successful taster day on Sunday 8th April, attended by 16 people who learnt all about croquet. Thirteen of these signed up for the beginners courses which take place in the next few weeks.

On Saturday 14th April Chester held its first match of the season at home against Bowdon in the North West golf handicap league. The weather was lovely at last, and it was an excellent day’s croquet with Bowdon winning 11-7. The team was captained by Chris Thomas, with Janet Jackson, Mel Hagan and Jill Foley.

Over the weekend two Chester players, John Dawson and Jerry Guest, took part in the North West Millennium Advanced Tournament held at Bowdon. Jerry won all five of his games to secure the B section trophy. Former Chester player, James Hawkins, took second in the A section.

Jerry Guest, right, receiving his trophy from tournament manager Ken Cooper

Chester success in 2018 Millennium Advanced

Two Chester members, Jerry Guest and John Dawson, took part in the North West Millennium Advanced croquet tournament at Bowdon over the weekend.  Jerry secured the B section trophy by winning all of his five games. Former Chester player, James Hawkins, took second place in the A section.

Jerry Guest, right, receiving his trophy from tournament manager Ken Cooper

Season starts with taster session

Following heavy rain earlier in the week and cancellation of the first North West league match of the season on Saturday, the weather perked up for the annual taster session for newcomers to the game which was held on Sunday, 8 April. The weather on the day was calm and dry with even a little sunshine showing through at times.  The session started with an overview of the game, introduction to mallet and swing, followed by a demonstration and a game of golf croquet. Lunch was provided and was much appreciated. The afternoon was devoted to the shots, demonstration and game of association croquet.

Sixteen visitors attended the event of whom five signed up for the association croquet beginners course starting later in the month and seven for golf croquet.

A further taster session for the University of Chester is being held on Tuesday, 17 April.

Welcome and briefing by Sally Slater
So that’s how to play …


New season taster session

Our volunteers are getting the lawns at Westminster Park ready for the 2018 season, we are hoping for sunny weather to initiate this year’s season!
Last year the club had some good results in NW Federation leagues, winning the midweek handicap AC league and coming second in the golf handicap league and the level play golf croquet league, we hope to do even better this season.
The club is looking for new players to join in the sport. Croquet often gets a bad press, however it is an interesting and challenging game, based on skill, strategy, angles, tactics and guile. It is suitable for all ages and abilities as it is not based on physical strength or ability.
A taster day for potential new members will be held on Sunday April 8th at the club. Places must be booked in advance so please contact the membership secretary, Sally Slater, on 01244 677645 if you are interested