Death of Clive Howard

We are very sad to report the death of another member, Clive Howard, who died  at The Countess of Chester Hospital on Sunday, 21 January. He had been ill for some time. He and his wife, Margaret, joined the club in 2004 and used to enjoy the weekly club games. Both were well liked by all club members and we were all grateful for his willingness to use his membership of the Chester Golf Club to organise our annual dinners there.

2017 End of season supper

Chester Croquet Club marked the end of another busy and successful season with a supper and trophy presentation at Chez Jules on Monday evening, 20 November. Awards were presented by chair, Sarah Andrew, at the end of the evening.

Trophy winners awarded during the evening were Mark Lloyd (Fletton trophy advanced AC); David Boyd (Mason Cup handicap AC); Sally Slater (Hasting Wang bowl AC short lawn); Mike Falla (Rabbits trophy AC); Chris and Sally Slater (Hermitage golf doubles trophy); Liz Subramanian (Mollie McBride RAT trophy GC); Pat Kelsall (Peter Bingham award GC); Val Sanders (most improved player AC) and Jill Foley (most improved player GC).

Winners of competitions played during the season who received their trophies at the time were Sandy Finchett-Maddock (Christine Long trophy GC); Paul Taylor (Hasting Wang GC singles) and Doreen Leece (Hibiscus trophy AC short lawn).

Mark Lloyd (left) receiving the Fletton trophy and David Boyd (right) receiving the Mason Cup
Left: Sandy Finchett-Maddock and Dorren Leece, winners of the Christine Long golf croquet and the Hibiscus short lawn association croquet competitions, and Right:: Paul Taylor, winner of the Hasting Wang Golf singles competition, all played during the year
Doreen Leece (left) receiving the Hibiscus trophy and Sally Slater (right) receiving the Hasting Wang bowl for short lawn association croquet
Val Sanders (left) and Jill Foley (right) receiving awards for most improved players for association croquet and golf croquet respectively

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.

Individual succesesses during the season were:

  • Sally Slater  winner of the NW Federation Millennium short croquet tournament at Chester on 14 May
  • David Boyd  winner and Trevor Farrell  third in the Northern Area B Level golf croquet tournament at Bury on 9 July
  • Garry Greenwood  winner and David Boyd (wearing his Tattenhall colours)  runner-up in the National Level Play Golf Croquet Tournament at Chester on 6 August, and Jayne Taylor winner of the Telfords Plate
  • John Dawson  runner-up in the Advanced B Level tournament at Bowdon on 18 September
  • David Boyd runner-up in the final of the All England B Level golf croquet tournament at Southport on 7-8 October

NW Federation meeting

Sarah Andrew and John Dawson attended the NW Fed meeting on 18th November.
There was lots of information sharing about current activities in the NW Fed and the CA but the key local outcomes were:
1) Organisation; Paul Rigge and Liz Wilson are the new Chairman and Treasurer
2) Leagues generally went well in 2017; most cancellations / rearrangements related to the weather. Format the same for 2018; 3 procedural improvements, namely
2a) team captains/ managers need to be familiar with the league rules especially on postponements. A summary will be produced
2b) Ivan (league manager) will try to schedule most / all league fixtures before end of August thus facilitating rearrangements in the event of bad weather
2c) Ivan needs the full individual score sheets in all level play matches as the data goes into national rankings
3) For all leagues home teams will no longer provide food as the norm (ie BYO) but teams will sit and eat together. Any club wishing to continue to provide food can do so if they wish
4) There was no support for universal wearing of team colours – this remains an individual team choice under the existing CA Tournament regulations
5) Chester will host the Millennium short lawn event on Sat 12th May. National croquet day is Sun 13 th May
6) Chester collected the mid week AC trophy

Autumn Fare

The talk at most croquet clubs is of angled hoop running and triple peels but at Chester in the autumn a croquet player’s fancy lightly turns turns to thoughts of loaves. After a couple of quick games of golf croquet to work up an appetite it’s straight into the clubhouse where the merits of rye and sunflower seeds or sour dough toast are hotly contested. Aided by a major investment in a toaster and sunny weather the croquet season has been extended to the end of November. This simple incentive has kept the members playing for longer than usual. ” I don’t know which I enjoy most” said one player ” running a hoop from twenty yards or Frank’s home-made marmalade on hot sour dough toast”

Chester in All England B Level final

Sixteen qualifiers from 24 local tournaments, countrywide, met at Southport Croquet Club on 7th and 8th October to compete in this year’s All England ‘B’ level, Golf Croquet final, including David Boyd, from Chester,  who qualified with his win at Bury in July.

Scoring was based on the number of wins in an all plays all competition, with everyone playing 8 games on Saturday and 7 on Sunday. The start of play was very soon followed by the start of the rain, which lasted on and off all Saturday resulting in 3 of the 4 primary lawns becoming un-playable. Fortunately Southport has the luxury of having additional, secondary lawns, where play continued.

David Boyd finished on Saturday with 5 wins out of 8, trailing the pack leaders by one. Thankfully no waterproofs were required for Sunday and as the day progressed speculation about the eventual winner grew and it wasn’t until late afternoon that David emerged as a ‘contender’. Having lost just one game on Sunday he finished with an overall total of 11 wins equal with the other top scorer, Paul Durkin of Long Eaton, Nottingham. However, Paul took the trophy beating David, into second place, on hoop difference.

Chester’s David Boyd (left) and winner Paul Durkin (right)


Visit by Chester MP Chris Matheson

Chester MP, Chris Matheson, accompanied by local councillor, Richard Beacham, made a visit to Chester Croquet Club on Wednesday, 4 October, during one of their club days and tried his hand at croquet. The main purpose of the visit was to introduce him to the game and a flourishing club based in a public park in his constituency and to up-date him on some of the current issues of concern to the club but it had the additional benefit of briefing him about the Croquet Association’s national role in the context of his membership of the House of Commons Select Committee for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport. On a sunny but blustery autumnal day he was impressed by the numbers and obvious enjoyment of the members playing and gained an understanding of the strong league structure for all levels of play across the North West. He quickly grasped the competitive dimensions of the sport as well as its social, outdoor exercise and health benefits for players. Local issues are to be followed up with council representatives and Mr Matheson offered to meet with national officials of the Croquet Association at the Houses of Parliament to discuss the future needs of croquet across the country.

Chester MP, Chris Matheson, playing it straight down the middle
Chris Matheson receiving a celebration mug from club secretary, John Dawson
Chris Matheson with club members during his visit

David Boyd wins Mason Cup

Chester Croquet Club’s annual Mason Cup association croquet handicap competition is played during the season, where the top scorers from the group stage qualify for the semi-final and final. This year the final, between Brian Walton (hcp 16) and David Boyd (hcp 6), was played on Saturday, 30th September. Brian Walton immediately took the initiative and, making effective use of his 10 bisques (extra shots) , built a commanding lead by reaching peg and four back. Meanwhile David Boyd had managed to score just two hoops, 19 points behind, with a mountain to climb to get back into the game. Eventually he managed to get a break together taking 10 hoops and was then able to peg out Brian’s forward ball. Having 2 remaining bisques Brian ran 2 more hoops before David steadily worked his way round with his second ball, finally pegging out to win by two points. An epic game and a narrow finish!

Chester wins NW Midweek league

Congratulations to the mid-week association croquet team who have won the North West Federation league title in 2017. At the start of the week Chester had won 5 out of 5 games with an impressive 24-11 cumulative points difference but with one more game to play against Westmorland. The campaign then ended with a damp squib as Tuesday’s game against Westmorland was called off as the lawns at Levens Hall were waterlogged.

The final result was Chester in first position followed by Westmorland in second position and Bowdon Earls in third position.

Well done to all the team.

Match reports 25 September 2017

The NW golf croquet handicap match against Southport played on Sunday 24th was a crucial one, as it determined the overall winner of the league. The Chester team of Chris Slater (captain), Sally Slater, Chris Thomas and Janet Jackson fought hard against a strong Southport team, but the final score was 10-7 to Southport. At least six of the games went to the golden hoop, and an excellent days croquet was had by all.

Although the top honours for the weekend handicap league this year had already gone to Bury Peelers, Chester still had an outstanding away match to play against Bowdon Firs last on Sunday 24th. Chester was represented by John Dawson (Captain), Paul Taylor, Brian Walton and David Boyd. The morning doubles and two singles saw Chester sneaking a lead of 2 games to 1 with individual score differences of no more than 2 points. John Dawson was first to complete his afternoon singles match by storming a 26 :0 win so just one more win to seal the result, which did take the full 3.25 hrs. but finally gave Chester a victory of 4 games : 3. This result should secure fourth place in the league (of 9) for Chester.