Chester Croquet Club competed in three matches this week unfortunately without much success.
In the North West Federation midweek handicap league played on Monday, Bowdon Griffins played Chester at Bowdon. The Chester team was David Boyd (captain), John Dawson, David Guyton and Michael Miller but they lost 5-2.
In the beautiful Lakeland setting of Crake Valley Croquet Club the Chester team had a narrow defeat by 3 games to 4. The Chester team was Sarah Andrew as Captain, with Helen Brophy, Robin Tasker and Paul Watson.
In the short croquet league against Bowdon held at Chester, the Chester team of Sarah Andrew (captain), Jayne Taylor, Sally Slater and Barbara Jones held the league leaders Bowdon to an 8-8 draw in a very close match played in great spirit.
Congratulations and thanks go to all the players who contributed to Chester’s win of the North West Federation weekend handicap league.
There was a cliffhanging match against Pendle which Chester won 4-3 to clinch the title.
The winning of the trophy means that next season Chester can enter and compete in the national competition The Secretary’s Shield.
The annual Hibiscus Tournament was played on Saturday 17th September at Chester Croquet Club for association players with a high handicap. It was an excellent day played in glorious sunshine and the eventual trophy winner with 4 wins was Robert Jones, who only started playing association croquet this season, second was Doreen Leece and third place went to Elaine Walton.
The Chester team of Elmyr Hughes (captain), Paul Watson, David Boyd and Michael Miller played away on Saturday 17th against a strong Bury team on their very tricky lawns. At lunch Chester led by 2 -1 having lost the doubles, but with Elmyr and Michael both winning their singles. The afternoon session saw a spirited fight back by Bury, but Michael Miller came from 6 hoops adrift with some brilliant croquet to finish 3 hoops ahead! David Boyd also won so Chester were the victors 4 games to 3.
The Christine Long competition had been rescheduled due to rain, and on Thursday was played in sunshine with 12 members playing in two groups. The two group winners went on to contest the trophy. The winner was Roger Haigh and the runner up was new member Robert Jones.
Sunday 11th September provided an enjoyable match against a very friendly team from Bury in the North West Federation Short Lawn League. The Chester team of Jayne Taylor, Mike Falla, Paul Taylor and Sarah Andrew gained an overall victory of 9 games to 6 with many close games being decided on the golden hoop.
A full field of 16 countrywide players met at Chester in fair weather to contest the inaugural Golf Croquet Tournament. Three ex-England players competed within the field.
New to this form of tournament, John G Dawson of Chester, and the more experienced Jane Pringle of Auckland CC, took the joint honours in first day. Each player easily qualified to play for the Maggie Cowman Trophy. But John fell in the semis to fellow Chester player Garry Greenwood, while Bob Connop of Culcheth took the quarter final game against Jane 7-5.
The final was played in a 19-point contest between Kath Wright of Nottingham and Garry Greenwood of Chester. In a superb demonstration of how a skilled player can manage the tricky slope at Chester, Kath took a commanding lead. Then the game changed. Garry fought back with very considered play interspersed with spectacular hoop running. Kath held her nerve though, and took the Maggie Cowman Trophy 10-8.
The Telford’s Warehouse Plate Tournament was won by Freda Vitty of Auckland CC.
The Early Bird doubles golf croquet competition was held on Sunday 21st August with 12 club members, enabling 6 pairs to play five games each. Games were closely fought and it was not until the fifth and last round was finished that the winning pair could be identified. The winners were Elaine Smith and Angela Tindall, winning 4 out of 5 games. Second were Pat Sutcliffe and Richard Barlow.
In mostly glorious sunshine in Westminster Park the Chester team were victorious in the North West Federation mid-week league on Wednesday 24th September against a team from the Westmorland Croquet Club. The Chester team of Sarah Andrew, Derek Bell-Jones, Alan Clare and John Dawson beat the Westmorland team by five games to two.
On Saturday 27th and Sunday 28th Chester Croquet Club hosted the All England open golf croquet tournament. It was a fantastic opportunity for Chester Croquet Club to see some national players in action, and the weekend of golf croquet was a great success.
On Saturday 13th August the Chester team comprising Paul Watson (captain), Alan Clare, Robin Tasker and Helen Brophy lost 1-6 away to Fylde in the North West Handicap League. Fylde fielded a very strong team and conceded only one singles game to Alan Clare.
On Sunday 14th August the team of Elmyr Hughes, David Boyd and John Dawson fared better playing Fylde at home, winning 3-2 in the North West Advanced B league.
Chester Croquet Club will host a national golf croquet tournament over the Bank Holiday weekend 27th and 28th August at Westminster Park. This is an inaugural event and has attracted players to Chester from clubs as far afield as Durham and Colchester.
Golf croquet is becoming ever more popular in Britain for several reasons. First and foremost, it is quite easy to start as a beginner and play locally and secondly, players do develop extraordinary skills. They hit croquet balls hard, fast and accurately from long distances and enter highly-competitive events such as this one. The game is played worldwide and three of the players on show have played in international tournaments wearing the England shirt.
The winners will receive the Maggie Cowman Trophy and the Telford’s Warehouse Plate.
Play starts at 09.15 each morning and will continue through until the early evening.
Spectators are very welcome so please come along to watch and support.