St Albans beat Chester 5-2 in the final of the national Secretary’s Shield competition in Chester’s last competitive match of the season on Saturday, 19 October.
After a successful run of victories against Tyneside, Broadwas and Ashby in earlier rounds of the knock-out competition, Chester found themselves facing St Albans in the national final for the Secretary’s Shield having previously encountered St Albans two weeks previously in the 3rd/4th round play-offs for the Longman Cup. The match was played on ‘neutral ground’ at Kenilworth, the final having to be rearranged when the previous fixture had been rained off. For this final match of the season, Chester’s team was David Boyd (captain), John Dawson, Robin Tasker and Brian Walton.
In the morning session Brian Walton achieved a Croquet Association Silver Merit Award by taking his second ball through all 12 hoops without the use of bisques and winning his game but Chester lost the other singles game and the doubles game. With St Albans having a 2 – 1 lead at lunchtime, Chester faced an up-hill struggle in the four singles games in the afternoon. All the games were close, including one going to a golden hoop, but St Albans succeeded in winning three of the games giving them a final score of 5 – 2.
John Dawson, a member of the Croquet Association Council and Secretary of Chester Croquet Club, presented the trophy to Chris Frost, the St Albans captain.
As winners of the North West Federation weekend handicap league for 2019, Chester will have another opportunity to compete for the Secretary’s Shield next year.
Detailed results, St Albans names first:
Chris Frost (3.5) & Stuart Stafford (16) beat John Dawson (3) & Robin Tasker (5) 26-11
Heather Bennett (3.5) beat David Boyd (6) 26-22
Stephen Mills (11) lost to Brian Walton (8) 26-9
Chris Frost (3.5) beat John Dawson (3) 26-21
Heather Bennett (3.5) lost to Robin Tasker (5) 20-19T
Stephen Mills (11) beat David Boyd (6) 26-24
Stuart Stafford (16) beat Brian Walton (8) 26-17