On Wednesday, 4 May, Chester was host to Bury in a NW Federation Advanced B Level League match in what turned out to be extremely inclement weather, not exactly ideal for a summer sport!
Chester was represented by Elmyr Hughes (Handicap 1), Jerry Guest (2) and Robin Tasker (4). Bury’s team was David Barrett (3½), Roger Schofield (5) and Phillip Nuttall (10).
In the morning Elmyr Hughes and Robin Tasker won 10 – 8 against Roger Schofield and Phillip Nuttall in a low-scoring doubles game, whilst Jerry Guest overcame a very resolute David Barrett 22 – 13.
The afternoon singles games proved to be very difficult for both teams coping with the dreadful conditions of continual wind and rain until approximately 4 pm. However local knowledge of lawn conditions proved to be the telling factor as Chester took all the matches: Elmyr Hughes v David Barrett 26 – 7, Jerry Guest v Roger Schofield 26 – 8, and Robin Tasker v Phillip Nuttall 26 – 5.
So the overall result was a satisfying 5 – 0 clean sweep for Chester in the Club’s first Advanced B Level match of the season.
Chester were in action again on the following day, Thursday, 5 May. A handicap association croquet team of David Boyd, David Guyton, Robin Tasker and Nigel Worthington travelled to Pendle to play Middlesbrough in the first round of the national Secretary’s Shield competition.
In the morning session Chester won both singles games with David Guyton winning by the narrowest of margins by just one hoop and Nigel more straightforwardly. A close doubles game was eventually lost after Middlesbrough opened with a spectacular fourth turn round to rover.
In the afternoon, the top two singles were lost, the first following further stunning play by the Middlesbrough top ranked player and the second narrowly in the last few minutes of play. Fortunately both David Boyd and Nigel Worthington won convincingly which took Chester over the line for a 4-3 victory, and a second round tie against York.
Despite a somewhat chilly start and rather damp lawns in the morning, the weather improved significantly during the afternoon. The outcome was a successful day with thanks due to the Pendle and Craven Croquet Club for hosting the match on neutral ground midway between the two clubs and for a competitive but enjoyable encounter with the Middlesbrough side.