End of season dinner and awards

Chester Croquet Club held its annual end of season dinner and presentation evening at Chez Jules on Thursday, 9 November, to celebrate successes of the season.

In national competitions, at the beginning of the season Chester emerged as winner of the Croquet Association’s Secretary’s Shield for association croquet in a re-play of the final against Newport, Essex, which was rained off at half time in October 2022. In this year’s events, Chester reached the final of the Murphy Inter-Club competition for golf croquet but lost to East Dorset.

The Secretary’s Shield for 2022 won by Chester against Newport, Essex, in a re-played final on 29 April 2023

In  North West Federation league matches, Chester came first in the golf handicap league, first in the level play golf league and second in the advanced B level association league. They also won the Snowdonia Cup.

In internal competitions there were three played in association croquet, with David Guyton winning the Mason Cup for full lawn handicap association croquet, Roger Brooks winning the short lawn open and Paul Taylor winning the Hasting Wang short lawn. Five competitions were played in golf croquet. Sarah Clements won both the golf croquet challenge cup and the RAT trophy. Jude Wise won the Peter Bingham award, Ian Meadows won the Christine Long trophy and at the end of her first season Wendy Lord won the Newbies competition.

There were also cups given out for the most improved players of the year. Michael Fletcher was awarded the association cup and David Mann the golf.

Chairman Tom Grievson presenting awards to this year’s winners. Top row David Guyton and Paul Taylor for association croquet and bottom row Sarah Clements, Jude Wise and Wendy Lord for golf croquet. Other winners were unable to be present to receive their awards.

A full set of results is posted in the Members Only area.



Storm Babet visits Chester

Storm Babet visited Chester on Friday, 20 October, and considerately gave the lawns a good autumn watering – 50 mm of rain, the average for a whole month, in just twenty four hours. They always say water flows downhill but the largest puddles were on Lawn 4. Photographs courtesy of Sally Slater who braved the elements.

Autumn round up

The club’s annual internal short lawn association croquet competition was held on Monday, 9 October, when 10 members played on a gloriously hot sunny day. It consisted of five rounds where, after a random selection to start round 1, the best two play and so on. The winner is the one with the most wins, or if there’s a tie, then the head to head or hoop difference is taken into consideration. The winner was Roger Brooks with Sarah Clements a close second.

Roger Brooks with his awards after winning the club’s annual short lawn association croquet competition

The Peter Bingham Award was also decided this week. This is a season long competition where points are scored every Tuesday morning golf croquet roll up session. It is to reward consistent attendance and play over the season. The winner was Jude Wise with 276 points. Equal second was Ian Shaw and John Hampson on 257 points and Lesley Newman was fourth.

End of season dinner

Book now for End of Season Dinner

It’s time to look forward to our end of season presentation dinner and social evening.  To be held this year at Chez Jules on Northgate Street on Thursday, 9 November, at 6.30 pm.

Chez Jules changes its menu daily so they can’t give me the menu for our evening, but there is a sample menu on their website to give you some idea if you’ve not been there before. Two courses for £27.95. They will take the orders on the night and individual/couple payments too.

There is a bar in the room upstairs where we will be holding our dinner.

Parking is nearby at Delamere Street car park or the New Market car park – both have evening rates.

We still have 20 places available, so don’t hesitate, come and have fun, and meet fellow members away from the croquet lawns.

Please let me have your names if you would like to attend.


Sally Slater

End of Season Dinner on Thursday, 9 November

We are holding our annual presentation end of season dinner at Chez Jules, Northgate Street, Chester, on Thursday, 9 November, at 6.30 pm.

You will be able to order on the night. There is a bar in the room for drinks. Payment will also be done on the night so please remember to add a tip individually if you wish to.

This is a lovely, sociable evening where we give out the trophies of the various competitions held during the year and we have an optional table top quiz too, with prizes.

We can only accommodate 60 people so I’m afraid we can only have members attending, no partners. Please let me know by e-mail  if you would like to come. Once 60 has been reached we will have a waiting list if necessary.

Many thanks

Sally Slater


Newbies competition

The end of first season Newbies competition was held on Friday, 6 October, with 12 members participating.

The weather stayed dry and mild all day and the lawns were running well. There were two groups of 6, who all played each other, with the winners of each group battling it out in the final to decide a winner.

The standard of play was excellent and it was a closely fought contest. In group 1 Rhia Taylor and Doreen Jones both had 3 wins, but Rhia had won their head to head and so progressed to the final.

In group 2 Wendy Lord was the only player to have three wins so automatically went into the final. Second place went to hoop difference with David Mann beating Peter Rhodes and Christine Fryer by one hoop.

The final play offs were both closely fought matches, but in the end Wendy beat Rhia by 7-5 thus winning the title and the trophy. David beat Doreen by 7 games to 4 to come third.

Everyone is to be congratulated on an excellent day’s croquet, played in good spirits, and it was heartening to see how far everyone had improved in their first season.

The winner of this year’s Newbies competition, Wendy Lord, receiving her award from competition organiser Sally Slater
Competitors in the 2023 Newbies competition for ths year’s new members

Christine Long tournament

The club held its annual end of season Christine Long golf croquet handicap tournament on Sunday, 24 September. This year there were  12 contestants  with handicaps ranging from minus 1 to 12, which proved to be a challenge in the new “Advantage system” for handicap games, given the wide range of handicaps and the need to apply time limits to the games.

Following quite a soggy week the weather was kind, some exciting play took place and good fun was had. The results were close, with Doreen Curtis narrowly winning Group A ahead of Jude Wise and Roger Brooks, and three players on equal points in Group B requiring a calculation of “net hoops” to establish a group winner between Ian Meadows, Liz Griffiths and Rick Davies, with Ian scraping ahead by just one hoop. The overall final was enjoyed by all participants with Ian Meadows lifting the cup and Doreen Curtis securing the runner-up position. Congratulations to all the participants and to the winner and runner-up.

Snowdonia Cup victory

Chester has succeeded in becoming this year’s winner of the Snowdonia Cup taking the award from last year’s winner, Llanfairfechan. It is a local inter-club competition including both handicap golf croquet and short lawn association croquet and is played between four Cheshire and North Wales clubs – Chester, Tattenhall, Craig-y-Don and Llanfairfechanl. It started in 2019 with the aim of encouraging newcomers and less experienced players to take part in team events. After two more matches this month, Chester emerged top with 16 points, ahead of its local neighbour Tattenhall with 11 points, and Craig-y-Don with 8 points and Llanfairfechan with 3 points. Congratulations to the Chester teams!

In another match on Monday, 18 September, Chester’s association handicap team of David Boyd (captain), David Guyton, Robin Tasker and Paul Watson played at home against Fylde in a postponed NW Federation weekend association croquet handicap league match. The day started with torrential rain causing extensive puddles across the lawns. This delayed the start of the match by a couple of hours. Reversing the normal order of play of a doubles game and two singles games in the morning followed by four singles games in the afternoon, it was agreed to play the four singles games in the morning. The lawns were still very wet and slow and the score was two games each by a late lunchtime. At that stage it was decided to abandon the rest of the games and to agree an overall draw for this last match of the season in that league.

Club GC competitions

‘Hi-Tail’ GC doubles competition on Saturday, 14 October

Hi to all high handicap (11+) GC players and beginners without a handicap yet. The Hi Tail  doubles competition will go ahead on Saturday, 14 October, weather permitting, as we have 13 entrants. As it is a doubles competition we do need at least one more entrant, of course, preferably 3 ! So please check your diaries again and let me know by e-mail as soon as possible if you can play.

This is a level play competition, and is a really good one for those members who have only recently started playing croquet to take part in. It will be starting at 10 am and will go on into the afternoon, so packed lunches needed. But there will be cake !

Jayne Taylor

New ‘Hi-Tail’ golf croquet doubles competition on Saturday, 14 October

To all GC players with high handicaps, or who are beginners yet to get a handicap, we are hoping to hold a Doubles competition on Saturday, 14 October. This will be a level play competition for those GC players who have handicaps of 11 or above, or who are beginners who have yet to be given a handicap. You do not have to join with a partner, as this will be done on the day by random selection.

In the past we have held a similar competition early in the season ( the Early Bird Doubles) but this was not possible this year. So this is an alternative ! We will start in the morning, probably at 10.00 am and it will either be a half day or full day competition, depending on the numbers who enter.

I appreciate that this is very short notice, but it has been a very busy season and September filled up very quickly. So if you would like to play, please let me know as soon as possible by e-mail direct to me rather than replying to this e-mail, which will go via Hugh Bray.


Jayne Taylor

Christine Long golf croquet tournament postponed to Sunday, 24 September

This year’s Christine Long golf croquet tournament has been postponed to Sunday, 24th September.

This is a day long GC handicap tournament, with no handicap restrictions, which this year will be played in accordance with the Advantage rules introduced by the NW Federation for this season.

Please let me know by e-mail if you would like to take part, and as soon as possible. I will be putting a list up in the pavilion to sign also.

This is a popular annual competition which has been running for many years, and is competitive good fun. Hopefully the late summer weather improvement will continue.


Jayne Taylor
Mobile: 07810892311

Two New GC Competitions – Friday, 22 September

Announcing two new one day, internal GC competitions, both to be played on Friday, 22 September. Both of these competitions will be played under CA Tournament rules, Level Play, no set time limits, singles all-play-all. They are both open only to Chester members.

The Chester B-Level Cup (a real trophy!) is for players with handicaps 3, 4, 5 and 6.

The Chester C-Level Cup (another real trophy) is for players with handicaps 7 to 12 inclusive.

Arrive by 9.30 am for a 10 minute briefing, then a knock-up practice on the lawns with play starting at 10.00 am. I estimate that we will finish by about 3pm. It is intended that both of these internal competitions will run every year so to be the first winner would be rather special.

Please bring your own lunch. Tea and biscuits provided all day and, if still available, strawberries, etc, and cream.

Numbers will be limited to eight players for each competition on a first come first served basis. It will be fun whatever the weather. Dress code is as you please.

Please e-mail me directly to take part.

Tom Grievson

All England AC Handicap Final at Chester

Anne Alvey from Bury Croquet Club is the 2023 CA All England AC handicap champion on this its centennial year joining a select group of women who have won this competition. Anne narrowly beat Gareth Hobby from Caversham Croquet Club based on their head-to-head result when Anne won 13-10 on time, both having won four of their five games. At the end of the weekend both saw their handicaps automatically reduced to 11 and 12 respectively, and additionally Gareth qualified for the CA Bronze award following his exploits in a 4th round tie.

Eight qualifiers travelled to Chester to compete in these finals where their handicaps ranged from -0.5 to 20 although six of those handicaps were 12 and above. This meant that over the weekend Bryan Harral (Wrest Park) and Simon Tuke (Ealing) faced an astonishing 141.5 bisques between them, and both still managed to win 2 of their 5 games although it was suggested that these bisques represented a serious trip hazard for spectators.

All games were played to base 10 and time limited to a challenging 2.5 hours to ensure that failing light would not be an issue and a timely close to the first day’s play would be achieved. To that end the matter of time passing was a consistent discussion topic between opponents, and led also to some dramatic examples of speed croquet. For example with under 10 minutes on the clock Simon Tuke who had at that point managed to run but one hoop took his front ball to Penult, and in his time extension turn, his second ball round to peg for a thrilling win over Clive Moncrieff (Glamorgan).

The most complete game of the weekend saw Bryan Harral hit in on the 3rd turn and take the ball to Rover setting a challenging leave, where upon Gareth Hobby using his bisques wisely took the 4th turn ball also to Rover with a similarly wide leave. Bryan narrowly missed the long hit in, and Gareth proceeded to finish on the 6th turn including his first ever Rover peel. The audience was impressed.

At the end of day one Anne Alvey led with 3 wins out of 3 but the rest of the field were close on her tail allowing them to enjoyed their Saturday night on the town in Chester mingling with the refreshed spectators from a Chester Races weekend. All seemingly survived the experience.

Sunday saw better weather but in her 4th round tie Anne lost to Sean Doherty (Ealing), and with the other results meant that the Manager’s nightmare was fast becoming a reality with a potential six-way 3-wins-each tie beckoning. This seriously affected his enjoyment of the splendid lunch on offer.

And so the 5th and final round got underway.

Patricia Mulcahy (Phyllis Court) won a hard fought game against Clive Moncrieff to claim her third win, as did Sean Doherty against Bryan Harral. However the key games were playing on adjacent lawns.

Here Bernie Phillips (Guildford and Godalming) and Gareth Hobby quickly and not so successfully used their bisques and fell back to something akin to a dog-fight which Gareth narrowly won. And so the 6-way tie was averted with Gareth moving into the overall lead with 4 wins, and awaiting the outcome of Anne’s game against Simon.

Anne had seemingly held her nerve and used bisques wisely and, with great determination, moved to Peg and Rover with time running out. But again the speed croquet of Simon came bubbling to the fore as he raced his first ball to the Peg but chose not to peg out Anne’s ball. He quickly gained the innings and looked certain to win as he progressed a 4-ball break effortlessly to 2-Back where he inexplicably missed the short roquet on his reception ball. And time was called…

Anne overcame nerves to hit in but in trying to clear her opponents balls away contrived to miss a short roquet towards Simon’s 3-Back ball and defeat loomed large… but Simon missed and the 2023 All England H/C champion was crowned.

For her efforts Anne now holds the splendid trophy for the year and Bury Croquet Club a beautiful shield presented to the CA by the New Zealand Croquet Council in 1956 for the club of the current champion.

Competitors in the All-England association croquet handicap final at Chester. Left to right: Sean Doherty, Simon Tuke, Gareth Hobby, Bernie Phillips, Anne Alvey holding the winner’s trophy, Bryan Harral, Patricia Mulcahy and Clive Moncrieff

Robin Tasker
Tournament Manager Chester

End of season competitions

Chester member Richard Smith won ‘The Claret Jug’ at Shrewsbury croquet club last weekend. It’s an advanced association croquet event for the 8 highest ranked players from the Shrewsbury club.

Then on Wednesday, 13 September, the final of the national Murphy Shield competition between Chester and East Dorset was played at Cheltenham. To reach the final in this competition, Chester had beaten some excellent teams to get so far. Unfortunately they could not get over the line in this final match and they lost 5-2 after a number of closely contested games. The team was Kerry Dadson, Mark Lloyd, Sarah Clements and Chris Thomas.

Over the weekend of 16-17 September, Chester was proud to host the All – England association croquet handicap final on the hundredth anniversary of this nation-wide competition. Eight players from all over the country came to compete, from as far afield as Ealing, Caernarvon, Gloucester and Henley on Thames as well as nearer like Bury. Chester Croquet Club catered for the visitors over the weekend and the event was managed by Robin Tasker, the club’s secretary and representative of the North West Federation on the Croquet Association’s governing council. The weather was rather better than forecast and fortunately stayed dry throughout. Everyone was very complimentary about Chester’s club and hospitality and even the lawns which have undoubtedly benefited from the abundant rain this summer.

Anne Alvey from Bury emerged as this year’s champion joining a select group of women who have won this competition.

In a nerve shredding final game Anne survived a fierce comeback by her opponent to end the finals having won four out of five games. And this was enough to give her victory as one of two players on four wins but an earlier crucial head-to-head victory by 13-10 on time tipped the balanced in her favour.

Her victory was cemented by outstanding handicap play on the first day when she won all three of her games against strong opposition and, following a wobble in the her fourth game, she stood firm with determined play under intense pressure in her final game to seal the title.

For her efforts Anne holds the splendid trophy for the year and Bury Croquet Club a beautiful shield presented to the CA by the New Zealand Croquet Council in 1956 for the club of the current champion.

Competitors in the All-England association croquet handicap final at Chester. Left to right: Sean Doherty, Simon Tuke, Gareth Hobby, Bernie Phillips, Anne Alvey holding the winner’s trophy, Bryan Harral, Patricia Mulcahy and Clive Moncrieff

For a fuller report on the competition see the next news item which will be appearing in a future issue of the Croquet Gazette.