Club GC competitions

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.

Super September

As the official croquet season enters its last few weeks many of the external competitions and matches have been played. However, Chester Croquet Club is also in the Snowdonia Cup which is a local derby competition against Tattenhall, Craig-y-Don and Llanfairfechan croquet clubs.

The Chester Tribunes golf croquet team of Kerry Dadson (captain), Jude Wise, David Johnson and Arnie Bamford had another successful match, the final score being 13-5 to Chester. The day started with the threat of rain, but it thankfully never materialised, and a most enjoyable day of croquet was had by all.

The Chester team for the match against Craig-y-Don

This coming weekend, Saturday and Sunday, 16 and 17 September,  Chester Croquet Club is proud to be hosting the national final of the Croquet Association’s  All England association croquet handicap competition, where the finalists from regions across the whole of England compete to win the final trophy. Nine players from all over the country will be making their way to Chester and it should be a thrilling weekend’s play. Spectators are welcome to visit the lawns in Westminster Park at any time throughout the weekend. Click here for more details about how to find us.

Social Funday

Over 25 people came to the club’s monthly Social Funday on Sunday, 3 September, including four delightful grandchildren. The weather was glorious, almost too hot for croquet at times, and the Prosecco and scones, strawberries and cakes were very well received. There will be one last Social Funday in October, let’s hope the weather holds!

Funday relaxation!
Funday action!
The next generation of croquet players … but croquet is thirsty work in the summer sun

Hurlingham and more

Having somehow succeeded in beating a strong team from Bowdon in this year’s national golf croquet club championship competition (the first year that Chester had entered), Chester were then in line to play Hurlingham in the following round. If given the choice every member of the team would have been happy to give up home advantage for the chance to play the next round away at the best of all the croquet clubs in England. The team who travelled down was David Boyd, Tom Grievson, John Hampson and Mark Lloyd.

Hurlingham has about 10 pristine croquet lawns, along with many other sports and very nice facilities, and is an oasis in the middle of London. The only evidence of the noisy, outside world seems to be that every minute an aircraft passes low overhead on its approach to Heathrow.

This was an opportunity not to be missed, but the result of the match was disappointing. Tom Grievson managed a win in the morning giving a glimmer of hope for the afternoon session but nothing was added with the final result of Hurlingham 6 / Chester 1. David Boyd had the honour to play against their captain, Aston Wade, handicap -3, who had recently won the under 21’s European GC championship! It was enjoyable, but the outcome was always predictable – the way these players hit the ball is another way entirely!

The splendid setting and lawns at Hurlingham
Members of the Chester team waiting to play

On the following Sunday, 27 August, the re-arranged mid-week AC handicap match against Southport was played initially in cool drizzly conditions although it warmed up somewhat later in the day. Southport brought an experienced team together with a large bag of bisques – free shots – indeed, in total 67½ of them!

In the morning doubles David Guyton and Paul Watson were ahead and very nearly won but were caught in the final turn after time was called to lose by a single hoop. Brian Walton overcame 13 bisques for an 18-14 victory on time; while Robin Tasker was overwhelmed by a 16 handicap player who knew all about four ball breaks and peels to lose quickly 0-26.

The afternoon singles followed a similar pattern with Brian overcoming 11 bisques, and Paul 10 bisques for a Golden Hoop victory. The other two singles were lost in a blizzard of bisques and with them the match. The final score was a 4-3 win for Southport.

On Saturday, 2 September, Ealing travelled to Chester to play in the semi-final of the national Murphy Shield golf croquet level play competition. The team for this match was Kerry Dadson, Sarah Clements, Rick Davies and John Hampson. It was a great day weatherwise and the lawns were running well. Chester won 5-2, though some of the games were very closely fought. Chester now go forward to meet East Dorset in the final of the competition.

Members of the Chester and Ealing teams at Chester for their Murphy Shield golf croquet level play match


Club AC competitions

Short lawn competition – Monday, 9 October

The club’s annual short lawn open competition will now be held on Monday, 9 October, instead of Sunday, 9 September.  This is to allow at least three more people to play who couldn’t make the September date.

Please let me know if you can play by Monday, 9 October.


Sally Slater
Mobile: 07711 374927

Short lawn competition – Saturday, 9 September

The club’s annual short lawn open competition will be held on Saturday, 9 September. This is a handicap competition and is open to everyone.

Start and finish times will depend on the number of entries, but the games will be shorter than usual, probably an hour.

Please let me know by Wednesday, 6 September, if you would like to play. It would be great if we could have a good turnout.


Sally Slater
Mobile: 07711 374927

Fletton Trophy – Saturday, 23 September

On Saturday, 23 September, a one-day full-lawn AC Advanced tournament will take place for the Fletton Trophy. This competition will be based upon 14-point advanced AC play in accordance with Law 52.3, Lift Version but with a time limit (tbd but between 60-75 minutes) imposed on a game’s duration.

The format for the Tournament will be AMD but likely either to be an all-play-all or a Swiss depending upon numbers.

Scoring will be one point for a win with a bonus point available for a pegged out game; hoop points scored will be recorded. The winner will be the person with the most points scored. In the event of a tie at the end of the competition, the head-to-head result will determine the winner; and if that fails to elicit a winner, the tied player with the most hoop points scored will be the winner. Beyond that determination, a tie break at the manager’s discretion will be used.

If you wish to take part please let me know via e-mail . The closing date for entries will be Wednesday, 20 September.

Many thanks!

Robin Tasker

Fletton Trophy – Saturday, 23 September

The Club’s full lawn AC advanced tournament will take place on Saturday, 23 September, and will be run as a 14-point advanced singles competition for the Fletton Trophy.

I will circulate further information about this event later in August together with the invitation to enter this competition.

Please do though pencil the date into your diary.

Many thanks

Robin Tasker

Mason Cup – Monday, 7 August

The Club’s full lawn AC handicap competition for the Mason Cup will take place on Monday, 7 August, as a single day tournament starting at 10 am.

If you wish to take part please let me know by e-mail  no later than Friday, 4 August.

The precise format of the tournament will depend upon the number of entrants.

All games will be 14-point and time-limited to 1 hour with handicaps adjusted accordingly to take account of both the shorter game format and the limited time. Handicaps will be calculated as one third of the full-lawn AC handicap and where necessary rounded down to the nearest half or full bisque. Games will be played as full handicap matches.

Scoring will be one point for a win with a bonus point available for a pegged out game; hoop points scored will be recorded. The winner will be the person with the most points scored. In the event of a tie at the end of the competition, the head-to-head result will determine the winner; and if that fails to elicit a winner, the tied player with the most hoop points scored will be the winner. Beyond that determination, a tie break at the manager’s discretion will be used.

I look forward to hearing from you!

Robin Tasker

August matches

All of the teams in Chester Croquet Club have been in action in the past week, but sadly only managed one win and two draws.

On Thursday, 10 August, the Chester team of Mark Lloyd, David Guyton and Robin Tasker played the return fixture at home against Bowdon in the Advanced B Level association croquet league. In the morning David Guyton pulled off an excellent win against Bowdon’s top ranked player while the doubles game was lost by a single point to leave the match all square at lunch. The afternoon singles gamess were all lost although again by just a single point to leave the match score at 1-4 to Bowdon. And so while an apparently resounding defeat, the entire match turned on two hoop points across the day’s play. A frustrating day for the Chester team and the result means that Bowdon are the southern division winners for 2023.

On Sunday, 13 August, an association croquet weekend handicap match was played at home against Bury Peelers. The Chester team was David Guyton (captain), Helen Brophy, Robin Tasker and Brian Walton. Despite a forecast of no rain, the start of the match coincided with a heavy shower. This succeeded in slowing the pace of the lawns but fortunately the weather brightened later and a return of warm sunshine in the afternoon dried the lawns and increased their speed. The match turned out to be a 6 – 1 win for Bury but it was not as one-sided as the result implies. Robin Tasker and David Guyton, playing off handicaps of 4 and 4½ respectively, both lost by just one hoop to Bury’s lowest handicap player, who was playing off a handicap of 1. Three other games were lost by only 2, 3 and 4 hoops. The one success of the day was David Guyton’s 26 – nil win in an afternoon singles game.

The Centurions and Chariots level play golf croquet teams were both in contention on Wednesday, 16 August. The Chariots, captained by Rick Davies, had a great day at Southport with excellent weather and welcoming hosts. The morning session was really well contested with 4 matches going to the golden hoop and three matches at 7 to 5. The golden hoop matches could have gone either way but Southport managed to squeeze the wins. This left Chester struggling with a nine game deficit at lunch. Again in the afternoon three games went to the golden hoop and another two to 7-5. Chester managed to pull two wins out of the bag but alas suffered a resounding 16-2 defeat. Southport agreed that the final score did not reflect how close all the games finished.

The Centurions had a very enjoyable game at home against Bury. The weather was lovely, the lawns were running well and the games were well fought and close including several golden hoop games. The final score was 10-8 to Bury. Tom Grievson, John Hampson and Jayne Taylor made up the team.

Both golf croquet handicap teams were in action on the following Saturday, 19 August. The Chester Senators team of Jude Wise (captain), Jim Hughes, Liz and Edward Baskerville had a good day at Bowdon with a mixed start weatherwise, but sun shining in the afternoon. Chester won both doubles games and were 4 all with the singles up to lunch, but came back stronger in the afternoon and won 5 of the games, resulting in a final score of 11-7.

The Chester Senators team at Bowdon on Saturday, 19 August

The Chester Tribunes played at Llanfairfechan against the Pioneers. The Tribunes were captained by Kerry Dadson with Doreen Curtis, Chris Thomas and David Johnson. The weather was kind, the hosts welcoming and the final result was a 9-9 draw.

The Chester Tribunes team with their hosts at Llanfairfechan

Meanwhile at Chester on the same afternoon the club hosted an annual visit by the North Wales Masons in another enjoyable event run by Dennis Holman.

On Sunday, 20 August, the local Snowdonia Cup for short lawn association croquet was played against Craig-y-Don in gorgeous sunshine at Chester. Helen Brophy (captain), Pat Wheeler and Paul Taylor put in a solid performance and the end result was 4-4 draw.

Chester A tournament

Here’s another report on the national golf croquet A Level tournament for the Maggie Cowman Cup held at Chester over the weekend of 4 – 5 August:

The twelve players who entered the Chester A tournament on 5th and 6th August were hoping for sunshine but were faced with continuous heavy rain throughout Saturday. Three of Chester’s lawns were ‘squelchy’ but lawn four was completely unplayable.

Undaunted, the fully kitted competitors from Durham and Tyneside in the North, Watford in the South and NorthWest Wales launched into spirited combat. Saturday was played in two blocks of six and early results saw the emerging dominance of the ranking players in both blocks. By the end of the day Roger Edwards, Andrew Carpenter and Giles Pepperell  with Martyn Seal, we’re leading the field.

Very heavy overnight rain delayed the start of play on Sunday with the three playable lawns still fairly soggy. It was decided to continue with all-play-all block playing again with the new top six competing for the Trophy and the Bowl and the second six playing for the Plate. The rain abated, the hats came off and the vapour trails behind the balls subsided. Once again the ranking players soon dominated the Trophy six with Giles Pepperell and Martyn Seal sitting firmly at the top of the leader board. In the Plate group Sandra Cornes who had a middling Saturday found her form and was soon showing strongly.

By mid afternoon the stage was set for a showdown between Pepperell and Seal both of whom had lost only one game each. It was an exciting finish which delighted the watching crowd. Seal took an early lead with two spectacular hoops but Pepperell ground on with his particular and distinctive style to a 7 to 6 victory.

The Maggie Cowman Trophy for Giles, the Chester Bowl for Martyn and the Telford plate for a victorious Sandra Cornes.

It was soggy and cold to start with, very soggy in the middle but warm and dry by the end of the Chester A Tournament.

To see an earlier report and photographs, click here.

Come rain or shine

A Chester team of Val Sanders (captain), Robin Tasker, Robert Jones and Derek Bell Jones met Westmorland in the North West short lawn league on Wednesday, 2 August. Luckily the gloomy weather forecast failed to materialise and it was great day for croquet, with umbrellas coming out only once. There were some close games played in a friendly atmosphere, but the strong, low-handicapped Westmorland side beat Chester 11-5.

On the following day, Thursday, 3 August, there was a narrow defeat for Chester’s away match against Southport in the association croquet weekend handicap league. Due to a shortage of players, the clubs decided to field teams of 3 rather than 4 and to start with a score of one each. David Boyd (captain), David Guyton and Paul Watson had a pleasant day at Southport but had an uphill task struggling against their 42 extra turns due to the difference in team handicaps. The final score was Southport 4, Chester 3.

A national competition in golf croquet, the Maggie Cowman Trophy, was hosted by Chester Croquet Club at the weekend, 5-6 August. There were 12 entries from all over the country, including Durham, Tyneside, Watford, Grange over Sands, Eynsham and North Wales. An unseasonally wet and cold preliminary play day on Saturday was compensated by a fine sunny day on Sunday with hard fought performances by the competitors culminating in an exciting finale with Giles Pepperell and Sam Seal battling neck and neck in front of a crowd of clapping spectators. On the golden hoop Giles won the match and the trophy with a spectacular long range stroke. The winner of the Maggie Cowman Trophy was Giles Pepperell from Llanfairfechan. The runner-up bowl was awarded to Sam Seal also from Llanfairfechan, and the Telford Plate to Sandra Cornes from Crake Valley, Cumbria.

The Maggie Cowman tournament in full swing on Sunday, 6 August, after a dramatic improvement in the weather
… and spectators enjoying the action
Left to right Giles Pepperell receiving the Maggie Cowman trophy from club chairman Tom Grievson, Sam Seal with the runner-up bowl and Sandra Cornes with the Telford Plate
Players and spectators forgathering at the clubhouse at the end of the tournament