Autumn is here

Dear Members

Well autumn is certainly with us now.  But whilst the weather has become cooler and damper ( ok that’s a bit of an understatement) the lawns remain open for play unless the ground is too wet.  Just make sure you take your waterproofs and layer up!

Your committee met last week, so I thought an update email was appropriate … though the summary of the meeting will be published on the website shortly.

Those of you who have looked at the website recently will have spotted the picture of Derek Bell-Jones escaping from a falling branch whilst enjoying a not so peaceful game of AC on a windy day !  The committee also said farewell to Derek, who has resigned after 10 years service.  The club has benefitted from his wisdom, and humour,  over the years, and we hope he will grace our lawns for many more to come ( though probably not sitting under a  tree !)

The last tournament of the year was played on Friday 2nd October; a one day Open Handicap Short Lawn AC contest, socially distanced of course.  The worthy winner was Helen Brophy.  Thanks to all who played, and particularly thanks to Sally Slater who organised the day with her customary efficiency and good will .  We did manage to fit in two other tournaments this year in spite of virus constraints:  a two day Full Lawn Handicap AC contest organised by Robin Tasker (thank you Robin) won by Sally Slater, and the Christine Long GC Tournament organised by Martyn Seal ( thank you Sam ) won by Edward Baskerville.   The GC Lockdown League continues into the autumn, whilst the lawns are playable.

Normally we would be holding our end of season supper and presentation of awards in November.  This has been a very popular and enjoyable gathering drawing together a high proportion of the club membership.  Sadly, however, in view of the continued restrictions on social gatherings, this will not be possible this year. Indeed, in common with families everywhere, this Christmas will be a very quiet one for the club.  We must hope that the situation improves in 2021 to enable our pre season gatherings to proceed, and that Chester Croquet  can get back to normal at the beginning of April.

It was great to gain access to the clubhouse, and to be able to play on Mondays, but we still have to maintain the restrictions we have been operating under, particularly in view of the recent rise in the virus infection rate and the governments Rule of 6 limitations. So I am afraid  we must continue to social distance, use sanitisers, wash hands frequently, clean the croquet equipment and facilities after use, and limit gathering in the clubhouse accordingly.

The Council have indicated that they will be doing a full programme of maintenance on the lawns during the autumn, winter and early spring.  This is very good news, though unfortunately we do not know when.   Therefore I am afraid that you might find that the lawns are closed at short notice for varying periods of time.  So keep an eye on the booking system, which will be adjusted accordingly, as soon as we know the planned dates – or indeed as soon as we find they have done something without warning us.   You will note, for example, that fertiliser has been applied to the lawns. Please make sure you wash your hands after handling the balls, and this is even more reason for washing the balls (and your mallet heads) before putting them away.

Most of all do look at  the club web site,  which David Guyton keeps up to date very efficiently.  It makes good reading !

I hope you manage to continue to enjoy some croquet during the autumn and early winter,  whilst the lawns remain playable, and that the maintenance work does not cause too much of an interruption.  However the lawns will benefit greatly from a full maintenance programme, and we can look forward to improved playing surfaces next year. Omelettes and eggs come to mind !

Please take care, keep warm and dry, and above all  stay safe.

Jayne Taylor