Having won the national knockout competition for the Secretary’s Shield trophy in 2022, Chester’s association croquet team was automatically given the opportunity to compete for the trophy again for the 2023 season with Sheffield being drawn as the opponent in the first round. Although a ‘home’ match for Sheffield, it was agreed to play at the neutral ground of Bury on Sunday, 21 May.
The morning session, of a doubles and two singles games did not go well for the Chester team of Richard Smith, Mark Lloyd, David Boyd (captain) and Brian Walton, as Sheffield won all three of these games to take a commanding 3 – 0 lead by lunchtime. So, with the four singles games to be played in the afternoon, Chester still had a chance to reverse the score. However, the relative handicaps of the two teams meant that Chester were giving away 66 extra shots during the day. This proved too challenging a task and enabled Sheffield to add three more games to their tally, resulting in a final match score of Sheffield 6 v Chester 1, thus denying Chester the opportunity to have their name on the trophy for two successive years.
Thanks to Bury for hosting the match.