In another particularly busy week Chester played at home against Pendle & Craven in the North West Federation mid-week handicap league on Wednesday, 28 August. Under grey skies and intermittent rain the Chester team of John Dawson (captain), Helen Brophy, David Guyton and Brian Walton faced strong competition from the visiting team. In the morning Brian Walton won one of the two singles games but Pendle won the other singles game and the doubles game. Pendle’s lead continued in the afternoon when David Guyton was the only winner of the four singles games. The overall result was a 5 – 2 win for Pendle.
On the following day Chester fielded two teams In the North West Federation level play golf croquet league on Thursday, 29 August. Chester Centurions took a strong team to Bury to play Bury Monarchs in the final level play match of the season. David Crawford (captain), David Boyd and Mark Lloyd won 17 – 1 and cemented their position as league winners. Mark Lloyd and David Boyd each won all their games. This win gave Chester Centurions a cumulative total of 12 points at the top of the table, ahead of Crake Valley with 6 points, and a total of 77 hoops scored against 31 hoops conceded to opposing teams. Having won the North West league for two consecutive years, Chester Centurions are now looking forward to defending their position in 2020. Meanwhile, the Club’s second level play golf croquet team, Chester Chariots, enjoyed good weather playing at home against Culcheth. For this match the Chester team was Pat Clare (captain), Chris Thomas and James Thomas. Chester won 12 – 8. Culcheth were worthy opponents and all enjoyed the games.
More rain was forecast on Saturday, 31 August, when Chester played away against Southport in the North West Federation weekend handicap league. The rain duly arrived promptly with the start of play. Southport’s lawns drained well but the wet turf slowed playing conditions. For this match the Chester team was David Guyton (captain), Sarah Andrew, James Thomas and Paul Watson. In the doubles game in the morning David Guyton and Paul Watson quickly gained a lead and managed to peg out 26 – 3 nearly an hour before time. The two singles games were very closely fought throughout with Sarah Andrew at the end achieving a lead of just one hoop in her game giving Chester a 2 – 1 lead by lunchtime. Another brief shower after lunch gave way to bright and warm sunshine for the rest of the afternoon and the lawns became noticeably faster. Southport returned reinvigorated by lunch and the brighter weather and won three of the four singles games, one with a lead of just two hoops, with David Guyton winning the only game for Chester. The result was a close 4 – 3 win for Southport. This loss by Chester comes after a run of five consecutive wins but still leaves Chester at the top of the league though with both clubs having one more game to play which could alter the outcome if Southport win again and Chester lose again in their final matches.
On the same day, Chester played at home against Llanfairfechan in the North West Federation golf croquet league. As usual, a friendly Llanfairfechan team provided entertaining opposition. Despite intervals of light rain, the weather brightened up during the afternoon and everyone enjoyed the occasion. Sandy and Tom Grievson were playing in their first match having only joined the Club earlier this year. Both played well, especially Sandy who won three of her four games, with Tom winning one and drawing one. Maureen Ivens and Roger Haigh completed the Chester foursome. By the finish, Chester succeeded in winning the match 10 – 6. This was a particularly satisfying result for Chester as the team comprised two new members and Llanfairfechan have been at or near the top of the league so far this season.
Also over the weekend, two Chester members, John Dawson and Sally Slater, took part in a two day North West regional qualifying round at Bury for this year’s All England Association Croquet Handicap Competition. John Dawson was one of the two finalists who now go forward to play in the national final at Hunstanton next weekend, 7-8 September.