Yet more May successes

Wednesday, 24 May, was a lovely day for two NW Federation level play golf croquet league matches.

The first was between Chester Chariots and Bury, which was thoroughly enjoyed by both teams. At lunch time the Chester team was just in front by 5 games to 4, but clearly found fresh resources after lunch, winning seven of the nine games in the afternoon, giving a final result of 12 – 6. The team of Rick Davies (captain), Chris Thomas and Kerry Dadson, playing in his first level play league match, can be justly proud of their victory against a strong Bury side.

Away at Southport on the same day, the Chester Centurions team of Tom Grievson, Mark Lloyd and Sally Slater also had a successful day, winning 11 games to 7. Mark Lloyd was the star player, winning 5 of his 6 games.

Then on Saturday, 27 May, the club fielded a team against Bury in the NW Federation Advanced B Level league. Representing Chester were  Brian Walton (captain), Elmyr Hughes and David Boyd. The team arrived at Bury   on a glorious sunny morning to find a recently cut lawn in good condition. It was a little damp in the shaded areas but with the sunshine promised, we were sure it would soon dry and became fast and challenging, which proved to be true, with the added fun of the hoops appearing to get shrink as the day progressed.

The morning doubles match featured several full lawn roquets but making breaks proved more difficult. Paul Kenworthy, captain of the Bury team,  managed a couple of good breaks to take his ball around to peg and then assisted Phil Nuttall in getting his ball to a position to take the game as time expired. Meanwhile in the singles, Elmyr Hughes of Chester won a closely fought game against Ged Smolskas by a narrow margin with some excellent precision play.

Just prior to lunch the teams were rewarded with a fly past by the RAF Memorial Flight, right over the lawns, comprising a Lancaster, Spitfire and Hurricane, which stopped play for a few moments but well worth it.

In the afternoon in increasingly warmer conditions, Elmyr continued his good form with victory over Paul, David Boyd had to contend with Ged, who was keen to recover from his morning loss and with some good play and fortune was able to stop David getting momentum in the game and he eventually pegged out, Brian Walton overcame Phil by a narrow margin in a closely fought game with minimal breaks and plenty of hoop blobs.

The final result was a hard fought 3 – 2 win for Chester with many thanks to Bury for their hospitality, good weather and air display.

Finally, on Sunday, 28 May, the short lawn league was in contention when Chester played away at Bowdon. It was a mainly sunny day and the Chester team of Derek Bell-Jones (captain), Sally Slater, Helen Brophy and Nigel Worthington made a decisive start, winning 6 games out of 8 in the morning. The games after lunch were much more hotly contested with two going to the golden hoop and it was neck and neck until the final two games which Chester won, giving the final score of 9-7.

Overall, a good week for Chester with four wins in three leagues over five days.

Lawn watering begins

It may not yet be the warmest and driest summer but lawn watering has begun! After the council repaired and upgraded the main pumping system from the pond on the golf course in Westminster Park, a hardy group of volunteers wheeled out the hose and sprinkler on Saturday evening, 27 May. And, after five years of recurrent problems and parched lawns, it worked!

The sprinkler in action on Lawn 2 and the current and former chairmen examining a nearly as productive leaking joint. Rain, rain, please don’t go away but come again another day except on bank holidays and when we are playing.

Visit by Chester Trefoil Guild

Sixteen ladies from the Chester Trefoil Guild came to the club on a sunny  evening on Thursday, 25 May, to have a fun evening of croquet. Volunteer members Paul Taylor, Chris Slater, Jill Foley and Sally Slater took them through their paces.

The group first learned a little about the history of croquet and the game, then were shown how to hold and swing a mallet and hit balls and run hoops, before ending the session with a game of golf croquet.

The evening finished with refreshments in the pavilion. The ladies were very appreciative of their introduction to croquet and really enjoyed it.

Members of the Chester Trefoil Guild at Chester Croquet Club on Thursday, 25 May



Beaten by bisques

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.

Hat trick for Chester

Chester Croquet Club was drawn to play against Southport and Birkdale in the first round of the 2023 Longman Cup, a national inter-club knockout competition. This was played at Chester on Friday, 19 May. Chester was represented by David Boyd (captain), David Guyton, Nigel Worthington and in his very first Association Croquet match, John Hampson. Despite having ‘home advantage’, the morning session of the doubles and two singles did not go in Chester’s favour and by lunchtime Southport had taken a lead of 2 games to 1, Nigel being Chester’s only winner.

Apart from one of the four singles in the afternoon, the scoring remained very  tight with the final scores being within one or two points between the winners and losers. But Chester prevailed and managed to turn the tables on Southport, so, including a vital win by John, who was giving away 2 extra points to an experienced opponent, this gave Chester a victory of 4 games to Southport’s 3.

Chester now goes through to the second round to play against the winner of the Fylde v Tyneside match.

The next day on  a sunny and warm Saturday, 20 May, the Chester Tribunes croquet team were hosts to Southport in a North West Croquet Federation handicap golf coquet match. The team was Lawrence Cole, David Johnson, John Hampson and Brian Lussey. Both teams were fairly evenly matched at the start and Southport took an early lead. But as the day progressed Southport were gradually worn down by the consistency of the Chester players. After lunch Chester drew steadily ahead to finish the day with a solid victory winning  12 games to Southport’s 6. Chester’s Laurence Cole swept the board by winning all of his singles games.

On Sunday, 21 May, another Chester Tribunes golf croquet team of Sarah Clements, Kerry Dadson, Doreen Curtis and Arnie Bamford welcomed the golf croquet team from Craig-y-Don. The day started warm although overcast and gave way to blue sky and cooling winds in the afternoon. A perfect day to play croquet and the competition was very closely fought with Chester Tribunes finally winning 10 games to 8.

The morning session started with doubles games and Chester’s Arnie and Sarah beat husband and wife team Linda and Alan in a close match. Meanwhile Roger and Nick from Craig-y-Don won another closely fought match against Chester’s Kerry and Doreen. The singles games were all closely contested and special mention goes to Alan from Craig-y-Don and Arnie and Kerry from Chester Tribunes who all won three games each.

The Chester Tribunes and Craig-y-Don handicap golf croquet teams on Sunday, 21 May
Left to right (1) Linda from Craig-y-Don playing Kerry Dadson from Chester, (2) Alan from Craig-y-Don playing Doreen Curtis from Chester and (3) Arnie Bamford and Kerry Dadson from Chester who both won three of their four games with Arnie also winning in the doubles

More May successes

As well as the 6 – 1 win against Tyneside in the first round of the national Mary Rose competition for advanced association croquet, there were some great individual successes during the week, with Richard Smith winning the 14 point advanced association silver salver at Shrewsbury. This was  Richard’s fifth win of the trophy. Sarah Clements won the shield competition at a golf croquet C level competition held at Ryde on the Isle of Wight, with Tom Grievson winning the shield at the B level.

Sarah Clements winning the C level golf croquet shield at Ryde, Isle of Wight

Mary Rose win for Chester

After winning the final of the national Secretary’s Shield association croquet competition on Saturday, 29 April, Chester made an excellent start in another national competition beating Tyneside 6-1 at Pendle on Tuesday, 9 May, in the first round of the Mary Rose knock-out competition for advanced association croquet. Playing for Chester were David Boyd, Elmyr Hughes, Mark Lloyd and Brian Walton.

Despite heavy overnight rain which left the lawns a little heavy and slow the match started in pleasant weather conditions which continued to improve as the day progressed, finishing in bright sunshine. The score does not reflect how close the match was, despite having lost all the morning games Tyneside came out invigorated after lunch and pushed Chester hard with two games decided in the last few strokes. During the whole match there was only one game that finished before time.

Having won this hard-fought game Chester progress to the second round when their opponents will be Nottingham.

Thanks to Pendle for their hospitality.

From the left, Brian Walton, Elmyr Hughes, David Boyd and Mark Lloyd playing for Chester against Tyneside at Pendle in the Mary Rose competition

Individual scores were:

Morning session
Mark Lloyd (0.5) & Elmyr Hughes (1) beat Derek Watts (2) & David Millener (7) +4T
David Boyd (5) beat Derek Johnson (10) +12T
Brian Walton (6) beat Don Wright (8) +9T

Afternoon session
Mark Lloyd lost to Derek Watts -10T
Elmyr Hughes beat David Millener +1T
David Boyd beat Don Wright +1T
Brian Walton beat Derek Johnson +18


Chester meets Chester

Chester met Chester in a level play golf croquet match held at Chester on Thursday, 4 May !

The club has two level play golf croquet teams and they were drawn against each other in the North West Federation league.

The Chariots, Jude Wise, Brian Lussey and Chris Thomas played the Centurions, Mark Lloyd, David Boyd and Sally Slater on a lovely sunny day and it was a more closely fought contest than the final score of 12 (Centurions) to 6 (Chariots) shows. Many of the games were taken to the golden hoop, and everyone enjoyed a great day’s croquet.

Chester Centurions and Chariots, left to right, Chris Thomas, Brian Lussey, Mark Lloyd, Sally Slater, Jude Wise and David Boyd

On Sunday, 7 May, once again Chester played Chester, this time in the North West Federation handicap golf croquet league where Chester also fields two teams, the Senators and the Tribunes, who battled for seven hours on the warmest and sunniest day this year.

A set of doubles games between the four player teams set the pace for the day with the Senators captained by Edward Baskerville winning both games. This early lead by the Senators was strengthened as the 16 games of singles got underway with their four good wins against a valiant Tribunes effort. The new ‘ Advantage’ handicap system provided tightly-fought and well balanced games and exciting finishes. The final match score of 12 to Senators and 6 to Tribunes belies the closeness of most of the games and no player suffered the ignominy of a crushing defeat. Honours go to Tribunes captain Brian Lussey and Senators captain Rick Davies, with a special mention for newcomer Doreen Curtis who was not fazed by her more experienced opponents.

2023 Southport Festival

19 May 2023

This is a final reminder if you want to play GC or AC at the Southport Festival on 24/25 June. The details are shown in the appended email, and if you do wish to play please contact either Tom or myself no later than Wednesday 24 May.

Many thanks

Robin Tasker

7 May 2023

The 2023 Southport Festival takes place over the weekend 24-25 June with the following events being played over the period:

Advanced Rules AC
Handicap AC
Short Lawn AC
Level Play GC
Handicap GC

Clubs can enter a team in each of these events but are allowed to rotate the team membership through the weekend. This allows individuals the opportunity to play over both days, on just the Saturday, or just the Sunday; and a team’s composition can also vary through the day to accommodate the numbers who wish to play in an event.

It is a tremendous fun weekend where a serious amount of croquet – and some serious chat! – takes place. It’s a chance to catch up with old friends and to make new acquaintances across the croquet clubs of the North West.

If you are interested in taking part please can you contact either

Please contact Tom Grievson for both GC competitions or Robin Tasker for all AC competitions saying which competition you’re interested in playing and on which day(s); and also please tell us if you want to take the lunch provided (at your cost) by Southport which is payable on the day(s).

Please we need to know by Sunday, 21 May, to allow us to organise the Chester teams and to submit our application to the Festival organisers.

I do hope you can play!

Many thanks

Robin Tasker

Chester win Secretary’s Shield

In a hugely exciting match on Saturday, 29 April, Chester won the re-arranged 2022 Croquet Association Secretary’s Shield competition beating Newport, Essex, 4-3 on a warm and mostly sunny day. To reach the final Chester had defeated Middlesbrough, York and, in a gripping semi-final, Sheffield with the very last shot of the match.

The first attempt to play this game at a neutral venue in Nottingham had been washed out in October with Chester leading 2-1 at lunchtime. Although by the competition rules Chester could have claimed the trophy, the team felt a replayed match to be more appropriate, and Newport graciously agreed to the match being played at Chester.

The replayed final was hard fought. In the morning session Robin Tasker and David Boyd won the doubles, Richard Smith won his singles game and David Guyton lost his by just one hoop, giving Chester a 2 – 1 lead by lunchtime. The afternoon matches were shared 2-2 with Richard Smith and David Guyton winning their singles games but David Boyd and Robin Tasker losing theirs, Robin by just one hoop in the final golden hoop after a draw when time was called. The final result was a narrow 4 – 3 win for Chester, the first victory for the club in this national competition.

Chester’s winning team for the re-played 2022 Secretary’s Shield, left to right, Richard Smith, Robin Tasker, David Guyton and David Boyd
Richard Smith lining up to peg out, David Boyd lining up to peel two balls through a hoop, and David Boyd leaving a lawn at the end of his turn
Visitors from Boughton Hall retirement village, who have their own garden croquet lawn, coming to see croquet played on a full lawn

Detailed results were as follows:

Morning Session

Robin Tasker (4) and David Boyd (5) beat Fran Lambert (9)
and Andrew Gregory (1.5) +9 T
David Guyton (5) lost to John Richardson (16) -1 T
Richard Smith(-1) beat Dan Neale (0.5) +20

Afternoon Session

Richard beat Andrew +15 T
Robin lost to Dan -1 GH
David G beat Fran +14T
David B lost to John -16

But thanks must in addition be given to Brian Walton, Nigel Worthington and Paul Watson who played in some of the earlier rounds. And so this represents an all round team effort!

Many thanks are also due to the catering team who provided a splendid lunch which was enjoyed and appreciated by all.

As a postcript, the Secretary’s Shield has been retrieved and is now in the possession of the club’s secretary, Robin Tasker. Close inspection reveals that the club previously won the trophy in 1980 when a team of Bert Mason, Andrew Collin, George Collin and Hasting Wang beat Wallingford 5-1 at Edgbaston. So it has taken 43 years for Chester to regain the award!

The Croquet Association Secretary’s Shield which was regained by Chester after 43 years in a match against Newport, Essex, on 29 April

Earlier in the week the club held the first golf and association croquet partnership day. This is designed to give golf croquet players the chance to experience and participate in association croquet games. Along with many other croquet clubs, the majority of members play golf croquet and association croquet is at risk of dying out. Brian Walton led the day where four association players partnered four golf players who played a series of games. The winners were Helen Brophy and Doreen Curtis. A second partnership day is planned at the end of May.

Participants in Chester’s AC – GC partnership day, left to right, Geoff Baskerville, Tom Grievson, David Guyton, winners Doreen Curtis and Helen Brophy, organiser Brian Walton, and Paul Watson