Fletton Trophy

The club’s annual tournament for the Fletton Trophy took place on Sunday, 19 May, under blue skies and wonderful hot sunshine.

The Fletton Trophy is an association croquet competition played under Advanced rules and, this year, as a 14-point, time-limited all-play-all one day tournament.

There were six entrants with a handicap range between -0.5 and 5, and so five rounds of matches each limited to 70 minutes. And that equated to a lot of croquet under a hot sun on excellent lawns, and by the finish some tired croquet players.

The tournament draw meant that the top seeds would play in the final round and, if they had both managed to win in their previous rounds, would determine the winner of Fletton Trophy. And so it proved – just.

In the first round Richard Smith (-0.5) was easing to victory until David Boyd (5) staged a remarkable comeback running 6 hoops and pegging out his front ball to draw level as time was called. In the ensuing Golden Hoop cat and mouse play Richard eventually sneaked to an 8-7 victory. Elsewhere Roger Brooks (-0.5) had swept to a commanding 14-1 win to start his campaign.

Richard continued his progression through the rounds beating Mark Lloyd (0.5), David Guyton (4.5) and Robin Tasker (4.5) but never being entirely convincing without a pegged out game. By contrast Roger sailed through his subsequent rounds failing to peg out on only one occasion and that with a close fought 12-9 victory over Mark.

In the final round decider Richard took his front ball round to peg with a good diagonal spread leave. Roger hit in from the lift and proceeded to go round also to peg and took the opportunity to peg out Richard’s front ball for a 3-ball game. Whilst Roger started well, Richard hit in with his single ball and took that round to peg out for a 14-8 victory to win the Fletton Trophy.

And so after more than 7.5 hours play, and 15 matches, six weary sun-drenched croquet players made their ways home. Congratulations go to Richard for his win, and many thanks to the others for a thoroughly enjoyable day.

Competitors for the Fletton Trophy. Left to right: David Guyton, Roger Brooks, Mark Lloyd, Richard Smith, the winner holding his trophy, and David Boyd. The other participant, Robin Tasker, who also organised the event, was unable to appear as he took the photograph !

Llanfairfechan Short Lawn

The Chester short lawn team travelled to Llanfairfechan on Saturday, 18 May, for their north west league match. It promised to be a glorious day but a sea fret rolled in making it cold and misty most of the day. The Chester team had two brand new players who had never played a short lawn match before, Andy Wilson-Chalon and Ant Fletcher, so it was a fabulous achievement for Andy to win two games and Ant to peg out for a win. The overall score was 11-5 to Llanfairfechan.

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This was the fifth match Chester has played against Llanfairfechan in May with only one win for Chester, one draw and three wins for Llanfairfechan.

Thursday, 2 May     GC Level Play: Chester Chariots (H)       L 5 – 10
Saturday, 4 May      AC 14pt Full Lawn (H)                                   W 11 – 5
Saturday, 11 May     GC Handicap: Chester Senators (A)         L 7 -11
Thursday, 16 May   GC Level Play:  Chester Centurions (A)  D 9 – 9
Saturday, 18 May     AC Short Lawn (A)                                          L 5 -11

Llanfairfechan GC Level Play

A three-player Chester Centurions team travelled to Llanfairfechan on Thursday, 16 May, to play a golf croquet level play league match. The day started bright and sunny with a slightly chilly sea breeze. Llanfairfechan opened the nine-game match with a strong win but the succeeding games were all very close and neither side managed to open a convincing gap. By lunchtime Llanfairfechan led by 5 games to 4 and an ominous mist started to shroud the Welsh mountains. And then the rain came down. In the wet afternoon session Chester edged ahead by winning some very close games and as the last game started were in the lead by 9 games to 8. That last game was played in a cold drizzle and was won by the closest of margins by Llanfairfechan to close the match at a 9 to 9 draw – a fitting score for two well balanced teams.

Chester front row left to right Mark Lloyd, Sarah Clements and Tom Grievson with the home team at Llanfairfechan
Croquet is definitely an energetic game

Early Bird Doubles

After a week of fine weather, the weather was again kind to us on Sunday, 12 May, when we managed to hold this high handicap golf croquet doubles competition, with 12 competitors forming 6 pairs, each pair playing all of the other five pairs during the day. There were some very close games, hard fought, with very few going to 7 hoops within the 45 minutes. One of the last two games of the day proved to be the decider, with one pair winning 4 of their 5 games, and three pairs winning 3. The winners were Gail Thomas and Paulette Thomas. Of the three pairs that won 3 of their games, Liz Griffiths and Lesley Newman claimed second place on the basis of net hoop score, having run 23 hoops and conceded 19, whilst Liz Baskerville and Wendy Lord came third having run 21 hoops and conceded 20.

Many thanks to all who took part and made it a very enjoyable competition. But thanks particularly to Jude Wise and Doreen Curtis for their super assistance with the management of the day and the catering.

For those of you who wish they could have taken part, there will be another similar competition at the end of the season, the Hi-Tails. Hopefully the weather will be kinder to us than last year and we will be able to hold it. Look out for an announcement later in the year !

Left: Gail Thomas and Paulette Thomas, winners of the Early Bird competition, with Jayne Taylor, competition organiser, in the centre. Right: All the participants in this year’s competition.

On the same day, a Chester team travelled to Fylde to play a 26-point full lawn association croquet handicap league match. The team of Mark Lloyd, David Guyton, Sally Slater and Robin Tasker (captain) faced a Fylde team on a lovely hot sunny day but also on well-grassed, challenging and bumpy lawns. This made for some entertaining – and some may say frustrating – play, and rather more jump shots than might normally be expected in an AC match.

In the morning session the Chester doubles pairing of Mark Lloyd and Robin Tasker was defeated despite a late comeback that at least made for an exciting finish, and with the singles games shared Fylde took a 2-1 lead into lunch. And a sociable lunch was enjoyed by all under the shade of a convenient tree.

In the afternoon with both the temperature and humidity rising four tight singles games were played and eventually shared to give Fylde an overall 4 – 3 victory. The match was played in good spirit and our thanks go to the Fylde team for their hospitable welcome to us.

At the close of play the sky had greyed over and the first few drops of rain were felt. There were increasing showers on the journey home and by the time the team reached Chester, the sky was black, the rain was torrential, and repeated thunder and lightning were all around. Thus came to an end the longest few days of sunny, warm and dry weather since last summer.

Llanfairfechan GC Handicap

A beautiful day made all the better by the welcoming host team. Plus a gentle sea breeze to cool our fevered brows.

We didn’t win the match, but each game was played with enthusiasm and good humour.

The man of the match was Ray Foy of Llanfairfechan who only started playing this season, and won all 4 of his singles games. Well done Ray.

So it’s congratulations to Llanfairfechan and thanks again for being such great hosts.

 

Murphy Shield success

Another warm sunny day at Chester Croquet Club – perhaps spring has finally arrived –  saw Ashby Croquet Club visiting us for the second round of the Murphy Shield. The Murphy Shield is a level-play golf croquet tournament, but each team is limited to just one player with a handicap of +1, the other players must have handicaps of +2 or more; and the total handicap of all four players together must be 8 or higher. Our team was David Boyd (+1), Mark Lloyd (+2), John Hampson (+2) and Sarah Clements (+4) and we faced Ashby’s team of Andy Sherwood (+2), Mick Haytack (+3), Stephanie White (+4) and Judith Rowe (+4).

The match started well for Chester with the home advantage of sloping lawns “tipping the balance” in favour of the home team. Chester won the doubles and both singles sessions in the morning and so were three-nil up by lunch. By the afternoon Ashby had adapted well to the local conditions, but even so Chester pulled further ahead with wins in the first three sessions. However, Andy Sherwood managed to save match point on the golden hoop of his second game with David Boyd, and then stormed through the final game to win the final session 2 games to 1 and make the score Chester 6, Ashby 1. Thank you to the Ashby team for an enjoyable and sociable day in the sunshine.

Chester now go on to play in the quarter finals, where we will play the winners of the Branston versus Croquet Durham match.

The Chester and Ashby level play golf croquet teams playing for the Murphy Shield at Chester on Thursday, 9 May

AC/GC Partnership Day

Chester Croquet Club held its first AC/GC partnership day of the season. 8 members who normally play golf croquet partnered 8 members who normally play association croquet for a lighthearted competition of association croquet.

Robin Tasker managed the competition and worked out which pair was to play which pair each round to determine the eventual winners.

With two games each Sarah Clements and Sally Slater played Brian Walton and Rick Davies in the final round to decide the winners. After an hour’s exciting play the two pairs were neck and neck at 7 hoops all, making a shot to the peg the deciding factor. Sarah and Rick played the drives and both made excellent shots inches from the peg, but Sarah’s was a couple of inches nearer so deciding the outcome.

It was an enjoyable afternoon played in warm sunshine, and the members are looking forward to the next partnership day to be held in June.

Players in the AC/GC Partnership Day with Sally Slater and Sarah Clements in the centre as winners of the alternate shot doubles competition

Now here’s a thought: play GC and AC!

Rachel Gee is a top class player – winning the 2011 Women’s Golf Croquet World championship, representing England in the association Openshaw competition, winning the English National Singles AC in 2019 and 2020, and the 2014, 2018, and 2023 European Golf croquet championships.

Not bad eh?

She was asked what was her best suggestion for development in either code and she said

PLAY THE OTHER CODE

“Playing AC has opened my eyes to a large range of alternative shot options in GC, some of which can be hoop winning almost immediately. Playing GC has given me a better understanding of my % success rate for any given shot (running longer hoops, various length roquets etc) which has given me the confidence to be much more aggressive with my break pick up lines and shooting shot selections in AC.”

Well said Rachel.

Look out for our next GC/ AC partnership day to improve your understanding and skills.

Early May matches

The first beautiful sunny day in the season so far saw Chester Chariots play Llanfairfechan at home in the NW Level Play Golf Croquet League on Thursday, 2 May. It was a very tight match, with many games taking well over an hour and 4 going to the golden hoop. Sally Slater (captain), Jude Wise and Edward Baskerville took on a very strong team from Wales, but eventually lost by 10 games to 5.

Back to an overcast day on Saturday, 4 May, Chester met a different team from Llanfairfechan also at home, this time in an Association Croquet 14pt Full Lawn Handicap match. This was the first match of the season in the new 14pt format introduced this year by the NW Federation. The team of Brian Walton (captain), David Boyd, Sally Slater and Paul Taylor faced a team with a bag full of bisques which made for a challenging day, but all the team had some successes and there was even a golden hoop game. Fortunately, the rain held off and Chester won by 11 games to 5.

Early Bird GC Doubles

Last call for Early Bird Doubles

We now have 13 participants signed up for this fun, informal competition on Sunday, 12 May. They are:

Liz Baskerville, Cynthia Graham, David Johnson, David Mann, Lesley Newman, Paulette Thomas. Wendy Lord, Christine Fryer, Lorraine Rawlins, Gail Thomas. Gwyn Thomas and Liz Griffiths.

Are there any more high handicap Golf Croquet players out there who want to join in ? Please let me know on jaytay20ch@aol.com or at 07810892311 ASAP if you do.

We will aim to start at 9.30 am, and bring your lunch ! There will be cake ! You do not have to wear whites.

All the best

Jayne Taylor
07810892311

7 May 2024

Spaces still available for Early Bird GC Doubles

The Early Bird Doubles will be held on Sunday, 12 May.  This is for players with a handicap of 11 or 12, or not yet with a handicap.  You do not have to join as a pair.  We currently have 14 players who have previously signed up to play, but the competition takes 16 and it may be that others will have to drop out before the date.  So spaces are available and it is good to have some reserves to call upon if needed.

Currently we have Liz Baskerville, Cynthia Graham, David Johnson, David Mann, Lesley Newman, Doreen Jones, Paulette Thomas, Rhia Taylor, Wendy Lord, Christine Fryer, Lorraine Rawlins, Mary McManus, Gail Thomas and Gwyn Thomas.

Let me know if I have missed you off that list and you were expecting to play, or if you would like to join the list. Please reply direct to me on jaytay20ch@aol.com .

Partners are picked randomly, and games  will be level play but timed at 45 minutes, the winning pair for each game being the first to run 7 hoops or the one that has run the most hoops after 45 minutes. It would be good to start at 9.30 am if possible.

Jayne Taylor
07810892311

30 April 2024

Early Bird GC Doubles on Sunday, 12 May 2024

Hello all high handicap golf croquet players

As you may recall, last year we had to cancel the Hi-Tails Doubles competition due to bad weather. However, we have an alternative doubles competition for those with a high handicap (usually 11 or 12) or no handicap (i.e beginners) early in the season called the Early Bird Doubles. As with the Hi- Tails, you enter individually and are paired up randomly with a partner.

The competition will be held on Sunday May 12th. Places have been offered to those players who entered the cancelled Hi Tails competition last year, but we have a few places left if anyone else wishes to take part. Please let me know…..first come first served, but there will be a reserve list just in case anyone has to pull out .

Please reply direct to me on jaytay20ch@aol.com .

All the best

Jayne Taylor
07810892311

1 April 2024

April matches

On Saturday, 20 April, Chester hosted the reigning champions Crake Lakes for the first match of the 2024 North West Federation advanced association croquet season. Chester – represented by David Guyton, David Boyd and Robin Tasker – reached the lunch interval having lost the doubles 13-18 while David Guyton squeezed past his opponent 15-14 in the singles. The afternoon was equally tight with the first two singles shared leaving the match tied at 2-2 with the final game still in progress. As time was called Chester held a 2 hoop lead but conceding a lift, and the Crake Lakes player took advantage to draw level; and then win the game and therefore the overall match by peeling his second ball through the penultimate hoop for Golden Hoop victory 3-2. On such fine margins are matches won or lost…

On the following Sunday, 21 April, Chester Croquet Club held its annual taster sessions. There was a great turn out of 30 people who had come to try their hand at the sport. The sunshine helped them have a great day and many have gone on to join the club.

Last year Chester played Bowdon in the quarter final of the national Inter-Club golf croquet championship and managed to beat them 4-3. This year Chester drew them in the first round on 22 April; a tough draw with their team of four having handicaps of -3, -2, -1 and -1). The team we fielded was David Boyd, Mark Lloyd, Tom Grievson and John Hampson (+1,+1,+2 and +2); and this year we did not have home advantage. Bowdon got off to a terrific start in the morning winning both the doubles and the two singles matches to go 3-0 up. The afternoon was better for Chester with John Hampson and Mark Lloyd winning a game each, but the final score was Bowdon 5 Chester 2. Despite the defeat it was a very enjoyable day – lovely greens and friendly and hospitable opponents with only a few light rain showers, despite the weather forecast of torrential rain all day. Bowdon now go on to play High Wycombe in the second round.

On Thursday, 25 April, Chester played Chester! Having two level play teams – the Centurions and the Chariots – this is the first match of the season in the NW Federation golf croquet level play league. The two teams were David Boyd, Garry Greenwood and John Hampson for the Centurions, and Jude Wise, Kerry Dadson and Pat Clare for the Chariots. After evenly balanced sessions to start with, the Centurions raced ahead to win 16-2.

Chester’s Centurions and Chariots teams. Left to right: John Hampson, Jude Wise, Garry Greenwood, Pat Clare, Kerry Dadson and David Boyd

Then on Saturday, 27 April, Chester played at home against Bury in the first round of the national Longman Trophy association croquet handicap competition. The Chester team for the match were David Guyton (captain), David Boyd, Brian Walton and Andy Wilson-Chalon who had joined the club only a few weeks earlier after half a century’s absence from croquet! For late April it was a distinctly chilly day with only occasional glimpses of sunshine in the morning followed by light drizzle in the afternoon. Chester faced an experienced team from Bury who won the match 5 – 2 having won the doubles and two singles games in the morning and two of the four singles games in the afternoon. However, the match was much more closely balanced than indicated by the final result. In the doubles game in the morning David Guyton and Andy Wilson-Chalon lost by just one hoop after being one hoop ahead when time was called. And in the afternoon Andy Wilson-Chalon lost by just one hoop to Anne Alvey of Bury who won the All England AC handicap championship at Chester last year. Just a couple of hoops in  6½ hours of play made the difference between a 5 – 2 win for Bury and what might have been a 4 – 3 win for Chester.