Chester goes to Southport

Report by Robin Tasker

Chester took three teams to the Southport Festival this year playing in the Level Play GC, the Handicap GC and the Short Lawn AC competitions. In all there were 9 clubs represented from across the North West, and over the weekend 226 games of croquet were played.

To accommodate the fixture list all games that were not won outright concluded when time was called meaning draws were allowed, and speed croquet was a recurring theme!

Southport Croquet Club looked a splendid sight with 12 lawns laid out ready for play. The weather provided the entire spectrum of the traditional English summer. And while an intense short burst of rain led to the suspension of play on the South lawns, those more hardy souls playing on the North lawns just went with the (considerable) flow. They breed them tough up North!

The Handicap GC team Sandy Grievson, Sarah Clements, Arnie Bamford Rick Davies and Brian Hussey enjoyed the greater success of our GC teams winning six and drawing four of their fourteen games over the weekend.

The Level Play GC team of Jayne Taylor, Tom Grievson, Rick Davies and Brian Hussey were less successful; while winning six games, they fell to seven defeats. The winning team from Bowdon won thirteen of their fourteen games and provided some exhibition play along the way!

The Short Lawn AC team of Val Sanders, Robert Jones, Nigel Worthington and Robin Tasker turned out to be the draw specialists of the competition losing only to Bowdon and Fylde and in both cases with just seconds left on the clock..

And so no trophies for Chester but a weekend of great fun and entertaining croquet, strengthening existing friendships and making new ones.

If you didn’t make it to Southport this year then please do get the 2023 edition in your diary!

Report by Jayne Taylor

The weekend just passed, 25-26 June, was the Southport Festival weekend.  Chester had teams in the Golf Croquet Handicap event, the Level Play event and the Short Lawn AC event.  Sadly we were unable to provide a team to take part in the Advanced AC or the Handicap AC events.

For several GC players it was their first appearance at the Festival, and whilst we did not bring home any silverware,  it proved to be a very enjoyable and fun event, with very variable weather involving sunny hot spells, cold windy spells and sudden downpours of rain with thunder and lightening (lawns vacated promptly and play suspended) and collapsing shelters  (no-one hurt). All very exciting.  I know that all the members new to the competition this year want to attend next year, and hopefully that will encourage others to take part also.

The GC handicap team had the greatest success, coming second in their event, behind Fylde.  Out of the 14 matches played over the whole weekend, they won six, lost four and drew four.  Two of the draws were in fact against the actual winners of the section, Fylde. So  very well done the team of Sandy Grievson (captain), Sarah Clements, Arnie Banford, Rick Davies and Brian Hussey.

The GC Level Play team of Jayne Taylor, Tom Grievson, Rick Davies and Brian Hussey, were rather less successful, wining six games, losing seven and drawing one, ending up joint fourth out of 8 clubs  in that event.  The winners were Bowdon with two rather brilliant players that gave us all some exhibition play to admire.

The Short Lawn AC team of Robin Tasker, Nigel Worthington, Robert Jones and Val Sanders faced some difficult games but all were great fun and the team thoroughly enjoyed the weekend, strengthening existing friendships and making new ones.

It was a pity that we could not field enough AC players to provide teams in the AC Advanced and Handicap events, and hopefully next year we will be able to increase AC numbers to enable the more experienced players to take part in the advanced section, and to enter a handicap AC team, as well as a Short Lawn team.

The overall winners of the Festival Cup were Bowdon, who also won most of the sections !   Ah well, sometimes that happens, though usually a wider range of clubs win trophies.  Next year maybe we can come back with one or two.  But even if we do not it still makes a fun event where old friends are met, and new ones made. And much is learnt !

It is usually held on the last weekend in June (barring things like pandemics…..) so make sure you do not book anything for that weekend in 2023 just in case you fancy a challenge !

Meanwhile there are lots of opportunities to play at Chester, and hopefully the rain will improve the chances of the grass surviving the summer.  We certainly cannot rely on the Council to fix the water supply so that we can properly water the lawns !

All the best

Jayne Taylor