Chester member Richard Smith won ‘The Claret Jug’ at Shrewsbury croquet club last weekend. It’s an advanced association croquet event for the 8 highest ranked players from the Shrewsbury club.
Then on Wednesday, 13 September, the final of the national Murphy Shield competition between Chester and East Dorset was played at Cheltenham. To reach the final in this competition, Chester had beaten some excellent teams to get so far. Unfortunately they could not get over the line in this final match and they lost 5-2 after a number of closely contested games. The team was Kerry Dadson, Mark Lloyd, Sarah Clements and Chris Thomas.
Over the weekend of 16-17 September, Chester was proud to host the All – England association croquet handicap final on the hundredth anniversary of this nation-wide competition. Eight players from all over the country came to compete, from as far afield as Ealing, Caernarvon, Gloucester and Henley on Thames as well as nearer like Bury. Chester Croquet Club catered for the visitors over the weekend and the event was managed by Robin Tasker, the club’s secretary and representative of the North West Federation on the Croquet Association’s governing council. The weather was rather better than forecast and fortunately stayed dry throughout. Everyone was very complimentary about Chester’s club and hospitality and even the lawns which have undoubtedly benefited from the abundant rain this summer.
Anne Alvey from Bury emerged as this year’s champion joining a select group of women who have won this competition.
In a nerve shredding final game Anne survived a fierce comeback by her opponent to end the finals having won four out of five games. And this was enough to give her victory as one of two players on four wins but an earlier crucial head-to-head victory by 13-10 on time tipped the balanced in her favour.
Her victory was cemented by outstanding handicap play on the first day when she won all three of her games against strong opposition and, following a wobble in the her fourth game, she stood firm with determined play under intense pressure in her final game to seal the title.
For her efforts Anne holds the splendid trophy for the year and Bury Croquet Club a beautiful shield presented to the CA by the New Zealand Croquet Council in 1956 for the club of the current champion.
For a fuller report on the competition see the next news item which will be appearing in a future issue of the Croquet Gazette.