Hurlingham and more

Having somehow succeeded in beating a strong team from Bowdon in this year’s national golf croquet club championship competition (the first year that Chester had entered), Chester were then in line to play Hurlingham in the following round. If given the choice every member of the team would have been happy to give up home advantage for the chance to play the next round away at the best of all the croquet clubs in England. The team who travelled down was David Boyd, Tom Grievson, John Hampson and Mark Lloyd.

Hurlingham has about 10 pristine croquet lawns, along with many other sports and very nice facilities, and is an oasis in the middle of London. The only evidence of the noisy, outside world seems to be that every minute an aircraft passes low overhead on its approach to Heathrow.

This was an opportunity not to be missed, but the result of the match was disappointing. Tom Grievson managed a win in the morning giving a glimmer of hope for the afternoon session but nothing was added with the final result of Hurlingham 6 / Chester 1. David Boyd had the honour to play against their captain, Aston Wade, handicap -3, who had recently won the under 21’s European GC championship! It was enjoyable, but the outcome was always predictable – the way these players hit the ball is another way entirely!

The splendid setting and lawns at Hurlingham
Members of the Chester team waiting to play

On the following Sunday, 27 August, the re-arranged mid-week AC handicap match against Southport was played initially in cool drizzly conditions although it warmed up somewhat later in the day. Southport brought an experienced team together with a large bag of bisques – free shots – indeed, in total 67½ of them!

In the morning doubles David Guyton and Paul Watson were ahead and very nearly won but were caught in the final turn after time was called to lose by a single hoop. Brian Walton overcame 13 bisques for an 18-14 victory on time; while Robin Tasker was overwhelmed by a 16 handicap player who knew all about four ball breaks and peels to lose quickly 0-26.

The afternoon singles followed a similar pattern with Brian overcoming 11 bisques, and Paul 10 bisques for a Golden Hoop victory. The other two singles were lost in a blizzard of bisques and with them the match. The final score was a 4-3 win for Southport.

On Saturday, 2 September, Ealing travelled to Chester to play in the semi-final of the national Murphy Shield golf croquet level play competition. The team for this match was Kerry Dadson, Sarah Clements, Rick Davies and John Hampson. It was a great day weatherwise and the lawns were running well. Chester won 5-2, though some of the games were very closely fought. Chester now go forward to meet East Dorset in the final of the competition.

Members of the Chester and Ealing teams at Chester for their Murphy Shield golf croquet level play match