After a gap of more than a year, the competitive season has finally got underway again at Chester Croquet Club, with the first games being played in the North West Federation leagues.
The first match of the season was played away on Sunday, 16 May, at Pendle when the weather was pleasantly sunny through the morning but increasingly damp in the afternoon. The lawns started off damp and turned increasingly soggy but remained just about playable.
Chester got the perfect morning start winning both the doubles and the one singles game, although in the latter Chester gained the lead for the first time in the game as the golden hoop was run.
The afternoon was a tighter affair with Chester winning the single game needed to take the match 3-2. The Chester team of Brian Walton, David Boyd and Robin Tasker were rewarded with long drives home through torrential rain and thunderstorms but nonetheless very satisfied.
The first round of the national Longman Trophy competition was played on Wednesday, 19 May, in glorious sunshine on Bowdon’s lovely super-fast lawns and although they lost the Chester team fought strongly through the day. Particular mention should be made of Nigel Worthington making his Chester full lawn debut who won his afternoon single convincingly.
The morning session was lost 1-2 with both the doubles and one singles game going to Bowdon. This made for a tough afternoon where the four singles were shared equally 2-2 which allowed Bowdon to get over the finishing line to win the match 4-3.
There was a great deal of good croquet played in what for Chester were challenging conditions as adjusting to the faster speed of the lawns was always tricky and often rather too much so. The team of David Guyton, David Boyd, Nigel Worthington and Robin Tasker were disappointed to lose but a full and enjoyable day was had by all.
Chester Croquet Club has signed up 25 new members this season, a record for the club. Nearly 60 people had expressed an initial interest in playing croquet, and after the taster days where 45 people turned up to have a go, 25 people joined the club and participated in two new members days on 1st and 9th May. They braved rain, cold and hail storms but all enjoyed their first proper games of croquet and hopefully will go on to become team members and further promote the great sport of croquet.