More mixed fortunes

Chester’s association croquet team were in action on home turf on Wednesday, 5 July, against a much stronger team from Nottingham with both clubs competing for a place in the semi-final of the national inter-club advanced competition for the Mary Rose trophy. Chester was represented by David Boyd (captain), Elmyr Hughes, Mark Lloyd and Brian Walton. The format was for level play without the benefit of handicap differences so, despite some advantage from local knowledge of the lawns, it was bound be a challenging day for Chester with their combined handicaps totalling 12.5 compared with Nottingham’s much lower total of 4.

Following the morning session of a doubles and two singles games, Nottingham gained a lead of 2 games to 1 by winning the two singles games, so there was still everything to play for in the four afternoon singles games. As the afternoon results came in, Nottingham managed to maintain their lead to the end of the match with the final score of Nottingham 4 Chester 3 with both sides winning two singles games. A defeat for Chester but no disgrace either as it really was a ‘knife-edge’ result with one hoop point difference out of 26 in one of the morning singles results which, if reversed, would have given Chester the match victory. There was no usual time limit to the games and play eventually finished after 8.00 pm leaving the Nottingham team with a late drive back home.

Then on Thursday, 6 July, Chester played a short lawn match against Fylde which proved to be an honourable draw. Each round of 4 games ended in a 2 all draw, with the final score being Chester 8 – Fylde 8. There were some nail biting finishes as the Chester team of Sally Slater (captain), Nigel Worthington, Val Sanders and Robert Jones faced three higher handicapped players with the very last game of the match going to a golden hoop. The expected rain stayed off so the lawns were dry and fast and a lovely day was had by all.

On the following Sunday, 9 July, the Chester Senators team got off to a good start against a visiting Llanfairfechan Dragons team in a handicap golf croquet match at Westminster Park. Chester’s captain, Edward Baskerville, who won all of his singles games, was supported by Jill Foley, Mel Hagen and Elaine Smith and the team soon opened a 5 to 1 lead in the warm , humid weather. The visiting team fought back to even the score but the Chester team re-established its pace to pull away to lead 11 games to 6. With the final game at five hoops each, a darkening sky suddenly thundered the arrival of rain. The players ran for cover and for tea and declared that game a draw. The final result was Chester Senators 11, Llanfairfechan Dragons 6 and 1 draw.