Chester played at home against Bowdon in the NW Federation Advanced B Level association croquet league on Wednesday, 31 August.
Bowdon fielded a strong team with hopes of a win which would have given them this year’s title in the southern half of the league and a play-off against the winner of the northern half of the league.
Despite the match being played in very good spirit, the very difficult, bone dry and lightning fast sloping lawns at Chester proved extremely trying for both teams, particularly a perverse and near-impossible approach to Hoop 1 on Lawn 2.
In the morning Elmyr Hughes (1) and Brian Walton (7) prevailed against Charles Harding (2) and Adrian Apps (4) in the doubles game with a score of +1, whilst David Guyton (5) had a hard fought win against Michael Sandler (1.5) with a score of + 2.
The afternoon sessions proved just as trying as the morning. Despite some skilful and determined resistance from our opponents Chester managed to win all three singles games. Elmyr Hughes beat Michael Sandler+10, David Guyton beat Charles Harding +7, and Brian Walton beat Adrian Apps +2 . The latter win was particularly noteworthy. Brian Walton was eight hoops behind his lower handicap opponent but in one remarkable turn managed to run ten hoops from Hoop 3 to peg giving him the finishing 2 hoop lead – an impressive achievement given the unpredictable state of the lawns.
The overall result was therefore a 5 – 0 victory for Chester.
Chester’s final match for the season in the Advanced B Level league was against Bury on the following Saturday, 3 September, at their home ground.
The Chester team for this match was Jerry Guest (captain), David Boyd and Robin Tasker. On excellent green lawns the match started as usual with a doubles game and a singles game in the morning. However, after about an hour’s play, an unexpected and unfortunate impediment caused one of the Chester players to withdraw, the games were abandoned and the match was conceded to Bury 5 – 0.
As a consequence of that outcome, Bowdon emerged as winner of this year’s southern half of the league despite being beaten by Chester earlier in the week. Bowdon now go forward for the final play-off against Crake Valley as winner of the northern half of the league.
In another North West Federation league match on Sunday, 4 September, Chester played away against Fylde in the club’s last match of the season in the weekend association croquet handicap league. The Chester team for this match was David Boyd (captain), Helen Brophy, Brian Walton and Paul Watson. The morning session started slowly especially for Chester’s two singles players while their high handicap opponents made use of their extra turns keeping Chester off the lawns which no doubt helped Fylde take a two games to one lead by the lunch break. However, Chester managed a stronger showing in the afternoon and, by just scraping wins in all four of the well balanced singles games, Chester notched up a satisfying victory with a final score of Chester 5 Fylde 2. After a somewhat disappointing start to the season, this result has put Chester, perhaps only briefly, at the top of the weekend handicap league but other clubs still have one or two matches to play.