North of England Championship (23-26 August) – A Preview by Brian Storey

So, do you remember these?
– Sandy was being seduced by Danny;
– ABBA were taking a chance;
– Boney M were trying to cross the Rivers of Babylon

Well, all were hits in 1978.

It was also the year that club member Chris Hudson started making plans to resurrect the defunct Association Croquet Championship of the North of England.  Although it was inaugurated in 1903 in Alderley Edge CC then later moved to Buxton CC, it had lain dormant since 1956 as interest in the sport had waned at that time. 

Plans were made and with a lot of club effort, in particular from Barry Keen, who became the director and motivator, the club hosted the renewed event in 1979. 

With two world war breaks and that hiatus, the 2019 event is the 85th Championship and the 41st as a Bowdon fixture.  Classed as a CA Grade 1 Championship, over the years it has always attracted top International players from around the world and this year is no different. 

Historically, seven players have won the event more than once including the demon lady player D. D. Steel (5 wins), David Openshaw (6 wins), Mark Avery (2 wins), past Club President Colin Irwin (4 wins), Robert Fulford (4 wins), Keith Aiton (2 wins) and home grown David Maugham (12 wins) and three of those are currently entered to play this year.  Overall we have 5 previous winners in the entry. 

This year probably has the strongest ever entry with 17 of the 19 entries being minus players, including 8 from the worlds top 50 players.

However, for those about to place a bet – a warning.  Whilst it will be hard to look beyond the top four seeds for an eventual winner, such is this strength in depth of the entry that it is entirely possible for a so called “wildcard” to take top honours.  Like all sports, the top players will still have to play well to overcome “lower ranked opposition”.

So, the stage and hoops are set, the lawns cut and the kettle on. What more can you want apart from sunshine to make an enjoyable Bank Holiday week-end of top class croquet.

The following five Bowdon members are taking part:

We wish them well
Brian Storey