Southport’s inaugural one-day Short Croquet tournament was a most enjoyable finish to the summer season. Competitors with handicaps between 10 bisques and 1 mandatory peel played in two blocks in the warm, dry beginnings of autumn on the smooth seaside lawns. This followed Bowdon’s very successful two-day tournament earlier in the summer.
Block play was competitive with many close finishes but after the implementation of several layers of tiebreaks, Cas Sinclair and Charles Harding emerged as the block winners to set up an all-Bowdon final. It was a closely-fought game which went to time on a three ball ending after Charles had pegged Cas out. This allowed most of the other competitors to watch the closing stages. Some enjoyed the opportunity for friendly heckling, led by the manager, of Charles’ tactics, peeling strategy and controversial attempt, after time had been called, to peg out his forward ball without having completed his mandatory peel. Charles barely noticed and with characteristic calm and aplomb, secured the game and the top spot. Congratulations Charles.
Now that Cas is aware of Charles’s ability at Short Croquet she will no doubt recruit him for Bowdon’s Short team next season. Brian Medley may also be recruited, if his play was judged to be of sufficiently high standard.
Photos, and much of the written report, provided by Brian Medley
The Southport setting and hospitality were outstanding as ever, and everyone left hoping that this format of competition will be a permanent addition to the fixtures calendar. For players considering making a first foray onto the tournament scene, this event and/or Bowdon’s Short tournament would be the ideal start next season.
The NWF B class final was a repeat of last year with Crake Valley again beating us in an identical manner. The morning games repeated last year’s result. The doubles was won comfortably by Bowdon, and Neil Adams won the singles by just +2 on time against Nigel. In the 3 afternoon singles, Neil won again as last year, and Bowdon could only win one of the other 2 singles, as last year. The result was a 2 – 3 loss to Bowdon. Basically, for 2 years, we have not been able to cope with the quality play of Neil Adams. Next year, barring a serious loss of form, Neil is very unlikely to be eligible for the B class now that his handicap is -0.5. We should now look forward to next year.
Congratulations to Crake Valley.
Our team was:
Charles harding, 1.5Nigel Matthews, 0Mike Shelmerdine, 5
Crake Valley’s team was:
Neil Adams -0.5 (but that was a change from 0 within 7 days prior to the match, so he was allowed to play), Steve Skelton 3 and Howard Bowron 3.
The going got tough and Bowdon Earls rose to the challenge, just about! Bowdon needed to win today so that they could not be overtaken by Fylde who had another match to play. In a very tense match Earls beat Westmorland 4 – 3 to ensure that they won the league. Earls expected to face opponents with bisques in most of the games, and that is what happened. The morning results had Bowdon 2 – 1 ahead, with Adrian and Andrew winning their singles comfortably. Adrian’s win over Roger Brooks allowed his opponent only 3 shots. Adrian is not used to having any bisques! The afternoon games saw fluctuating fortunes. Nigel had pegged out his yellow but lost by just one, as Roger Brooks came back from 1 and rover with a fine display of two-ball breaks and great positioning. The next game to finish saw Adrian come back, from being well behind Sue Pritchard, to win a close game +3. One more win was needed. The next game to finish had Captain Mike Shelmerdine providing that win to seal the match and league title, by coming back to beat Mike Hogson in another very close game +1 on time. Andrew was well behind the experienced John Shakespeare who had enough bisques to win. Well done Bowdon Earls, and all the players who have been in the team during the season.
Southport & Birkdale club will be holding a 1 day only short croquet tournament on Sunday 17th September starting at 10am. They have asked us to publicise this to any interested Bowdon members.
It is open to any player from clubs within the North West Federation, which includes Bowdon.
They are taking 16 entries of which 6 places are reserved for S&B members. The other 10 places are for visitors. It will be a knock out with a consolation event then a X and Y therefore 4 games per player.
Time limit — 1 hour 30 mins, handicaps as per league rules, both players have full bisques
£5 entry fee ( pay on the day), bring your own lunch, finish about 5 o’clock
Bowdon have once again made it through to the final, and once again they face Crake. Bowdon won the NWF South area B class league and Crake won the NWF North area league. This repeat of last year’s final will take place on Thursday 14th September. Bowdon are hoping for a better result than last year when we lost by 2 – 3. Team members are required to have handicaps of 0 or above, at least one member must have a handicap of 3 or above and the total team handicap must be 6 or more.
Bowdon’s team is:
Charles Harding, 2 CaptainNigel Matthews, 0Mike Shelmerdine, 4.5
Jock Good won the Selector’s Weekend in fine style by winning all his games and performing triple peels in the quarter and semi-final games. We are almost becoming immune to astonishment at the success that Jack is enjoying. Suffice to say that we are incredibly proud of his achievements, and delighted for him.
Below are the knockout stage results of the Selector’s Weekend, as taken from the excellent Croquet Scores website.
Stephen Mulliner won the President’s Cup by winning 12 out of 14 games. Harry Fisher was the runner-up with 11 wins from 14 games.
8 of the country’s top players gathered at Bowdon to contest one the most important annual events in the Croquet Association calendar. The sun shone for all but a few minutes on the Sunday. Alan Mayne and John Greatbanks had prepared the lawns wonderfully, and Lorna Frost and Kay Martin ensured a ready supply of meals and refreshments under very difficult hot conditions. The result was a feast of top quality croquet over 4 days to test the players and delight the spectators. Keith Aiton and Chris Clarke, 2 previous winners, came along to watch play.
President’s Cup at Bowdon, Samir Patel winner of the cup 2022, foregroundStephen Mulliner receives the President’s Cup from Colin Irwin
Stephen’s final game was a very close run affair against David Goacher. Stephen performed a tpo against David, and after some dramatic exchanges David had a good chance to run rover to surely win. He stuck in rover and Stephen went on to win. During that game however, after Stephen had peeled David’s yellow through rover, he croqueted his blue to the red that was in the jaws of Stephen’s 3-back. Stephen was on the north side of the red and roqueted it through. Spectators all expected him to then run 3-back. However, in an uncommon lapse, Stephen played a croquet shot with red over towards hoop one. There was a collective intake of breath by spectators. David was unfortunately not watching the play. These things happen very occasionally.
Robin Brown presents Lorna Frost and Alan Mayne (and Kay Martin) with tokens of appreciation from the players
The importance of the competition was recognised by ITV. Granada Reports featured the competition and Bowdon CC, in the evening’s programme on 7th September. Debbie and Ian were interviewed at some length by Chris Hill. Angharrad Walters and Samir Patel also spoke in the programme.
Debbie and Ian Lines being interviewed by Chris Hill, ITV
The full results of the weekend, save for a late finishing game between Ian Lines and David Goacher which Ian won 26 – 10 giving Ian 5 wins, are shown below, as taken from the Croquet Scores website.
The players are all shown below in play during the weekend.
When James Death played Stephen Mulliner, refereeing was taken to a high level to decide whether James had a cannon after roqueting red, with red and yellow both on the boundary. Measuring tapes, Samir as acting referee and with Ian Lines assisting, spent some time adjudicating.
James, Stephen, Ian and Samir ensuring that the rules are followed
The table below shows the situation at the top of the NWF Midweek League. Teams play 6 matches over the season.
2023 MIDWEEK HANDICAP AC LEAGUE
Bowdon Earls are still at the top of the league table with 4 wins from 5 matches. Fylde have 3 wins from 5 matches and are in second place. However, Fylde have a much superior net games score. On Tuesday Earls play their final match, against Westmorland. If Earls win that then they win the League. If Earls lose against Westmorland, Fylde can win the League if they win their remaining match against Chester. Chester are bottom of the League having won only one match out of 5. No pressure then Earls.
Unsurprisingly, Earls have picked a team of battle hardened warriors for this crucial match, as shown below:
Mike Shelmerdine, CaptainAndrew Thomson Nigel MatthewsAdrian Apps
You may remember that the Bowdon Lawn Bookings System showed a ‘GC Holiday Camp’ occupying the lower level lawns from Sunday 3rd to Tuesday 5th September. It was an interesting event that clearly balanced croquet and fun. With more emphasis on the fun than most croquet gatherings. Information has been mainly provided by Margaret Moss, and a couple of other people who do not wish to be identified. The CA have definitely been kept in the dark about it.
A group of golf croquet players used to enjoy a croquet playing holiday annually in the ancient tiny city of Ripon. When the hotel at Ripon closed participants were very sad and woebegone. The event had not happened for 4 years (sniff, sniff). Step forward Jane Pringle (Bishop Auckland) and Bowdon’s Ros Pimlott, who approached Bowdon CC for the use of 5 short lawns. A local hostelry was booked for accommodation and various evening activities; involving fancy dress, and at least 2 birthday parties. The 27 players/revellers were from Bishop Auckland, Bowdon, Bury, Colchester, Doncaster, Mumbles in South Wales and Ripon. We hope that the local hotel will accept a repeat booking for next year!
Photos by Adrian Apps
Golf Croquet Holiday Campers, at play
All games were level play. 5 friendly games were played with different doubles partners on Sunday, 5 games of singles on Monday and 4 games of doubles on Tuesday. Each day there was a finals match. So players worked hard in the lovely but hot weather. Carol Steinberg of Bowdon won on Sunday, Fred Owen of Bowdon won on Monday and Margaret Eccles of Bury won on Tuesday, a combined triumph for Greater Manchester. The other Bowdon players were Carol Kelsall, Cas Sinclair, Margaret Moss and Ros Pimlott.
Golf Croquet Holiday Campers having a bit of a rest
Kay Martin and Lorna Frost worked very hard to provide much appreciated lunches and teas at the club, and keep order. Our splendid lawns were much praised, although players used to bumpy lawns had to learn quickly how to play delicately. Alan Mayne’s diligence as Grounds Manager was much appreciated.
Many players expressed a desire to return next year. You can’t really blame them can you?
If you have read the previous post regarding the President’s Cup competition you will be familiar with the principles of the ‘Eights’ competitions. If you have not read it then please do so in order to fully understand the competition. The Selectors’ Weekend is played at the same time as the Eights, and is by invitation.
The Selectors’ Weekend will be played for by 16 players. This is not regarded as the “bottom AC Eight”. Instead, it is for players who show promise but have not yet established a record sufficient to gain a place in an AC Eight. It provides an opportunity to play amongst themselves and with established players who are not excessively stronger than the non-established players.
The competition is four rounds of a Swiss competition, followed by a fifth round in which the 6 players on 2 wins are paired against each other. This means there are now 8 players on 3 or more wins, and these then play a three-round knockout to determine the winner. The Swiss continues so that everyone has the opportunity to play eight games over the weekend.
Jack Good, -0.5Robert Essler, 0.5
We are very pleased that Jack and Robert have been selected for this event. We wish them the best of luck and fine weather.