All-England GC Final at Camerton & Peasedown, 14th – 15th September

Two Bowdon players, Jack Good and Margaret Moss, competed in the All England Golf Croquet Handicap National Final at the peaceful Camerton and Peasedown Croquet Club in Somerset. The club is on the edge of Peasedown, formerly a coal mining village, but now a commuter village for Bath and Bristol. Jack and Margaret were the only players from the North and Midlands Final to participate. It was  a friendly weekend, in lovely weather. The handicaps ranged from -4 to +12.  Out of the 13 players who completed the tournament, Jack came third, with 8 wins and Margaret came 9th with 4 wins and a draw. The winner was Dominic Averold of Bristol. Jack was the only player to beat him. Margaret lost to Dominic at the golden hoop.

Bowdon vs Nottingham – Mary Rose Semi-Final (2 September)

Bowdon beat Nottingham 4.5 – 2.5 in the semi-final of the Mary Rose Inter-club Trophy on Monday 2 September. The Bowdon team was:

Alan (0) & Martin (2) beat Dave Gunn (0.5) & Martin Beacon (2)
Will (4) beat David Brydon (2) +5
– beat Michael Finnegan (2.5) +18
Adrian (4) lost to Michael Finnegan (2.5) -6
– beat David Brydon (2) +7
Alan lost to Dave Gunn -12Martin and Martin Beacon agreed a draw

Will’s two wins reduces his handicap to 3.5

High Wycombe play Woking in the other semi-final, with the final being played at Surbiton on 5 October.

All England AC Handicap area Final (31 August – 1st September)

Steve Reynolds and John Lucas were joined by Jack Good at this event, which gave Bowdon a chance of winning something. The weather proved to be challenging with very heavy showers on both days. On Saturday, lunch was taken early while the lawns dried out after becoming unplayable due to the soaking. There were 8 competitors initially but 2 had to withdraw from playing on the Sunday, which required the manager, David Barret to juggle the pairings creatively. Eventually Steve won 1 out of 5, John won 2 out of 4 and Jack won a very impressive 5 out of 5. Accordingly Jack can go through to the national finals. Steve has prepared himself well for Wild Wednesday by moving his handicap from 11 to 12, and Jack should be proud to have had his handicap reduced from 24 to 14.

Above, Jean Hargreaves on left and David Barret on the right who managed the weekend. The players, on Sunday, from left are, Steve Reynolds (Bowdon, 11 raised to 12), Richard Leach (Bury, 24 reduced to 16), Jack Good (Bowdon and Bury, 24 reduced to 14), John Dawson (Chester 2.5), John Lucas (Bowdon, 2.5) and Geoff Sonley (Penrith, 14). All a bit damp but cheerful after a nice tea.

North of England Championship

Spectators and some competitors at the presentation ceremony
The winner’s Faulkner Cup and the runner-up’s The Bowdon Cup

Our most prestigious event of the season was held over the Bank Holiday, when the sun shone all weekend and temperatures were well into the 80’s. 19 players, 17 of whom had minus handicaps, were competing. Mark Avery and Mark Suter, two of England’s top players fought an exciting final. The final was played as “best of 5”, under Super Advanced rules. Mark Avery won 3-1. The last frame was pearticularly competitive, with Mark Suter having taken black to 4-back, before Mark Avery got in and triple-peeled and pegged-out that black. A game of ‘cat and mouse’ croquet ensued with Mark Suter getting just a few very difficult opportunities, that he was never quite able to develop into a break. Mark Avery won that final game 26-15, and became the champion for the third time.

Mark Avery presented with the Faulkner Cup by Club President Brian Storey
Mark Suter presented with The Bowdon Cup by Club President Brian Storey
Mark Suter watches Mark Avery play in the last game of the final
Mark Avery pegging-out to win the Championship

The best performance by a Bowdon member was from David Maugham who reached the quarter final, only to be defeated by Alain Giraud. You can see all the scores by accessing; https://croquetscores.com/2019/ac/north-of-england-championships/the-championship-of-the-north-of-england .

The Tollemache Plate competition was won by Joel Taylor.

Joel Taylor presented with the Tollemache Plate by Club President Brian Storey

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

Bowdon vs Newport – CA Mary Rose Quarter Final (19 August)

Bowdon beat Newport 5.5 – 1.5 in the quarter final of the CA Mary Rose competition at the neutral ground at Edgbaston on Monday 19 August. The Bowdon team was:

Newport team was: James Brind (1.5), Andrew Gregory (2), Dan Neale (2), Chris van Essen (5)

Alan & Martin beatJames & Andrew +5
Will
– beat Chris +23
– beat Dan +7
Adrian
– lost to Dan -24
– beat Chris +23
Alan beat James +26Martin & Andrew agreed a draw

East Dorset Midweek Handicap Tournament – (13-15 August)

Winner: Tim Dennis (ex Bowdon club member) receiving his trophy

4 Bowdon members took part in the East Dorset Midweek Handicap Tournament (Alan Mayne & Kay Martin, Ken & Sue Cooper).
It was won by ex-club member Tim Dennis.
Alan was unbeaten but left early on the last day to drive home and did not qualify.

The GC All-England Handicap Area Final (3 August)

Margaret Moss & Jack Good represented Bowdon at the Northern heat of the All-England qualifiers on Saturday 3rd. August. Played at Ashby, where the lawns were, at best, indifferent and both our players took some time to adjust. 

Handicaps ranged from 14 to 5 and with Jack playing off his new 5 he gave away 9 bisques to local player Janet in his 1st game – eventually winning 7-6 on the golden hoop. With a slight change to his normal tactics things became a little easier in the next 4 games and despite giving away bisques in all of them he won them all comfortably.

With qualification almost guaranteed, Jack managed to contrive to lose to Michael (7) and gave the manager kittens when he realised there could be a 3 way tie. The (extremely complicated) All England rules were studied in depth – a complete waste of time when Michael then lost to the rank outsider and Jack cruised to a 7-2 victory against Phillip (5) the pre-event favourite.

Jack qualified as the winner and Michael was declared 2nd on ‘who beat who’. Philip was an unlucky 3rd, whilst Margaret was a solid 4th with a 4/7 record.

The winner of the event will be entitled to play in the national final at Camerton & Peasedown CC over the weekend of 14-15 September.