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Mary Rose final Washed out

by James Death at Surbiton [^]
11th October (AC - Mary Rose)

The final of the Mary Rose was held on the 2nd October at Surbiton and was played between Surbiton and the defending champions, Nottingham.

In the morning singles Dave Evans won quickly against Martin Beacon +25 to give Surbiton an early lead. Mike Hedge held off a spirited fight back from Mary Knapp to equalise +4. The doubles however just refused to finish and was eventually pegged down for lunch.

The 4 afternoon singles went on after lunch and with all the games in the balance the rain got heavier and eventually flooded the lawns leaving them no choice but to abandon at 1-1.

The replay is scheduled for some time in the spring and will be played as a full match.

Letchworth beat Hurlingham to win the Longman Cup 4-3

by Colin Davies at Surbiton [^]
3 Oct 2021 (AC - Longman Cup)

Team - Letchworth v Hurlingham.
Venue - Surbiton.
Event - Longman Final.
Date - 4th October 21.
Result - Letchworth won 4 - 3

Letchworth names first.

Morning games.

Colin Davies (7) & David Clancey (14) lost too Martin Read (6) & Richard Andrews (10) 18 - 20T
David Mathews (3.5) beat Greg Solomon (6) 22 - 17T
John Noble (4.5) beat Guy Hewitt (5) 16 - 11T

Afternoon games.

David Mathews (3.5) beat Guy Hewitt (5) 26 - 23
John Noble (4.5) lost to Martin Read (6) 22 - 26
Colin Davies (7) beat Guy Hewitt (6) 23 - 17T
David Clancey (14) lost too Richard Andrews (10) 12 - 26

Letchworth win the Longman Cup

Hurlingham beat Harwell/Eynsham 4-3

by Peter Allan at Surbiton [^]
3 Oct 2021 (AC - Longman Cup)

Semi v Hurlingham

David Spicer (4.5) & Nick Goodwin (14) v Martin Read (6) & Greg Solomon (6) 11-20

Hugh Manson (6) v Richard Andrews (10) 21-20

Noel Harris (8) v Guy Hewitt 26-16

David Spicer (6) v Guy Hewitt (5) 3-26

Hugh Manson (6) Martin Read (6) 18-20

Noel Harris (8) v Greg Solomon (6) NH won

Nick Goodwin (14) v Richard Andrews (10) RA won

RESULT Harwell/Eynsham 3 - 4 Hurlingham

Letchworth beat Bowdon 4-3

by Adrian Apps at Surbiton [^]
3 Oct 2021 (AC - Longman Cup)

Bowdon lost to Letchworth 3-4 in semi-finals 2/3 Oct
The details are (Bowdon names first):

Adrian Apps (3.5) & Mike Flannery (11) beat David Matthews (3.5) & Colin Davies (7) +13
Nigel Matthews (3.5) beat John Noble (4.5) +22
Barry McKenzie (9) beat David Clancy (14) +7

In the second games,

Adrian Apps lost to John Noble -2
Nigel Matthews lost to David Matthews -21
Mike Flannery lost to David Clancy -12
Barry McKenzie lost to Colin Davies -11

Ladies GC Coaching for 2022, 2023 and Women's GC Worlds at Southwick

by Rachel Gee [^]
3rd October (GC)

There will be a Golf Croquet Women's Worlds event in the UK (Southwick) in August 2023. If you are already playing a lot of GC and are keen to play and want to improve your chances in the event, or if you were ever considering giving Golf Croquet a proper go the next two seasons are the time!!

Following the hugely successful Women's Group AC Coaching that took place prior to the AC Women's World Championship at Nottingham in 2015 a similar programme of coaching events is going to be run during 2022 and 2023 in the run up to the Women's GC at Southwick in August 2023.

Rachel Gee and Ian Burridge will be running 2 x1 day coaching sessions (with identical content) at the beginning of 2022:

Sat 9th April 2022 - Nottingham Croquet Club
Sun 10th April 2022 - Cheltenham Croquet Club

With two further weekends in 2023 for those likely to gain a place in the event.

If you would like to register your interest, and haven't already been in touch in the last few weeks, or have any further questions please contact Rachel Gee via email on

Surbiton beat Bristol to win the AC Inter-Club Championship 5-1

by Stephen Mulliner at Surbiton [^]
3rd October (AC - Inter-Club)

Surbiton and Bristol contested the final in surprisingly good conditions given the inundation of the previous afternoon and evening which had forced the cancellation of the Mary Rose final.

Bristol made a good start in the doubles when Richard Smith hit on turn 4 and went to 4-back, conceding contact. Stephen Mulliner laid up near hoop 1 and, after David Goacher cornered, completed a TPO. Goacher did not progress and Samir Patel completed a tidy 3-ball break to give Surbiton an early lead.

Mulliner wasted no time in the top singles with a +26tp defeat of Goacher while Phil Eardley made the score 3-0 to Surbiton by beating Dave Kibble +22. Ed Duckworth kept Bristol's hopes alive by winning a close encounter with Alison Maugham +6.

Before lunch, Patel went to 4-back against Smith with POPs to 2 and 3. Smith hit the lift (they were playing ordinary advanced) and got going with the hoop 2 ball. His progress to 4-back seemed so inevitable that Patel decided to have lunch and ready himself for the lift shot. But Smith unfortunately cross-wired himself at 2-back and Patel, now refuelled, made no mistake with a 9 yard lift and finished +17tp to seal Surbiton's sixth successive victory since 2016.

Maugham beat Kibble +17 to give a final score of 5-1 to Surbiton with the Eardley/Duckworth game not played.

Jeff Dawson, a CA Vice-President, made the presentation of the magnificent Beddow Cup to the home side, paying tribute to Surbiton's catering and court preparation which enabled them to recover so quickly from the torrential rain of the previous day.

SN Mulliner & SR Patel beat DJ Goacher & RM Smith +13 tpo (M)
Mulliner beat Goacher +26 tp
Patel beat Smith +17 tp

P Eardley beat DJ Kibble +22
A Maugham lost to E Duckworth -6
Maugham beat Kibble +17

Photo Competition for CA Calendar - deadline extended to 17th October

by Chris Roberts [^]
2nd October (CA Official News)


Due to production issues affected the print run of the latest Gazette, the date for submitting entries for the Photograph Competition detailed on page 5 of the September Croquet Gazette, has been extended. Please send your entries to by Sunday 17 October.

- Chris Roberts, Editor

See amended text from the original Gazette piece below.


CA Photograph Competition (for Croquet Calendar)

The Croquet Calendar is primarily a photographic competition, but it should have the effect of bringing the joys of croquet to a wider audience.

The judges will select the best twelve images submitted.

These will demonstrate the inventiveness, imagination and skill of the creator and will probably not be pictures of the club chairman presenting the trophy to the winner of the annual handicap competition! The impressive images will form the photographic parts of the new Croquet Calendar and the successful photographers will be properly acknowledged and will become justly famous!

The best of the twelve selected pictures will not only be used as the cover of the calendar but will also win its creator the title of "Croquet Photographer of the Year" and an as yet undecided prize.

CA Shop Sale and a Charity Angle

When assembled, the calendar will be sold by the CA Shop and other selected outlets.
Purchasers will acquire a wonderful colourful gift to present to the croquet-obsessed friends or relatives of their choice.

The net proceeds of sale of this almost-unique publication will be divided between the CA and the national charity selected for support by the CA.

Submitting Your Photo Entries

We know that there are many resourceful, aspiring paparazzi and daguerreotypists in the croquet community. A beautiful photograph is timeless - so you don't have to take one especially for this competition.

One from your collection would be wholly acceptable and there is no limit on the number of entries that you may submit. Please submit your croquet-related photographic image(s) of publishable quality (i.e. with lots of pixels) to Chris Roberts, who is, of course, the Editor of the Croquet Gazette and, in his capacity as a renowned professional sports photographer, will be Chairman of the Panel of Distinguished Judges.

The closing date is not yet close and you have plenty of time. Any image submitted on or before Sunday 19 September Sunday 17th October 2021 will be entered into the competition, which is open to any individual member of the CA. Send your photographs to: with the subject line 'Croquet Photo Competition'.

Hurlingham lost to Surbiton 3-4

by Sam Murray at Hurlingham [^]
2nd October (AC - Inter-Club)

Mark Ormerod & Tom Coles lost to Stephen Mulliner & Samir Patel -26sxp (M)
Nigel Polhill beat Alison Maugham +17tp
Andrew Wise lost to Phil Eardley -26tp
Mark Ormerod lost to Stephen Mulliner -26
Tom Coles beat Samir Patel +26
Nigel Polhill beat Phil Eardley +3
Andrew Wise lost to Alison Maugham -16

Jamie Burch Won The South of England Championship 2021

pictureJamie Burch Won The South of England Championship 2021

by Roger Wood [^]
1st October (AC - Championships)

The sun shone, a gentle breeze blew, a steady rain of beechnuts fell on lawn 2, crows, starlings and seagulls fed on the emerging leatherjackets whenever the lawns were unoccupied and one cheeky magpie kept raiding the clubhouse in search of cake: autumn in Eastbourne saw one of the strongest fields of recent years assembled to do battle in pursuit of gold and silverware. Unfortunately, of the 22 original entrants 4 had to withdraw before the event, including our most devoted attendee (23 appearances) and defending champion David Maugham.

First to impress, in full flow on Friday, was James Death. In the space of a little over 90 minutes his two wins against Ian Lines saw one sextuple attempt come to grief at the last - having completed all six peels he was unable to peg out after hitting the peelee while making rover himself - no such problem in the second. Then Gabrielle Higgins, although she got one ball round, suffered a similar fate on Saturday morning going down to two sextuples in just two hours! So, the peeling prize was settled by 11:30 on day two! Mark Avery was also on good form and earned his place in the final without dropping a game. Things did not go quite so smoothly for the other finalist Jamie Burch, the only seed drawn in the first round - each of his matches against Debbie Lines, Pete Trimmer and James Death went to three games netting him more lawn time than any other player. Undaunted he secured two wins against Mark in games which followed the same overall pattern with one or two turns of cat and mouse thrown in: Jamie went early to 4-back; Mark tripled peeled Jamie's ball and pegged it out and made a few hoops with the other ball; Jamie hit and finished, winning the championship for the fourth time.

Not to be outdone on the peeling front Pete Trimmer and Duncan Reeve each demonstrated their skills with a single sextuple win in the Swiss. At the close of play on Saturday Ian Lines and Gabrielle Higgins led the field in the Swiss, with Duncan Reeve and Sam Murray close behind. The top eight contested a knockout on Sunday where Gabrielle and Sam won through to the final which was won by Sam with a triple peel.

The hoops were very firm in the dry ground which also made the lawns moderately fast - thanks to groundsman John Crisford and his team for their preparation. Thanks too to Hilary for the lunches and a succession of ladies for the teas.

South of England Championship - for the O'Callaghan Gold Cup

Round 1

Jamie BURCH beat Mark Ormerod +12 +18tp
Debbie Lines beat Richard H Smith +9 +9

Round 2
Mark AVERY beat Rich Waterman +19 +23tp
Robert Wilkinson beat Sam MURRAY -22 +25 +4tpo
Dominic NUNNS beat Jack Wicks +23tp +5tp
Robin BROWN beat Nigel Polhill -17 +19tp +22
Jamie BURCH beat Debbie Lines +19tp -8 +12otp
Pete TRIMMER beat Chris O'Byrne +26tp +25
Gabrielle Higgins beat Duncan REEVE -12 +7 +16
James DEATH beat Ian Lines +26 +26sxp

Mark AVERY beat Robert Wilkinson +2tp +20tp
Dominic NUNNS beat Robin BROWN +15 +3
Jamie BURCH beat Pete TRIMMER +20 -2 +26tp
James DEATH beat Gabrielle Higgins +26sxp +18sxp Semi-Finals
Mark AVERY beat Dominic NUNNS +13 +18tp
Jamie BURCH beat James DEATH -16 +7tp +10

Jamie BURCH beat Mark AVERY +7otp +12otp

3rd place playoff
Dominic NUNNS beat James DEATH +5

Swiss consolation event - for the Sussex Union Cup
(2 days Swiss, day 3 KO for top 8 players)

Round 1
Gabrielle Higgins beat Mark Ormerod +16
Debbie Lines beat Robert Wilkinson +2
Sam Murray beat Duncan Reeve +14
Robin Brown Beat Ian Lines +7

Gabrielle Higgins beat Debbie Lines +16
Sam Murray beat Robin Brown +2


Sam Murray beat Gabrielle Higgins +12tp

Peeling prize: James Death.

Nottingham beat Bowdon 6-1

by Alex McIntyre at Nottingham [^]
29 Sep 2021 (AC - Mary Rose)

29th September 2021.
Nottingham vs Bowdon @ Nottingham
Sunny but cold.

Morning play (Nottingham players first)

Ian Draper (0.5) & Dave Gunn (0.5) beat Mike Sandler (2) & Will Mellor (2.5) +24
Alex McIntyre (1.5) beat Nigel Matthews (3.5) +9
Mike Hedge (1.5) lost to Adrian Apps (3.5) -7

Afternoon play

Dave Gunn beat Mike Sandler +5
Ian Draper beat Will Mellor +26
Alex McIntyre beat Adrian Apps +17
Mike Hedge beat Nigel Matthews +2

Stuart Stafford won the Wrest Park AC Handicap Tournament

by John Bevington at Wrest Park [^]
29th September (AC - Handicap)

The tournament was won by Stuart Stafford, who won five of his six games, three wins being by 20 point plus margins. His only loss was to David Marsh, when he learned that is unwise to give a minus player a chance before making use of your bisques. David took a ball round to rover almost from the outset and only needed one further opportunity to win +15.

David himself had only entered at the last minute, partly inspired by success in handicap games in the Beds & Herts League, and it was perhaps ironic that the only loss in his five games was to John Bevington, his doubles partner in the League team.

John also featured in possibly the best game of the tournament against fellow Wrest Parker George Collin. John hit his own tice and went to penult. George then hit in from distance and went to rover. John joined up after a failed stop shot approach to hoop 4 from near corner 4, whereupon George hit in and went round again, did the rover peel and used one opponent ball to cannon partner near the peg before roqueting the other and finishing, leaving John's bisques standing idle.

We started with 15 players, but Cliff Jones had to withdraw with an injury during his second game, and George Woolhouse stayed away on Sunday as the weather forecast did not augur well for the journey from Letchworth by bicycle, electric or not. As it turned out the rain when it came was neither heavy nor long-lasting, and for the most part it remained warm and sunny.

Most players were from local clubs, but Neil Adams made the trip from Westmorland and did well with four wins, and we welcomed back Barry Pilgrim from the Bodham club in north Norfolk (where he doesn't get much chance to play AC). David Gillett came up from Southwick, but qualifies as a local having previously been a member at Wrest Park.

Many thanks to Geoff Strutt for his management and to the lawns team who had to shift the positions of lawns 2 and 3 on Friday afternoon.

Stuart Stafford (12) 5/6

David Marsh (-1) 4/5

Neil Adams (5) 4/6

Barry Pilgrim (8) 3/4

Jonathan Toye (5) 3/5

George Collin (0) 3/5

Jonathan Lambton (3½) 3/6

Heather Bennett (1) 2/5

John Bevington (1½) 2/5

Cliff Jones (1½) 1/2

George Woolhouse (3) 1/2

Andre Machell (6) 1/5

David Gillett (6) 1/5

Eric Audsley (½) 1/5

Tony Elliott (4½) 0/5

Tony Butcher won the Ryde A-Level Series GC Tournament

by Andrew Larpent at Ryde [^]
28th September (GC)

As late summer turned distinctly autumnal after the September equinox twelve dedicated low handicap players gathered at the Ryde Tennis and Croquet Club on 25th and 26th of the month for the last all-play-all A level tournament of the 2021 season. It has been a busy month for the club with three CA tournaments over three weekends.

The weather was mild with some light drizzle to keep everyone moist on Day 1 and a fine, cool partly sunny day on Sunday. After a great amount of diligent work by the host club lawn maintenance team under the direction of Steve Hayns, the lawns were in great condition and greatly improved after some challenges earlier in the season; an improvement remarked upon very favourably by several of the visitors.

It was a pleasure for the hosts to welcome five visiting players and several accompanying partners from the mainland, otherwise known as 'the north island'. They joined seven players from the Ryde club for the tournament. The rather less welcome visitors were a host of crane flies across the lawns apparently committed to laying their eggs in the turf and heralding a leather jacket infestation for next summer.

Managing the event were a dedicated volunteer team under the direction of Tournament Manager Roy Tlllcock, ably assisted by Vernon Gibbs. Club Croquet Chair Pam Sim was on hand to assist. Pam, Roy and Vernon served as referees as well as participants, and were kept busy adjudicating on some close in-hoop congestion, and a few instances of wrong ball confusion.

The club prides itself on its hospitality, and a sincere vote of thanks is due to Joan Grove and Debra Hayns for their hard work in the kitchen preparing lunches and teas. The crowning glory in this department has to be Debra's spectacular chocolate cake that greeted the weary players at the end of the tournament after two days of great competition.

On the lawns 66 games were played over the two days of which 12 were decided by closely contested 'golden hoop' climaxes. The standard of play was high with plenty of long-range hoop running and ball clearances providing inspiration to the numerous club members and visitors, who turned out to support the event as spectators.

Throughout the event it was apparent that there was one stand-out competitor who displayed great accuracy and consistency in each of his matches and conceded only 37 hoops in his eleven convincing wins. Our congratulations go to our worthy winner, Tony Butcher (Southchurch) who carried the event in a great display of concentration and skill. His progress over the season from handicap 2 to -2 is a remarkable achievement and a great example of dedication to his sport. He will be missed in the A level tournaments in 2022 and we wish him every success in the open series.

Our runner up was Geoff Johnson (Watford) with 7 wins and a net hoop advantage of +16. He was followed at third place by Steve Hayns with 7 wins and net hoops of +10 and Roy Tillcock with 7 wins and +9 hoops.

The event was a great success and was conducted in a warm and convivial spirit. Congratulations and thanks to all the organisers and players for their contributions to an excellent tournament atmosphere. Croquet and sporting competition at its best!

Sheffield beat St Albans to win the Secretary's Shield 4-3

pictureSheffield and St Albans

by Eugene Chang at Nottingham [^]
28th September (AC - Secretary's Shield)

Sheffield Croquet Club completed a tough comeback win 4-3 against a strong St Alban's team (the 2019 winners) to win the Secretary's Shield for the third time, following successes in 2017 and 2018. Three of the eight competing players earned their CA Bronze awards in this match, with breaks of ten or more hoops using bisques (two of whom made 11 hoops without bisques, so the Silver award is not far away!).

St Alban's got off to a flying start in the brilliant autumnal sunshine, with their singles players dispatching their opposition with relative ease. The doubles see-sawed each way with Heather Bennett (St Alban's captain) pegging out Eugene Chang to leave his partner, Sheffield captain Margaret (Maggie) Crossland, on 4b alone. With time running out, the St Alban's pair reached rover (H12) and peg only for Maggie to hit in, make her final hoop and finish. 2-1 at lunch.

The afternoon saw Stuart Stafford play two outstanding breaks to beat Maggie quickly and take the match score to 3-1, whilst Eugene beat Heather to pull one back. With the heavens about to open, the crowd made a quick cuppa back at the pavilion and watched under shelter. Mark Simmerson levelled the tie for Sheffield, leaving a decider between his team mate Trevor Billard and St Alban's stalwart Stephen Mills. Stephen established an early lead before excellent play by Trevor earned him the lead. With the final hour of the match twisting and turning between the pair, time was called with Trevor on rover (H12) and peg, and Stephen on 4b and peg. Trevor separated in to corners 1 and 4, leaving Stephen's balls together in the middle of north boundary. Stephen approached 4b with a long take off, made the hoop and the return roquet, and rolled up to penult leaving a long straight hoop. Sadly for St Alban's he failed the hoop to lose by 1 on time, sparking off celebrations in the Sheffield camp, who had been updating their club WhatsApp group with blow-by-blow text commentary.

The Shield was presented by outgoing CA Hon Secretary Ian Vincent, who thanked Nottingham for hosting the final and congratulated both teams on an excellent performances, both in the final and in winning their respective regional leagues the year before.

Results (St Albans names first)


Heather Bennett (1) & Stuart Stafford (12) lost to Eugene Chang (-1½) & Margaret Crossland (14) -3

Stephen Mills (5) beat Mark Simmerson (6) +17

Roger Bowman (11) beat Trevor Billard (2½) +26


Heather Bennett (1) lost to Eugene Chang (-1½) -18

Stephen Mills (5) lost to Trevor Billard (2½) -1(T) 23-22

Roger Bowman (11) lost to Mark Simmerson (6) -14

Stuart Stafford (12) beat Margaret Crossland (14) +20

CA Bronze Awards

  • Mark Simmerson (Sheffield)
  • Roger Bowman (St Alban's)
  • Stuart Stafford (St Alban's)

Sudy Harrison won the Hurlingham One-Ball Handicap Tournament

by Tony Bingham at Hurlingham [^]
27th September (AC)

There was a full entry of 16 for this popular Handicap One-Ball event, players travelling from as far afield as Sussex County and Camerton and Peasedown. Handicaps ranged from AC -1 to 18 and GC -1 to 9. Using the CA recommended method OB handicaps therefore ranged from -4 to 18.

A flexible Swiss competition was applied and worked well given some were able to fit in 8 games and others only 5. All had a good time, enjoying Hurlingham's immaculate lawns before they close for the season, and thanked Tony for his clear organisation.

A fascinating "final" was played between Sudy Harrison (OB handicap 15, Hurlingham) and John Spiers (-1, Dulwich), both on five wins to that point. Sudy, using her bisques and GC hoop running and positional skills well, was just too good for John despite his exceptional accuracy and all-round game. She was awarded the new Bingham Bowl, presented by the manager, and Hurlingham glassware.

Tim Gibbons (18, Hurlingham), playing in his first OB event achieved a very creditable five wins out of 7 and was declared third, just losing out to John on quality of opponents. Tom Coles (-4, Hurlingham) and Michael Broadway (11, Enfield) were 4th and 5th. Tom was applauded for his exciting hitting and hoop running and amazing split shots. Michael would have won the prize for sartorial elegance had one been awarded!

Raghu Iyer won the ARK

by Martin Burger at Surbiton [^]
27th September (AC)

The ARK reverted to a later date - the last weekend before the club finals , and although not full the entry was back up to 24 . Paul Castell was the only negative handicap, possibly due to a clash with the Southerns.

The start was rather staggered because of local gridlock partly due to petrol queues, but everyone did turn up eventually and the last arrival had rung the club to say what was going on. Saturday started damp but the weather was sufficiently clement for meals to be taken outdoors. The courts were a good speed but few games finished quickly.

By the end of Saturday two games had produced 3/3 winners - Raghu Iyer (from Phyllis Court) and Charlie Martin - and the other two players on 2/2 (Nick Furse and Chris Barham) were pegged down with an hour still to go - a knock-on effect of the traffic delay.

It was unfortunate that last year's winner withdrew after 2 rounds because of being alerted to a family medical emergency but a reminder that things are still not quite normal.

On Sunday morning Raghu played well to beat Charlie with 5 bisques remaining in about 1 hour . So when Nick won the pegged-down game he and Raghu as the 2 unbeaten players played off immediately - Raghu won by 16 but used all his bisques this time. Another round was played after lunch but as Raghu had already beaten Guy and Charlie it was not going to affect the result. The automatic cut to 11 in Raghu's handicap was deemed sufficient.

The Surbiton catering was back to normal - thanks to the team - with hot lunches and teas being gratefully received.

One recent change is that a gadget for taking card payments is now available though we are just as happy with cash.

Kevin Connolly won the GC C-Level Series National Final

by Roy Tillcock at Ryde [^]
27th September (GC)

When the Isle of Wight Pop Festival promoter decided in March to postpone his event to the third weekend in September, we all knew we were going to be in for a hard time. It wasn't until 9am on day one when all 16 players presented themselves for the manager's briefing that we knew the logistical problems of accommodation and travel had been cracked. Now began the task of completing 15 all-play-all rounds in two days. At this level, and with only four lawns, both manager and players accepted that a one-hour time limit for all games gave the fairest and best chance of success.

Nine series winners were joined by seven points qualifiers and included 10 players whose handicaps had improved to below 7 since their original acceptance earlier in the year. Early rounds on both days took longer as players found their way around "foreign" territory but in the event just 10 of the 120 games were decided on time.

By lunchtime on Saturday the schedule was in good shape with Kevin Connolly (Watford), the favourite and top seed, and Jim Beach (Glamorgan) both undefeated with 4 wins. Immediately following the break Kevin lost a golden hoop game to Nick England (Ryde) bringing him also to 4 whilst Jim took the lead on 5 wins. Kevin and Nick both won their remaining afternoon games with Jim falling back so that at close of play (8 rounds all completed by 7pm) we had a close race on our hands.

I am greatly indebted to our small but super-efficient catering team and also to the three non-playing referees who managed time limits for me on all games in addition to refereeing duties as needed. Without their help management would have been considerably compromised.

An evening BBQ enabled the players to relax on the patio after a demanding day on the lawns in the pleasant autumn sunshine. Overnight Kevin and Nick led the field on 7 wins, Jim was on 6 and a chasing pack of Frank Sharps and daughter Sandra Cornes (both Crake Valley), Mark Green (Roehampton), Sue England (Ryde) and John Armer (Westmorland) all on 5.

Sunday began overcast with a passing front bringing a spell of light but annoying rain for an hour or so during the morning. Nick started by beating Jim at hoop 13 whilst Kevin began an impressive run of four victories before lunch whilst conceding just 7 hoops in total and was beginning to look unassailable. At lunch Kevin was on 11 wins, Nick 10 (having lost a second game to a Ryde player, this time his wife Sue), Jim on 8 and Sandra and Mark both with late runs also on 8.

The sunshine returned to welcome a growing band of spectators, both home and away supporters, and most making use of drinks from the bar, or tea and cake for the players.

Three afternoon rounds remained but most players had paced themselves well, including those in their eighties who gave the "youngsters" plenty to think about. Kevin was undeterred and finished with a flourish to remain unbeaten on day two and a most worthy winner of the tournament (14 wins out of 15 and with an average score of better than 7-4 per game). Nick England, in only his second tournament finished as runner-up (12 wins) with Sandra Cornes third (10 wins).

Many players at this level have more to learn in respect of common infringements such as wrong ball and playing jawsed balls. Ball swaps were not well understood and one of my colleagues reported seeing more crushes over the two days than in an orange squash factory!

Events such as these certainly help to educate and prepare players for the more challenging competition to which they aspire.

Ashby beat Bowdon to win the GC Inter-Club 4-0

by Tim King at Edgbaston [^]
27th September (GC - Inter-Club)

In their 11th GC Inter-Club final, Ashby beat first-time finalists Bowdon to win the Championship for the fifth time.

Bowdon were missing their star player, John-Paul Moberly (away on honeymoon!) but battled hard through the whole day. The bottom half of their team was inexperienced at this level, with Nigel Matthews having never previously played a ranking game and Simon Jenkins only having seven games on the system (from the USA in 2019). Even the top half of Angharrad Walters (351 ranking games) and Jack Good (206) were not able to bring the same degree of experience as Ashby (Tim King 2273, Rachel Gee 1116, Will Gee 819, David Bell 713).

Ashby used all this experience to underpin their performance. The only hiccup in the morning was David losing his second game to Simon Jenkins at hoop 13. This led to the slightly unusual situation of a singles match being left incomplete (i.e. one game all) until possibly becoming significant at the end of the day. More typically, the doubles match would be the one that takes longer and the deciding game is held back.

After an excellent lunch provided by Edgbaston, the four afternoon singles commenced. Jack had appeared slightly below his best in the morning but made relatively quick work of taking his first game against Will (7-4). On the same court, Angharrad was also making better progress, winning hoop 11 to go 6-5 up and then getting a ball almost all the way through hoop 12. In other circumstances, this could have been the start of a significant revival for Bowdon. But firstly, this led to what was undoubtedly shot of the day from Rachel, who played a bouncing bomb to take the game to hoop 13. This also gave Rachel an advantage on approaching that hoop and she duly took the first game. Meanwhile, the action on the other court was going in the direction of Ashby.

Both Bowdon players had their moments on that court with neither David nor Tim being at their absolute best. But both were producing enough long hoops and strong clearances to ensure they both won their first games relatively comfortably. This dominance continued and, as the top-half rubbers began to swing back to the losers of the first games, the emerging uncertainty became whether David or Tim would be the first to win, leaving the other to score the point to win the Championship. As Tim's ball sat in the jaws of his winning hoop (12), he watched as David ran hoop 11 to win his rubber and, for the first time in 11 appearances in the final, Tim was then able to step up and score the point to claim the Championship. The rubbers on the other court both reached a 1-1 score shortly afterwards and everyone decided that the prospect of tea and cakes was far more attractive than playing out the dead rubbers.

Lionel Tibble attended on behalf of the President of the CA and presented the winning team with the trophy. He and the winning non-playing captain of Ashby, Ray Mounfield, both thanked Edgbaston for being excellent hosts, providing a sumptuous spread for the buffet lunch and a small but enthusiastic crowd to sit alongside the travelling Ashby support.

The final also represented the end of an era for Ashby, with Ray Mounfield overseeing his last match as captain, a job he has held since the first year of the Championship. He did, however, play in the first round this year and will no doubt remain in contention to play in future years. In just three matches, the Ashby teams for 2021 also included Keith Pound, Arthur Rowe and Paul Durkin, all of whom joined the crowd at the final.

The very first final of the GC Inter-Club included three women but the 2021 final was the first to feature both sides having a woman as their top player (and probably this is the first time this has happened in any match in the GC Inter-Club).

Watford beat Hurlingham to win the Murphy Shield 4-3

by Geoff Johnson at Watford [^]
27th September (GC - Inter-Club Shield)

Would you like to help run the WCF?

by Debbie Lines WCF Secretary-General [^]
24th September (International)

Three members of the Management Committee (MC) reach the end of their four-year term of office on 31st December 2021. These are: Pete Landrebe, Roberts Stafeckis and Geoff Young. Roberts Stafeckis has indicated that he intends to stand for re-election.

I'd like to thank Pete and Geoff for their service over the past four years and wish them well with their future croquet endeavours. They have been valued members of the MC and their experience and insight will be missed.

In addition, Chris Clarke has found that the difficulties of managing the WCF Barclays Bank account from New Zealand cannot easily be resolved and he has therefore resigned. The MC has decided to change the bank account to one easier to use as an international organisation and is researching this now. Nominations for the role of Treasurer are therefore being sought. All positions start 1st January 2022.

If you are interested in helping to run the WCF, please contact your governing body and they will explain in full what is required for your nomination. Applicants from Recognised Croquet Organisations (RCOs) are welcomed but you need to be aware that you must be nominated by a Full or Associate Member.

If we have more nominees than positions, elections will follow.

Nominations are required into the WCF by 31st October 2021 at the latest, so please allow time to liaise with your nominating Member so that they have time to process your application.

I am happy to talk to anybody who wishes to discuss what is involved.

Terms of Reference for the Treasurer

  1. To manage the finances of the WCF according to the Financial Regulations.
  2. To prepare the annual budget for approval by Council.
  3. To guide Council and the MC in all financial matters, and propose finance policy.
  4. To maintain a record of the non-financial assets of the WCF.
  5. To prepare annual audited accounts.
  6. To manage the WCF's investments according to the approved investment policy..

Terms of Reference for the Management Committee

The MC shall settle urgent questions and have general administrative powers to carry out the work of the WCF and manage its financial affairs on a day-to-day basis, subject to the direction of Council. The role includes condensing issues into a manageable size in order to facilitate Council considering them efficiently and in reasonable timeframes. Its terms of reference are:

  1. To implement policy and actions in pursuit of the agreed direction given by Council.
  2. To present to Council an annual plan for the following year including a budget.
  3. To manage the operating funds according to the budget.
  4. To inform Council regularly of progress, activity and issues.
  5. To prepare proposals and make recommendations as part of formal Consultations to Council.
  6. To distribute to relevant sub-committees the tasks they are to execute, to oversee their activity, to take decisions concerning the reports of these sub-committees, and to forward them to Council.
  7. To present to Council recommendations for the admission, the striking off the rolls, or expelling of Members, as well as for any sanctions which might be imposed.
  8. To monitor the Statutes with a view to identifying possible improvements for proposal to Council.
  9. To maintain and approve all WCF Regulations, subject to ratification by Council.
  10. To manage a rolling 10 Year Schedule of events, to solicit bids against this plan once approved by Council, to assess bids and reach formal agreement with the host Member, and to ensure the event is organised according to Statutes and Regulations.
  11. To publish the International Sporting Calendar for the year(s) ahead.
  12. To gain Council approval for any novel event types not already included in an approved 10 Year Championship Schedule, before soliciting bids.
  13. To promptly alert Council should the MC consider that the sporting interests of the WCF are not adequately defended in a particular territory.
  14. To appoint or dismiss the Secretary-General.

Stephen Mulliner won the English National Singles Championship

pictureStephen Mulliner with the Ascot Cup

by Louise Smith at Hunstanton [^]
21st September (GC - Championships)

Hunstanton Croquet Club were the 2021 hosts of the English National Singles Championship contested by players from qualifying events held around the country.

All competitors received a warm and hospitable welcome, and as ever, the Hunstanton courts were in excellent condition, set and maintained by dedicated club volunteers.

Complimentary tea and cake were provided each day, as well as the generous provision of Hunstanton Croquet Club etched glass coasters for both the Bowl and Plate winners.

For day one, the format consisted of four blocks of four players in ranked order with Rachel Gee, Stephen Mulliner, Ian Burridge, and Aston Wade top seeds in their respective blocks, with matches against all opponents consisting of best of three games.

Rachel Gee started well, winning her first match against Ellie Ross 2/0, but met second seed Richard Bilton in the second round, and lost that match in two straight games. Rachel went on to beat her final opponent, Les Heard, again with a 2/0 victory, giving her a place in the Quarter Finals.

Richard gained a second win against Les Heard with Ellie also gaining two match wins, beating Richard and Les. However, it was Richard who joined Rachel in reaching the knock- out stages with 2 net games above Ellie.

The trend continued with the top two seeds from each of the remaining blocks, B, C and D all qualifying for the knock-out stages.

Qualifiers from Block C and Block D were namely, Ian Burridge, Jack Good (C), Aston Wade, and Stuart M Smith (D), alongside Lionel Tibble from block B, all reaching the next stage with 2 match wins each.

Stephen Mulliner qualified with a full house of 3 match wins from block B, giving a taster of things to come....

Re-seeding under the MGBS system gave rise to some interesting selections for the Quarter Finals, with three of the four matches containing players under 25.

Rachel Gee and Jack Good had victories of one game each, at 7/5, 4/7, however Jack beat the defending champion in the third, and earnt a place in the Semi Finals.

Aston Wade's games against Lionel Tibble followed a similar pattern with Aston losing the first game 6/7 but taking wins in the next two games, 7/2 and 7/6.

Richard Bilton faced Stephen Mulliner. A hard fought first game for both players ensued, which culminated in a superb boundary jump taken by Richard through hoop 13. However, this one game advantage was short lived with Stephen Mulliner coming back strongly winning the subsequent games 7/3 and 7/4 to take the match.

The games in the remaining quarter final, Ian Burridge v Stuart M Smith had very different changes of fortunes experienced in both games. The ebb and flow of game one led to the golden hoop, with Stuart missing his chance of the hoop with his first ball that took position. This error cost him the game with Ian running the hoop to win from the boundary. In game 2, Ian found himself 1/5 behind, but remained focused, and fought back with some excellent long distance hoop running play - the winning shot through hoop 12 coming from up near hoop 11 and giving Ian a 7/5 win.

Meanwhile, the four players that qualified through the Plate blocks, Steve Leonard, Callum Johnson and Raouf Allim progressed to the Semi Final playoffs alongside Ellie Ross who won all her Plate block games with a 7/4 score-line.

The Plate Semi Finals produced identical game scores, Ellie beating Steve 10/8 and Raouf beating Callum 10/8. Sadly, due to a pre-existing condition, the Plate Final was conceded by Raouf, giving the unbeaten Ellie the first place Plate winner position, which was well deserved based upon her wins in the block and Semi Final victory.

The Bowl Final produced a straight 2 game match victory for Richard Bilton, 7/4 and 7/3 over Lionel Tibble, a solid, accurate performance given by Richard throughout, despite some of Lionel's excellent centre ball clearances.

The main event Semi Finals got underway with the two youngest players in the tournament battling for a place in the Final. In two very closely fought games Jack's powerful hoop running gave him the match over Aston with game results of 7/5 and 7/6.

The other Semi Final with Ian Burridge against Stephen Mulliner went to three games, the deciding hoop 13 in game 3 taken calmly by Stephen after a missed clearance attempt, results : 7/2, 5/7, 7/6.

The Final was therefore set to be an interesting match between one of croquet's youngest rising stars, Jack Good, and the croquet icon that is Stephen Mulliner....

Indeed, Stephen's experience came to the fore, and with a calm but deadly approach he quickly took a 4 hoop lead, easily taking a win in game one, 7/1.

However, the youthful Jack fought back in game 2, and managed a double hoop run with one powerful stroke, straight through hoops 7 and 8. This wasn't enough to bring him back into contention as Stephen took the second game 7/4.

A well-deserved victory for Stephen Mulliner as the Ascot Cup Winner 2021, adding to his impressive catalogue of Championship titles.

Footnote : It should be mentioned that Jack Good's performance over the weekend has lifted his ranking to overtake that of Blake Fields to become the top ranked U18 player in the World. A fantastic achievement.

Mark Avery won the President's Cup

pictureMark Avery receiving the Presidents Cup from Quiller Barrett

by Alison Maugham at Budleigh Salterton [^]
21st September (AC)

The President's Cup 2021: It's an easy game, isn't it?

You would think that this President's Cup story would start on the Thursday 9th September 2021, as this was when the players played their games. This would be incorrect thinking, so let me begin on Wednesday 28th July 2021, the day the selections are announced.

Every year the four top sets of eight players are selected to play in these four prestigious events, the President's cup being the top available eight players in the country. What also happens every year is the excitement around the selections themselves, the questions about who will make themselves available, who do we think will be selected and who has 'done enough'? Not to mention the excitement of the upcoming selection for the MacRobertson Shield Team (World Team Championship Team), where many of the players in contention for a team spot will be competing at the Presidents Cup, and will want to perform well for the team selection committee.

The selection policy is complicated and will always be a hard and thankless task for the selection committee who take charge of the challenge, players have to show their worth through the season where their wins, losses, quality and quantity of croquet played will be considered and compared.

This is precisely where the fun starts for the rest of us who look on with great anticipation, we will have heard reports about who has been 'off their game' and who is 'hitting everything', making our own minds up as to whom should be selected. This year 5 of the selected players had won championship events in the selection period; Mark Avery, James Death, Harry Fisher, David Maugham and Mark Suter. With Samir Patel winning the Chairman's 2020, then both Christian Carter and Stephen Mulliner ranked 14 and 10 respectively in the world having won matches against other President's Cup players, you can see why these guys are the cream of the crop.

Once the selections have been made, it's down to the serious business of the predictions contest. This year there were 47 predictions made, the favourite for the President's cup was James Death, who had 17 backers to win. As an early favourite, the flamboyant player was picked by many before the selection period had even finished. But did they pick to early?

Over the four days of play, the event was played to 'Advanced rules' rather than in previous years being 'Super-advanced rules'. The normal advanced game at this level was predictably a less interactive game, where 15 games finished +26tp, 3 games +26sxp, 1 game +26qp and 1 game +26 with no letters. Many of these games would have ended with the loser of the game not even taking croquet. Although the precision and perfection of these many four ball breaks and peeling turns was of course impressive to watch, I did find myself picking blackberries and playing the odd roll-up game around the corner from the action.

As a spectator of the event I just have to mention the fabulously welcoming and cheery club that Budleigh Salterton Croquet Club has become under the leadership of their Chairman John O'Gorman. From providing tasty lunches and treats to the players and their guests through to bringing his own family along for some croquet fun in the sun, John made sure that all of us were welcomed with open arms, even providing mini croquet for the mini spectators. I should also mention for those of you who like more croquet than casual statistics, the lawns were in fabulous condition which made for perky Pres players all weekend. Who doesn't like a lawn speed of 10 to 11 for a feast of peeling turns?

As usual at the Eight's events it became increasingly clear that the last day of play would be quite the spectacle, with four players in contention for the win on day three, then becoming two on day four, the croquet became a little more interactive between players. Mark Avery and Christian Carter were the final two players who could take home the trophy, by round 14 Mark Avery had completed yet another meticulous triple peel to finish on 10 wins, but with Christian Carter on 9 wins and in his final game against Stephen Mulliner, all eyes turned to the spectacle showing on Lawn 2. Mulliner had produced a fine break completing a TPO (Triple Peel on the Opponent) to peg one of Carters balls out, having done a single POP (Peel on the Opponent) so Carter was starting with his other ball on hoop 2. This final game of the tournament provided all the interaction we could've possibly dreamed of, with Carter hitting what seemed like anything and everything, and Mulliner playing the long game with tight wires and some superb strategic leaves, the crowd were engrossed for the entire game. Knowing that if Carter won there would be a play off between him and Mark Avery, but if Mulliner won Avery would be the outright winner, the pressure was building for the final two players. Fortunately there is lots of space for more and more spectators came along to line the north boundary of the court, whilst of course tucking into a delightful afternoon tea.

It was the 2016 World Champion Stephen Mulliner who finally took the win, which of course meant that with eight TPs out of his 10 game wins, Mark Avery took the title.

I reflect on my spectating time at the event and as any great spectator does, my croquet from the side-lines commentary, was not only perfect, but had the players have listened to my thoughts they would all of course be on an 8 way tie. Alas, it was Mark Avery himself that takes the award for best quote of the tournament, whilst addressing my tactical genius thoughts on his opponents croquet "Puh, It's an easy game isn't it?!" (Rolly eyes emoji, winky face emoji)

David Warhurst won the Treasurer's Tankard

by Chris O'Byrne at Guildford & Godalming [^]
21st September (AC)

The Treasurer's got off to a great start this year. After some rather overly-insistent communications regarding a start time, the Manager contrived to turn up late on the first day. This was shortly followed by the realisation that Martin Murray, entrusted with shuttling the Tankard itself to the competition, had left it many miles away back at home.

Luckily, croquet players are generally nice, so those issues were resolved pretty quickly and play commenced. This year's weather has made it near impossible to create difficult conditions, but Guildford has a well-deserved reputation for making things difficult but fair.

The first round was a bit of a struggle, and hopes of 4 games per day to get ahead of schedule dissipated early on. Lorna stood out, happily and consistently running longer hoops, which started to give others some courage.

It's only fair to say that a lot of defensive tactics were employed, generally successfully. While 4 ball breaks were verging on trivial, attempts in digging anything out often got punished.

There was very little variety in openings, with the pre-determined "toss-winner" almost invariably opting for going first with a standard opening, usually met with corner 2s or duffers.

Advanced tactics didn't come into play too much, save for Neal Bacon taking advantage of a jawsed 4B to manage a TPO (with partner on 4B!), but diagonal spreads and OSLs generally ruled supreme.

With fairly good boundaries, there were a surprising number of lift shots hit from B, and consistency in shooting in general was fairly impressive.

Of the 10 Triples completed, Andrew Hobbs managed the first with decent control throughout. Probably the most consistent player going into the event, he was often let down by the random lawn dalliances which made precision croquet so problematic.

Martin Murray was, perhaps unsurprisingly, the one to cause trouble. Veering from being a benign threat to completing immaculate triples, missing the peg out on one and using a rover bombard on another, he scored all of the entertainment points.

Pegged out endings became very popular, accompanied by some of the most questionable tactics imaginable, but provided a lot of discussion along with reference to some book that Pete Trimmer once wrote. Often, these endings were comically unintentional - one day saw 4 missed peg outs, from as little as 2 yards.

By the last day, David "Warhorse" Warhurst had a solid grip on the crown, through his defensive patience and solid shooting. With the horrific risk of a 3-way tie needing resolving, players started early, but the 2 other contenders were put out of contention by Lorna and Martin, allowing David to romp home.

After a somewhat surprisingly sober first day, the group managed to find a range of local establishments in which to hold court, along with a number of one-handed and other silly games, aided on the penultimate day by Annabel. Guildford did a great job, and the nicest guy won.

Nick Steiner won the Selectors' Weekend

by Clive Goode at Nailsea [^]
21st September (AC)

The strength of the field was back to the usual range after the Covid affected tournament
of 2020 with handicaps ranging from -0.5 to 3, with no less than 5 Nottingham entrants.
The lawns were slow on Friday due to 16mm of rain on the previous day but speeded up
over the weekend as the weather improved. Cliff Jones managed the tournament with his
usual efficiency, ably assisted by Andrew Gregory from time to time.

The entrants were divided into two blocks of eight and to avoid a late finish on the final day
it was agreed that the two block winners would play off for the trophy, with the two runnersup
playing for third/fourth place.

At the end of day 1 Killick was the clear leader in Block A with 3 wins and there was a 4-
way tie in Block B between Steiner, Bennett, Gregory and Thompson. Despite a time limit
being imposed for the last round 3 games had to be pegged down.

Thankfully an early start on day 2 ensured that all the pegged-down games were
completed by the scheduled 9:30 start. More time limits were imposed to ensure that there
would be no pegged-down games, and at the end of the day Block A had a 2-way tie
between Killick and Upton (both on 5 out of 6) with Upton having beaten Killick. Block B
had a clear leader with Steiner on 5 out of 6.

With Day 3 underway, Killick eased to another win and sat patiently hoping that McGlen [S]
would beat Upton - however that was not to be the case and Upton prevailed. In Block B
Steiner won his sixth game to reach the final.

The final was a fairly tense affair culminating in a 2-ball ending in which Steiner eventually
triumphed to take the trophy. In the play-off for third place Killick overcame McGlen [B].

There were no TPs throughout the three days but Jones did complete a TPO. Andrew
Gregory managed to achieve two in-lawn cannons in the same turn which may be some
sort of a record.

Huge thanks are due to Nailsea CC for hosting the tournament and for cutting the lawns
prior to each days play.

Selectors' Weekend Finishing Order:
KO: Steiner, Upton, Killick, McGlen [B]
Block A: Killick(6 wins), Upton(6), Goode(4), Dibben(3), Pristavec(3), Gunn(2), Jones(2),
Block B: Steiner(6), McGlen[B](5), Gregory(4), Bennett(3), Ross(3), Thompson(3),
Draper(2), Brind(2)

Preview of the GC Inter-Club Championship Final at Edgbaston (25 September)

by Tim King at Edgbaston [^]
21st September (GC - Inter-Club)

On Saturday 25 September, Edgbaston Croquet Club will host the final of the 2021 GC Inter-Club Championship. Four-time winners Ashby will play against first-time finalists Bowdon. The match will start at 10:30 and spectators are most welcome.

Live updates will be available on CroquetScores:

The key statistics for the GC Inter-Club Championship include the following.

  • Ashby will extend their record of most appearances in a final of the Championship to 11. Surbiton (9 appearances) and Nottingham (3) are the only other teams to have appeared more than twice.
  • In their sixth year of competing in the Championship, Bowdon are appearing in their first final. Cheltenham (11 years) have competed most often without reaching a final.
  • Bowdon will become the 18th different club to appear in a final of the Championship.
  • Ashby have won 4 Championships. Surbiton (6 wins) are the only club to have won more and Nottingham (3) are the only other club to have won more than two. Nine different clubs have won the Championship. Phyllis Court (12 years) have competed in the Championship most often without winning.
  • Ashby (21 years) are the club who have competed most often in the 22 years of the Championship (first contested in 2000). The next most are Dulwich, Surbiton and Sussex County (all 16). In total, 42 different clubs have competed in the Championship.
  • Ashby extended their consecutive run of appearances to 20 years in 2021. Dulwich and Surbiton have the next longest sequences (both 15 years) but both missed the 2020 Championship. The next longest currently unbroken sequence is 12 years (Phyllis Court).
  • Ashby will be playing their 49th Championship match (a record). The next most are Surbiton (37 matches) and Dulwich (35). Bowdon will be playing their 14th match (putting them 11th on the list of all-time matches played). Colchester have one Championship win from having played only 4 matches in total. Nottingham have their three Championships from 13 matches played.
  • Edgbaston will become the 15th different venue for a final of the Championship. Nottingham (3 times) and Wrest Park (3) have hosted the most finals.
  • Edgbaston will become a neutral venue in the Championship for the first time. Nottingham (10 times) has most often been a neutral venue; Ashby (3) and Wrest Park (3) are the only other clubs that have been a neutral venue more than twice. In total, 13 different clubs have served as a neutral venue for the Championship.
  • Edgbaston will host a match in the Championship for the first time. Wrest Park (3 times), Parson's Green (1), Peterborough (1) and Ripon Spa (1) are the other clubs that have only ever served as a neutral venue (i.e. never as the home venue for the club).
  • Edgbaston will take the total number of different venues for matches in the Championship to 39. The top three venues for GC Inter-Club Championship matches (i.e. as both a home and neutral venue) are Ashby (18 times), Nottingham (17) and Surbiton (17).
  • 14 clubs competed for the 2021 Championship. The most clubs in any one year is 19 (2008 and 2019). The least is 4 (2001).

These statistics are based on the following publicly visible Google sheet:

If anyone spots any errors then please contact Tim King to provide the necessary corrections.

Phyllis Court beat Sussex County 4-3

pictureRaghu Iyer, Chris Roberts, Ian Norris & Roger Goldring with Frances Colman (Competition Director)

by Christopher Roberts at Phyllis Court [^]
16 Sep 2021 (GC - Federations Shield)

Phyllis Court are the National Team Handicap Champions thanks to a Hollywood style comeback in the final of the GC Federations Shield competition yesterday.
The Henley side trailed Sussex County for the entire match and had appeared sunk by mid-afternoon at 0-3 down, but came back in dramatic fashion to win 4-3 in an exhilarating finish.
A late start due to the Sussex team's traveling delays, made way for an equally slow start on the Phyllis Court courts that are now showing much improvement and which had been presented in splendid condition for this prestigious match.
Only the doubles rubber was completed before the lunch interval and Phyllis Court's Roger Goldring (handicap -2) and Raghu Iyer (3) were defeated 4-7, 4-7 by the Sussex pair Tony Jolly (2) and David King (3), who both displayed accurate clearing skills in addition to using their greater number of extra turns to good effect.
Unusually the morning singles rubbers took longer that the doubles with the players handicaps providing two excellent tight contests that had to be suspended for lunch at one game apiece.
The host's Ian Norris (-2) was evenly matched by the visitors Roger Sutton (-1) with scores of 7-5, 5-7, and likewise Phyllis Court's captain Chris Roberts (-2) was held by Linda Gavigan (7) who's intelligent use of her nine extra turns, left the pair tied 7-5, 4-7.
A decision was made to start afresh with the afternoon program of head to head singles matches and only return to the unfinish morning games if the overall team match result was dependent on them.
So, Phyllis Court trailed 0-1 in completed matches going into the second session and by half past three, the prospects for a home victory were looking grim, when their semi-final hero Goldring (-2) fell to Jolly (2) 6-7, 4-7, and was followed shortly afterwards by Norris (-2) who faded after a bright start against Sussex captain King (3), 7-6, 4-7, 3-7.
With the team match score at 0-3, Sussex needed just one of the other two matches still in progress for victory and they came very close indeed, but for a life-saving seven-yard hoop score from the boundary by Phyllis Court's Iyer (3) at the last hoop of his second game against Gavigan (7).
Gavigan had beaten Iyer in their first game without taking any of her four extra turns and was in good form all day but perhaps had the wind taken from her sails by Iyer's dramatic score and the Phyllis Court man finally got his side on the scoreboard 5-7, 7-6, 7-3.
There was drama to on other court too, where Roberts (-2) had to pull out all the stops to contend with Sutton (-1) and succeeded with a string of very long-distance clearances, including a monster 23-yarder to hit a half ball target to turn the first game.
Roberts eventually prevailed 7-5, 7-6, bringing the team match score back to 2-3, meaning that all then hinged on the resumption of the two suspended morning singles rubbers, and these were started straight away.
Norris (-2) blew away Sutton (-1) more easily than the Sussex player's performance thus far had suggested likely, and with the team match score now tied at 3-3, all eyes fell on the Roberts (-2) versus Gavigan (7) encounter, and the 'picket fence' of nine extra turn sticks that the Phyllis Court man had to overcome.
Gavigan again used her extra turns cleverly and she forced Roberts into two well-executed jump shot scores as he kept her lead in check, as her handicap advantage unwound.
Again, Roberts' long-distance clearances were on song and were enough to make-up for some below par hoop running attempts.
Gavigan's extra turns finally expired with an untypical error at hoop 10, and with the score 5-5, the more experienced Henley player was able to control the game with a no risks patient approach, to an eventual and much relived finish 7-5.
With the team match settled at 4-3, there were compliments all round from competition Director Frances Colman, who commiserated with Sussex who had come so close, and congratulated her own club team, as she presented the GC Federations Shield to National Handicap Champions, Phyllis Court.
Results detail, Phyllis Court scores first.
(the third games marked *, were played at the end to decide the team match)

Roger Goldring (-2) & Raghu Iyer (3) lost to Tony Jolly (2) and David King (3) 4-7, 4-7
Chris Roberts (-2) beat Linda Gavigan (7) ...7-5, 4-7, 7-5*
Ian Norris (-2) beat Roger Sutton (-1) ........7-5, 5-7, 7-3*

Chris Roberts (-2) beat Roger Sutton (-1) ...7-5, 7-6
Roger Goldring (-2) lost to Tony Jolly (2) ....6-7, 4-7
Ian Norris (-2) lost to David King (3) ..........7-6, 4-7, 3-7
Raghu Iyer (3) beat Linda Gavigan (7) .......5-7, 7-6, 7-3

Consultation about Legal Status of the CA

by Ian Vincent [^]
16th September (CA Official News)

The Council is consulting CA members about a possible change to the legal status of the organisation, which might result in a change to the structure of its voting membership.

Responses, collected by a survey, are invited from individuals, or on behalf of clubs or federations, by 23rd October. Any queries should be sent to the working group at

Gordon Mills won Hurlingham AC Veterans Tournament 7-9 September

by Andrew Wise at Hurlingham [^]
15th September (AC - Handicap)

The three days of this event passed well, with 22 entrants playing advanced handicap in fine weather. Following an idea from the social distancing climate of 2020, all games were pre-allocated so as to minimise bisques for all players over the course of their six games. An Egyptian rating system was used to score games, with all players starting at 100. First prize was awarded to Gordon Mills (Pinchbeck) for his magnificent run of six wins in all six rounds and a final rating of 124. Second prize went to Tony Elliott (Ealing) who won five games and finished on 117. Third prize went to Andrew Wise (Hurlingham) who won four out of his five games (having taking a bye following withdrawal of one player) and finished on 114.

Special mention is owed to Stephen Allen (Hurlingham) who won his first five games but lost in the final round to Hugh Carlisle (also Hurlingham) with an exciting two-ball ending. This loss cut Stephen's rating from 120 to 113 and dropped him from joint first to fourth place. His entirely reasonable complaint about the scoring system was duly noted.

Surbiton beat High Wycombe 5-0

by Andy Dibben at Surbiton [^]
15th September (AC - Mary Rose)

15 September 2021 at Surbiton
Surbiton beat High Wycombe 5:0 in the Mary Rose

Andy Dibben & Graham Brightwell beat Keith Pound & Richard Peperell +14
Mary Knapp beat Alan Clark + 19

Andy Dibben beat Keith Pound +25
Graham Brightwell beat Alan Clark +11
Mary Knapp beat Richard Peperell +19

John-Paul Moberly won the GC First Eight (Ricki Savage Memorial)

pictureJ-P Moberly in action at Nottingham

by Richard Bilton at Nottingham [^]
14th September (GC)

John-Paul Moberly retained the GC First Eight, and in doing so, ensured his name is still the only name on the new Ricki Savage Memorial trophy. He is also the first to defend the First Eight title since Ryan Cabble in 2012.

Nottingham Croquet Club were as welcoming as usual and the players enjoyed the much improved facilities after the renovations last winter. Among the 8 players, were three previous winners - including the defending champion - and Rachel Gee as the top four seeds, as well as the current GC Open Champion Aston Wade, and U25 Open Champion Euan Burridge. Indeed, this was the first year in which half of the field were under 25 years of age, and 6 out of 8 were under 35.

The 8 competitors played best-of-three 13-point games in the all-play-all block from Saturday to Monday morning to determine the top four who would progress to the knockout. The first match on the Sunday morning between Rachel Gee and Stephen Mulliner took 3 hours for the first two games, so they were asked to pause the match, have lunch, and come back to it later, if necessary. In the end, the outcome of this game couldn't have affected who progressed from the block, so it was abandoned, which meant that Mulliner was the only one to play exactly two games against everyone else. It also meant that the only match Gee lost was to club rival Ian Burridge. By contrast, Moberly finished all of his matches, and the only one he lost was to Gee, and was the only player to win 6/7 block matches. Euan Burridge matched Gee on 5 wins, having only lost to the top two seeds, Moberly and Gee. Wade came in fourth on 3 wins, just bettering I Burridge on net games.

Despite having lost to him in the Open Championship Final, and only narrowly beating him in their block match, Moberly dealt with Wade with relative ease in the first semi-final, albeit after a closer second game, winning 7-2, 7-6. All of the drama happened in the other semi-final. Fellow club members Gee and E Burridge are familiar with each other's games, to say the least. Their recent head-to-head is fairly even - Burridge beat Gee in last year's London Masters, but the outcome was reversed in this year's Nottingham Championship, and in the block match on the previous day.

The first game was a straightforward win for Gee, before E Burridge managed to return the favour at hoop 13 in game 2. In the deciding game, Gee had a comfortable 6-2 lead, but Burridge battled to win 9 and 10, and got the advantage at 11. He manufactured a chance to run the hoop and did so, and was pleased to see the ball continue down the lawn and also run hoop 12 to level the match. He also had his other ball onside in the vicinity of hoop 13. The match was not over yet though, and both players fought hard to give themselves a chance of winning the hoop. Surprisingly, Gee missed a 2 yard attempt, which allowed Burridge to get back in and have a go from the boundary, which also missed. With his next shot however, Burridge had another go from the boundary, and took barely any wire, and the ball shot off the south boundary and into the bushes. Burridge had his revenge after losing their block match and beat Gee 3-7, 7-6, 7-6.

The final started at 5pm. In the first game, Burridge was beaten by Moberly's consistent clearing and hooping, which completely vanished in game 2, and Burridge won that to reach 1-1. 2 hours later and we were none the wiser as to who the winner would be. Burridge was 1-2 down in game 3, but given Moberly's hooping in the last hour, elected to leave him a 3 yard hoop shot after a battle at 4, which paid off as Burridge capitalised on Moberly's miss and was able to quickly take a 3-2 lead after the clearance from behind 4 with the same ball.

After control of hoop 6 see-sawed from one player to the other, Burridge hit what could have been a decisive clearance, sending Moberly to the north boundary with his other ball ready to secure hoop 6, and when the return clearance missed, Burridge would have been in a strong position for the match at 4-2, but his hoop attempt hit the outside wire and was sent almost to the west boundary. This allowed Moberly to regain control again, level at 3-3 and resettle in the match. Burridge had a go at running 7 from the boundary, but the hoop wasn't having it. Moberly was able to battle through 7 and 8, and Burridge let a few unforced errors creep in at 9 and 10, enabling Moberly to take the final 7-3, 4-7, 7-3.

James Galpin beat Mulliner in the first round of the Bowl 10-4 with superior clearing, which he brought with him to just as easily defeat Richard Bilton 7-5, 7-3.

Nottingham Croquet Club were holding a barbeque for members on the Sunday evening, and the players very gratefully accepted their invitation to join, while the club's members enjoyed watching some thrilling GC. WCF President Ian Burridge, also took this opportunity to present a gift from the Management Committee to Stephen Mulliner, who was retiring as Secretary-General the following week.

All results are available on Croquet Scores.

James Hopgood won the Spencer Ell Cup

by Phil Cordingley at Ramsgate Croquet Club [^]
9-13 Sep 2021 (AC)

Last Updated at 12:30 on 13/09/21

Positions after 14 Rounds

James Hopgood   -2 +10 +19tp +10tpo +16tp +4 +15 6 12 1
-17 +26tp +7 +16tp +17tp +25 +18 6
Callum Johnson +2   +10 +15 -12 -4 +25tp +1 5 11 2
+17 -14otp +4 +6 +19tp +26 +23 6
Robert Wilkinson -10 -10   +20 +17 +26tp +4 -15 4 8 3
-26tp +14otp -14 +25 +17 -21 +16tp 4
Omied Hallam -19tp -15 -20   +16 -14 +4 +5 3 7 4
-7 -4 +14 +26 -24 +7 +17 4
Phil Cordingley -10tpo +12 -17 -16   +23tp -17 +26tp 3 6 5
-16tp -6 -25 -26 +15 +22 +25 3
Aston Wade -16tp +4 -26tp +14 -23tp   -26tp -16 2 5 6
-17tp -19tp -17 +24 -15 +4 +25 3
Debbie Lines -4 -25tp -4 -4 +17 +26tp   -22 2 4 7
-25 -26 +21 -7 -22 -4 +15 2
Stephen Wright -15 -1 +15 -5 -26tp +16 +22   3 3 8
-18 -23 -16tp -17 -25 -25 -15 0

Peeling Stats

PEELING etc. op sxp qnp qp tp ot Tot
On partner         12   12
On opponent (winning)         1 n/a 1
On opponent (losing)         1 n/a 1
Straight           n/a  
Total         14   14

Margin Stats

Margin of Victory 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 TOTAL
Occurrences 1 1   6 1 1 2     3   1   3 5 5 6 1 2 1 1 2 2 1 5 6 56

Results to Date

Rd Ln Thursday, 9 September
1 1 Phil Cordingley beat Aston Wade +23tp
  2 James Hopgood beat Robert Wilkinson +10
  3 Stephen Wright beat Debbie Lines +22
  4 Callum Johnson beat Omied Hallam +15
2 1 Omied Hallam beat Debbie Lines +4
  2 Callum Johnson beat Stephen Wright +1
  3 James Hopgood beat Aston Wade +16tp
  4 Robert Wilkinson beat Phil Cordingley +17
3 1 Stephen Wright beat Robert Wilkinson +15
  2 Aston Wade beat Omied Hallam +14
  3 Phil Cordingley beat Callum Johnson +12
  4 James Hopgood beat Debbie Lines +4
Rd Ln Friday, 10 September
4 1 Aston Wade beat Callum Johnson +4
  2 Robert Wilkinson beat Debbie Lines +4
  3 James Hopgood beat Stephen Wright +15
  4 Omied Hallam beat Phil Cordingley +16
5 1 James Hopgood beat Omied Hallam +19tp
  2 Phil Cordingley beat Stephen Wright +26tp
  3 Debbie Lines beat Aston Wade +26tp
  4 Callum Johnson beat Robert Wilkinson +10
6 1 Debbie Lines beat Phil Cordingley +17
  2 Callum Johnson beat James Hopgood +2
  3 Robert Wilkinson beat Omied Hallam +20
  4 Stephen Wright beat Aston Wade +16
Rd Ln Saturday, 11 September
7 1 Omied Hallam beat Stephen Wright +5
  2 Robert Wilkinson beat Aston Wade +26tp
  3 James Hopgood beat Phil Cordingley +10tpo
  4 Callum Johnson beat Debbie Lines +25tp
8 1 James Hopgood beat Robert Wilkinson +26tp
  2 Debbie Lines beat Stephen Wright +15
  3 Callum Johnson beat Omied Hallam +4
  4 Phil Cordingley beat Aston Wade +15
9 1 Aston Wade beat Debbie Lines +4
  2 Callum Johnson beat Phil Cordingley +6
  3 Robert Wilkinson beat Stephen Wright +16tp
  4 James Hopgood beat Omied Hallam +7
Rd Ln Sunday, 12 September
10 1 Robert Wilkinson beat Callum Johnson +14otp
  2 James Hopgood beat Debbie Lines +25
  3 Aston Wade beat Omied Hallam +24
  4 Phil Cordingley beat Stephen Wright +25
11 1 James Hopgood beat Stephen Wright +18
  2 Omied Hallam beat Robert Wilkinson +14
  3 Phil Cordingley beat Debbie Lines +22
  4 Callum Johnson beat Aston Wade +19tp
12 1 Omied Hallam beat Phil Cordingley +26
  2 Aston Wade beat Stephen Wright +25
  3 Callum Johnson beat James Hopgood +17
  4 Debbie Lines beat Robert Wilkinson +21
Rd Ln Monday, 13 September
13 1 Callum Johnson beat Stephen Wright +23
  2 Omied Hallam beat Debbie Lines +7
  3 Robert Wilkinson beat Phil Cordingley +25
  4 James Hopgood beat Aston Wade +17tp
14 1 Robert Wilkinson beat Aston Wade +17
  2 James Hopgood beat Phil Cordingley +16tp
  3 Callum Johnson beat Debbie Lines +26
  4 Omied Hallam beat Stephen Wright +17

GC All England Handicap Final

pictureRoger Goldring with the GC All England trophy

by Louise Smith at Sidmouth [^]
13th September (GC)

The GC All England Handicap Final was played over the weekend of 11/12th September at Sidmouth Croquet Cub, contested by players from around the UK that had qualified from their regional events.

Players individual handicaps ranged from -1 to 7 giving a very broad spectrum of competitors and allowances of extra strokes.

Sidmouth's court preparations were as meticulous as ever, and the club offered a warm welcome to all competitors - not just in hospitality, but with glorious sunshine as well...!

The format was an " All Play All" arrangement, therefore the fourteen players had seven games on Saturday and six on Sunday, six games per round were double banked and one single banked, but we managed a rotation of players and courts to keep the event on track as no game time limits were imposed.

Both Ramsgate players, Charlie Martin (1hcp) and Todd Ballantine (2hcp) got off to excellent starts, winning their first 5 consecutive games, but were subsequently halted in their tracks losing the remaining 2 games on day one. However, other players were notching up their wins, with Roger Goldring (-1hcp) Phyllis Court; Dom Aavold (0hcp) Bristol; Andy Loakes (1hcp) Camerton & Peasedown; and Sarah Patton (6hcp) Guildford & Godalming all on 5 wins at the close of play on Saturday. The tournament was, therefore, wide open to a large number of potential winners at this point.

Sunday again bought beautiful sunshine, but a change of fortunes for Charlie and Todd winning just 2 of their first 4 games, meanwhile, Roger started the day on 4 straight wins. Quite a few Sidmouth Club members came to watch the tournament unfold, and around lunchtime players and spectators alike were serenaded by the town's brass band that could be heard in the distance!

Rick Lilley (3hcp) Phyllis Court built on his 4 wins from Saturday, gaining another 5 from 6 games on Sunday, narrowly missing the third place spot by 1 hoop difference, and overall 9 wins.

Another player that was quietly edging forwards was Heather Hardy (6hcp) from Ashby who took four wins from Saturday and added another four on Sunday, overall coming in 7th, losing out on 6th place which went to Todd Ballantine on hoop difference. Day one also ended strongly for Sarah Patton, but despite some hard fought matches on Sunday, Sarah came one place below Heather into 8th position overall with 6 match wins.

For players in contention of overall victory, a pivotal match arose in Round 12 when Andy Loakes was due to play Roger Goldring. At this point, Andy needed to win this game to draw level with Roger, which would make things very interesting at the top of the table. It was a close fought battle, culminating in the golden hoop and indeed was won by Andy.

This meant that Roger Goldring, Dom Aarvold and now Andy Loakes all sat on 9 wins, with Charlie Martin on 8 as we went into the final round.....

To make matters more interesting Charlie was playing Roger, in which a win could have bought Charlie up to 9 wins, and Dom was playing Andy, both on 9 wins with a 10th to play for.

Two interesting games ensued, but the on-form Roger proved too strong for Charlie as he went 5/2 up, finally taking the game 7/4. Meanwhile, Andy and Dom had a similar game with Andy taking the win, again with a 7/4 score line. Dom Aarvold took 3rd place, with Charlie Martin on 8 wins in 5th position on hoop difference above Todd Ballantine.

Andy's late surge in the last two games meant a very close final result with Roger, both players had 10 wins, however, a better hoop difference overall gave Roger 1st place.

As the lowest handicap in the tournament, Roger had at times needed to work very hard with up to 8 free strokes against him, so a well earnt and deserved title of the All England Handicap Winner 2021.

Bristol beat Bowdon 4-2

by Angharrad Walters at Cheltenham [^]
13th September (AC - Inter-Club)

In the semi-final held at Cheltenham, Bristol took a 2-1 lead into lunch, with only Bowdon's Ken Cooper being able to halt the Bristol tide. Ken capitalised on an error by Dave Kibble, who retrieved his partner ball (rather than the striker's ball) after a long rush and only realised his mistake when removing the clip from 4back, on what would probably have been a finishing turn.

In the afternoon, Dave rapidly despatched Brian Kerr and Ed Duckworth beat Ken sealing the match win. Brian Storey completed his comeback win with a TP after Richard Smith came to grief with his straight rover peel. At which point the finely balanced Goacher / Walters game was abandoned to allow the homeward journeys to commence before the traffic worsened.

Full results on


AGM Agenda, Voting and Zoom Link

by Ian Vincent [^]
31st August (CA Official News)

The AGM of the Croquet Association will take place by Zoom at 10 am on Saturday 16th October, with this agenda, which includes instructions for voting. Voting closes on 6th October.

The reports of Council and the Executive Board have now been published.

The Zoom invitation for the meeting is:

Topic: The Croquet Association AGM 16-10-2021
Time: Oct 16, 2021 10:00 AM London

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 822 0062 1783
Passcode: 438440
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CA COVID-19 Guidance Updated from 19th July

by Ian Vincent [^]
16th July (CA Official News)

The CA's Covid-19 guidance for clubs and players has been updated from 19th July to reflect the removal of legal restrictions at Step 4 of the government's roadmap, which puts a greater onus on clubs to assess their own circumstances and for players to take individual responsibility. The risk assessment to underpin it, which clubs are invited to adapt for their own use, and the guidance for tournaments have also been updated.


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