After arriving late due to a series of problems on the drive to Cheltenham,
including torrential rain, accidents, closed slip roads and a flat tyre,
Bowdon were warmly welcomed by the Enfield players despite their long
wait. Everyone soon settled down to their croquet and some interesting
tussles soon developed.
Sylvia Steer (Bowdon 12), playing Ken Pickett (9), strode on to the lawn,
created a 4-ball break from nothing and strolled round to 4-back still with
all bisques standing. Ken responded bravely but Sylvia, one of Bowdon's
rapid improvers, finally won the day using her final two bisques in an
attempt to peel her first ball through penult and Rover. Result : +15 Bowdon.
On the same lawn, in the other singles, Keith Davis (Enfield, 6) got off to
a good start against Andrew Keeble (4.5). He soon had a reasonable lead
with both balls but two 11-hoop breaks from the Bowdon player effectively
sealed the game which finished within an hour and half. Result : +14 Bowdon.
This left a titanic struggle on the other lawn where Brian 'Deadly' Medley
(1.5) and Lorna 'The Ice Lady' Frost (12) from Bowdon, were mixing it with
Basil Lawrence (11) and young Paul Wilson (10). The Enfield pair made a
strong start and kept the lead all the way through the game that is, until
the final five minutes. With little time to go, and Enfield on 2-back and
Rover, Deadly finally built a break and took his ball round to peg and left
a delightful leave with Enfield's balls cross-wired at Lorna's Hoop 6 and
Bowdon's balls near hoop 4 lined up for the rush. Enfield missed and
Lorna, another of Bowdon's rich crop of rapidly improving players, duly
completed the two hoops required to win the game. Result : +1T Bowdon.
After a relaxed lunch, play resumed with Andrew Keeble taking on Ken
Pickett. Ken started brilliantly with a smooth break on 5th turn to Rover
using only two of his four and a half bisques. Things looked bad for the
Bowdon player but strolling onto the lawn with a casual quip to one of
Ken's team-mates "what's he like with a three-ball break?", he duly hit in
from 25 yards and took his ball all the way round peeling Ken's Rover ball
and pegging it out. The issue was never in doubt from that moment although
it was followed by some interesting and amusing developments in the end
game. Result : +5 Bowdon. Congratulations to Andrew Keeble, recently just
a beginner, on achieving his Croquet Association Silver merit award for the
On the other lawn, Keith Davis followed up his solid play in the morning
with some impressive break-building and soon finished off his game with
Brian Medley. Result : +19 Enfield.
Lorna and Basil had a fascinating contest with both players playing well
and never more than a couple of hoops in it. In the end, Lorna with
considerable bravado, ran Rover from near the peg and then, with consummate
ease, pegged out from over six yards. Result : +4 Bowdon.
The final game started with Sylvia building a commanding lead with some
well-crafted breaks but some excellent rear-guard action from Paul meant
that the outcome was always in doubt. In the end, Sylvia managed to hang
on to win on time and cement an excellent day for Bowdon. Result : +4T Bowdon.
Many thanks from both teams to Cheltenham for their hospitality.
Brian Medley (1.5) and Lorna Frost (12) beat Paul Wilson (10) and Basil Lawrence (11) +1T
Andrew Keeble (4.5) beat Keith Davis (6) +14
Sylvia Steer (12) beat Ken Pickett (9) +15
Brian Medley lost to Keith Davis -19
Andrew Keeble beat Ken Pickett +15
Sylvia Steer beat Paul Wilson +4T
Lorna Frost beat Basil Lawrence +4
Handicap change: Andrew Keeble 4.5 to 4
Silver award: Andrew Keeble.
Report to follow.