On home turf Robert Essler won the John Beech Memorial Easter Handicap Weekend at Pendle and Craven Croquet Club. In recent years the weekend has also incorporated an Advanced event: the Peter Dowdall Cup.
When you enter this event you never know quite what weather to expect. Good Friday and Saturday saw cloud and cold temperatures but not anywhere near previous years freezing levels and the last two days had brightened up. Monday saw some sunbathing. Many pink faces were leaving for home. There was the usual convivial atmosphere as has been the norm for this event aided by good food, a smattering of Easter Eggs, Simnel cake and three different hand-pumped ales from brewer Matt.
Lawns were well prepared and looked handsome. However before the sun appeared on day three they were quite heavy with water that hadn't drained well from the weeks rain prior and some holes in trainers meant changes of socks for those with spares....Hoops were still in firm clay ground though and set to the normal Rigge standard (not technically legal for Handicap but inevitable given the combined nature of play) and there were of course a few complaints of stuck balls.
Eight competitors played in both the Egyptian Handicap and the Advanced all play all. Plus there were four others who only played in the Handicap. Handicaps ranged from -1 to 16.
By the end of play on Monday p.m. two players tied in the Egyptian on the same score:
Robert Essler, a longstanding Pendle and Craven member, and Richard Forman, a relative newcomer to the game from Huddersfield Club.
Both achieved a CA Bronze Award during the tournament, the latter following his recent attendance to a CA Bronze Coaching Event - what a perfect advert. On the basis of 'who beat whom' Essler took the John Beech Handicap Trophy. Forman showed great enthusiasm and promise and is one to watch out for in the future. Jim Allcock from Crake Valley also achieved his Bronze Award.
In the Advanced, things went pretty much with ranking, and also went to a Pendle member, Matt Holmes. No TP's achieved - a handful attempted and failed - but this was mainly down to the defensive nature of leaves by the two minus players.
Matt Holmes 7/7
Andy Brandwood 5/7
Paul Rigge 4/7,
Roger Schofield 4/7
Robert Essler 3/7
Roger Staples 3/7
Terry Vernazza 2/7
Barbara Young 2/7
Nearly everyone leaves this Pendle weekend with something. Other awards:
High Handicap (10+) winner main event: Richard Forman
Low Handicap (9 or less) winner main event: Roger Staples
Fastest game: Paul Rigge (48 mins)
Most games: Matt Holmes (14)