Arriving at Ipswich unbeaten our team of Tony Frewin (3) Paul Bridgman (3) Karen Jones (5) and John Mariner (5) accompanied by your correspondent had a brief introduction to the lawns before play started promptly at 10.00am. The doubles between the nos. 1 and 2 of each side saw Tony and Paul play Paul Homer (3) and Georgeen Hemming (3) over 3 long games which finally went in favour of the home team 7-5 5-7 7-6. In the morning singles Karen’s game versus the Ipswich captain David Wickes (6) also went to best of 3 with David finally edging it 2-7 7-2 7-6 whilst John lost a keenly fought game against 14 year old Albie Willetts (3) 5-7 6-7. Lunchtime score Ipswich 3 Chelmsford 0 ouch!! The afternoon session was somewhat abbreviated once the result of the match was known. John Mariner at least had the satisfaction of a convincing win versus David Wickes 7-2 7-4 just before Karen’s encounter with Albie ended in defeat 5-7 6-7. Losing to Albie by such a narrow margin was no disgrace. Albie’s handicap is being reduced seemingly week by week as he runs hoops for fun from distance. The remaining two singles were reduced in length with Paul agreeing to stop playing after Paul Homer had once their first game 7-5 whilst Tony Frewin and Georgeen shook hands after two games shared 7-3 3-7. Final score Ipswich 5.5 Chelmsford 1.5. Hoop difference Ipswich 86 Chelmsford 84. If Ipswich win their remaining fixture they go through to the final. Finally a note of congratulation is due to David Dawsey for winning the Colchester C Level tournament last weekend. Well done David.
Having been welcomed by Bury our team of John Skuse (2) Karen Jones (5) John Mariner (5) and David Dawsey (8) set about trying to preserve our unbeaten record. John M and David played singles versus Barbara Plested (8) and Mike May (6) and both won their games 2 straight whilst John S and Karen were engaged in a titanic doubles struggle on Lawn 1 versus Jan Oldfield (3) and Alan Plested (3). A match that started at 10.00am finished at 13.40 with Chelmsford winning 3-7 7-6 7-6 on parched lawns that made accurate play very difficult. Lunch time score Bury 0 Chelmsford 3. With 4 singles to be played in the afternoon John Mariner got us off to a winning score by beating Mike May 7-2 7-4 whilst David had to endure a 3 set struggle against Barbara Plested before eventually losing 6-7 7-6 5-7. John S met his match as Jan won 7-6 7-4 whilst Karen halved her match with Alan 6-7 7-6 as it was eventually agreed due to time constraints not to play the 3rd game. Our star player on the day was John Mariner whilst he received great support from the rest of the team. After the match Bury treated us to tea and refreshments which included chocolate coated strawberries. Mmmmmm! Match Result: BURY 2.5 CHELMSFORD 4.5 with a hoop difference of 103 to Chelmsford and 85 to Bury.
An all-girls team of Judith (4) June (9) Anne (10) and Deborah (14) at long last obtained a convincing win on a day when the temperature reached 30 degrees centigrade in Writtle. Maldon’s team of Peter Marven (10) Shirley Wallis (10) Richard Wallis (11) and Colin Beckett (12) started well by sharing the doubles but by lunchtime Chelmsford had established a 9-1 lead as they took all 8 singles. The afternoon saw a slight improvement in Maldon’s fortunes with Richard and Shirley winning 2 games for the visitors. Final score Chelmsford Blue 15 (119 hoops) Maldon Lakeside 3 (86 hoops). Star player for Chelmsford Blue was Deborah with 4 singles wins and a half share in a doubles win with Judith. One has to admire the way in which all the games were played bearing in mind the conditions which were really too hot the whole day.
Under a cloudless blue sky and on a lovely day at Forrester Park Chelmsford Blues faced Maldon Pavilion on lawns that took some getting used to by both teams. John Skuse (3) and Ernie Bailey (11) started well by winning their doubles versus Al Brown (1) and Joan Faircloth (11) 7-6 whilst Pete Wilkinson (9) and Anne Skuse (9) lost 3-7 to PeteHowe (3) and Neil Clark (9). Honours even. Likewise after the first set of singles as John beat Al 7-4 and Ernie beat Joan 7-5 whilst Anne and Pete both succumbed to Neil and Pete. The second set of singles saw the turning of the tide in Maldon’s favour as Neil beat Ernest 7-5 Al beat Pete 7-5 and Pete Howe beat John 7-6 with Anne being our only winner 7- 6 over Joan. Lunchtime score Maldon Pavilion 6 Chelmsford Blues 4. After lunch in the Forrester Park Golf Club more trouble for Chelmsford Blues as the home team took the 3rd set of singles 3-1 with John beating Neil 7-4 whilst Pete, Anne and Ernest all lost despite Pete taking Joan to the 13th hoop. Finally the last set was shared with Ernie beating Al 7-3 and Pete overcoming Neil 7-4.. Unfortunately the Skuse’s both lost to make the final score Maldon Pavilion 11 (109 hoops) Chelmsford Blues 7 (94 hoops).
The shock of having to be at Colchester by 9.30am for our Handicap GC match on Friday clearly had a detrimental affect on the Chelmsford Blue squad of Judith Hand(4), Deborah Clark(12), Peter Wilkinson(9) and John Skuse(3) as the 2 doubles and the first series of 4 singles were all lost to give Colchester’s team of Pam Hopper(5), Jill Mills(6), Patricia Drinkwater(9) and Stephanie Sadler(11) a 6-0 advantage. The second set of singles saw a recovery of sorts as 3 of the 4 games were won by the Blues and hopes of at least a draw were high as, after lunch, the 3rd series was also won 3-1 to make the score Colchester 8 Chelmsford Blue 6 before the final games were played. Alas despite 2 of the encounters going to the 13th hoop all four games were lost to make the final score Colchester 12 Chelmsford Blue 6 with a hoop difference of 111 to 93. A long day’s croquet played on very fast lawns with narrowish hoops concluded with refreshments kindly supplied by Colchester before we said our goodbyes and departed shortly before 5pm.
Chelmsford’s second fixture in the GC B League took place at Writtle on a fine day for croquet. With lawns freshly cut judgment of pace was important as the home team took a 2-1 lead by lunchtime. Paul Bridgman (3) and John Skuse (3) exercised great control in winning their doubles game versus Noel Gill (4) and Bryan Saddington (5) 7-3 7-4 whilst Tony Frewin (3) had no trouble in overcoming a newcomer to competitive croquet Ian Wilson (12) winning 7-1 7-0. Only Judith Hand (4) playing David Boxell (6) had to concede over 3 tightly fought games 6-7 7-5 3-7. After lunch Tony had little trouble beating David 7-4 7-3 and Judith had a 7-1 7-2 win over Ian Wilson to establish a winning score. On the lower lawn John beat Bryan 7-3 7-4 whilst Paul and Noel shared the spoils 7-6 5-7. It was now time for tea and cake before sending the very friendly Hunstanton quartet + 1 home with our best wishes for a safe trip back to Norfolk. Thanks go to all who helped during the day in the provision of refreshments. Result Chelmsford 5 Hunstanton 1.
Four intrepid members of Chelmsford Croquet Club travelled to Hunstanton last week to represent Essex in the Ken Wheeler Shield event. Namely Judith Hand (Capt) John Skuse, John Mariner and Karen Jones accompanied by Trevor Hand who acted as catering officer and photographer. Saturday morning’s weather forecast threatened thunder and lightning throughout most of the day and by 9am the heavens had opened with heavy and persistent rain. Oh the joy of playing croquet in sunny Hunstanton! Fortunately the rain stopped before mid-day and the thunderstorms by-passed this delightful corner of north Norfolk so play continued throughout the day save for a short breaks for lunch and afternoon tea. Play started with 3 rounds of doubles followed by 3 rounds of singles versus the other counties taking part. Eventually Essex took part in a final Gold Medal doubles competition with Cambridgeshire and Norfolk to establish final placings. With all the team giving their utmost it is pleasing to report that Essex finished as runners-up, our highest ever position in this friendly competition.
Last Friday Chelmsford entertained Colchester in an East Anglian B Level match played in ideal conditions for croquet. Our team of Paul Bridgman, John Skuse, Tony Frewin and David Dawsey started well and by lunch led by 3 games to nil. The second half of the fixture continued in similar vein apart from a sterling effort by Colchester’s 4th player Pat Drinkwater who managed a 3 set win over David Dawsey 7-5 5-7 7-4. In fact this was one of 5 games that went to best of 3 with the closest being that of Paul Bridgman overcoming Jill Waters 2-7 7-3 7-6. Other Colchester players taking part were Lydia Vaux and Stephen Scrase. Final score Chelmsford 6 Colchester 1. Thanks must go to Anne Skuse for providing a regular supply of teas and coffees throughout the day and to Marion Manning of Colchester for her help in keeping a check on the scores.
Chelmsford Blue v Chelmsford Green GC Handicap League Match – Thursday May 10th The seasons opening GC handicap league match took place at home on Thursday with the two home sides playing each other. The Blue team of Peter Wilkinson (handicap 9), June Brown (9) and Deb Clarke (11) was lead by Judith (4), while the Green team of Paul Bridgeman (3), Tony Frewin (4) and Linda Murrell (10) was lead by David Dawsey (7). Greens just won the initial doubles by the close margin of 7-6, but thereafter, pulled away to comfortably win the match by 14 games to 4. Thank you ladies for the lovely cakes, Lesley for timing the matches and to Judith’s friend for match scoring and updating handicap cards.