On a splendid September day for croquet with virtually no wind and constant sunshine Chelmsford entertained Southchurch in the final match of this years competition for the Coralie Cup. Each club needs at least 8 players playing doubles to 7 hoops with the players split into two teams the Blues and the Greens. Sounds complicated and indeed it is! Rumours abound that a less difficult format to follow may well see the light of day by next year. Anyhow let’s get on with the report. Southchurch fielded the bare 8 required whilst Chelmsford were able to play 5 players in each team with one sitting out per game. Chelmsford’s Blue team of Peter Wilkinson,Tess Gossett, Anne Skuse, Keith Harris and Ernie Bailey proved rather too strong for their opponents and won their half of the match by 51 hoops to 33 and 10 games to 2. The Green team of Deborah Clarke, Linda Murrell, Betty Craig , Joan Black and Hilary Harris came off 2nd best by 35 hoops to 49 and by 3 games to 9. What a contrast! This meant that Chelmsford following their win at Tipps Cross retained the cup by winning177 hoops with Southchurch on 166 and Tipps Cross on 161. Star player for Chelmsford was Peter who was unbeaten with 5 wins with help from his various partners throughout the day. Following the end of the match Val Clark on behalf of Southchurch handed the Coralie Cup to Tess whilst congratulating us on our win and thanking us our hospitality and the friendliness in which the whole day’s croquet had been played. John responded on behalf of Chelmsford thanking Southchurch for raising a team, amidst many selection difficulties, and expressing the hope that a suitable format can be agreed between the three clubs so that these friendly fixtures may continue for years to come.
Our visit to Tipps Cross on 22nd August proved fruitful as our team of Sue McDonald, Tess Gossett, Joan Black, Linda Murrell, Peter Wilkinson, Ernie Bailey, Keith Harris, David Dawsey and reserve Anne Skuse had a convincing victory by 91 hoops to 77. The Blue group of Peter, Linda, Tess and Joan lost by 12 hoops to their Tipps Cross foursome which included old friends Brenda and birthday boy Brian Odden. However the Green group of Keith,Sue, David and Ernie ran away from their opponents and finished up winning by 26 hoops. Final score Tipps Cross 77 Chelmsford 91. Thanks were expressed to Tipps Cross for their hospitality and refreshments including generous slices of Brian’s croquet cake. Each player plays 6 all seven hoop doubles games whilst partnering the other 3 within the group and Chelmsford’s star player was undoubtedly David who (with the help of his partners) won no fewer than 30 hoops. Keith was runner up with 28. We now look forward to entertaining Southchurch in this competition on Friday 1st September. JS
The Blue team’s encounter with Maldon Lakeside on Friday proved to be a really close match as all good handicap games should be. Faced with a Maldon team of Shirley Macro (11) Mary Burd (12) Richard Wallis (14) and Shirley Wallis (14) our team of John Skuse (3) Paul Bridgman (3) Peter Wilkinson (9) and Lesley Bridgman (10) were required to give away no fewer than 118 extra turns during the course of the match. However the doubles games were shared with Peter and Lesley winning their game 7-3. Least said about Paul and John’s offering the better. Much muttering about how well their opponents’s played and Paul declaring that he just could not play properly on what were and still are difficult lawns to play accurately. How crazy is this game? Paul won all 4 of his singles games and was never taken to the 13th hoop. A superb achievement considering the differences in handicap with all his opponents. Lunch was taken after the first set of singles with the score 3-3. The home team, suitably refreshed, won the second set of singles 3-1but the Blues managed to level the match score after the 3rd set. It could so easily have been a clean sweep as Lesley lost to captain Mary Burd’s excellent running of the golden hoop when apparently blocked. Cheers from the Maldon crew and sighs from the Blue team. Match score at this stage 7-7. Undaunted Lesley won her final singles as did Paul and it finally rested on John’s shoulders to bring home the bacon with a 7-5 win over Shirley Wallis. Final score Maldon Lakeside 8 (100 hoops) Chelmsford Blue 10 (99 hoops). A fine match played in sunny weather until shortly before the end when wet weather gear had to be donned as a clap of thunder halted proceedings for a few minutes. Apart from the sight of a £20 note being chased by its owner their are no “incidents” to report for the match and the accompanying refreshment breaks were enjoyed by all JS
A fine summers day greeted the intrepid four as they braved the pleasures of the M11 and M25 on their way to play at Enfield Croquet Club in their final handicap league of the season. The two teams seemed well matched on paper with Chelmsford Green fielding Tony Frewin (4), Karen Jones (5), David Dawsey (6) and Ernie Bailey (11) and Enfield East Peter Brock (5), Michael Broadway (7), David Hill (7) and Alan Bateman (9). With David and Ernie winning the first doubles against David and Michael 7-1 things looked good for a short time! The other doubles was close with Tony and Karen going down 7-5 to Peter and Alan. The first round of singles were shared with Karen winning 7-5 over Michael and Tony defeating Peter by the same score. The second round didn’t progress quite so well with a 3-1 loss, Ernie getting a golden hoop victory over David making the match score 6-4 at lunch. Not much to say about round 3 as all games were lost (we must all have been suffering from overeating at lunch!), although David getting close with a 7-6 defeat to Peter the best of the round. This meant that Enfield had the match won but we could at least go into the last round totally relaxed as we had nothing to lose! The last round of singles was an improvement with honours shared, Tony beating Alan 7-4 and Ernie beating Peter 7-3. This gave a final match result of Enfield East 12 (108 hoops) Chelmsford Green 6 (82 hoops), the best performance coming from Ernie with 2 singles and a doubles win. The weather was good and the game was played in good spirits by both teams with fine refreshments provided by Enfield. Apart from the driver (David) deciding to visit a car park by mistake! the journey home was trouble free and we were back in Writtle by 5 o’clock. DD.
Chelmsford Blue team of Paul Bridgman (3) Judith Hand (4) John Skuse (4) and Deb Clarke (10) playing in her first club match entertained an Enfield E team of Peter Brock (5) Michael Broadway (7) David Hill (8) and Alan Bateman (9) in a handicap league match at Writtle today. Fortunately the weather behaved once again and although windy it was quite warm and, despite the greyness above the courts, no rain fell. Well that is the good news. Now for an account of the match which started with Enfield winning both doubles and 6 of the first 8 singles to establish an 8-2 lead before a break for lunch. Fortunes improved only marginally on the restart with 3 wins from the remaining 8 singles. Match result: Chelmsford Blue 5 (96 hoops) Enfield East 13 (113 hoops). John with 3 wins and Paul 2 salvaged something from the wreckage. Judith unluckily lost 2 of her singles on the 13th hoop whilst Deb, understandably nervous at the start , improved as the day went on and took Michael Broadway to the 12th hoop. High spots of the day from a Chelmsford perspective were few but the efforts David Hill made to avoid a ball accidentally heading in his direction at a rate of knots from short range will be remembered by your correspondent for some time. The agility with which he prevented a non-striking fault with a twist and jump helped him win yet another game thus resulting in a handicap cut to 7. Congratulations to Enfield for a fine win which continues their unbeaten run in this competition. JS
A record number of 15 took part in the 3rd running of this popular level play event which was once again managed by Judith assisted, this year, by Julie. Split into 2 blocs the format, as before, involved playing 4 seven hoop games with the winners of each bloc playing a final of 13 hoops. Karen headed (shall we call it bloc A) by winning 3 of her 4 games with a hoop difference of +6 whilst Tess who also had 3 wins but with a hoop difference of +4 came second. Bloc B was an even closer affair as no fewer than 4 players had an equal number of 3 wins but Judith, with a hoop difference of +8, lead the group with Christine +4 coming 2nd and June and Sheila finishing equal 3rd +2. The final between Judith and Karen could not have been closer and the standard of play was excellent. Never more than a hoop in it matters came to a head at the 13th as Karen managed a jump shot to take the title “Ladies Champion 2017″. Judith, who had won in 2016, had much pleasure in handing over the SB trophy to a grateful Karen.
Once more to the interesting slopes of Forester Park for our valiant team of David Dawsey (4) Tony Frewin (6) Anne Skuse (8) and Ernie Bailey (11) to meet top of the table Maldon Pavilion in the persons of Jean Healey (6) Pete Howe (6) Chris Joslin (10) and Joan Fairclough (11). The Maldon team, much changed from their encounter with the Blues a month ago, nevertheless took an early stronghold on the match for, after sharing the doubles, they won 7 of the 8 singles played before lunch. With a lead of 8 games to 2 and an impressive 63 hoops to 35 the home side were well on their way to making it 4 wins from 4 matches. However the Greens rallied in the afternoon by winning 5 of the remaining 8 games to finally lose by 11 games to 7 with a hoop difference of 108 to 80. Tony, at least, despite having to give many “extra turns” managed to preserve his stroke index by winning 2 singles and sharing with Ernie in the doubles win. David, thanks to a refreshing drink during the interval also managed 2 singles wins whilst Anne v Jean Healey and Ernie v Joan each managed a win. One illustration of how “hiily” the contours are at Forrester Park: Tony managed to run hoop 1 with his first shot versus Joan. Some might describe it as a fluke but others, rather more factually, would claim it as a matter of supreme skill! Currently the Greens lay 4th in the Eastern Area of the EACF GC Handicap League with 4 points and the Blues 5th with 3 points but with a game in hand. JS
Please note that the match played yesterday was between Chelmsford Blue and Colchester and not as reported. JS
A Colchester team of Jill Mills (5) Jane Collier (6) Stephen Scrase (8) and Gill Glen (9) visited Writtle today to play the Chelmsford Green side of Paul Bridgman (3) Judith Hand (4) Tess Gossett (9) and Betty Craig (12) in a EACF Handicap League fixture. Weather was again set fair and, with the lawns running rather slower after recent heavy rain, local knowledge certainly aided the Greens as they narrowly won both doubles 7-5 and 7-6. They extended their lead by winning the first set of singles 3-1 but Colchester responded by taking the second set by the same margin to leave the score at lunchtime Chelmsford 6 Colchester 4. Seemingly with all to play, however, the afternoon singles went Chelmsford’s way by 7 games to 1 and by a remarkable 54 hoops to 32. Final score CHELMSFORD GREEN 13 (114 hoops) COLCHESTER 5 (89 hoops). A fine allround performance with Judith, Tess and Betty all winning 3 of their 4 singles whilst Paul protected his stroke index by winning 2. Tea and cakes were enjoyed after the match by the teams and supporters. Thanks go to Deb for timekeeping duties and completing the paperwork that is forwarded to the EACF after each match. JS
Our third level play fixture this season started well in that no wrong turns were made in finding Pages Park, Leighton Buzzard. This is a first for 2017 following errors (admittedly minor) during away trips to Watford and Letchworth. Greeted by match manager John Cundell together with the familiar faces of David Ball (2) John Thorp (2) Ross Bagni (3) and Judith Pengelley (4) our team of John Skuse(4) Judith Hand (4) Tony Frewin (4) and Karen Jones (5) got off to a bad start by losing the first 2 doubles games albeit by the close margins of 7-5 and 7-6. The sixteen singles games that followed were shared 8-8 which says much for our slightly higher handicapped team’s efforts on another splendid but hot day for croquet. Final score LEIGHTON LINSLADE 10 (106 hoops) CHELMSFORD 8 (96). Tony and John both managed to beat David and John thus doing their stroke indexes no harm at all but it should be emphasised that this was a team performance with everyone contributing to those singles wins. What a shame about the doubles! Finally tea and an assortment of tasty cakes were served after which thanks were expressed to all at Leighton Linslade for their hospitality. Finally thanks must go to Tony for driving us there and back so efficiently. JS