The final of this event was held on the 5th October with conditions ideal for croquet. Paul Bridgman and Linda Murrell played John Skuse and Pete Wilkinson in a 13 point game to decide who would take the honours. After 8 hoops it all appeared to be over as John and Pete led 6-2 thanks to some fine hoop running and clearances by Pete. However Paul and Linda had other ideas as 6-2 became 6-3 6-4 6-5 and, glory be 6-6, which goes to prove a game is never over till it’s over. John, with the first shot to the 13th, obtained a straight 6 foot hoop running position with his Blue which eventually proved decisive. A fine game of croquet and a pity that one side had to lose after such a great fight back.
No fewer than 20 players took part in this event held on 21st and 26th September to determine who would go through to the final which it is hoped will be played on Sunday 8th October following the friendly fixture with Leighton Linslade. Ten players each day were split into 2 blocks of 5 with an all play all in each block of 7 complete hoops with a winner and runner-up going through from each grouping before those successful would play eliminating best of 13 hoop games before a finalist emerged. On both days the weather behaved, the sun shone, and, gratifyingly, there have been several reports of how much members enjoyed the games. In Block A John Skuse (4 wins) and David Dawsey (2 wins) qualified for the quarter finals whilst Joan and Len can feel rather unfortunate in that they each won 2 games but David had a superior hoop difference. Block B resulted in a tie in terms of games won with Linda Murrell and Bob Jones each winning 3 games out of the 4 played. Linda, however, won the group by the narrow margin of +4 hoops to Bob’s +2. Quarter final scores could not have been closer: David 7 Linda 6 and John 7 Bob 6. Finally John played David to determine who would go through to the final. By their own admittance both played well but John, having taken an early lead, seemingly could do no wrong and hands (not throats) were shaken after 7 hoops. Blocks C and D were played on the 26th with Karen Jones winning the first block with wins in all 4 games whilst John Mariner with 3 wins was the runner-up. Pleasingly Sue McDonald, Betty Craig and Janis Owen all won a game and they shared the honours of coming 3rd with identical hoop differences. Block D turned out to be quite exciting in that Tony Frewin and Tess Gossett each won 3 games and had an identical hoop difference of +8. As Tess had beaten Tony by 4 hoops to 3 she went through as winner of the block with Tony as runner-up. In the quarter finals Tony, rather surprisingly had a straightforward 7-1 win over Karen whilst John M after gaining an early lead over Tess was taken to the 12th hoop before winning 7-5. The semi-final between Tony and John M was watched by a crowd in double figures (just) and proved to be an exciting contest. John led 5-3 before Tony levelled taking the next two hoops. John won the 11th but Tony managed to jaws his red ball in the 12th hoop. John’s decision after playing black took some by surprise. Instead of trying to jump red with his blue from about 10ft he simply smashed red to the boundary. Tony, possibly taken aback by this opportunity to have first ball to the 13th hit well but not well enough as the red came to rest 3ft from the hoop. John’s black finished 9ft in front of the hoop and, after a brief exchange of shots he won the hoop and took his place in the final.
Sixteen hardy souls arrived by 10.00am to take part in this event where partnerships are determined by the drawing of names out of a hat. Formed into 2 blocks each pairing was required to play 3 games with the number of wins deciding the winner and runner-up of each block with hoop difference a factor should number of wins be equal. Play went very much to form with Paul Bridgman and Sheila Harris from Block A and Tony Frewin and Deb Clarke from Block B winning all 3 games with hoop differences of +7 and +9 respectively. The runners-up in Block A was a less clear cut business as the remaining 3 pairs had all won 1 game but Anne Skuse and Joan Black just took the spoils with a hoop difference of -1 compared with -3 by the other pairs. In Block B Peter Wilkinson and Betty Craig with 2 wins took the second runner-up spot. The first semi-final resulted in a 4-0 win over Anne and Joan by Tony and Deb whilst the second was much closer with Paul and Sheila just edging their way past Peter and Betty by 4 hoops to 3. With the weather threatening to advance from cold and bleak to wet and miserable the 13 hoop final was watched by a large number as Tony and Deb rather overwhelmed Paul and Sheila. Three individual shots stood out : Tony’s angled jump shot at hoop 5, Deb’s successful running of hoop 8 from the vicinity of hoop 7 and Paul’s running of hoop 9 from close to the boundary (photo attached). At 6-2 down this shot ensured the match came down to the 10th by the clubhouse where, after a great approach, Deb settled matters (photo attached) by closing out the game 7-3. Trophies were presented to Tony and Deb – Doubles Champions 2017 – Congratulations!
Our final fixture versus an Enfield team of David Frost (scr) Ken Pickett (1) Brian Dawes (3) and Peter Brock (5) was played on a day when heavy showers persisted for virtually the whole match. The doubles games were both won by Enfield 7-5 and 7-4 and from that start things only got worse for our team of John Skuse (3) Tony Frewin (4) Judith Hand (4) and Karen Jones (5). Lunchtime came with Enfield winning all 8 singles with Tony and Karen rather unlucky in losing at the 13th hoop to Ken Pickett and Peter Brock respectively. Fears of a whitewash however were removed during the 3rd set of singles as Tony had a convincing 7-4 win over Peter. Tony continued his good work in the final set of singles with a 7-5 win over Brian whilst John scrapped a 7-6 over Peter. Final result: CHELMSFORD 3 (85 hoops) ENFIELD 15 (120 hoops). As handicap cards were filled in at the end of the match the weather finally improved as players and supporters enjoyed the “after croquet”. Thanks must go to all who supported and helped by the making of cakes, serving teas and coffees etc etc today and throughout the season. We know from the comments made by visiting clubs that they look forward to the hospitality we show them and that is not entirely or even partly meant to refer to the defeats that are often inflicted upon us! Incidentally Enfield were the club many years ago who introduced us to the “Easy Fund Raising” scheme website that has helped the club raise over £400 to date. Any member buying on line from the likes of Amazon, John Lewis etc etc can benefit the club financially at no cost to themselves. Details are available from committee members. Members who would like to inspect our Level Play and Handicap results, tables, etc should log on to www.angliacroquet.co.uk and www.croquet.org.uk for much more information about our sport.
On a grey day with the threat of light rain likely throughout the day our team Paul Bridgman (3) John Skuse (3) Karen Jones (5) and Bob Jones (6) welcomed the strong Northampton team of Lionel Tibble (-3) Mike Hills (scratch) Les Heard (scratch) and Richard Cain (5) for our penultimate EACF GC Level Play fixture this season. Fears of a whitewash (Leighton Linslade had recently lost 18-0 to our visitors) surfaced all too quickly as the two doubles games were lost in next to no time 7-0 and 7-1. The first set of 4 singles games included two more one sided games for Northampton but John’s performance in taking Lionel to the golden hoop and Bob chalking up our first win with a 7-6 over Richard Cain improved morale as the weather took a turn for the better. The second set of singles saw Karen gain a second point for us with a 7-4 win over Richard whilst the other 3 singles were taken comfortably by Northampton. After a leisurely lunch break our hoop success ratio increased but without reward in terms of games won. The 3rd set of results were as follows: 6-7, 5-7, 4-7 and 4-7. However the best (I think we can call it that) came in the 4th and final set of games. Karen lost to Mike Hills 5-7, John lost to Richard Cain 6-7, Bob lost to Lionel Tibble 6-7 and Paul managed to overcome Les Heard 7-4. Whilst we lost the match by 46 hoops that 4th set deficit was only 1 hoop! Final score: Chelmsford 3 (73 hoops) Northampton 15 (119 hoops). A splendid spread of cakes greeted the players at close of play and after Mike Hills had thanked us for another enjoyable and well organised day’s croquet we wished our visitors a safe journey home. Our final match is at home to Enfield on Friday 8th September.
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