GC Level Play Chelmsford v Enfield – Friday 8th September 2017

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.

Chelmsford v Northampton

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.

Winners of the Coralie Cup 2017

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.

Coralie Cup 2017

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

Maldon Lakeside v Chelmsford Blue

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

Enfield v Chelmsford Green

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 v Enfield E 28th July 2017

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

GC Ladies Singles 24 July 2017

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.

GC Maldon Pavilion v Chelmsford Green 21/7/17

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