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.