The annual CA Tournament for those with GC handicaps of 0 and above was held over the weekend at High Wycombe and Phyllis Court. Entrants came from as far away as Australia (Steve Thornton) and Jonathan Isaacs (ex- Chairman of CA). It was jointly managed by Richard Peperell and Chris Roberts. Only one HWCC primary-club member took part, Richard Peperell, and although he had a mediocre day on the first day narrowly missing the 'cut', he had a cracking second day, winning all 7 matches, thereby winning the 'Plate'. Not bad for someone who last played his last competitive GC match in August last year!
(But on the other hand not surprising if he was the manager...? Surely not! Just not the HWCC way!)
Is there no end to our enthusiasm to play croquet?!
A 7.00 am start, a 200 mile round trip in the car, two 45-minute ferry journeys and, for each member of the team, four or six gruelling matches as well. That is the dedication of the GC 3+ Level team yesterday!!
Many thanks to Marc Allan (our wonderful driver), Chris Webbley and Nigel Moore for undertaking such a long day. Our hosts at Ryde were wonderfully hospitable and the final score was a draw, 4 matches all.
An unconfirmed report has come in that High Wycombe have won their preliminary round match in this year's GC Murphy Shield competition. They beat Newport, overcoming a significant handicap disadvantage. Full details to follow.
As we started to set up the lawns for the day we had concerns that the overcast skies and constant drizzle would deter people from coming. We were there from 8:00 o'clock and the event was not due to start until 10.30. Perhaps the clouds would part and the sun shine through.
The signs erected, half lawns laid out, bunting hung along the fences and across gazebo and clubhouse, the tea urn coming to temperature and biscuits and cakes plated and inviting on the refreshment table, all we needed was the weather to improve and our first new croquet adventurers to arrive.
We did not have to wait too long for the latter as our first visitor arrived early, just after 10:00 o'clock. Sadly the improvement in the weather took a little longer but towards the end of the afternoon we had sunshine and some blue sky.
Thanks to the tremendous response from club members we had a great team to welcome our guests and introduce them to this wonderful game. In fact so good was the response from members we had the luxury of allowing several of them the day off!
Throughout the day all four half lawns were in action and we had a total of 11 potential new members trying their hand at croquet for the first time. The emphasis on the day was to enable them to have fun whilst gently introducing them to the basics of Golf Croquet. One gentleman was even trying Association Croquet.
To follow up, a series of two hour coaching sessions were also offered and great interest was shown in these.
The first one held between 5 and 7 o'clock the following Tuesday went splendidly with four attendees showing signs of their competitiveness whilst still embracing the fun of the game and an eagerness to attend further sessions.
Thanks go to all the members who are helping with this initiative.
Faced with clothes pegs that kept pinging off the hoops during GC Advantage matches this winter, Mike and Kay have kindly taken advantage (no pun intended) of a stay in Spain to buy some larger-format pegs. Red and Blue, Pink and Green, in large enough numbers to cater for even the lowest handicap players! They have brought them back and placed them in the equipment shed for use in this season's matches.
Thank you to them both for this thoughtful donation.
Yes, really. The opening fixture in the Southern Croquet Federation GC Advantage League was played on the last day of April between HW Kites and HW Kestrels. By lunchtime, the Kestrels had taken a good lead at 5-3.
But in the next round of four games, Kites had pulled back to level the scores at 6-6. And when the first two games of the final round went to Kites, things were looking interesting. Kestrels rallied with a strong 7th game. All to play for in the final game. Of course, it had to go to the 13th hoop, didn't it?! A 7-6 victory to Kestrels ended the match at all square.
So, both High Wycombe teams take a point into the rest of their campaign. Four more matches for each team, then a hoped-for move into the semi and finals for the League. More excitement to come, perhaps?
Not just any old mallet, though. This was the Lloyd-Pratt Mallet, the trophy for the annual AC and GC match between High Wycombe and Ealing.
By lunch we were 2 -2 , having won an AC game and a GC game. So all to play for in the afternoon. The AC squad continued with winning one and losing one, so now it was all down the GC squad. Both matches were one-all which meant that they both had to play a decider. If that wasn't close enough, one game went to the golden hoop! But Ealing ran that from the boundary. So now we had to win the other game which stood at 5-6 down. Sadly, having taken control of the hoop, Ealing won it and thus the match. So the yearly tally is 5 to HWCC and 3 to Ealing.
HWCC players were AC: James Weitz, Geoff Johnson, Michael Bowker and Richard Peperell. GC: Mark Higgins, Brian Maple, Nigel Moore, John Maguire.
Here's a new and easy way to keep up to date with events. Thanks to Nigel Clogg, HWCC now has a noticeboard well positioned so that you can't miss it. The items will always be timely, so do pause and take a look as you go past.