Areas of lawn can become damaged, bumpy around the hoops or thin due to excessive footfall. So, as a trial we are introducing a lawn repair box. It contains a grass seed mix that can be used to be used by anyone. Just a light scattering on the damaged area is all that's needed. No need to water it in.
The box will be positioned close to the Bowker shelter so as to be within easy reach of both lawns.
The 2020 Mary Rose final took place at Wrest Park on 11th April 2021, on a sunny yet bitterly cold day. The two teams, High Wycombe and Nottingham, agreed that the games should be played without time limits… a decision we may have ended up regretting! Progress was slow as the players shook off their early-season rust, but as lunchtime approached, the match stood at 1-1, with Keith Pound winning +6 against Sophie McGlen and Richard Peperell losing -14 against Mike Hedge. And the doubles dragged on… finally, after almost four and a half hours, Wycombe snatched defeat from the jaws of victory, with Mike Porter and Chris Roberts going down -3 to Dave Gunn and Alex McIntyre.
In the afternoon games, Sophie rapidly beat Richard +24 to put Nottingham within one win of the trophy. As the snow began to fall, the other three games were finely balanced but when Mike Hedge beat Keith +6 to clinch the title, the other two games were gratefully abandoned in favour of warm cars and a drive home.
Congratulations to the Wycombe team for making the final for a third consecutive year, to Nottingham for a well-deserved victory, and to Wrest Park for hosting the final.
In their first match of the 2021 Advantage GC season, HW Kestrels were the 'away' team at a very familiar venue. HW Kites provided the welcome, the opposition and the cakes.
Played in deceptively cool sunshine, the games were -- for most players -- our first experience of the 'Advantage GC' system being trialled in the Southern Croquet Federation. This replaces extra turns by allocating a pre-start score to each player, based on their handicap. (Some of the low handicappers started with a negative score!) Play then proceeds as in level play, without the possible distractions of extra turns.
After the first 12 matches, honours were even at 6 games all and only 2 net hoops difference. Time for tea and cake kindly served by Kites reserve Sharon -- it was chilly! Whether the extra calories helped or not, Kites took three of the final four games to end up winners by 9-7.
The SCF is asking for feedback. People's first comments were that Advantage GC is easy to use, whichever method is adopted for keeping score; that play is less distracted; and that a low handicap player faces an inevitable challenge of starting with a negative score.
So, we all passed!
If you were asked why the final of the 2020 Mary Rose knockout was not played in 2020, you might assume that a virus had something to do with it – but you’d be wrong. It was a much older foe, the Great British Weather. Having battled through the qualifying rounds, our team was all set to take on Nottingham on 4th October, when torrential rain rendered the Surbiton lawns unplayable and postponed the final to this year.
High Wycombe has a strong recent history in this national inter-club AC event – we won it in 2018 and were defeated finalists in 2019. Our chance to regain the trophy will come this Sunday, 11th April, at Wrest Park. Sadly, no live coverage is available, but watch this space to find out whether we’re starting 2021 with a trophy to our name!
Our croquet tournament curtain-raiser of the season is the annual Ealing v High Wycombe croquet contest for the Lloyd-Pratt Mallet. The match celebrates the ties of friendship between the two clubs, dating back to when Ealing hosted High Wycombe members when our lawns were out of action.
With Ealing only having emerged victorious on one previous occasion, they were particularly keen to redress the balance – especially as the 2019 encounter had to be settled by an extra-time shoot-out at the peg which we won.
The weather certainly played its part, with a chilly morning developing into a gloriously sunny day.
The usual format was observed, with two GC and two AC doubles pairings playing morning and afternoon matches. The Ealing AC pairings managed to win both morning matches, against Richard Peperell & Roger Holwerda (Roger playing his first senior AC Tournament at the age of 15 yrs) and Alan Clark & Michael Bowker.
Honours were even in the morning GC matches, with Stephen Wright and Annie Kasparian winning their match for HWCC and Don Rutherford and Keith Muras coming second in their match. Annie was playing for HWCC although her primary club is Ealing but her treachery was compounded by playing a miracle shot to deny Ealing victory in the deciding game.
So, at lunchtime in the sunshine Ealing were 3-1 up.
In the afternoon, the AC pairing saw Richard and Roger claim a memorable victory +4T with Roger showing some great skills – hopefully a star of our future. In the other AC match, Alan and Michael were not so lucky. In GC, Annie and Stephen were not so successful as they had been in the morning and success also eluded Don and Keith in their match. So, Ealing emerged as winners by a 6-2 margin.
I am pleased to tell you all that jump shots are now allowed.
Joy Biggs, Lawn Administrator
Please read this important message. It's pretty radical! To play our part we need to get going straightaway. Please send any questions to email@example.com Thank you, Richard Peperell
A message from the Croquet Association Chair of Croquet Development, Avril Primarolo.
"As many clubs will know, the welcome growth in GC over recent years has regrettably been paralleled by a decline in the number of members playing AC. The reduction in AC members of the CA has been a worrying 23% since 2010, and every year records a new decrease. Several attempts to remedy this have been trialled over the years, such as One-Ball. These have had some success, and I pay credit to the people who have helped organise these events.
But if croquet in its original form is to survive, let alone proposer, the CA AC Committee has -- reluctantly -- come to the conclusion that a more radical approach is now needed. After considerable discussion and consultation with all the UK Federations, the following will be trialled on a strictly voluntary basis for the 2021 season. We do hope that a large proportion of members will want to engage with this. To facilitate this, clubs will be provided with a financial incentive based on uptake.
The system is simple to understand and will be easy to operate. All club members with surnames beginning with A-M will be asked to play at least 33% of their 2021 games as AC matches. For a minority, of course, this will be easy as they already play AC mostly or exclusively. For the remaining majority, cross-code coaching will be provided both on-lawn and through online modules, and your club's coach(es) will be fully engaged with this. (Comment from Ian Shore: don't worry -- we are ready!) New AC handicap cards are currently being distributed to all clubs. People with surnames from N-Z will act as a control group for what is an exciting national experiment. All members will be invited to provide feedback
We believe that this is the right way to arrest the decline in AC in the UK. Considerable interest has already been expressed from other countries, some of whom are facing the same systemic problem. The review of the change will take place in Autumn 2021, with the results being put before the CA Council by next Spring.
Please step up and help to write a new chapter in the history of our wonderful sport. Thank you in advance for your support, and we look forward to hearing from all clubs when we send out the invitations to contribute to the review later this year.
A. Primarolo, Croquet Association Chair of Croquet Development
The proof is that Tuesday saw the final event in the series of our Winter Tuesday Tournaments for GC Handicap players.
Though the series was considerably shortened because of lockdown restrictions, it was nevertheless a success. Here are the key points:
Best of all, the aims of the series were achieved: having fun in a competitive environment, meeting new people, and keeping skills fresh out of season. Thanks go to all who helped and all the competitors, who played in a good spirit throughout, despite occasional -- OK, habitual! -- winter weather.
Chris Webbley, Winter GC Handicap Tournament Lead
Monday: Day 1 of the new arrangements. Lawns full.
Tuesday: Day 2 of the new arrangements. Lawns full with the final GC Winter Tuesday Handicap Tournament.