Ealing Croquet Club

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The Pavilion, Lammas Park, Culmington Road,
Ealing, London W5 5JH

 

A group of five adults with learning disabilities came to the club for an afternoon on the lawns. The event was organised by The People Hive and was similar to the one we’d held in 2019 (a follow-up in 2020 had been a casualty of the pandemic.)

Our visitors included a paralympic gold medallist (for skiing, not croquet!), a man for whom this was his first foray into the outside world since March and a young woman in a walking frame. Any initial hesitancy was rapidly dispelled by team races through cones along the far side of lawn 1. All five then threw themselves into 6-hoop games with enthusiasm.

A lot of fun was had by all, despite the searing heat, with promises to return for the next session in August.

SECF GC Handicap League Away to Cheam
17 July 2021

Report by Dr Ron Carter

Ealing Team: Ron and Annie: David Graham: Roger Mayhew in his first ever GC Handicap match

First of all, we got there ! So easily as it turned out, despite the usual GPS mis-directions down closed roads, in well under an hour’s journey including a gentle cruise through Richmond Park at 20 mph, being overtaken by cyclists. Cheam welcomed us warmly, led by their Chairman, Jacky Waite, to their single lawn set-up shared with a small Bowls section on a self maintained 42 yard square bowling green inside a local Park with a children’s playground, tennis courts, and a Park Cafe, so really very much like Lammas Park.  Club membership 60+ with a waiting list, so much greater pressure on their single lawn.

You will note that I’m avoiding talking about the match itself, which we lost by 3 games to 6: principally because I played badly, dragging Annie down with me in the first Doubles match, while David and Roger creamed their opponents 6-1 in the second Doubles: 3 singles losses before lunch put Cheam well ahead, before Roger pulled off his second win 6-5. Annie nearly pulled off an heroic comeback from 6-1 down, just missing a 5 yard hoop run on the 12th., and again lost out with David on a very tight 3rd. Doubles match to give Cheam the win. Their all-male team had handicaps of 6,7, and two 8’s, granting them 31 extra turns to our 5 overall: no wonder we struggled !!  A very enjoyable day in great weather, pity about the result, and rounded off in style by mine host David Graham. We cooled off in his garden post-match, and discovered he’s co-habiting with two very civilised, well-travelled and politically active sheep!

I do hope some of you High Handicappers reluctant to travel, or play in League matches are beginning to realise what fun you’re missing out on.

 

Last month we hosted Pay & Play sessions for the public. Hourly slots were bookable through Eventbrite and held on three successive Saturday afternoons. Forty-nine people registered and were attended by mostly adults, although one session turned out to be a birthday party for eight 8-9 year olds!

The events generated a lot of local interest and feedback from participants was enthusiastic, with us even receiving several enquiries from over the fence about future sessions.

In total we managed to raise £414.00. We wouldn’t have been able to achieve this without the small group of members who volunteered and made sure that everyone enjoyed themselves. Huge thanks to them all for giving up their time to make this venture a success.

We are aiming to run more Pay & Play sessions later in the summer.
Please let us know if would like to join the team on Slack or via email to secretary@ealingcroquet.org

17  June – Report by Dr Ron Carter

With a strong field of 12, all of whom entered with Handicaps of 3 or 4, we got off to a delayed start at Lammas Park’s dampish lawns after heavy overnight rain, and the threat of thunderstorms. Happily, the overcast conditions were cooler and less humid than the “sweatbox” endured by the “C” level competitors the day before.

Round One games in both Blocks immediately produced defeats for the top-ranked player in each, Ian Rees bouncing past Julie Tremble 7-3, whilst the 2020 Winner, Tony Elliott lost out 5-7 to Julie’s clubmate and chauffeur, John Gosden. The 2020 event had been John’s first ever “B” level as a 5 handicapper, and despite Covid-19 limiting opportunities since then, he entered the 2021 event as a fast improving 3. Indeed, he ploughed inexorably on, winning all 5 of his Block games: and far from trembling, Julie won her next 4 on the trot too: must have been John’s driving, and maybe arriving too late for a full 10 minutes “warm-up”. Not to be out done, Tony chased his conqueror with 4 straight wins at the top of Block B, out pacing Des Taylor who was desperately unlucky to lose 6-7 against both Johns: Gosden and Richardson.

Back in Block “A” an East Anglian bandit was stacking up wins, including an impressive 7-4 over the in-form Ian Rees, leading up to a last round showdown between the unbeaten Simon Draper and Julie needing the win to equal their 4: 5-7 to Julie it was, and with equal wins and net hoops, the vital win to push Simon out of the Semi-Finals, where she faced her unbeaten driver. John crumbled to a 2-7 defeat, whilst Ian fell 5-7 to Tony Elliott who just kept running hoops! As he did in a 19 point Final too, running away 10-5 against Julie in precisely the final pairing the rankings predicted. Both he and Simon Draper rose from 4 to 3 Handicap, whilst John Gosden securing 3rd. place 7-3 against Ian Rees is now off to “A” level as a 2, having lost one game all day.

Robert Cook picked up the Prosecco by winning the Plate final 7-5 over a deflated Draper, while all of us enjoyed Isobel’s “ Russian Raspberry Flan “ as the best dessert.

 

The intrepid Ealing AC team visited Caterham on Saturday 5th June for a League match on good (and increasingly fast, as the sun shone, and shone some more) lawns, and in glorious sunshine. In retrospect, the scoresheet looks slightly strange, as the match result was an extremely narrow 4-3 victory, but none of the individual games was particularly close.

Colin and Simon, after both having difficult mornings, turned things around for good wins in the afternoon in their reversed games against the same two opponents. David and Tony both had good breaks in the morning doubles, to win fairly comfortably. In the afternoon Tony used his four bisques effectively against a slightly off-form low-handicap opponent, to win convincingly.  In the closest match of the day, David got a few hoops ahead of his opponent, but as the time limit loomed he was overhauled. With no bisques for either side, David’s game really exemplified why we shall be pressing for matches in the “U” league to be played on a “full-bisque handicap” basis, with a base of perhaps 8 or 10, in future years.

Anyway, top of the League again with a 100% record and two Home matches to come later this month.

Ealing narrowly succumbed to reigning champions St Alban’s in a titanic encounter in the first round of the AC Longman Cup at Lammas Park.

The visitors exercised their prerogative under coronavirus restrictions to field a team of three. In the morning doubles Carole McLoughlin and Simon Tuke never really got going against Stephen Mills and Derek Lambert, not helped by facing a fence of six bisques, the last of which was used to peg out.

Roger Mayhew fared better in the battle of the Rogers, against Bowman of that ilk. When time was called Roger B needed to make five hoops and a peel to draw level. He managed an excellent five-hoop break, but appeared to realise the need for the peel rather late in the day. So Roger M won by the time-honoured score of Plus One On Time.

In the afternoon Simon laboured to get going against Stephen, mistakes and narrowly missed roquets pinning him back. However, eventually he hit the last shot when Stephen was for peg and peg, and picked up an excellent break from hoop 4, including a straight Rover peel, to win +2.

Roger M was chipping away at the nine bisques he had to give Derek, extracting them like pulling teeth. He eventually managed to peg Derek out at the second attempt (though your correspondent was pretty sure the first attempt had hit the peg!). There then followed a fascinating cat and mouse struggle, with Derek for the peg and Roger having just made Penult with his back ball. Roger appeared to have the edge, but unfortunately time was called at that moment, leaving Roger needing to execute a long speculative roll to Rover, which proved unsuccessful. Minus Two On Time.

With the scores now level, it all came down to Carole’s game, in which she was struggling to make an impact. Having been stuck on 1 and 1 for a long time she eventually got a ball round, but the clock defeated her, handing the victory to St Alban’s by a margin of 3-2.

It was an excellent match played in a very good spirit. Ealing did extremely well to come so close, given the significant number of bisques we were giving away in every game. It was also great to be able to offer traditional Ealing hospitality once again, in the form of a tasty lunch topped off by a superb Peach Crumble created by Carole.

The fine weather was an unexpected bonus, especially given the damp and gloomy start to the morning, and the forecast of rain.

Now it’s on to the next fixture in our League calendar.

Roger can’t bear to watch as his opponent gets
one more shot.

The club looking great in the sunshine.

Carole can only sit and watch as her opponent continues his progress.

The Trophy of Trophies up for grabs

Seven Ealing members and one spouse gathered at the club on Sunday 2nd May for our heat of the annual national Charity One-Ball competition.

Once Securicor had delivered the magnificent 4-inch high Butlin Cup, play got under way, mostly in sunshine. Early front-runners were Carole McLoughlin, David Graham and Simon Tuke.

The key moment in the day turned out to be the conclusion of David’s game against Simon. David was for the peg, and only a few feet away from it, with Simon 17 yards away on the South boundary, with four hoops still to make. However, Simon contrived to hit in, pick up a precarious break, and sneak home.

Particular mention in dispatches should be made of Lindy Jordan and Martin Blackmore, who braved the event despite their lack of experience of the format. Although Lindy came away winless she learnt a great deal, and had some very close matches. Martin’s gentle, controlled hoop-running from any range was a joy to behold.

Thanks also to everyone for entering into the spirit of the event and giving guidance to their opponents, occasionally allowing them to retake shots, and pointing out if they were heading for the wrong hoop.

Ed and Celeste Gee take the laurels for making the longest journey to take part.

Veronica Tuke took the prize for the reddest outfit, reflecting the house colours of this year’s designated charity, the British Heart Foundation, for whom we raised just shy of £100. Nationally this year the event has raised over £6,000 for the BHF, with more to come in, and 450 people competing in heats.

Simon emerged the victor with five wins out of five, avoiding the need for any tricky tie-break calculations. He will be joined by fellow Ealing member Tony Elliot (who own the Surbiton heat) in the national final at Surbiton on May 9th. Runner-up was Carole with four out of five, followed by Veronica with three out of four.

Here’s looking forward to next year. If you haven’t yet taken part, give it a go!

Watch a short video of the day here

 

Veronica stalks

Ed and Simon survey the scene

Martin aims

Simon gets the blue dead in his sights

Lindy gets ready to run a hoop

Past chairman David presents the trophy to current chairman Simon

Congratulations to Ealing’s Tony Elliott on winning the Surbiton heat of the Charity One-Ball Tournament.

Tony takes his place in the final on May 9th, where he will be joined by the winner of the Ealing heat, which is being held on Sunday 2nd May.

If you haven’t already done so, do let Simon Tuke know at stuke@btinternet.com if you’d like to play in this.

Football may have the Community Shield, but for true sports aficionados the most prestigious 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 their lawns were out of action.

With the 2020 edition cancelled due to the Coronavirus lockdown, this year’s staging of the event was even more eagerly anticipated than usual. And 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. There were even rumours of Ealing players being seen practising during the preceding week.

The weather certainly played its part, with a chilly morning developing into a gloriously sunny day, which allowed Ron to play his stopping bisque by discarding his track suit bottoms to reveal his knees at a key strategic moment.

The usual format was observed, with two GC and two AC doubles pairings playing morning and afternoon matches.

The Ealing AC pairings of Tony & David and Carole & Simon managed to win both morning matches, against Richard & Roger and Alan & Michael respectively.

Honours were even in the morning GC matches, with Annie (partnered by Stephen) compounding her treachery in turning out for the opposition by playing a miracle shot to deny Ron & Charlie victory in the deciding game. Bridget & Jane won their decider against Don & Keith, enthusiastically supported by Crunchie on the sidelines.

Ealing were able to enjoy their picnic lunch in the sunshine with a greater appetite, sitting as they were on a 3-1 lead. The first of the AC reverse doubles in the afternoon saw High Wycombe captain Richard skilfully shepherding his 15-year old partner Roger round to claim a memorable victory +4T. We very much hope this will encourage Roger to continue his rapid improvement, and look forward to seeing him compete at a high level ere long.

With Bridget & Jane winning their game against Annie & Stephen 2-0, Ealing were on the brink of reclaiming the Mallet. Victory was secured when Charlie & Ron won the third game against Don & Keith.

In the other AC game Tony & David conquered Alan & Michael; Tony recovering from a bout of food poisoning on Friday night – that had led to him having to withdraw from the second day of the Surbiton Easter Tournament – to play the decisive break. So Ealing emerged as winners by a 6-2 margin.

An array of socially distanced tea-time delights were provided at the close of play, accompanied by Richard recounting a highly entertaining precis of the colourful and indeed scandalous career of the eponymous Bryan Lloyd-Pratt.

A thoroughly enjoyable day, which it is to be hoped will mark the start of a much more normal summer, where we will all have the chance to enjoy the competitiveness and camaraderie that croquet provides.