A Member of Croquet England
The Pavilion, Lammas Park, Culmington Road,
Ealing, London W5 5JH
The weekend of October 6-7 saw Ealing competing at Surbiton for the Longman Cup. There had been considerable amusement amongst the locals when we turned up at Surbiton the previous Saturday to practise and get the measure of the lawns.
The promised deluge duly arrived in mid-morning, leaving large puddles on the lawns and making conditions ‘interesting’, to say the least. The squeegee roller was in regular use during the afternoon games, until we were able to move to the drier top lawns after the Mary Rose final called it quits with the score at 4-0. Harry Midgley described it as the worst conditions he had seen in 20 years of playing croquet.
In the morning doubles against Hurlingham Simon Tuke and David Graham snatched a last-gasp +1T win in a low-scoring game. Carole McLoughlin prevailed +9T and Roger Mayhew lost -9T, leaving us 2-1 up.
After lunch we went in search of the two wins we needed. Roger wrapped up a +15 victory, but Simon’s opponent mastered the aquaplaning balls in puddles to triumph +17, and David succumbed -18.
Not for the first time it was all down to Carole. She showed her usual steely resolve to claw herself back into the game, only to get hampered after hoop 4, and her oppo played very steadily to eventually win +9T.
This meant we were competing on Sunday against Letchworth in the third-place play-off for the Longman Tankard. Fortnuately the weather behaved itself, and we actually saw some sunshine.
Simon and David never really got going in the doubles, losing -15, whilst Adrian Cunliffe, who took over from Carole for the day, was more in control than his +3T score suggested.
Roger made a superb break to claw himself back almost level in his time turn, only to miss a short cut rush when one behind to lose -1T.
We knew from Saturday’s match that a 2-1 deficit can be overturned. All started well when Adrian quickly won +19 and Roger won +11, leaving us needing one more win. Simon fought back from well behind with time approaching and levelled the scores, retaining the innings. However he sent a ball off the court approaching 2-Back, and with the help of a lucky hit-in his opponent was able to creep ahead, and then bizzarely joined up in the middle of the lawn. Simon just missed the last shot, to go down -3T.
David had succeeded in edging one hoop ahead in his game, but forgot that his opponent was in front of his hoop (2-Back). Oppo duly made a good hoop and joined up, and when David missed his opponent was able to make the hoop he needed.
So a valiant effort all round, and a fitting end to a very good AC season for Ealing. Many thanks to everyone who played, and who turned up to support us.