A Member of Croquet England
The Pavilion, Lammas Park, Culmington Road,
Ealing, London W5 5JH
July 13th proved unlucky for Ealing, as we were narrowly beaten by St Albans in the Longman Cup.
This year’s competition sees a much-reduced entry of six clubs, compared with 30 last year, as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
A glorious sunny day saw the lawns in excellent condition, and pretty fast having been cut that morning. Not a few take-offs slid over the boundary, to the chagrin of the striker.
In the morning doubles Simon Tuke (6) and David Graham (14) were never quite able to get into the swing against Heather Bennett (3.5) and Stuart Stafford (16), going down -6T.
Colin McKenzie (6) found himself up against rapid improver Stephen Mills, who had recently been brought down from 11 to 8, and is destined to come down further very soon! Colin had one opportunity, but was rapidly dispatched +23.
Ealing’s sole point of the morning came from Tony Elliott (6) who beat Roger Bowman (12) +3T.
Covid-19 restrictions meant we were unable to offer our visitors our usual hospitality, and luncheon was taken outside at a suitable social distance. The odd spot of rain fell, but soon passed.
The afternoon singles were closely contested. On lawn 3 Tony prevailed +8T against Heather, and David beat Stuart +5T.
On lawn 2 Colin seemed to have gained the upper hand against Roger, extracting his six bisques, but Roger crept ahead, helped by an unfortunate peel through 3-Back by Colin, who then went off in a take-off in his final turn, to go down -3T.
Simon looked destined to a pointless thrashing by the ruthless Stephen, having failed to take advantage of a couple of opportunities. Quite unexpectedly Stephen missed a short peg-out, leaving three balls on the lawn. Simon picked up a three-ball break, and things were just starting to get interesting when he missed after 4, gifting victory to Stephen +22.
So St Albans prevailed 4-3, with the outcome in the balance right up to the end.
It was great to finally have some competitive croquet this season. And notwithstanding the result it was a very enjoyable day against delightful opponents.