A Member of Croquet England
The Pavilion, Lammas Park, Culmington Road,
Ealing, London W5 5JH
Nine pairs competed for “Charlie’s Cup” (generously donated by Charlie Sale) on Sunday in dry, dull weather enlivened by a distinctly chill autumnal wind that kept everyone moving smartly. With three pairs drawn to play each other on each of our three lawns the Handicap system should have put everyone on an equal footing, with the high Handicap players benefiting from multiple “Extra Turns” (NOT Bisques in Golf Croquet).
However, as always class tells in the end, with several of the least experienced pairings just failing to win tight matches. Bud and Penny on Lawn Three, Annie and Christine on Lawn One, and Celeste and Ed on Lawn Two all had their moments, but struggled to make the most of their extra shots. Peter and Isobel came through unbeaten from Lawn Three, as did David and Don on Two, followed by Bridget and Jane after a heavyweight encounter with Tony and Carole.
In Phase Two, those winning pairs played each other, as did the pairs with one win each. Bridget and Jane had the bit between their teeth by now, with a comfortable win over a disagreeing and disputatious David and Don (and that was only between themselves!).
Meanwhile Martin was carrying a sleepy Ron to a Golden Hoop win over the tenacious Tony and Carole combination for their second win. Ed and Celeste found their form with two wins in the bottom group, and gave Tony and Carole a close match, just losing in their consolation fifth match.
Back in the top group, David and Don came back strongly with a 7-3 win over Peter and Isobel to finish on three wins, leaving everything hanging on the result in the final match. A win for Peter and Isobel over Bridget and Jane could lead to a four-way tie, with each pair having three wins from four matches; up until Hoop 11 it was on, as excellent use of the extra turns gave the Alsburys the advantage, which slipped away as Peter inadvertently cleared Isobel’s jawsed ball from distance at 10, allowing Bridget and Jane to close out their fourth straight win, and claim “Charlie’s Cup”.
Ron then woke up to inflict a loss on the Trophy winners, despite spectacular hoop running from Jane, and thanks to Martin’s consistently solid play they claimed third place, having already lost to David and Don in second place, both with three out of four wins.
Finally, Chairman Simon arrived to present the new Trophy, only to find this had happened around an hour earlier, but was in time to join many of us in toasting the winners at the Rose and Crown. It was their round, of course.
Many thanks to Ron for his energetic and impeccable organisation and management, and to everyone for turning out and making it such an enjoyable day.