A Member of The Croquet Association
The Pavilion, Lammas Park, Culmington Road,
Ealing, London W5 5JH
There were plenty of jumpers being worn for the latest Golf Croquet (GC) Tournamemt held at Ealing Croquet Club on Sunday, so fittingly jumping was also allowed.
The following report by Bridget Goodman describes the significance of the event and the day’s play:
There are precious few (if any) competitive Tournaments that go on the rankings in the Northern Hemisphere at this time of year, as rankings are only applied to GC matches where jump shots are allowed, but Ealing Croquet Club changed that on 26th February.
Ealing intended to hold the tournament on 22nd January, but a prolonged period of unusual permafrost in London meant that a) we couldn’t cut the grass to tournament standard and b) it was still minus 2° at 9.00am and the lawns were shrouded in freezing fog. Luckily a decision was taken to postpone this inaugural event a good five days beforehand to allow players as much notice as possible, as some were travelling long distances to be there.
Sunday 26th Feb 2023.
Sky: Blue (mostly)
Lawns: Velvet green, mown 48 hours before with the club’s new ride-on mower; lines painted 24 hours earlier; hoops just back from re-coating and painted; brand new offside markers making their debut at Ealing (purchased from Canada).
Volunteers/Elves ensured lawns were ready for play by 8.45am for a 9.20am start with tea, coffee and biscuits ready to go, soup warming up, bread, cheese and pâté waiting to be dished out, plus biscuits and cake, and oh yes, lots of cake for the afternoon!
Referees: 1 x World Championship referee taking part, 3 newly qualified, 2 playing, with Simon Turner looking after B block, who was quite busy!
Croquet Scores: Yes, live updating by Jane Powell and Charlie Sale – thank you.
Format: 2 blocks of 6 (handicaps 0-4 and 6-9). All play all in each block with 2 prizes.
A Block comprised top seed Glynis Davies from Northampton, Ealing’s own Ron Carter, Peter Adams from Guildford and Godalming, Richard Carline from Sussex County, Beryl Hughes, Cheam and Gavin Taylor, Surbiton.
However, nothing went to plan. Glynis struggled to find her form and had a tough day, Peter, Richard and Ron were consistent in their play and each won 3 games out of 5. It all came down to net hoops and it was not until the final game was played in the block that we would have a winner. Ron narrowly won by two net hoops and Peter came second, having beaten Richard earlier in the day. The games were tight and A block certainly put the hoops and lawns through their paces.
B Block players mostly had home advantage, but all credit to three of them for whom this was their very first tournament. Top seed Jennian, Ealing had an impressive morning and was unbeaten by lunchtime; snapping at her heels however was Hilary Bird from Guildford & Godalming, also unbeaten with three wins before lunch. Margaret and Luis (also from Ealing) managed to complete the day with three wins, while Linda from Surbiton managed just one win against our own Dee Higgins, who narrowly missed securing a win. However, undaunted, Dee smiled all the way through. In the end it was Hilary who played so consistently that she won all of her 5 games and was easily the outright winner. Second place came down to net hoops and who beat who: Many congratulations to Margaret who came second, and what a way to start your first tournament!
Prizes: The first and second place prizes were awarded by the Tournament manager and her club mascot, an enthusiastic Border Terrier named Crunchie, who also behaved impeccably throughout the tournament.
Do it again? Oh yes, so watch this space for more, later on this year and early next!
Author: Bridget Goodman – Photographs: David Graham
Winners and losers:
Postscript from a participant:
This was a great tournament, impeccably managed by Bridget and her elves, with festive lawns running better than they have for years. Everyone had an excellent day of croquet. A special mention for the catering, particularly Jane’s delicious soups, but also for the plentiful supply of carbohydrate (biscuits, cakes – and Twixes!) Huge thanks to Bridget, who is a superb organiser – she should definitely do it again and soon.
Ealing club member David Graham has had an article on utopian croquet published in the latest February edition of the Croquet Gazette, which you can read here. The article features an image of a utopian scene in which croquet is played on immaculate lawns that stretch into the distance, populated by contented players, all of whom have played at Ealing, albeit in not quite such an idealistic environment.