Ealing Croquet Club

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

The field in the Grand National the day before may have reduced in size, but the entry for the annual Charity One-Ball Heat at Ealing was the biggest yet, at 15 runners.

Competitors were rewarded with warmish sunshine and lawns in excellent condition, with lawn 3 in particular becoming impressively fast in the afternoon. Frequent were the cries of frustration that could be heard as another approach slid past the hoop.

The format was a flexible Swiss, with players having as few or as many games as they fancied. By lunchtime the leader in the clubhouse was Julian Berry, with a perfect 4 wins out of 4. Only Lindy Jordan had a chance to catch him, with 3 wins out of 3 and one game to play.

At that point Julian and a few others needed to leave, so a provisional prize ceremony was held, involving a splendid new trophy – The Choco-One-Ball – designed and created by John Hutchinson using his 3-D printer.

In the end Emma Bowen-Docherty overcame Lindy to snatch second place, with 4 wins out of 5.

A very generous £170 was raised for the British Heart Foundation, giving us two places in the final at Surbiton on May 5th, where Julian and Emma will represent the club. Players sported a variety of red items of clothing – the BHF house colours – and the huge cherry tree by lawn 1 put on a superb display of white blossom.

Many thanks to everyone who played for their generous fundraising and for making it such a pleasant day. It was great to see some of the less seasoned tournament players doing so well.

Simon Tuke

Photographs: David Whitestone

Note: David will supply copies of individual photographs on request.

This spectacular double rainbow above the pavilion was photographed by Fred White-Overton on Saturday following what he described as a deluge earlier in the day and a short shower in the afternoon. There is a special numerical relationship between rainbows, which have seven colours, and the six hoops and a peg on a croquet lawn. The club is now searching for the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow that will help finance the club improvements.

Simon Tuke triumphed in the ARK AC Advanced Handicap Tournament held at Surbiton on the weekend of 30 September to 1st October, with his five wins out of five seeing his handicap cut to an impressive 2.5 (down from 4.5 at the start of the season). The handicaps ranged from -1 to 11 and Ealing had three participants, Simon, Tony and Ignacio. Tony Elliott was also a strong contender with three wins out of four, but it was Ignacio who came third behind Simon and Diana Wilson.

However, having given away a total of 59 bisques across five games at the all-England Handicap National Final two weeks earlier, it was a novel experience for Simon to actually receive bisques in two of his games. It all came down to an exciting final game, played against Diana Wilson from Roehampton (who notably beat Simon +26 in the Longman Cup last year). Diana played extremely well, and looked set for victory until she unexpectedly missed a return roquet after hoop 4 with her second ball, when Simon was joined up. Simon duly picked up the break, but couldn’t manoeuvre his partner ball for the Rover peel. However, he continued serenely until inexplicably fluffing Penult from straight in front, giving Diana all the balls for a seemingly trivial finish.

Most unfortunately, Diana then played the wrong ball in a take-off, giving Simon the chance to make Penult and Rover, and produce a strong leave. Diana then hit a 25-yarder (cue huge cheers from all watching) and took off 20 yards to an angled position for Penult, which she ran superbly. She missed the subsequent 15-yarder though, to lose by the time-honoured score of -1 on time.

Later that evening Simon thought that maybe he had played the wrong ball in the turn before Diana, and that she might simply have continued his error. However, by good fortune it transpired that the only one of the three webcams that Surbiton recorded was for lawn 3, where the final was played, so Andy Dibben was kindly able to confirm that this potentially unfortunate situation had not in fact arisen. Not that it would have changed the result, but it did allow Simon to celebrate without remorse.

Photograph: Simon receiving the trophy from Martin Burger.

Ealing hosted the inaugural South-East Croquet Federation Short Croquet Tournament on Sunday 8th October, in weather that was extraordinary for this time of year. Temperatures were more appropriate to July, and the sun being lower in the sky at least meant there was some welcome shade.

Teams from Guildford & Godalming, Merton, High Wycombe, Reigate Priory and two teams from Ealing, the Eagles and Falcons, competed in a four-round format, with each rubber consisting of one doubles and two singles.

Five of the six teams ended up with between five and eight game wins. Just out ahead were Ealing Falcons and Merton, both on eight wins. Although the Falcons had beaten Merton in the first round, it was decided to break the tie by a shoot-out at the peg, to avoid any suggestion of local advantage.

Merton’s minus player Jordan Waters was first up and missed by a whisker, whereupon Simon Tuke used his local knowledge of the lawns to clip the peg, clinching the title for Ealing Falcons. Congratulations to the winning team of Simon, Carole, Roger and Fred. Fred demonstrated an impressive aptitude for AC – once he could be persuaded not to hit every ball at 100 mph.

The Falcons were presented with ‘gold’ winner’s medals, and the Niagara Cup. This splendid trophy had been unearthed in the upstairs cupboard, and given that this was an autumn tournament – or Fall, as our transatlantic cousins would say – the Niagara nomenclature seemed fitting.

Many thanks to Tony for managing the event so efficiently, and to all the members who helped with the arrangements. Everyone seemed to have a great time, and we hope to repeat the tournament next year.

Article: Simon Tuke  Photographs: Simon Turner . David Graham . Christine Mason

Short Croquet Scoresheet

St Mary’s Church in South Ealing held an Open Day on Saturday 7th October.  Several club members booked a guided tour up the tower and after a steep climb up spiraling narrow steps, were stunned by the magnificent views from the top .  The guide told us about the two plague pits in Ealing: one under the green central area in the road outside the New Inn (a historic coaching inn used as the last stopping point from central London westwards), the other pit was in the vicar’s back garden.  We also heard about the two workhouses next to the New Inn.

In one direction we could see Wembley Arena and even Canary Wharf, in the other direction as far as Box Hill, with a view to the west of Lammas Park and the club pavilion.

Article and photograph: Christine Mason

This year’s Mary Rose final was held at Ealing Croquet Club on a sunny Saturday 30 September, when the holders, Hurlingham, played High Wycombe. Lindy Jordan organised the event, in which High Wycombe succeeded in winning the match convincingly. The full report from their club website can be read here.

Photograph: Lindy Jordan

The Avenue Club walking group ended its September walk by playing croquet at Ealing. The group is led by Serge Lourie, a former Richmond Council Leader, and each month it does a different walk starting at The Avenue Club in Kew. Their walk on Thursday, via Kew Gardens and Gunnersbury Park, ending up in Lammas Park where fourteen of the walkers joined in an introduction to croquet, organised by Lindy and assisted by David and Marion, both regular members of the walking group. The session was a huge success, despite a brief interlude of rain at the start, which Lindy took advantage of to give a talk about how to play in the White Room, followed by one and a half hours of croquet on half lawns in the sunshine. The session had been requested by Serge following a similar event last year and may become a regular feature of the walking calendar.

Many congratulations to Lindy Jordan on her award of a Croquet Association Diploma.

The CA Diploma is awarded in recognition of club members ‘who have given outstanding service to croquet over a period of time. It has nothing to do with playing prowess and all about helping others’.

The club’s nomination states:

Since joining the club Lindy has been tireless in her efforts to strengthen it and extend its reach. Her official title of Treasurer doesn’t begin to do justice to the extent of her activities.

On the financial front she has brought rigour to our accounts, mapping different membership and funding scenarios, and helping steer us through the process of becoming a registered charity. She has played a central role in our plans to refurbish our Edwardian pavilion, particularly in negotiations with Ealing Council. Undaunted by the complexities of this process, Lindy continues to prove to them the value of having croquet in the borough. She has also successfully pursued grants for a number of improvement projects.

On the wider recruitment front, Lindy has been instrumental in setting up and running weekly Pay & Play sessions, which in 2022 attracted nearly 450 participants, as well as Introduction to Croquet courses, innovative Taster memberships, corporate events, children’s parties and much else. To ensure that these were properly run she persuaded three other members to join her on a Coach Qualification Course – which also means that there is now ample coaching capacity for new players. Lindy also instigated a popular internal GC competition which brings members together and helps them feel involved and welcomed.

It is no exaggeration to say that the activities initiated by Lindy have helped to revitalise the club, and her can-do attitude is infectious: our membership has increased from 49 at the start of the 2021 season to over 80 in 2023. Her activities also amply demonstrate the club’s commitment to wider and more diverse use of its facilities and its success in achieving this. On top of all that, Lindy even finds the time to play a bit of croquet!

Following Ealing’s recent success in Latvia, where a team played abroad for the first time, the club has now progressed to the GC European League finals at Roehampton. You can read a full account of the tournament here, as published in the August edition of the Croquet Gazette.

Yoga on the Lawns is being held weekly on Tuesdays for four weeks from 25th July from 7-8am at £10 per session.  Club members get their first session free and a discounted price of £8 per session.   Contact:  tessyoga.ealing@gmail.com or phone 07962 036 843