Ealing Croquet Club

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

The annual Ealing Advanced Weekend Tornament was played on 6th and 7th April, when Debbie Lines became the tenth different person to win the trophy in the 10 years that it has been played. A strong field of participants was topped by Jose Riva, who flew in from Madrid on Saturday morning especially for the event and returned on Sunday evening.

As usual, the format was a flexible Swiss of 13 players, one with a late start on each day. The weather remained dry and gloriously sunny at times, occasionally punctuated by a strong (but thankfully warm) breeze.

By the end of day 1, Robin Brown, Debbie Lines and Joel Taylor remained unbeaten on 4 out of 4. Mike Hedge, the Saturday late start, also held a 100% record on 2 out of 2. Joel’s late start on Sunday meant that Mike played Jose on Sunday morning while Joel had to wait around a while for Debbie to beat Robin. During the final, both Joel and Debbie struggled at times to remain upright due to the gusty wind conditions. This resulted in an uncharacteristic number of errors from both players. However, Debbie’s break play and hitting in proved the more reliable, thus securing her the trophy.

All credit to the Ealing ground staff for producing lawn conditions not far short of last August, when the venue was used in the World Championships, whereas most players were expecting the lawns to be slower at the beginning of April, especially given the rainfall of the previous two months. The club’s catering was again a treat, and all who were present also enjoyed the meal at the Rose & Crown on Saturday evening.

Nigel Polhill

Picture: Debbie Lines being presented with the Polhill Claret Jug and play in progress.

Many congratulations to Martin Blackmore, who recently won the GC Handicap Tournament at the Kelvin Grove club in Cape Town, South Africa.

Martin writes:

“The games were untimed and used the new handicap system which apparently is preferred to the bisque system. In the final I managed to beat Sylvia Shortly who has been selected to represent SA in the world croquet championship in the UK, so I will be following her games with interest!”

Of course we already knew that Martin is a very cool competitor, as the photo shows.


Our Pay & Play efforts feature in the latest issue of the Croquet Gazette, as part of the Croquet Association’s Opening Doors to Croquet initiative. There’s a link to the article below.

Many thanks to Lindy for putting this together.

Croquet Gazette Article Dec 22

A balmy August evening last Thursday saw a field of 23 taking part in a friendly but competitive ECC social (“Beer & Croquet”) event. An eclectic mix of members old and new played four rounds of a (very) flexible Swiss format GC tournament, with prizes for overall winner and best newcomer.

The overall winner was to be the person winning the most games having played all four rounds, and at the end of round three we had two players with a 100% record, which meant Pauline and Isobel went head-to-head in what would turn out to be a tense final. Isobel (handicap 11) just prevailed over Pauline (handicap 12) and should feel herself fortunate that no handicapper was around to witness her flawless four wins from four! She did, however, walk away with a bottle of pink prosecco.

Less glittering performances from David Graham and Simon “Chair” Tuke saw them forced into a fourth-round play-off for the ignominy of being handed the wooden spoon. Simon prevailed as the evening’s big loser!

The prize for best newcomer went to Margaret after a very impressive run of games including wins over David and Lindy, and she is now the proud owner of an ECC T-shirt as a result.

Mentions to two players who missed the early rounds but ended with 100% records: Tom on 3/3 and Anthonia on 2/2 including a 4-0 trouncing of Tony (another one who should be a bit wary of the handicapper perhaps). Well done both, and if you’d only turned up earlier… who knows?

Special mention to non-playing Wendy who provided lots of help throughout the evening.

Thanks to the established members for welcoming the newbies, and many thanks to all the newcomers who quickly got into the spirit having been given what may have turned out to be a slightly harsh 14 handicap for the evening: Elaine, Alex, Margaret, Ranee, Simon, Debbie, Sam and Rachel.

Ealing played Surbiton at GC and AC in four matches over an eight-day period, and managed to win all of them. The Ealing team are obviously on fire, so much so that the fire brigade had to be called during Monday’s match in the GC R League, which Ealing won 5-2.

Martin Blackmore was particularly stoic, and played on as the smoke from a bush fire in the adjacent field swept over the lawns. The rest of the team – David, Tony and Simon Turner – retreated to the clubhouse to watch the spectacle from a safe distance.

David Graham, Emma Doherty and chauffeur Ron Carter had a great day away in Esher, and were royally entertained by Ember, a single-lawn Club with 21 members, attached to the much larger Ember Sports Club, with 200+ Tennis and 80 Bowls members.

With a 3-round 14-point format, each of our three players had two doubles and a singles match to play, while Ember used 4 players. Emma on AC handicap 20 ranked lowest, and least experienced of all the players present, yet she grew and grew into the match, being largely responsible for both Ealing wins. This came after a shaky start pairing with Ron, who was determined to score all 14 points by himself, and as a result let in the Ember pair, to lose 11-7 in the first doubles. David, now a 14 Handicap, was beaten and frustrated by Roger Stearn (12) who ground his way slowly to a 12-9 win.

Round 2 and along comes Emma, getting into her stride with David, and winning another protracted match on a golden hoop eventually, sadly watched by Ron who’d been blown away by Ember’s Chairman Simon Charrington 14-4 very rapidly. What is it about chairmen called “Simon”?

Round 3 with the top two from each Club going head to head, and it was no contest at all, Simon and Roger playing the best croquet of the day, with David limited to 3-4 attempted roquets, and Ron’s only shot of the entire match was putting his ball into play. Meanwhile, Emma was outplaying Steve Edney, an AC 12-Handicap player who generously advised his opponent on tactics to a 10-8 consolation win for Ealing. But by the end, by George, I think she’d got it!  Emma was most clearly Ealing’s star player.

By Ron Carter

Scores are available on www.CroquetScores NOW!

Sean steals the “C” Level with a fabulous finish in the Final of the “C” Level against Jon Carrington. After falling 4-0 behind, with a couple of sensational long-range clearances, Sean clawed back into contention against the highest ranked player to level the match 5-5 at hoop 10. Jon was poised to run 11 from short range when Sean threaded a clean angled 12-yard winner from the boundary line to get ahead for the first time in the game. Jon took 12, leaving Sean first shot to 13, and favourite to win. With no regard at all for the spectators’ nerves, Sean played his approach disastrously short still behind the hoop: advantage Jon, who proceeded to place both his balls in position to run the hoop. A couple of clearances later, and Jon still had a ball poised to run 13 from 3 yards. So Sean just runs the hoop from the boundary! An angled 8-yard hoop under pressure in a Final on 13, with no thought of going for the easier clearance, and HE MADE IT! Pure larceny.
2 “C” Level winners for Ealing in a week!

NOW could Tony Elliott win the “B” level for the third time in a row, against 15 other tough “B” level competitors, including surging Simon Turner in only his second “B” level event. Sadly not: Tony, David Graham and Simon all wilted in the heat, with tournament favourites Kim Taylor and Ian Rees progressing through to the knock-out from Block “A”. Andrew Fall, with 4 wins from 5, easily headed Block “B”, having turned over the only fast lady in the field, Ealing’s Bridget Goodman, in Round 1. Bridget needed and got her third win to push Raghu Iver out of the knock-out stages, and scrap her way into the Semi-final against Kim Taylor. Whilst Andrew rapidly dispatched Ian Rees in the other semi, Bridget battled her way past Kim on the 13th to make the final.
Parity at hoop 10 gave Bridget the chance to run 11 first, where she jawsed her ball, only to be jumped by Andrew 6-5, who then took advantage of the hampered jawsed ball to finish the final 7-5. Only later did Bridget realise that she’d conceded 11 to Andrew’s jump shot without noticing that her jawsed ball had been, just, promoted through by the jumping ball. Congratulations to Andrew, a regular at this event for many years, with only one loss all day, and the first non-Ealing winner since 2018. The plate was won by Steve Fisher, who found his form after 3 straight losses to take 4 wins.

Many thanks to all the helpers, notably Carole and Simon on Wednesday, and Charlie and Wendy on Thursday. Bean ‘n’ Scone catered expertly, and supplied well-timed ice creams.

The lawns not only played well, and significantly faster both days in the sunshine, that all the home players took more time to adjust than the visitors.

There has been notable competitive success around the country for Ealing members in recent weeks.

Ruth Sisley got the ball rolling with victory in the Budleigh Salterton GC C-Level tournament, repeating the trick with a win at the Watford event. Simon Turner came third in that one.

Simon then went on to win the Southwick C-Level tournament.

On the AC front, Simon Tuke was runner-up in his block at the Hurlingham May Bank Holiday advanced tournament, pipping Tony Elliott into second place on the basis of who beat who.

We look forward to reporting further success in the coming weeks.


Bridget and Jane’s friend Crunchie has a starring role in the latest Croquet Gazette.

His custom-made mallet also has pride of place.

Doubtless this will inspire other four-legged players to take up the game.

It was Ealing’s turn to host our annual GC friendly against Hurlingham this year. The sun smiled on us, setting the tone for a thoroughly convivial and enjoyable day.

An appetising repast was enjoyed by the players (see photos), including a splendid home-made cake, and it was hard to coax everyone back onto the lawns after lunch. The Hurlingham team were even kind enough to help with the clearing up – something they don’t normally have to contend with in their hallowed portals.

The only blot on the Ealing hospitality was that we were ungracious enough to emerge as convincing winners on the lawns. But this did not seem to detract at all from everyone’s enjoyment.

Our thanks to both teams for making it such an agreeable occasion, and to the club helpers who worked so hard.

We very much look forward to next year’s fixture.