Ealing Croquet Club

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

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.

A record field of 12 (the maximum we could accommodate on two lawns with triple-banking) assembled on Sunday 24th April to contest the now-traditional Charity One-Ball Heat.

Hundreds of players nationwide compete in this event every year, raising tens of thousands for charity over the years. This year’s designated charity is Mind, and players were encouraged to wear their house colour of blue.

One of the attractions of the competition is that both Golf and Association Croquet players can compete on equal terms, with skills from both formats of the game proving valuable.

On a gloriously sunny day five games were available for those who wanted them, on lawns that have got appreciably faster over recent weeks, with everything wrapped up not long after lunch.

The clear winner was Simon Turner, with an impressive and clinical five wins out of five. He gets to keep the mighty Butlin Cup for a year. (Specialist advice is available on increasing his home insurance cover to include this priceless treasure.) As the photo below shows, a seasonal additional prize of an Easter Egg somewhat overwhelmed the cup.

Runner-up was Ignacio Gross with four wins out of five. The generosity of the players (and one spectator) meant we raised the spelndid total of £168, entitling us to two places in the final at Surbiton on Sunday 8th May. Unfortunately Ignacio is not available that day, so Martin Blackmore will represent the club alongside Simon Turner. Simon Tuke will also be there, having qualified at the Surbiton heat earlier in the year.

Many thanks to everyone for entering into the spirit of the occasion and making it such a friendly, though keenly contested, day.

And good luck to the finalists.

The day after Easter Monday saw Ealing visiting High Wycombe for the eighth staging of our now-traditional early-season friendly for the Lloyd-Pratt Mallet, commemorating the period when Ealing hosted High Wycombe whilst their lawns were closed.

Unusually the contest features teams of four GC and four AC players on each side, with all matches played as doubles.

Whilst the weather was not as unseasonably warm as it had been over the Easter weekend, it remained dry, and shorts were braved by some competitors.

The morning GC and AC matches both ended with one win apiece, meaning that at 2-2 there was all to play for in the afternoon. As a curtain-raiser, over lunch High Wycombe Chair Richard Peperell regaled the assembled company with the colourful life (and death) story of Bryan Lloyd-Pratt.

In both afternoon AC games one HW player raced round to the peg early. Carole and Tony fought back valiantly in their game, but an error at hoop 11 by Tony at the end of a high-quality break left them with just too much to do as time expired.

Meanwhile Simon Tuke finally got an opportunity in the other game as time was running out, and managed an all-round break to peg one opposition ball out. Michael then showed great skill and composure to creep ahead, giving Ealing victory +2 On Time.

All of which meant that everything came down to the afternoon best-of-three GC matches, which were both locked at a game apiece. The AC players watching from the sidelines were enthralled by the mounting tension in the deciders.

Charlie and Bridget were staring down the barrel at 6-4 down, but demonstrated steely nerves and skill to claw it back to 6-6, having extracted all the opposition extra turns.

Meanwhile David Graham and Simon Turner (who had played AC in the morning, swapping over with Tony in the afternoon) were ahead 5-3, which then became 5-4. A tensely contested hoop 10 then ensued, with a great deal of discussion of the best line of play, and some tactical niceties. Finally Ealing prevailed at that hoop, to give us a 6-4 lead.

Meanwhile, after a prolonged wait for the other match to clear hoop 10, Bridget and Charlie’s game was able to contest the Golden Hoop. A superb shot by Charlie to run it from the boundary gave us the win.

So all now rested on the final match, and when David promoted Simon through hoop 11 it was a 7-4 victory for the visitors, clinching the Mallet for Ealing with a 5-3 overall score for the day.

Once again it was a thoroughly enjoyable battle with our friends from High Wycombe, who maintained another tradition by plying us with some excellent cake at the end of play.

The overall tally now stands at five wins for HW with three for Ealing. We look forward to defending our crown at home next spring.

Ever thought of playing croquet? Why not get outside, challenge yourself and come down to Ealing Croquet Club in Lammas Park to give it a go! Starting from 9th April, as part of our new strategy to offer family-friendly ways to open up the croquet facilities to the wider community, the club will be running ‘Pay and Play’ sessions from 2pm to 5pm on their lawns in Lammas Park.

Croquet is a fascinating and fun sport, ideally suited for families and friends of all ages and abilities to play together. There is no need to have played previously – club volunteers will be on hand to help you get the most from your session. We will provide all equipment; the only thing you need is to wear flat comfortable shoes, so as not to damage the lawns. Sessions last one hour and cost £6 per person for the hour. Advance booking is essential.

Click here to book your sessions:

The club is offering a 10% discount for all April bookings. Please use the promo code SPRING10 at the checkout to get the discount.

Please note: All children under 18 years of age must be accompanied by an adult (accompanying adults do not have to play, but are encouraged also to book a ticket and join in!).

Ealing Croquet Club is a registered charity number: 1180927