2016 Festival of Croquet 25-26 June 2016
The North West Federation of Croquet Clubs held its annual Inter-Club Championship at Southport & Birkdale Croquet Club on 25-26 June.
The festival is one of the UK’s largest gatherings of croquet players, with 75 people in play throughout. It comprises four events for different disciplines and different levels of experience within the sport, and Fylde won the trophy for overall victors.
Fylde had won the Handicap Singles event, and their pair of Peter Wilson and Lee Hartley beat the highly-ranked Bowdon team in the final of the Advanced Doubles. Respectable results in the other events gave them enough points to edge the main title, and nudge Bowdon down into runner-up position.
Bowdon took some consolation from an unbeaten performance in the Short Croquet, with their squad winning every match in the block stage and the later playoffs.
The Golf Croquet event produced a welcome victory for Culcheth. The club have been regular stalwarts of the Golf event but this is the first time they’ve earned the title since 2006, which they did with some solid and consistent play.
Paul Rigge from Bury tells us about that brilliant display from James Hawkins:
“Innings of the weekend must be given to the manager, James Hawkins, who responded to much barracking from the gallery by playing a ridiculous third turn break on the front court.
State of the game; Advanced AC rules. Pendle won the toss & elected to play.
T1 Green to east boundary just north of H4,
T2 White shoots..and misses. Replaced 1’ north of green.
T3 Brown runs H1 from A baulk directly south of it to cheers from gallery. Shoots at white some 23yds away..hits to cheers & applause. Stops white a little into field while giving rush on green to H2. Rushes Green to H2..applause. Stops green north east of hoop while holding position. Runs H2 giving rush back to white..applause. Rushes back and stops green to H4 giving rush on white to H3. Break under full control by H3. James holds easy 3BB together to 4b and quits under control, leaving 3 ducks for partner south east H2 (3 ducks – all balls in diagonal line) with a big smile to loud cheering and applause from the spectators…..”
Time to say Thank You (Tony Thomas on behalf of Federation)
How did the management do?
Well the Festival seemed to run iteself! However, we all know this only happens when the event is expertly planned in advance and managed on the day quietly and efficiently. Thank you to James Hawkins, ably assisted by John Haslam, not forgetting Sue Hardman and Jean Hargeaves on the day.
How did the North Lawns Play?
In brief, better than ever. The days of the infamous cage and criticisms are becoming a distant memory as each year these lawns improve in quality. The time and effort needed to get this result was very much appreciated by players. Many thanks to David Key, Don Williamson and Terry Durrance.
How did the kitchen perform?
For only £8 players received tea/coffee/biscuits all day long, afternoon tea and a magnificent two course lunch. Once again Margaret Flemington and her team of helpers surpassed themselves – catering magnifique.!
Was it ready in time?
Of course it was, well done and thank you to the gangs of helpers from Southport who arrived before everyone else to get hoops, balls, flags, pegs, chairs, gazebos, etc. in position before 9am.
Here is a Gallery of Photographs. If you would like to add any, please send them to Tony Thomas at firstname.lastname@example.org
Pressing any photograph takes you to a navigable window of larger images.
Thank you to Brian Kerr for the above videos.
Advanced – Bowdon; Bury; Crake; Fylde; Pendle; Southport.
Handicap – Bowdon; Bury; Chester; Crake; Fylde; Southport.
Short – Bowdon; Bury; Chester; Fylde; Pendle; Southport.
Golf – Bowdon; Bury; Chester; Craig-y-Don; Culcheth; Ellesmere; Fylde; Llanfairfechan; Pendle; Southport.