Held over the Easter weekend and 20 players battled it out in two separate competitions (Handicap and Advanced) in less than ideal conditions. If you love the game you play then 9 hours a day in the rain does not spoil your weekend. The lawns hosted players from all over the north from Glasgow, Edinburgh, Middlesborough, Belsay, Tyneside, Southport, Fylde, Bury and Pendle.
The players from Bury did very well winning three of the trophies on offer: Paul Rigge won the Most Games Played trophy, Matt Holmes won the Low Bisque Trophy and Andy Brantwood won the Handicap Cup. Eileen Gallagher from Southport pipped Batty Bates from Fylde to the High Bisque Trophy. Alice Fleck from Tyneside won the Fastest Game trophy. Lee Hartley from Fylde went away with the new Peter Dowdall Trophy having won the Advanced match.
Andy Brandwood Overall Winner (by Paul Rigge 10/04/12)
Bury member Andy Brandwood becomes the Champion, still less than a year since he took up our sport and continues Bury Croquet Club’s reputation in this event and solidifies all he learnt in last year’s CA All England, he was the beaten finalist. This year, in a successful attempt to attract a full field, two parallel competitions were contested; the traditional ‘base 8 full handicap aka The John Beech’ & a new ‘level play advanced’ event were held. Andy overpowered all before him to maintain a clean sheet and achieved 100% win rate to lift the overall title – photo, John’s Widow, Kathleen, presenting the JB Trophy to the new Champion.
This five lawn club sits on the Pennines, between Yorkshire & Lancashire with teams playing in leagues for both Federations. Given its location, visitors always expect the worst of the weather at this time of year, indeed, in previous years, snow and its clearing has been known, as has rain coming at you seemingly from the ground! Not so this time, Good Friday through to Easter Sunday remained dry and pleasant, I won’t go as far as to say warm although some ‘leggings’ were removed on Sunday. Monday’s forecast was for rain, lots of it but with the exception of a quick light shower, that to, was mainly dry.
There also seemed to be a catering battle going on between the various ‘dinner ladies’, with both Lancs & Yorks trying to outdo each other in both quality and quantity throughout the weekend, as soon as one meal was cleared, various fancies were laid out for grazing tea, including Easter Eggs. This is not a venue that subscribes to any campaign against obesity, you have been advised.
Some seventy Handicap games and thirty Advanced were played during the tournament; One highlight was seeing Alice Fleck (Tynside), back after her troubles in recent years, galloping round Sunday evening like a school girl waving a hockey stick, to take the fastest game title. Asked to explain this behaviour she said “I thought we wouldn’t have time for a full game before the Tournament Dinner”. Her second break included a Rover Peel prior to the winning peg out.
John Beech Handicap: Andy Brandwood 10/10
Advanced Competition: Lee Hartley
Low Handicap: Matt Holmes 7/11
High Handicap: Eileen Gallagher 8/11
Fastest Game: Alice Fleck 40 min
Most Games: Paul Rigge 12
Handicap changes: Andy Brandwood (20 to 16); Garry Wilson (24 to 20); Eileen Gallagher (12 to 11); Eileen Rossitter (20 to 18).