Two competitions were staged at Southport and Birkdale Croquet Club at the weekend – Super B Level and a B Level – attracting players from all over the country, from Edinburgh to Surbiton and in between.
Competitions are always at the mercy of the weather and although Saturday was a pleasant day for play, Sunday dawned wet and presented the organisers with the problem of flooded lawns. But the members were prepared for anything and this was quickly sorted by giant squeegees mopping up the huge puddles and all lawns were clear and playable by about 10-00 am.
Southport members Barbara Haslam, Carol and Brian Lewis, Ray Lowe and Chairman Don Williamson rose to the challenge of the competition but failed to achieve success, as did last year’s winner, Dennis Scarr from Middlesborough,
During the weekend play Andy Brandwood of Bury achieved a special award for his first Triple Peel. Clive Goode of Nottingham was winner of the B Level competition and Omied Hallam also of Nottingham was winner of the Super B Level competition.
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Omied Hallam and Clive Goode – both visitors from Nottingham – won the Southport B/Super-B.
The Super-B (up to 2) was played as a block and Omied showed true class in remaining unbeaten, including one TP and several near misses. He generally finished in less than sixty minutes. Finishing early, four us played an alternate-stroke doubles: Nottingham vs ROW. This time Nottingham was thrashed!
The B, for those handicapped at 2+ (which has a larger, historic trophy) was run as a swiss and had a more complex outcome. The manager, John Haslam, at one time feared a three- or four-way tie. But he resolved it well and Clive won with 4/5, ahead of the manager’s wife, Barbara. However, Andy Brandwood, from Bury, was the star of the show on sunday, completing his first ever TP and earning his gold badge.
Southport is surely one of the most welcoming clubs in the land and the town has an engaging sort of faded elegance. Both deserve a visit. Not that the club has been slow to embrace new technology. After heavy rain in the small hours of sunday the club members knew exactly what they had to do to make the lawns playable. There is a CCTV camera looking out from the pavilion and after viewing it from their homes they chatted to each other by phone, came down early and cleared the puddles…..