North West Federation’s Premier Seasonal Advanced Tournament – Neil Williams Millennium Cup at HeatonPark 20/21st April
Neil Williams Millennium Cup – David Walters (Bowdon)
Woodlands Trophy – Robert Essler (Pendle & Craven)
David Walters (Bowdon) again displayed total dominance in the top croquet event, retaining his title for the second year with a very clean sheet and Robert Essler (Pendle & Craven) winning the Trophy for the first time. So Bowdon and Pendle clubs both retain the Federation’s silverware for this year.
The weather forecast for the weekend was wall to wall blue sky on Saturday, and after a bright start, light rain followed by sunshine to end on Sunday, and that’s what we got (if you re-define the word “light”). We had a full field of sixteen players in the contest this year but with some clubs unable to fill their two available slots and ot
hers requesting “flexibility” into how a place could be filled and two contestants both with colour blindness issues requesting Primes only, the manager was having ‘fun’ long before a ball had been struck to fill the field. This was further compounded with a late withdrawal Friday evening, necessitating an extra player being found and the entire draw being redone overnight.
Saturday dawned, and play started bang on time for only fifteen players, one had forgotten his entry. So after a quick “scramble” phone call to his home, we had all sixteen available by round two. After four rounds the overnight leaders with clean sheets were last year’s winners but into Sunday only David kept his control to retain the Cup. Robert Essler became stronger the deeper into the weekend he went, shaking of his winter rust and lack of practice time, claiming the trophy for the best “B” player at the event.
Thanks are due to Bury Croquet Club, who hosted the event and all the hard work undertaken by their volunteers. Bury CC Club Chairman Paul Kenworthy presented the Trophies to the winners David Walters and Robert Essler. The event was successfully managed by Federation Secretary Paul Rigge.