Congratulations to Stony Stratford who have won this year’s GC Handicap League for the second year running. Stony beat Enfield (E) on hoop difference after the match was a 9-9 draw at full time.
The lovely, lush lawns of Newport were a lovely setting for this year’s final and the dire weather that had been forecast thankfully failed to materialise – it was fairly cold and overcast but two of the hardier players actually worn shorts and quite a few took jackets off to play – so not bad for the beginning of October!
The result indicates a tight match but Enfield were chasing Stony all the way through. The initial doubles games were even at one each and, after that, Stony surged ahead, taking 5 of the 8 games in the first two rounds of singles – lunchtime score 4-6. The lunch break can often bring a dramatic reversal of fortunes but Stony held on to their lead – both teams won 2 of the next 4 games – score 6-8. Enfield captain Peter Brock must have given his team a rousing pep talk before the final round as the next 3 results were all wins for Enfield- score 9-8 – and Enfield were ahead for the first time. The match was on a knife edge with only one result to go!! Neither Pauline Field (Stony captain) nor Mary Grove (Enfield) had taken one of their singles game at this point but, in the end, even with 5 extra turns, a far less experienced Mary was unable to win over a very determined Pauline. And so the match was a draw at 9-9.
It had been decided before start of play that, in the event of a draw, hoops would be a deciding factor and there was much tension as Handicap League Manager, Tracy Martin, and Newport’s Ernie Turkington counted, checked and re- checked the hoops tally.
Final count 100 – 93 and Stony had done it again!!
Stony Stratford team: Pauline Field (7), Alfred Sawbridge (8), Liz Bulbeck (8) and Robert Chipperfield (8)
Enfield (E): Peter Brock (4), Dave Hill (5), Alan Bateman (8) and Mary Grove (12)
Semi Finals played at Wrest Park on Sunday 10th September against Ipswich
Stony took an early lead 6 – 0 but were pegged back to 7 – 3 when lunch was taken. They won the next round of Singles 3 – 1 which clinched the match in their favour but Ipswich finished strongly by winning the final round of singles 3 – 1 to give a final score of 11 – 7. The hoop count of 108 to 103 confirms the games were closely fought.
Ipswich fielded two 14 yr old players Eden Rogers and Ryan Gray. They had been well coached and played confidently. Each won 2 of their singles games and used their extra shots sensibly.
It remained fine but overcast throughout but a strong chill wind troubled all the players. Well done to the team of Robert Chipperfield, Pauline Field, Liz Bulbeck and Alfred Sawbridge.
The final hurdle will be at the final on 1st October at Newport, Essex against Enfield
The Pat Dain Memorial Trophy was taken by Stony Stratford Croquet Club this year.
The team travelled to Weston in early August to play. It soon became apparent it would be a wet match where the team had to dodge the rain drops. Besides the weather the team excelled and played really well to bring the trophy home for 2018.
This was held on a lovely sunny day to start with, then the clouds appeared, however after lunch fortunately for us the sun made an appearance again. We played mixed up, which resulted in Jackie and Roy scoring the highest points and having to have a play off and Jeff helped Northampton to win.
An enjoyable day was had by all and the cakes were again really scrumptious.
This was held on a very, very cold day, so we all had 4+ layers on. High Wycombe asked if we would play a match, us v them, of which we came out the winners with a score of 12 – 4. We all had an enjoyable day with some lovely refreshments at the end where we all huddled together in their new clubhouse to keep warm
We all had an enjoyable day with some lovely refreshments at the end where we all huddled together in their new clubhouse to keep warm. Hopefully their return visit to us will be a little warmer.
It is with sadness that we recently heard that Pam passed away after a short illness on 4th May 2017 aged 99 years. Her son Rupert got in touch with the sad news and said that Pam always remembered her happy days playing croquet at Stony Stratford and often talked about those times. He wished us well as a club, something I’m sure Pam would have endorsed.
Some of you may have noticed the Croquet Association Diploma which is framed and on the wall in the club-house. This was awarded to Pam for her many, many years of service to the game and to our club and she features in many of the photographs in the club’s albums.
I’m sure many of you will remember Pam with fondness for her indomitable spirit and that never to be forgotten cry of anguish when her shot didn’t quite go where she had intended, not that it happened that often.