News 2019-20

Autumn activities

While the lawn is closed, other activities continue. Twenty members enjoyed a social distance picnic and the raffle raised £200 for club funds (see left). Meanwhile Stella and Molly have offered to organise walks in the local area for interested members. Contact John for more information.

Lawn treatment

The team of lawn care specialists from Avonmore spent the morning of 11th September hollow tining, scarifying, spreading loam and sand, seed etc on our lawn. You will see here the work in progress and below the outcome (excellent for sand yachting enthusiasts, I imagine).

Some of you may wonder why it has been done in September, when the weather is so good? well, last year it was left till October and the weather turned cold and the seeds did not germinate in time for us to play again until over five months later. So, we decided that this year we would have it done earlier in the hope that we could extend the season and play over the winter. With warmth and watering or rain, there could be a good chance we can open again by the end of October.

End of season competition news

As the 2020 season draws to a close, the final phases of internal and external competitions come thick and fast.

Below is news of how the competitions ended.

Photos of the internal competition winner presentations and detailed results can be seen on the competitions page.

Summer challenges

Our summer challenge competitions drew many new players into an informal and friendly competitive environment.

The GC challenge was particularly well supported over the two months it ran, with 69 singles matches being played and involving 22 members. The early leader Carol was overhauled first by Stella then by Linda, with Molly also a front runner. But no-one was able to match new member Martin’s steely resolve to meet and play as many members as possible. In only one month Martin played 16 matches, winning 12 and is our very worthy winner.

The AC challenge by comparison was not so hectic with just five matches registered. John who played in four of them and winning two becomes our AC challenge champion.

Charity one-ball championship

On 29 August, fourteen players took part in our first ever venture into staging a one-ball tournament. The event forms part of a series of similar tournaments held at club level across the country leading to a national final at Surbiton CC on 20 September. As well as having fun, the aim is to collect money for charity, this year’s beneficiary being MacMillan cancer support.

After morning and afternoon sessions, with up to three games running simultaneously on our lawn, three players were tied at the top with equal numbers of games won and hoop points scored. The only way to settle who would go to the final was by a shoot-out for the peg. In five shots, Brian and Chris scored one each but Anne hit the target twice earning her place in the final. We look forward to hearing of her further success.

Chris Pegrum, Anne Small and Brian Jamieson ready to shoot at the peg

Single-court handicap league

The SCF league programme has been severely curtailed this season, but that didn’t stop Caversham entering two teams into the single-court GC league. This is the competition that is made for Caversham and we have won every (both) previous league titles since its inception. Some say that that this is due to visitors not being able to come to terms with our unique home court contours. We would say that it is the quality of our players (see below) as Caversham B team raised the trophy for the third year running. And Caversham C team finished a creditable third. All bodes well for the future.

Winslow Cup

Our AC singles competition final featured club secretary John Wakeford and club chair Brian Jamieson. Played on 30 August in front of an expectant group of spectators, including potential new member Simon, everyone was absorbed. John wisely waited until he had settled before using his six bisques to establish a lead which Brian was never able to overhaul. Despite Brian’s late dash for points, it was not enough and John held his nerve to come out winner by 20-15.

GC doubles

The final of the new GC doubles club competition was played on 14 August between Marjorie Tierney & Peter Adams and Anne Small & Judy Reddy. Best of three games, the first game was a tactical affair lasting an hour and three quarters. Anne & Judy winning on hoop thirteen. At this point Marjorie took matters into her own hands and the second game was over in half an hour in Marjorie & Peter’s favour. All to play for, with extra stokes being artfully used by both pairs. Judy scored a fantastic in-off at the twelfth hoop to take the final to the golden hoop. It could have gone either way but in the end Marjorie & Peter kept the cooler heads to triumph 6-7, 7-4, 7-6.

GC handicap final played in searing heat

Congratulations to Anne Small and Peter Adams on reaching the final of the club GC knockout competition. The final was played on 8 August in front of a small crowd of spectators in the midst of a searing heat wave. Frequent stops for hydration were called for but after three hours of play, Peter was able to declare victory 7-5, 7-5.

It’s not all croquet

Health and safety precautions abound which we take very seriously. During the prolonged August heat wave, it’s important for our members to have the opportunity to seek shade. A gazebo has intermittently been erected where members can seek suitably socially distanced shelter. Never one to miss a trick, Katharine immediately saw her chance to practise her Punch and Judy skills.

“That’s the way to do it!”

Single court handicap league latest

This year in single court league we have entered two teams, intriguingly called Caversham B and Caversham C. At the time of writing, Caversham B remains unbeaten; Caversham C would also be unbeaten if they hadn’t already come up against Caversham B. Details of all 2020 matches are here. A post-match picture of Aldermaston and Caversham B players is below.

Caversham B v Aldermaston, 3 August 2020

Resetting hoops

Keeping our court in tip-top condition.

Summer Challenge

Playing in our club competitions has proved popular throughout June, to the extent that there are only a few games still to be played before the finalists in our three main competitions are revealed. So to satisfy competitive urges and to encourage play amongst members, we have a new informal league for July and August called the Caversham Summer Challenge.

In this league (well actually two leagues since GC and AC are counted separately), the player who plays the most games stands a very good chance of being top. This is because one league point is awarded for every match played against a new opponent. The only other way to get league points is to win your match (also one league point).

Who will play the most games? Who will be top of the league? Perhaps it will be you! We will know on 1st September and you can follow progress here.

Up to six players on the lawn

The CA has further revised its guidelines to allow a new maximum of six players on a full lawn at a time. This will allow for example a game of doubles to co-exist with a game of singles, either double-banking or using separate half lawns.

When booking this, two or four players should use the Firm booking AC or GC label. Two or four further members (to a maximum of six) may then book a parallel time slot, also using the Firm booking AC or GC label.

Maintenance work continues unabated

The lawn may be fully booked each day, but that doesn’t mean maintenance chores are neglected. Here is work in progress relocating topsoil, all done while respecting 2 metre social distancing of course.

Further relaxation of restrictions

The Croquet Association has revised its guidelines to allow a maximum of four players on a full court at a time. This means that from Wednesday 3 June we can play Doubles games and we can have double-banked Singles games. These changes apply equally to AC and GC.
In addition, as coaching of small groups up to five is allowed, we will start up AC and GC coaching sessions.
The latest rules for members wishing to play are downloadable below.

Lawn re-opens (13 May 2020)

With the easing of some Covid-19 restrictions today, we are pleased to be able to re-open the lawn to members. We have some new rules to abide by but as you can see from the photos, we can now play!

Covid-19 precautions (24 March 2020)

Your Committee takes the view that yesterday’s announcement by the Government effectively instructs us to close all Croquet Club activities. The relevant section from today’s guidelines from the MHCLG is reproduced below. Note the reference to ‘sports courts’ in public parks.

So, with immediate effect, we are closing the lawn and clubhouse, other than for essential lawncare and maintenance, until the Government instruction is relaxed or further clarified.

This decision is fully in line with today’s CA guidance that ‘all clubs must cease play for at least the next three weeks, but maintenance such as grass cutting can still continue provided that social distancing measures are implemented’.

We will review the position as further advice is received, but, until further notice, the lawn should be seen as off-limits for any form of play, including practice.

The Government is to look again at these measures in three weeks, to see if relaxation is possible.

The Committee trusts that you understand and will actively support our decision.

Please stay fit and healthy.

Brian Jamieson

Members’ day held in glorious sunshine

Congratulations to our 2019 club competition winners:

Walton Cup
Ann Hatchett and Peter Clee

GC Handicap
Mike Reddy

GC Level for high handicappers
John Walker

Winslow Cup
Chris Greaves

Golf croquet skills lead the way

On Saturday 22 June, the club organised a day for members to meet up and practice their golf croquet skills. Brian and Carol laid on a cunningly designed six-part “skills test”. With skills suitably enhanced, all 11 members who attended took part in one, two or three games. For added interest, we totalled the scores and named the overall best player : Liz Walker. Well done Liz, we hope you enjoy the winner’s box of chocs. Will runner-up John Walker be allowed to get his hands on these? The organisers’ reward was delivered by Katharine who commented “I have learnt so much from that, it was great!”.

Next event : short croquet on 6 July.

Croquet at Caversham Court

A team of willing volunteers from the club, led by Judy laid on a special fundraising competition at Caversham Court on Sunday 2 June. Many entrants were wielding a mallet for the first time but with a little expert tuition, even the youngest participant was running hoops like a pro. The afternoon culminated in a final played to a very high standard. As well as the photos below a short video of the event is available.

Armada Cup

The SCF Armada Cup for AC handicap doubles was held at Hamptworth on 1st June. Amongst the entrants, there were three Caversham players – Claire, John and Peter. Claire was partnered by Joe representing Blewbury, while John and Peter formed another partnership. At the end of the day, John and Peter came away with the trophy which you see them clasping in the photo above.

Match play

Club competitions and league matches are now well underway. At time of writing, Caversham has played four GC league fixtures – and has achieved four wins! We hope the AC team has such good fortune when their games start. Three of our intrepid AC players competed in the Wessex shield, sadly without bringing it home this year. And following contacts made at the GC national C-level tournament last year, we were delighted to be invited to play a friendly match on the magnificent lawns at Ealing. This was memorable in many ways, not least the fine lunch and the way Carol hit the peg to win the tie-break at the end of the day.

National Croquet Day 2019

We were pleased to give a little taste of croquet to families enjoying a sunny Sunday in the park. As you can see from these photos, croquet is a sport that crosses the generations.