Jamieson to defend his crown at the Armada Tournament

Brian Jamieson will be defending his title at the SCF’s Armada Tournament, which this year is being staged at Blewbury on Sunday, June 25th. 

Caversham members have recently enjoyed great success in the Armada Tournament, which these days is played as a One-Ball event. Brian is the current holder of the title, Chris Pegrum won it the previous year and Peter Adams won it with John Wakeford the last time it was played as a doubles competition.

There is sure to be another good representation from Caversham — among the champ’s opponents will be his wife, Carol, as well as Pam and Charles Briggs. Brian said: “Come and join us! Caversham has a strong history of  success.”

Please complete this electronic form to request a place, whether to play or as a spectator https://forms.gle/C7yzsGT9n1wNTYDu8

Entry fee payments are not required until after the allocation date of  March 20th. Booking will remain open if there are places unallocated. The entry fee is £10 and coffee, tea, squash and biscuits will be available throughout the day for £2. A two-course lunch can be booked for £12.

  • Another to conquer the Armada — albeit 445 years ago — was Sir Francis Drake (above), although he was a member of our neighbours at the bowls club. Plymouth Argyle are very strong at home this year, so those pesky Spaniards had better not try it on again!

One-Ball charity event proving popular again

Entries are coming in quickly for the first organised competitive croquet of the year at Albert Road — Caversham’s round of the Charity One-Ball event.

Within a few hours of the reminder being published in the club newsletter, five players had signed up for the tournament on Saturday, April 15th. So don’t miss out!

The entry fee will again be £8. We can organise our heat however we want but it will probably be in the ‘Swiss’ format of  two blocks playing into a final.

We are permitted to send two players to the final if we raise £125 and three if our donation passes £200.

It costs £50 to send one qualifier to the final at Surbiton on May 7th, so we will need to find at least seven players. However, it won’t work very well unless we have an even number.

Sadly, one player who won’t be in the line-up is last year’s champion, Gareth Hobby, who will be representing the club in the Champion of Champions AC tournament at Hamptworth.

Gareth said: “I was really looking forward to defending my one-ball title this year and trying to return to Surbiton, but it clashes with the champion of champions day, which I have already committed to.

“I am a big fan of the one-ball, had a lot of fun at the Caversham qualifier last year and would credit the finals day in Surbiton for elevating my interest and level of play.  It was all conducted in a perfect spirit and I would recommend it to everyone, particularly fellow beginners at the club.”

This year’s charity is UNHCR, the UK arm of the United Nations Refugee Agency (www.unrefugees.org.uk), who have a lot on their plate at the moment. Most of their work was being concentrated on helping refugees from Ukraine until the earthquakes in Turkey and Syria led to an even bigger call on their services and funds.

Any contributions will obviously be welcome, so entering our tournament would be a start. So that we can gauge the possible level of interest an early email to davedibbo@gmail.com would be helpful.

Details of start time, format, handicaps etc will be announced nearer the date. Players will be urged to wear something blue on the day, in the shade of the UNHCR logo (above).

Five Go To Buy A New Mallet

Five Caversham members will soon be proud owners of brand new state-of-the-art PFC Hoop Maker mallets following this week’s visit by Richard Carline.

There was a big turn-out at Albert Road to greet the Croquet Academy coaching director, all anxious to pick his brains and test his wares (see croquetmalletmetal.com). 

Afterwards Richard said: “I am expecting five purchases from the day, which is a seriously worthwhile trip. 

“Because of the sale of four-plus mallets I am very happy to return with everyone’s new purchases some time during March, set them up for each individual and spend the rest of the day coaching those who are interested.

“Once I have a clear idea of when the mallets will arrive in the UK (from Australia), I will make arrangements and forward details of the coaching.” And the GC world championships referee added: “The enthusiasm of your club shines through and it is always a pleasure to visit you.”

Caversham committee man Chris Barnard, who organised Richard’s presentation, said: “It was ideal for both new members and those of longer standing who felt the need to replace their older mallets.

“Richard provided individual guidance regarding handle length and head characteristics, giving members the chance to try mallets of their choice. He also found time to service a couple of other members’ mallets. Everyone benefited from Richard’s experience.”

Our picture shows prospective buyers and other members with some old and some new mallets, although unfortunately our esteemed guest is partly obscured.

Does anyone have a spare lawnmower?

Caversham’s lawn-care supremo John Wakeford has encountered a ‘mini crisis’! The club’s small rotary mower — which we use for trimming the periphery of our premises — has finally given up the ghost after about half a century of service.

Rather than splashing out some capital expenditure on a new one, our committee have appealed to members who may have a second-hand model they can donate to the club.

The hope is that someone will be planning to upgrade to a new machine in the spring and has an old mower they no longer need. If so, johnwakeford@icloud.com is the address to contact. Just asking…

  • John is also on the look-out for one more willing volunteer to beef up the lawn care team which he oversees.

Federation handicapper to the rescue at Albert Road

While Caversham’s GC plans for the coming season are well advanced, the AC arrangements are lagging some way behind.


There’s now a behind-the-scenes push to get our players correctly accredited with handicaps before the start of the League season.

The priority is for players with no handicap cards to be assessed as a matter of urgency, and also for those who do have cards to be re- assessed.

With this is mind the Federation’s official handicapper, Richard Peperell has agreed to come to Caversham to do the honours, hopefully alongside club handicapper Mike Kay.

Charles Briggs will be organising our teams in the AC Handicap League and Short Croquet next season.

And those hoping to represent the club in these two codes should expect an imminent call from John Wakeford, who will be trying to organise a date for the handicapping process.

We’re making a three-pronged assault on GC League title

The club’s new GC team leader Jane Probitts has made a great start in the job by securing Caversham a third place in the coming season’s SCF Single Court League.

Jane (left), who has taken over the role from the highly-successful Carol Jamieson, says the League have confirmed that we will have B, C and D teams in the competition.

The move will please members who are anxious for the chance to play competitive GC in a league which we have dominated for five years.

Our opponents will again be the two Basingstoke sides, Roundheads and Cavaliers, as well as Aldermaston, but there will be no team from Dogmersfield this year.

Our B team with the silverware they won last season

Jane is currently drafting an email to all members asking who is interested in some league action this summer.

Jane said: “I am working on draft dates for the games which have to be played first — our B v C, B v D and CvD — and I’m in discussions with Basingstoke.

She is also in charge of the squad in the four-a-side Advantage League, where a reshuffle means that we will face opposition from two Phyllis Court teams.

“Once I have responses and dates of games fixed I will start allocating people to teams based on availability.”

So, keep an eye on your inboxes for Jane’s email, which will be dropping shortly.

What about the workers! They are our heroes

Between the winter’s two big freeze-ups when the Albert Road lawn was rendered unplayable, some Caversham members have still been hard at work.

So let’s hear a warm round of applause, please, for Anne and Tim Small (left), who gave up much of their valuable time over the New Year to do the mowing and white-lining on behalf of the rest of the membership. Then they repeated the job last week.

Another hero involved in public-spirited grafting has been Terry Marsh, constantly busy with his red flag, weather bulletins and updating the TeamUp app.

Terry (right) has done two spells as our lawn-fitness monitor, before Christmas and again in the last couple of weeks.

“On some days I could tell just looking from my bedroom window that there would be no chance of any play on that day,” he said.

But often he was out prodding around first thing and on other occasions he put in a double shift, returning at lunchtime to check if a thaw allowed afternoon croquet.

All this despite Terry having been hospitalised with illness over the New Year. Let’s hope the worst of the big freeze is now over so he can enjoy a bit of a lie-in.

Brian to serve for another year

Caversham club treasurer Brian Jamieson has been re-elected for a fourth and final year as secretary of the Southern Croquet Federation.

Brian was returned unopposed at the annual general meeting of the SCF at Winchester, at which the Blewbury player Peter Allan was elected as the new chairman.

Also representing Caversham at the agm was our putative new secretary for 2023, Liz Walker.

Liz — who had the pleasure of receiving the Single Court League trophy on our behalf — was impressed by the federation’s organisation. “We are lucky that the committee put in so much time on our behalf,” she said.

Christmas lunch in November… you can’t beat it!

A great time was had by all at the club’s Christmas lunch. It was generally agreed that the feast at the Pack Horse in Mapledurham was our best yet.

Good festive food, plenty to drink and excellent company… what’s not to like!

Members gave a big round of thanks to our social events supremo, Katharine Molyneux, who organised us brilliantly… and then re-organised us brilliantly with a mid-meal game of musical chairs.

Albert Road could stage another local derby

There could be three Caversham teams in the SCF Single Court League in 2023.

The club made a polite inquiry about the possibility of this and it seems that the League are likely to agree.

It would give more of our members the opportunity to play competitive GC in a League which we have dominated for five years.

If we do field three sides then the club committee may soon be looking for suggestions about how we might re-brand Caversham with some esoteric team names rather then simply calling ourselves A, B and C.

Any ideas? It has been suggested we could use Reading’s beer, bulbs and biscuits heritage. Caversham Digestives anyone? Or Caversham Crackers? Caversham Custard Creams? The possibilities are endless…