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…

Deep Purple a big hit for brave Stella

 Stella Kendall was the first player back on the lawn when Albert Road re-opened after the annual maintenance programme.

And she was the first Caversham member to sport PURPLE hair as she played, as seen on the right in her GC match against Pam Briggs.

Stella had her hair dyed — after having it cropped short — to raise awareness of her fund-raising activities for the Alan Morement Memorial Fund, a charity which supports research into bile duct cancer, an illness which led to the death of her husband.

Her campaign got a lot of publicity from the Henley Standard; you can read their extensive interview at https://www.henleystandard.co.uk/news/home/176295/widow-has-hair-cut-and-dyed-purple-for-husband-she-lost-to-rare-cancer.html.

To make a donation to the charity visit https://bit.ly/3UBy45O.

Don’t miss the Caversham Park croquet showcase

Members will next week be able to study updated plans for the proposed new croquet lawns at Caversham Park.

Developers Beechcroft are staging a public exhibition of their latest proposals at the former BBC headquarters. 

The development includes tennis courts and bowls greens as well as croquet lawns — about which a Caversham CC sub-committee, led by Mike Kay, has been advising them ahead of our club’s possible move there some time in the future.

The exhibition will take place at the iconic former manor house on Thursday, December 8th, between 2pm and 8pm.

A Beechcroft spokesman said: “In response to the feedback arising from consultation on their current planning and listed building applications, Beechcroft have undertaken a significant refresh of their proposals in order to respond positively to the comments received by the local community, key stakeholders, statutory consultees and the local planning authority.”

Our chairman Charles Briggs has confirmed that he will take up the developers’ offer of a private meeting to guide us through the latest plans. He said: “We need to make sure we are fully briefed going forward.”

For those who can’t make it to the exhibition more information will be available on the company website www.caversham-park.co.uk and if you have any feedback cavershampark@beechcroft.co.uk is the email address to use.

Caversham members back on the croquet lawn

Don’t get excited… they’re mowing, not playing! The Albert Road lawn has had its first cut since the start of the annual maintenance procedure four weeks ago.

As our pictures show, Chris Barnard, Brian Jamieson and Charles Briggs were busy mowing last weekend.

They were assisted by Terry Marsh, who did sone ‘switching’ work on worm-casts.

The rest of our members are grateful to these volunteers for doing the hard graft.

There are still some patchy areas on the lawn, as illustrated (below) by John Wakeford’s images.

Our workers had been confused by the appearance of some dark ‘stripes’ across the lawn but it now seems that these were caused by the overlapping of feeds, giving small areas double treatment.

No date has yet been set for the resumption of play. “Lawn care continues,” said Brian.” But if the rain of the last three days continues the lawn might never re-open!”

We think he was joking, but Brian was one of the victims of a fruitless trip to High Wycombe for three Caversham members seeking some winter tournament action.

The nightmare journey culminated in a re-enactment of the events of Genesis, chapter seven, on the Hazlemere lawns (see below).

The day Liz Walker finished on a High at Wycombe

Liz Walker didn’t let the Albert Road lawn shutdown stop her from playing croquet… and winning!

She took home a bottle of bubbly for her victory in the first of a series of winter GC Advantage tournaments at High Wycombe, beating the rest of an eight-strong field.

Liz, playing off 14, thrashed the host club’s secretary Nigel Glogg 7-1 in her semi-final and then pipped former Caversham member Martin Dock 7-5 in the final.

She is pictured receiving her prize from the tournament organiser, Chris Webbley.

Roll up, roll up for a pleasant afternoon of café society

The inaugural meeting of the Caversham Croquet Club coffee club was voted a big success by all concerned.

Seven of our members moved their customary Tuesday afternoon GC roll-up from the Albert Road lawn — sadly closed for maintenance — to the Herb Farm at Sonning Common.

The non-appearance of the Herb Farm chef through illness didn’t spoil the afternoon and it was agreed to reconvene the meeting at the same time on October 18th. All welcome!

No croquet, no problem for busy Caversham members

Work started yesterday on the annual maintenance of the Albert Road lawn and that means there will be no croquet in Caversham for about six weeks.

Operatives from the Salisbury-based company Lawntech began with the scarifying and, as our picture (left) shows, had soon taken off the top surface.

Now, with he lawn closed, some ladies (and gents) who are regulars at the club’s Tuesday afternoon GC roll-up sessions plan to meet up at the Herb Farm in Sonning Common (https://www.herbfarm.co.uk/) at precisely the same time that they usually play.

They will moan about the lack of croquet —and put the world to rights — while enjoying their coffee and each other’s company.

So why not join them at 2pm on Tuesdays. All members are very welcome. There’s no need to book — just turn up!

Other members will be embarking on a series of walks in South Oxfordshire during the shutdown. Details from stellakendall@gmail.com. Here’s a pic (right) of some chums enjoying the first walk in the Checkendon area.

Thanks to John Wakeford for the pictures.

All-England final: A regal performance by Charles the Fifth

Congratulations to Caversham’s Charles Briggs for finishing fifth in the All-England GC Championship final at Wrest Park, Bedfordshire, yesterday.

Charles — playing off +8 — won eight of his 13 games spread over the weekend and three of his defeats were at the ‘golden hoop’.

Our committee chairman survived a punishing schedule of two days of play from 9.30am to 7pm with just a 15-minute break for lunch.

He said: “The lowest handicap player, Jason Carley, was playing off -3 and I managed to defeat him 7-3. The highest handicapper played off +10 and I managed to lose to him 7-4! My handicap card briefly peaked at 1350, which is a trigger point, but finished at 1320.”

The All-England title was won for the second year in a row by the former Caversham member Roger Goldring, now representing Phyllis Court.