A Fond Farewell.

John Walker MA, MSc, PhD, CPhys, FIET.    

5th November 1944 to 10th January 2024.

Sadly, John became ill in November whilst he and Liz were on an African Safari and he died shortly after his return to the JR Hospital, Oxford, in January.

A Service of Thanksgiving is to be held at St Peter’s Church, Earley, on Friday February 23rd at 11.30am. All CCC Members are welcome to attend the Service and are invited to a reception afterwards at the Church Hall.

A Sporting Life.

John with his wife Liz, our Hon Secretary, loved playing croquet together and have been members of the club for the last 10 years. They have a son, two daughters and five grandchildren, all of whom he adored. He continued to enjoy family holidays: skiing, sailing, and horse riding and will be sadly missed by all of us on the lawn at Albert Road.

Our Condolences go to all his family.

Feedback on the Caversham Stalker.

From Richard Carline. Croquet Academy Director of Coaching.

A visit to Caversham CC is always a pleasant experience and two days this autumn were no exception. I based the October and November coaching days on my Croquet Academy Workshop which is proving to be a very popular Course. The opening session which involved everybody being videoed from the front, side and behind when striking a ball. This was carried out with minimum fuss, but plenty of enthusiasm. The footage was played back through a TV monitor in the Clubhouse and gave everyone a chance to see themselves ‘in action’. Very few of us get an opportunity to see exactly what goes on when we play our strokes and being able to analyse these moments in both real time and slow motion can be very enlightening.

The importance of Stalking                                                                                                             

Stalking is an important part in preparing for whatever stroke we intend playing.  

Plan – Plot – Stalk and Strike is a useful breakdown to work through in order to prepare mentally and physically for that stroke.

Standing well away from the ball to be played – make a plan.                                          

Once a plan has been made, a plot line needs to be ‘seen’ and laid. This imaginary line can only be visualised from a good distance behind your (striker’s) ball.                             

At this point take time to ‘see’ the line of play and imagine the stroke to be played.                                                  

You are now ready to stalk the ball – walk the imaginary line, take your stance and address the ball.                                                                                                                                      

When all necessary adjustments to stance and swing are done – keep your head down and ‘smoothly’, strike the ball.                    

Out on the lawn a few practice routines were shown and with the video analysis in mind everyone worked on their technique.

Hold your Horses

A Festive Christmas Lunch was enjoyed by 16 Club Members at The PackHorse, Mapledurham, last Friday Nov 24th.

Many thanks to Judy Reddy for organising it all and to John Wakeford for the photos (can you spot him in the mirror?!). This is the second year running that we have held the Annual Christmas Club Lunch here. Originally there had been 23 Members intending to join the festivities, so our commiserations go to those who were unable to come on the day.

Jane brings home the Cups.

At the Southern Croquet Federation’s AGM, on Thursday 16th November at Winchester Fitness and Racquets Club, Jane Probitts represented Caversham CC and was awarded two League Cups for this last season.

Other Members of the Caversham Croquet Club also at the Annual General Meeting were Charles and Pam Briggs and Brian and Carol Jamieson. Liz Walker sent apologies. She’s on a cruise!

Congratulations and a big thankyou to Jane for a Herculean effort on managing our 4 GC teams and arranging all the fixtures throughout the Season.

Brian Jamieson (right), Secretary of SCF, helps arrange the cups before Prizegiving.

Congratulations to Team Caversham D, who this year won the Single Court Clubs League – John Walker, Pam Briggs, Judy Reddy and Chris Barnard.

Congratulations again to Mike Parker who won the 10+ GC League. This was the first year of this League which has been designed to encourage higher handicap players to play some more competitive croquet.

Catching Up with October

A Friendly Match against High Wycombe was played at Caversham on October 16th with Carol Hill, Tim Small, Jill Dibben and Mike Porter managing a 4 All draw on the day.

In an initiative to keep all the Club’s old records safe and to make sure future secretaries aren’t burdened with dozens of box files, Liz Walker with the help of Katherine Molyneux takes CCC Records for safe keeping and sorting to The Berkshire Royal Record Office – freeing up space in former Club Secretary John Wakeford’s garage and ensuring that what is relevant is preserved for posterity.

Last Orders.

Christmas Lunch at the Packhorse Pub from 12.30 for 1pm on Friday 24th November.

Please let Judy Reddy know by Friday 28th Oct if you would like to attend, also give her your menu choices.

Email judyinreading@hotmail.com     Or text to: 07919828504

In other news…..

Elizabeth Walker has completed Safeguarding in Sport – a Certificate of Achievement from High Speed Training.

Croquet Association is set to become Croquet England from January 2024 and will be rebranding their website. Members of the CA will all become Associates of Croquet England.

GC Coaching Days with Richard Carline (from Southwick) and our own Tim Small have been arranged for 25th October and for 1st November. There were too many wanting to take up this great offer to fit us all into one day!

Our Winter lawn (slightly smaller than a full lawn) has been set up thanks to Brian Jamieson, John Walker and Tim Small and so Winter Rules now apply – no Jump shots!

Gareth puts Caversham on the map in Chester!

A great performance from Gareth Hobby to secure him the runner-up position in the CA All England AC Handicap Finals at Chester last weekend of Sept 16/17th.

He gives an enthusiastic account of his most interesting game;

I was playing against Bryan Harral who has a handicap of -0.5.  We’d played in Surbiton when I had two more bisques and had used them all to basically keep him off the lawn.  This time, he had his tactics worked out.  I put him in first, but found myself 11 hoops down before I’d even got my second ball into play – it was a pleasure to watch such controlled play as he took his ball round in a three-ball break.

I had no option but to burn bisques, used two and a half of them to set up a four ball break and then another three to take my first ball round to Rover.  I then scattered the four balls to close to the four corners as my ‘leave’.

After Bryan narrowly missed his 40 yard hit-in, I then burnt more bisques, using a further three to again setup a four ball break.  I was playing really well but needed all my remaining bisques to take my second ball to Rover, run the peel (as per the photos) and successfully peg both balls out.

Poor Bryan had played a perfect game, but still ended up losing by 15 hoops – it can be a cruel game.

Gareth sets up his first ever Rover peel and then puts it through to peg out both balls and win the match from 11 points down before playing his second shot!

Gareth (14H) won 4 out his 5 matches, as did the winner, but the match he lost was to the final winner Anne Alvey (12H). They each had an equal number, 30, of winning hoops. Gareth now comes down to a 12 Handicap. The 2 day final was played in a 5 round Swiss Format (first game a random draw, then winner played winner, loser played loser) 26 point games limited to 2.5 hours and full bisques from a base of 10 used.

Winners, Robbers, and Radio Silence

All in a day on Sat 9th Sept.

Where there’s a Will there’s a double Winner!

Point of Order. GC Singles Final. Will with Referee Brian Jamieson preventing a crushing defeat for Pam.

Many thanks to Brian Jamieson, recovering from recent surgery to his hand, for dedicating a whole day to being on the lawn – first to Referee the Final of our GC Singles Competition, during which Will learned a thing or two about crushes and double hits! – and then to doing an interview on Hospital Radio Reading about our links to the Southern Croquet Association, amongst other topics discussed.

A friend gave me this old Croquet Association Handbook from 1949 so whilst the Broadcast was running a few of us tried to figure out the Rules for Robber Croquet. It is a version of what is better known as Pirates. I think this could be a fun game to include more people on the lawn at some our our event days. More anon!

And finally .. before Members Day on 29th.

Whilst Caversham gets busy with Reading Festival goers our Club Competitions have reached their final rounds with Pam Briggs due to play Will Watson in the GC Singles, Jane Probitts and Gareth Hobby to play Anne Small and Will Watson in the GC Doubles, and Charles Briggs to play Chris Barnard in the Winslow Cup.

Prizegiving will be at 3pm on Members Day but all Members are invited to come whenever they can during the day bringing with them whatever they need in order to enjoy a relaxing time both on and off the lawn.

Last year’s GC Doubles Winners – Pam and Stella.

“The sun was shining, the company was good and the lawns ran true”

Reports Gareth Hobby from his weekend at Surbiton playing in the All England Regional AC Finals.

Still smiling!

His 5 wins in 5 games put him top of the scorecard and has earned him a place in the All England AC Finals to be played in Chester in September. And his handicap has come down – to 14!

Gareth promises to send us a (new) photo from Chester where he will be competing against 7 others for the National Title.

Good Luck and congratulations on getting this far.

The Smalls in season’s 5-0 final triumph at Aldermaston

Tim and Anne Small on their return from a successful Final Match for Caversham B Team against Aldermaston.

Jane Probitts, our GC Team Manager is pleased to report; “Success at Aldermaston … again!” All three of our single court teams won against Aldermaston and we’ve finished the season in the top 3 spots of the league. My thanks to Carol for gently guiding me through the season and most especially my appreciation to all our players who’ve done a fantastic job and hopefully enjoyed their games enough to have another go next year.”

And thanks to Jane too on her tireless efforts to keep all our GC Teams present and correct at each of this season’s many matches, both home and away.