Here we keep what was once news but is no longer.
This busy year finally begins to wind down as the evenings draw in and the temperatures drop. There is still time though to play the delayed final of the Walton Cup. This drawn mixed pairs GC competition brought together Lionel Williams and Viv Bartham playing against Peter Adams and Sandra Clee. In a keenly fought match which was much closer than the score suggests, Peter and Sandra came out as 2018 winners by 7-3.
Further afield, the Southern Croquet Federation AGM took place on 16 November in Winchester. As part of raising Caversham’s profile, Brian and Carol Jamieson attended. They found out among other things that the SCF wants to support the playing of short croquet (SC) as a way of encouraging participation in AC. They also learnt that new GC rules are to come in on 1 March 2019 – more news on this to come.
During the meeting, Brian was both surprised and delighted to be awarded the brand new cup for the GC one-court handicap league. Caversham are the proud first holders of this cup and details of our route to success can be found here.
Lawn maintenance is a vital activity at this time of year. A team of willing volunteers carried out many important tasks including reseeding as can be seen from the photos below. We also restrict the use of the lawn for extended periods as the winter croquet guidelines come into force.
At this time of year, our lawn is as usual betraying its origins as two lawn tennis courts. The ancient service lines, base lines and side lines reach out from the past providing green grass in midst of the otherwise dry, brown earth. The resulting mosaic makes play more challenging as a croquet ball slows at very different rates on the two types of surface. If only we knew the chemistry of the old white lines, we could perhaps cover the entire court and encourage grass to remain all year. Another random thought occurs: which came first, tennis or croquet?
On tournament news, we had both Peter and Brian participating in the CA’s golf croquet C-Level Series for players with handicaps 7 or greater. Both qualified for the National final which took place at Nottingham on 22-23 September. There were 16 finalist from all parts of England. Everyone played everyone else and after an exhausting two days, we can report that Peter was able to capture fourth place.
Also this month, our club was asked to put on a croquet masterclass at a large local hotel for a number of their important guests. These guests were taking part in management training. The hotel event’s organiser chose croquet as an ideal team building exercise. Five Caversham members volunteered to be coaches and put on a fantastic session. The novice croquet players fed back “how much fun they had” and the organisers said “we will certainly be recommending you for future bookings”. Well done all!
Time has passed quickly and much croquet has been played in this the hottest summer since 1976. In early July, we held a birthday party encouraging the playing of croquet amongst younger Caversham residents and their parents. We also held a birthday celebration of a different kind for the 70th anniversary of the NHS – an institution for which we can all surely be both proud and grateful. This open day succeeded in collecting £65.90 toward the Albert Road Park’s Defibrillator Fund and we were visited for the occasion by local M.P. Matt Rodda. John Wakeford kindly donated a special NHS70 birthday cake which was cut and distributed to visitors by councillor Ed Hopper.
The Winslow cup competition continued into its later phases with many knock-out matches being played. The novel format of having a double knock-out competition meant that all participants took part in at least two matches. One player remained unbeaten in all his games and rather than insisting that he play himself in the final (which the format dictated but might have proved difficult), he was rightly awarded the cup straight away. Well done Brian! The presentation took place on Member’s Day at the end of August – another fantastic day of croquet and conversation in this seemingly never-ending summer.
According to the met office, the month ranked within the top five driest Junes on record (figures dating back to 1910), with a record set in the 1920’s being broken for the South-east and Central Southern England region where 3.0 mm of rainfall was recorded, just 6% of what you would expect for the month as a whole. Perfect croquet weather.
The annual AC and GC club competitions swung into life this month with many first round matches being played. Congratulations to all club members who are taking part. Some adventurous souls have also been involving themselves in external events such as the SCF leagues that the club has entered this year as well as improving their game by attending coaching events offered by other clubs. This month, one such external event was the Wessex Shield, a two day AC handicap tournament held at the adjacent clubs of Winchester and Littleton. Three Caversham players entered in a field of twelve. Such was the efficacy of the coaching received at Blewbury just before this event that one of our number walked off with the shield having won all his matches. Apparently there was barely a mention of banditry as the tournament director, suffering defeat in the final match, slashed our protagonist’s handicap from 16 to 10.
The weather has not dampened our spirits and our members have been busy in anticipation of the new season. On 9th April we welcomed Chris Roberts and Roger Goldring who gave our league players valuable advice and revised handicaps in advance of our debut season. You can also see Brian treating the lawn with our new knapsack sprayer and the delightful painting by Judy of one of our children’s events last year.
Croquet promotes health and well-being as we all know and to prove the point the Tuesday & Friday group had a very special celebration to mark the occasion of Blondie’s 90th birthday. Blondie, a sterling member of the group was delighted with the beautiful cake baked for her by Margaret Robinson. Photo by Liz Walker.
Results of the lawn survey showing all the humps and bumps is now available.
Some restrictions on winter play are now in force.
AGM fixed for 24 January 2018.
Keeping the playing surface in tip-top condition. Lawn surveying in progress. Smart new white lines in place.