Level Play Golf Croquet League….Southport v Culcheth

In ideal croquet weather Southport faced Culcheth this week in Victoria Park – lush green lawns under a blue sky, what better way to enjoy a summers day. Southport are currently top of the North West Advanced Golf Croquet league when called to face mid-table side Culcheth. But any thoughts of an easy victory were quickly dispelled by a determined Culcheth attack.

Southport’s first drawback came 30 minutes before the start, when Captain Alan Farrell was forced to withdraw due to a recurring injury. A hurried phone call brought in Tony Thomas to join the team of Don Williamson and Ray Lowe, but the unsettled Southport side quickly fell behind and Culcheth built up a 4-2 lead after six games.

The comeback started in the final round before lunch, both Williamson and Lowe dug in to show their true form in some serious play and sent the teams in to lunch with Culcheth only having a narrow lead 5-4.

Williamson continued his excellent form and with Thomas now finding his touch, the first round match after lunch levelled the score at 6-6.  The fifth round saw Southport in full attacking mode and all three players soared to new heights to give this excellent team a commanding 9-6 lead, with only three games to play in the final round.

Confidence high, Williamson took on the Culcheth number one player to gain the all-important win in a very convincing manner, Lowe then consolidated the victory with another emphatic display of great croquet.  But the day belonged to Don Williamson who won five of his six games to keep Southport’s championship hopes alive.

Final score Southport 11 Culcheth 7.


Picture shows: Don Williamson, hero of the hour.

Don Williamson 3 IMG_6509

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Handicap Croquet League….Birkdale v Southport

A glorious summer day in Victoria Park as two local teams fought for bragging rights in the Croquet local derby.  Birkdale played Southport in a close encounter as they hoped to repeat last year’s derby success.  Captain Keith Roberts selected Tony Thomas, Alan Farrell and David Key for Birkdale, whilst Captain Eileen Gallagher for Southport selected Carol and Brian Lewis with John Mawdsley.

In the morning doubles, Tony Thomas and Alan Farrell established an early lead but were gradually pulled back by Carol Lewis and Eileen Gallagher.  In a tactical battle, Birkdale kept Southport at bay, but with time rapidly running out, the Birkdale pair held on to a very slender lead to win by one hoop.  Meanwhile in the two singles games, Keith Roberts made his experience tell by defeating John Mawdsley, but this was rendered neutral when Southport’s Brian Lewis defeating David Key, to send Birkdale into lunch leading Southport 2-1.

But this put Southport into a determined mood after lunch with John Mawdsley quickly levelling the match defeating Alan Farrell and  Brian Lewis found some great form defeating captain Keith Roberts, to move Southport into a 3-2 lead.  Meanwhile Tony Thomas and Carol Lewis were having a close fought encounter of their own.  In a tantalizingly close game, the scores were level as time was called. Then as both players manoeuvred play for the golden hoop, Tony Thomas hit a long shot securing the vital point to level the match 3-3.   However, with the whole match to play for in the final game, Eileen Gallagher made no mistakes. With a powerful display of concentration to defeat David Key, Eileen gave the bragging rights to Southport,

FINAL SCORE Birkdale 3 Southport 4.

Picture Shows: The jubilant Southport team

The Winning Team 2 IMG_0055


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Level Play Golf Croquet League ….Chester v Southport




A great win for Southport level Play Golf Croquet team this week sent them to the top of the North West league. Their opponents this week were Chester who fielded one of the best Golf Croquet players in the North West. Chester play in Westminster Park near the River Dee and whilst the lawns have wonderful surface, there is a notorious slope which the home players cope with to great advantage.

The match is played three-a-side. This form of Golf Croquet is fast, furious and highly skilful. Tony Thomas, deputising for injured captain Alan Farrell, took Ray Lowe (one of Southport’s top players) and Don Williamson (international Croquet referee).

Southport fell behind early in the match before gaining enough confidence to start some good attacking croquet, and by lunchtime found themselves leading 5-4 – Ray Lowe winning all three games with Williamson and Thomas winning one each.

Chester came out fighting after lunch and the first afternoon round levelled the match at 6-6. But in the next round Southport crept ahead again, with Thomas winning a golden hoop to put Southport 8-7 ahead.

In a very tense final round the Chester number one levelled the match 8-8, only for Ray Lowe to raise the stakes again and score another victory. Then in a last ditch effort, Tony Thomas managed another golden hoop finish to scoop the match. Final score Chester 8, Southport 10, with Lowe winning four games, Williamson and Thomas winning three each.


Picture shows: Tony Thomas, Acting Captain

Tony Thomas


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Midweek Handicap Croquet League….Pendle v Southport

The Southport Midweek team made an early start in drizzly weather for the long journey into the Pennines and the Fells surrounding Pendle Croquet Club were hardly visible as the team began in determined fashion against a much stronger than expected Pendle squad.

Captain Tony Thomas selected experienced Eileen Gallagher, safe mid ranking player David Key and newcomer Gail Moors for this upland encounter.

Croquet Handicap League matches are played as one doubles and six singles games and Tony and Gail played the doubles, just managing to edge ahead with fifteen minutes to go, when an unfortunate error let in the Pendle pairing who then took the game.

Meanwhile the two strongest Pendle players were playing singles games, where David Key in sparkling form convincingly defeated the Pendle number two followed by Eileen Gallagher demolishing the Pendle number one, sending Southport in to lunch with a 2-1 lead.

There was no stopping Southport after lunch, the slow wet lawns seeming to favour the Sandgrounders. Tony Thomas despatched the Pendle number one in quick time and David Key maintained his momentum with another convincing win.

Eileen Gallagher determinedly took on the Pendle number two in a tough game from which Eileen emerged victorious. Meanwhile, Gail Moors made a creditable performance in her game, but just lost out against a more experienced Pendle player.

Despite the awful weather, the Southport players sparkled in the mist with some excellent tactical play and large breaks.

Final score, Pendle 2, Southport 5.

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Level Play Golf Croquet League ….Southport v Bowdon Sinners

Southport were hosts to Bowdon Sinners Level Play Golf-Croquet team at Victoria Park this week and things did not look hopeful for the home team when Bowden brought along a minus2 Golf-Croquet handicap player. Southport fielded Alan Farrell as captain, Don Williamson and Ray Lowe, a really useful selection.


Alan Farrell was first victim to Bowdon’s -2 player, Colin Irwin, who started with a big win – 7 hoops to 5. But making his debut for the Southport Level Play team was Ray Lowe. Not only did he beat Colin Irwin in the morning session but went on to secure a further win too.


Alan Farrell redeemed his earlier loss by beating both of Bowdon’s other players and Don Williamson also notched up a win. Southport held a narrow 5-4 lead at the break for lunch.


Discouragingly afternoon play saw the first three games fall to Bowdon, bringing the match level at 6-6. This was a shaky start, but regrouping, the superiority of the Southport team came to the fore to win the last six games. All three home players winning two games each and losing one, to finish the whole match with a winning score of 11-7.

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Southport Super-B and B-Level Advanced Weekend

Lots of regulars plus a number of new faces made for a full complement of 20 players for Southport’s Super-B/B-Level Advanced weekend. The decision to reduce the lower handicap from 1 to 0 succeeded in attracting 4 scratch players. The range of handicaps neatly dividing into two groups of 10.
The winner of the Super-B was Omied Hallam (Nottingham) with 5 out of 5 wins, thus retaining the Mallet Trophy which he won last year. The runner up was Peter Wilson (Fylde). The winner of the B-Level, and the Hawkins Cup, was Bob Burnett (Crathes) with 5 out of 5 wins. The runner up was Nathan Baker (Fylde).
Many thanks to all the Southport club members for their hard work in lawn preparation and the provision of excellent food, and in particular to the manager John Haslam for his usual calm and efficient tournament management.
photos are Omied Hallam, Peter Wilson , Bob Burnett and Nathan Baker
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Midweek Handicap Croquet League….Southport v Bury

Keith Roberts felt compelled to put on a windproof jacket to play in the Midweek Croquet League match in Victoria Park for a day of cloud, rain and only occasional spells of warm sunshine. as captain for the day, he selected John Mawdsley, David Key and Alan Farrell for his team to take on the visitors from Bury.
It was a particularly difficult game against Keith’s first Bury opponent, who was armed with a raft of handicap points, an accurate swing and a ponderous manner of play.
David Key also wasn’t gaining any headway, but on another lawn Southport’s doubles pairing of Alan Farrell and John Mawdsley were making some progress. Alan went on to establish a decent lead for Southport, only to have it overtaken at the end by the doughty Bury duo.
In the afternoon game Keith was matched with Bury’s top player and managed to take his first ball round with an excellent break as his opponent struggled to make an impression. but pressure told and Keith struggled to maintain concentration as Bury’s best took control of the game, going on to win by six points.
John Mawdsley was also finding life difficult as his opponent made a slow but determined gain. But mustering his resources, with a solid come back John managed a well deserved win by three hoops.
David Key’s early afternoon was marked by outbursts of self criticism, telling its own story, and he ultimately finished three points behind. But on the same lawn Alan Farrell was trundlling along well in his game. He had got his act together and managed to pull ahead to win by seven hoops.
Bury left victorious with a score of Southport 2, Bury 5.
Picture shows: Keith Roberts in action.
Keith Roberts Team Captain IMG_9781 (2)
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Overhead shots of the lawns during the festival

link to overhead photos of the club lawns over the weekend of the festival…

just click on the link below


or paste it into your browser  

Or try this as a taster:

Here’s the first 4 hours on the North lawns as a time-lapse video in 15 secs – can you see when it rained?

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North West Federation Festival of Croquet

Croquet players from all parts of the North West came to Southport at the weekend to take part in the Federation’s annual North West Festival of Croquet. Many teams booked accommodation in the town for the even. It was the culmination of weeks of hard work by Southport club members, working in Victoria Park to create a perfect playing surface on Southport’s beautiful lawns for what is believed to be the largest gathering of croquet players in the U.K. 16 Lawns were in play throughout, with 75 competitors.
Teams took part from Bowdon, Bury, Chester, Llandudno, Crake (Lake District), Ellesmere, Fylde, Liverpool, Southport and Westmorland, several teams booking accommodation in the town. The competitions comprised four different forms of croquet, Advanced, Handicap, Short and Golf Croquet and competition was fierce in all types. The players turned out in a rainbow of team colours, with Southport playing in red over their usual match whites.
The sun shone on Saturday play and there was a great deal of friendly banter as people greeted their friends amongst the competitors. But the challenge was real, not even dampened by the rain which plagued the Sunday matches.
Highlight of the event was probably James Hawkins of Liverpool, who made a spectacular opening, driving his second colour through his first hoop from a standing start and proceeding to annihilate his opponent before they could even introduce their second colour onto the lawn.
Southport had many small triumphs when players won games, among them several new members, Maureen Broderick, Bryan Roberts, Esther Jubb and Barbara Nodwell, making their debut in the tournament and gaining some wins.
Sadly, Southport earned no honours in the final awards; Bowdon won the Short trophy, with their squad winning every match in the block stage and later playoffs.
The Golf Croquet event produced a welcome victory for Culcheth, the club have been regular stalwarts of the Golf event but this is the first time they have earned the title, which they did with some solid and consistent play.
Fylde won the handicap singles event and their Peter Wilson and Lee Hartley beat the highly ranked Bowdon team in the Advanced Doubles. Overall, they earned enough points to edge the main title and nudge Bowdon into runner up position, and Fylde won the trophy as overall victors.
It was another great organised event for Southport and Birkdale Croquet Club and for the North West Federation.
Photos show :
(1)     Southport team members watching match progress;
(2)    Fylde team receiving the Tournament Cup.
Report by Kath Thomas
Southport and Birkdale Croquet Club
Victoria Park, Rotten Row, Southport
 Fylde Festival Champions_8947
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Golf Croquet Handicap League

Mary Warren led Southport’s Golf Croquet team to Culcheth at the weekend, choosing Don Williamson as the strong point for her team, with Bryan Roberts and Esther Jubb, two of last year’s promising members giving balance to the selection.

The morning weather began well with really nice sunshine and Southport showed good form, lunchtime scores were Culcheth 2, Southport 5. But rain bucketed down during afternoon play and in the afternoon Culcheth fought back, taking two of Mary’s matches right up to a golden hoop.

But throughout the day, over-all play favoured Southport. Mary won two matches, Don won three and the two new players played exceptionally well, Bryan winning three matches, Esther one.

Final score Culcheth 6, Southport 9

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