The day dawned wet and bleak, requiring a very early morning lawns inspection in Victoria Park by Southport’s Midweek Croquet League captain Tony Thomas. Tony optimistically declared the lawns playable and Fylde started their journey to Southport. Meanwhile the heavens opened again and it was touch and go whether play would be viable.
At 10.00 am the teams took to some very puddled and squelchy lawns where it was just about possible to knock a ball from corner to corner. Fylde are a very strong side, their two leading players being two of the best in the North West. For Southport’s team, Tony Thomas selected the tactical genius Carol Lewis, plus the experience of John Mawdsley and David Key.
Morning play was interesting as players attempted to avoid the wettest parts of the lawns. Tony Thomas was just beaten by the Fylde number one player, but David Key secured a good win. Meanwhile, in the doubles game, Carol Lewis showed great tactical awareness to restrict opportunities for the Fylde pairing and secured the vital victory, sending Southport into lunch leading 2-1.
Meanwhile the weather took a turn for the better and with the lawns rapidly improving in the afternoon sunshine Southport maintained their good form, with each player developing good breaks to keep their Fylde opponents at bay.
Tony Thomas secured a good win against the Fylde number two, followed by Carol Lewis defeating the Fylde number one player in a game of high skills and good hoop running, securing an unbeatable team lead of 4-1.
With confidence high, David Key successfully battled his way round the lawns followed by a final flourish from John Mawdsley who achieved a truly clinical win.
Final score Southport 6, Fylde 1. A well deserved, if unexpected victory.
The club is currently running a beginners course for people wishing to learn to play croquet and contact information is available on the club website.