What a wonderful weekend it was, sunshine, close cut sweeping green lawns in the park and croquet with a gentle scent of the sea. Teams came from all over the North West to join in the 21st annual Festival of Croquet at Southport’s Victoria Park, playing on 10 full lawns and 6 short lawns; beautiful lawns, carefully mowed and cared for by the club members for weeks in advance. The sun shone throughout, and the lawns shimmered with the colour of bright tee-shirts in the various team’s colours.
Over 100 people were present each day as 30 teams battled it out in 286 games, playing Advanced, Handicap, Short and Golf Croquet in the joyful challenge to find Best of the North West. Teams came from Bowdon, Bury, Chester, Craig Y Don (Llandudno), Crake (Lake District), Fylde, Isle of Man, Southport and Westmorland to take part. This is one of the largest croquet gatherings in the world and a great experience for croquet players at all levels; a master-class in croquet and was enthusiastically attended by novice players from all teams. Playing in the Festival for the first time, were 6 from Southport, Terry Durrance, Brian Bostock, Chris Winnard, Gail Moors, Gordon Melville and Jan Mort.
John and Barbara Haslam, regular Advanced Team players flew in from America in time for the competition, whilst Gail Moors, a Southport member won two of her Short Croquet games, playing in her first Festival and was enthusiastic in her praise of the event, saying that it was a wonderful experience.
The challenge of the event was softened somewhat by the joys of meeting and greeting past friends and opponents, compensating for the hard work put in by Southport’s members, their groundsmanship and catering efforts. But when the final scores were totalled sadly Southport once again only achieved 3rd place for the Festival Cup. Advance Shield went to Fylde, Handicap Shield to Fylde, Short Shield to Bury, Golf Shield to Chester and overall winners of the Festival Cup were Bury. ( TEAM BURY SHOWN BELOW )
more pictures to follow later