Overhead shots of the lawns during the festival

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

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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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Midweek Croquet Handicap League ….Bowdon Earls v Southport

Congratulations are due to Southport Midweek Croquet Team for a really great team effort and tremendous away win against the powerful Bowdon Earls. Keith Roberts was the captain for the day and selected John Mawdsley, Alan Farrell and Gail Moors, a promising player from last year. To win 5-2 at Bowdon is a fantastic achievement – one to tell your grandchildren about.

Alan and Gail played the morning doubles game, locked in a dire tussle against a Bowdon pair who had missed their chances and squandered their handicap points early in the game. John Mawdsley, on top form at the moment, played impressive croquet and busily accumulated points against Bowdon’s No 1 player, whilst on the same lawn Keith, after a good start, began missing 10ft roquets.

Predictably, John won, while Keith lost to Bowdon’s third ranked player. Alan Farrell and Gail Moors meantime had lost a decent lead when time had been called. Alan played Southport’s last turn before lunch and made what could have been a nervy ‘rover’ hoop look easy. The rain which had persisted all morning had stopped and the lunchtime score was 2-1 to Southport.

In the afternoon on the top lawns, John again controlled his game and came out a 19-point winner, but Gail was facing another Bowdon ‘bandit’ and never really got going. Meanwhile, Keith and Alan requested a switch to Bowdon’s best lawn and were each rewarded with handsome victories – Keith beat Bowdon’s best by 11 hoops and Alan beat their No 2 by 7.

Southport left victorious; the match result was Bowdon 2, Southport 5.

photos show Gail and Keith in play

Gail Moors  in action

Keith Roberts Lines up a shot

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Handicap Golf League…Southport v Bury

Handicap Golf Croquet captain, Mary Warren, was confident of the quality of her team when they met visitors Bury North for their latest league match in Victoria Park.


Derek Lunt, Terry Dunbar, Jennifer Mawdsley and Chris Winnard are all seasoned players and determined to repeat the league success of Southport’s Golf Croquet team last year.


Lunch saw the match well in their favour, leading six games to one. Rain began at lunch, but even that could not dampen their enthusiasm.


Derek and Chris won three games each and Jennifer two – taking one game against Bury’s captain, Jean Oldfield, to a golden hoop. But man of the match was Terry Dunbar, who won his four games on hoops.


Bury retired defeated, the score Southport 12, Bury North 5.


Picture shows: Terry Dunbar winner of the day.Terry Dunbar

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Croquet Handicap League…Southport v Bury Peelers

Meanwhile, in Victoria Park, the very experienced team of John Haslam, Alan Pidcock, Brian and Carol Lewis were no match for an exuberant team from Bury. Only John Haslam secured a victory in the morning play.

The excellent quality of the Victoria Park lawns seemed to favour the Bury players who took full advantage of the ‘extra turns’ granted by their high handicaps, causing the Southport team an uphill battle all day.

Final score Southport 1, Bury Peelers 6.

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Croquet Handicap League

Southport Croquet Handicap teams seemed lulled into serenity by the wonderful weekend weather; the Birkdale team were heavily defeated in South Cumbria by Crake Valley, whilst the Southport team were surprisingly well beaten in Victoria Park by Bury Peelers.

Crake Valley play in beautiful Lake District surroundings at Greenod, the views totally captivating as the Birkdale team struggled all day in the summer sun. Captain Keith Roberts gambled his team selection by mixing experience, himself and Tony Thomas, with the youth of inexperience by including two players making their debut – Gail Moors and Shelda Roberts.

Only Tony Thomas managed to carve out a victory in the mornings play, sending the teams into lunch with Birkdale trailing 2-1. But despite spirited and promising performances from the debutants in the afternoon, the team were no match for the skills of the Lakelanders and returned home with a 6-1 defeat.

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May Jubilee Tankard Handicap Tournament

LR 2016 Eileen Rossiter Jub HcpThe May Jubilee Tankard Handicap tournament was blessed with sunshine, wonderful lawns and first class catering. Two blocks of six played over the 3 days and produced several close finishes. Handicaps ranged from 2.5 to 20.
The final between Rena Souten (Huddersfield) and Eileen Rossiter (Southport) was a very close game and only decided in the last turn.
Eileen won by one on time.
photo shows Eileen being presented the trophy by Chairman Don Williamson
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Level Play Golf League

Another memorable day this week in Victoria Park. Under blue skies and on beautiful manicured lawns, Southport Level Play Golf Croquet team faced an impressive team from Fylde. For the Southport team of three, Captain Alan Farrell selected top player Don Williamson and the improving John Mawdsley. The match played as 18 singles, all play all twice.


In morning play six of the nine games went right to a deciding hoop. With a high level of skills on display, the match ebbed and flowed throughout the day as both teams played exciting croquet.


Southport started the stronger team and took an early lead, but Fylde fought back hard and secured a slight lead. As the teams went into lunch, Fylde were leading 5-4.


Fylde continued to dominate after lunch to increase their lead to 7-5, but Southport stepped up the pressure. With Don Williamson in sparkling form and John Mawdsley finding his touch, Southport pulled another game back to take the match into the last round with Fylde now only leading by 8-7.


With determination, Williamson and Mawdsley both won in the final round to give Southport the lead at 9-8 and leaving the remaining game on a knife edge. Southport needed to secure the victory or would Fylde would draw the match.


Captain Farrell entered the final game against the best Fylde player. It was a game of high tension; both players were scoring hoop for hoop to remain level pegging until, with the very last hoop of the day, Farrell ran the hoop that mattered to give Southport a great 10-8 victory.


On Sunday June 5th members will be holding a celebration in games in Victoria Park for National Croquet Day.


A beginner’s croquet course is being held every week in Victoria Park. Further information can be found on the club website www.southportcroquet.org.

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Midweek Handicap Croquet League….Southport v Fylde

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.


Picture shows, John Mawdsley leaves a puddled lawn.John Mawdsley leaves a puddled lawn

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