Southport & Birkdale Croquet Club

Victoria Park, Rotten Row, Southport, PR8 2BZ

Notice of Annual General Meeting

Friday 27 November 2015 at 7.30 pm

at the Old Church Hall, Emmanuel Church,

Cambridge Road, Southport, PR9 9PR

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Croquet Handicap League…Southport v Chester

It was glorious weather for the very last league match of Southport’s croquet season.

The Southport Croquet Handicap team with Carol Lewis as captain, supported by Gail Moors, Eileen Rossiter and Brian Kerr, were at home to Chester, a strong team in the league.The morning doubles were successfully negotiated, Carol Lewis and Gail Moors won in an excellent partnership. It was Gail’s first game in the Handicap league where, having shown great promise and following success at Short croquet, she was in natural progression to become a full lawn Handicap player.Carol went on to win a further singles game, the only success of the afternoon, but the Southport squad could make no further impression on the visitors and Chester cheerfully departed as winners – the score Southport 2, Chester 5.

picture shows Gail Moors in her first handicap team match


Gail Moors aligining her shot


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Southport and Birkdale Croquet Club Finals Day

Finals Day Winners 2015 1st Years Finals Day Golf Comp 2015





Every year as the croquet season approaches an end, all Southport club’s internal competitions culminate in Finals Day, a day when the most successful players compete for the honour of annual trophies, and some players compete for several.


In bright morning sunshine spectators were sympathetic as David Key lost to Gordon Melville in the 18 Point competition, after a ding-dong battle which took them into extra time Gordon took victory as he won the vital last hoop.


The President’s Cup fell to John Mawdsley who was on sparkling form. Tony Thomas made a single error which let John into the match and he was away, hoop after hoop in excellent style, leaving Tony sitting beside the lawn with no room for a comeback.


Meanwhile, Jennifer Mawdsley proving that there was more than one able player in the family was giving David Key his second defeat of the day, 10-8 in the Short Croquet final. But things were all set to change in the afternoon.


A unique part of the Finals Day is the 1st/2nd year Golf Croquet competition and as usual this proved to be a great competitive encounter in a friendly spirit, but giving the tensions of competitive croquet for the first time. Leaders Bryan Roberts, Roger Fieldhouse and Terry Dunbar, finished with a three way knockout final, a thrilling encounter where Terry Dunbar remained undefeated to win his first club trophy.


The golf Croquet final saw John Mawdsley on the lawns again, this time facing Derek Lunt, fresh from his team’s success in the regional league. Golf is played best of three games and with every hoop a major challenge the first game ran almost to time, Derek using his last bisque to align his shot and taking the last hoop with 7 seconds to go, winning the first game 7-3.


A larger crowd was gathering as David Key played his final match, which was against Margaret Flemington in the 14 Point final. With massive concentration he was feeling their support as his confidence returned, gradually gaining hoops to finally peg his colours out 14-3 to the loud applause of the crowd.


Meanwhile, the second Golf Croquet game had started between John Mawdsley and Derek Lunt. Derek showed the lead all the way, with great skill and accuracy to win the second game 7-3. This gave him the best of three games he needed to win and waltzed off the lawns on a dancing high; the conclusion of a great season for him.


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Southport Golf League Winners

Southport Golf Croquet team finished their season in a cloud of champagne glory at the top of their league in a final game this week. Rod Sutton, team captain, led his squad to the lawns at Levens Hall to take on Westmorland and Mary Warren, Derek Lunt and Chris Winnard joined him in a spirit of jubilant confidence, determined to finish their spotless record on a high


It was a day of mixed weather, but showers didn’t dampen their spirits and the match went their way right from the start, with Southport winning both morning doubles and Chris Winnard adding yet more wins in both of his morning singles, sending the teams in to lunch with Southport 6-4 to the good.


The afternoon also glowed with success. In spite of some early tough play, Mary Warren, Chris Winnard and Derek Lunt swept all before them, each winning both of their singles games and giving Southport overall victory at 12-6. The explosion of delight on the lawns was overpowering and their hosts cheerfully joined them in their champagne celebration.


Other people who have turned out for Southport Golf Croquet team this year are Maureen Broderick, Jennifer and John Mawdsley, Tina Kelly, Gail Moors and Tony Thomas, ten people who have played for this team and have maintained an unbeaten record throughout the season. SBCC Chairman, Don Williamson, commented “We have a really good team this year which includes some of our newer members and the club is justly proud of them.”


Derek Lunt, Rod Sutton, Mary Warren and Chris Winnard Celebrate Top of Golf Croquet League.

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Croquet Association Eights Weekend…Chaimans Weekend

Don Williamson (right) presenting Chairman's Salver to winner James Hopgood




Spectacular play was the order of the day on the Victoria Park croquet lawns at the weekend. Eight of the country’s top players were selected by the Croquet Association to play at Southport and contest the very prestigious Chairman’s Salver. This is played in a series of 56 games over four days and at a very advanced level. Southport’s Don Williamson was tasked with the organisation of this complex event.

For four days, a crowd of members avidly watched the seemingly impossible manoeuvres by the expert players. Matt Holmes the popular brewer from Ramsbottom has often played at Southport before, as has Ian Lines – an English international. Selected with them were two Scottish internationals, James Hopwood and Duncan Reeve, two Welsh internationals, Chris Williams and Ian Burridge, Marcus Evans another English international and David Goacher ,who has won the salver four times in the past, made up the eight.


Many styles of play were in evidence throughout the four days; Ian Lines with precise layout and manipulation, Ian Burrage thrilling the crowd with powerful hits at high speed, almost bouncing as his ball ricocheted round the hoops, and the slow and cautious winning play of David Goacher, meticulously setting out his break.


Ian caused a gasp from the crowd as he powered his ball from one end of the court to another to successfully knock his opponent’s ball out of the jaws of the hoop. Welsh international Chris Williams earned a roar of applause from the crowd as he drove both his colours in a triple peel through the last three hoops of his game to win at the peg. Fast play of a very high order.


The final deciding game on Sunday saw scoreboard leaders, English international Ian Lines and Scottish international James Hopgood meet in a battle of wits and great skill for the honour of the salver. On tournament form James was the favourite, but Ian made him fight for every single point. Control of the game went to and fro and could have gone either way. Ian forged ahead late in the game, but then missed a roquet letting James in, whereon James manipulated Ian’s colour and pegged it out, leaving Ian with only one remaining and no manoeuvrability. The end was then inevitable, giving a well earned win to James.


Southport’s lawns were highly praised throughout the competition and were a credit to the efforts of the club’s members. It was also an eye opening event for new members of the club, who were enthusiastic in praise of the talented play they witnessed. A very worthwhile weekend.


photo show club chairman Don Williamson presenting winner James Hopgood with the chairmans salver


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Croquet Handicap League…Southport v Fylde

Southport Croquet Handicap Team was at home to Fylde at the weekend. Fylde are currently at the top of their league and tipped to be this year’s winners.

John Haslam captained the Southport team and selected Eileen Rossiter with Carol and Brian Lewis – an experienced squad, to take up the challenge of this tough match.

John has been a non-playing captain for the whole season to date, making his tall presence a rare sight on the lawns at Victoria Park and he was indeed a saving grace for Southport against these top visitors; two of whom came with a daunting allowance of bisques to counterbalance any errors they might make in play.

It was a beautiful day on the lawns and Southport got off to a flying start wading through the sea of bisques to win the morning doubles and John Haslam won one of the singles games, making a lunchtime score of 2-1 to Southport.

But the opponents’ high bisque status had a draining effect on play in the afternoon, with three games lost, only John Haslam holding his own and achieving a win. Giving 29 away but refusing to be swamped by the sheer volume of free chances that the bisques afforded Fylde, John hauled them down one by one to finish with a win at the peg.

But in spite of these skilful wins, Fylde showed Southport just why they were top of the league and left triumphant at the end of the day,

Southport 3, Fylde 4.


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Croquet Handicap League…Birkdale v Bowdon St Mary’s

On what was forecast to be the warmest day in the North West so far this year, Birkdale Croquet Handicap team welcomed a strong representation from the region’s strongest club Bowdon. True to their reputation, Bowdon St Mary’s team included a County Class (-1½ handicap) player and three others with good competition handicaps.

The morning never quite met the anticipated weather forecast but the match results did.  Birkdale’s double’s pair Margaret Dalley and Captain Keith Roberts, never really looked like winning despite having 6½ bisques/advantage.  Bowdon’s senior player managed his partner to good effect, easily outscoring Keith’s contribution.

Meanwhile, Alan Farrell was put to the sword by their No.4 who had a great accuracy and range of shots that would have done credit to a player with half his handicap.

The morning rested on Birkdale’s Tony Thomas who was playing Bowdon’s No.2 and after a see-saw match where each fought hard for the lead, Tony eventually came through +1 on time
giving Bowdon St Mary’s a lunchtime lead of 2 : 1.

The teams re-emerged to a darkening sky and that eerie air quality that presages a storm. Tony was now matched against their ‘A Class’ Captain, and Keith, as No.2 was to play the opponent who gave Tony a hard time. Alan had made a slow start to the day and now conceded 4 bisques/advantage in his game, but he was finally in the groove and steadily accumulated hoop points to win by 12.

But it was Margaret’s turn to play Bowdon’s accurate hi-handicap player and struggled from the start. Despite a decent break in mid-game, Margaret never really had a chance to make an impact.

Keith, however, at long last showed some of his early season form and made a couple of breaks which put him well ahead of his dispirited opponent to win by 17 points, levelling the match at 3 – 3.

The end of play was under black skies, heavy rain and thunder, with an alarming drop in temperature. But none of this had any effect on our gutsy Birkdale team, least of all on Tony Thomas, who battled through for a good win, pegging out their excellent captain to claim a spectacular win +1 on time.

A magnificent effort all round – Birkdale 4 – Bowdon St Mary’s 3.


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Croquet Advanced League

Another great day on the wonderful Southport lawns in Victoria Park and the Southport Advanced team took on a very strong team from Fylde. Captain Barbara Haslam selected Don Williamson and Tony Thomas for this local derby. Three players per team and the match consists of one doubles and four singles.


In the morning play, Don Williamson showing excellent form secured a great win against the Fylde number one. Meanwhile the doubles pairing of Barbara and Tony just lost out in a closely fought encounter, to give a lunchtime score of 1-1.


After lunch, Don continued his excellent form to defeat the Fylde number two, putting Southport ahead by 2-1. However, the Fylde number one avenged his morning defeat with a victory over Barbara Haslam to level the match at 2-2. In the remaining match, Tony Thomas was having a close encounter with the Fylde number three and the lead kept changing between the players. But with time running out, Tony Thomas managed to get a winning break to take the game and secure the match for Southport. Final score, Southport 3 Fylde 2.


Picture Shows: Don Williamson at the peg.

Don Williamson at the peg

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Croquet Handicap League…Birkdale v Bury Peelers

The middle of August but it wasn’t warm and Southport croquet Handicap League team turned out for a home match against Bury Peelers, starting the match with an assortment of fleeces and windproof jackets, sometimes both!


Bury brought a strong quartet of players, but croquet is a Handicap game which means any equalities should work out close in the end and Southport’s lawns have never looked or played better.


On the show lawn in the morning doubles, captain Keith Roberts and Margaret Dalley used their bisques well to stay in touch with the game for a while, but their opponents’ senior player put an unassailable break together which proved the difference. Meanwhile on the second lawn, John Mawdesley and Alan Farrell also benefitted from the handicap rules and were able to play with confidence winning by 16 points and 9 points at the peg and giving a lunchtime score of 2-1 to Southport.


After lunch the sun made a welcome appearance and as befitted summer, outer layers were removed. But results were still very mixed. Keith Roberts was soundly beaten by Bury’s No.1, while on the same lawn Alan Farrell won by a large margin.


The real excitement was on the show lawn where with 15 minutes to go, Margaret Dalley appeared comfortably placed, and John Mawdsley was level but perhaps not confident. Perversely, at the end of game Margaret lost by a single hoop whilst John won by two, giving Southport the match,

Birkdale 4, Bury Peelers 3.

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Golf Croquet League…Bury v Southport

Southport Golf Croquet team consolidated their lead at the top of the North Western league this week, with a 15 – 3 win against Bury.

Although Bury have not moved up from the bottom of the league this year, Captain John Mawdsley was taking no chances and selected a powerful team: proven achiever Jennifer Mawdsley, accurate striker Derek Lunt and reliable player Chris Winnard, taking their challenge into Lancashire.

The morning doubles went all Southport’s way, as did many of the singles and as the rain began at lunchtime Southport found themselves 9 – 1 up on their Bury opponents.

Most of the Bury team carried high handicaps giving them a great bisque advantage, but this could not deter the Southport squad. Jennifer Mawdsley went on to win two of her games and Chis Winnard won a further three.

But stars of the match were Derek Lunt, demonstrating his powerful and accurate long shots in some long runs, to win all of his games and John Mawdsley who was also unbeaten, made some spectacular manoeuvres with jump shots to bypass colours occupying hoop space.

Southport returned home winners with the score Bury 3, Southport 15.

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