Bowden Firs 5, Southport 2
Captain Eileen Gallagher took Southport Handicap Team to Bowdon at the weekend and was met by a very strong opposition. In the morning doubles Anne Mitchell and Keith Roberts lost to Barry Keene and his partner, two of Bowdon’s prime players. Barry Keene went on to annihilate Carole Lewis, pegging out powerfully in the singles. Eileen looked set to win her singles game having a four ball break set up at one back, but failed in her attempt to join the balls at the peg allowing her opponent to take the game. By lunch Southport had it all to do and needed to win all four afternoon games to take the match. Things looked set to improve when Keith won his singles game and Eileen pegged out to win by nine. Sadly it was not to be. Anne Mitchell played a cliff hanger finish, taking the final challenge to a golden hoop, but her opponent kept his nerve, hit in well and won the game. Southport returned home the losers, Bowdon 5, Southport 2.
Chester 6 Southport 3
Ray Lowe, Carol Lewis and Keith Roberts travelled to Chester on the 4th May hoping to come away with a win. lunchtime came with them finding themselves 2-1 down and Ray Lowe had only just managed to get a win by 1 hoop by hitting a 25 yard ball after time had been called. In the afternoon matches Ray and Carol managed a win each, bringing the result to a disappointing 6-3 to Chester
pictured is Eileen Gallagher ( captain ) looks like the opposition had better watch out!
Southport 5, Pendle 2
Two of Southport’s ladies, Margaret Dalley and Eileen Gallagher ruled the day at Victoria Park on May Day, each winning both of their games against a strong looking team from the Pendle & Craven Croquet Club. Eileen launched her attack by winning her morning game by 21 points, then went on to beat her afternoon opponent, in spite of his low handicap, by 15 points. Margaret showed consistent play throughout the morning for a 5 point win, but upped her play in the afternoon to storm to a splendid 14 point victory.
The rest of the Southport team had their work cut out when Pendle’s ‘bandit’ (good player not yet earned a low handicap) teamed with their best player in the morning doubles game, beating Keith Roberts and Alan Farrell very convincingly. In the afternoon play he then beat Alan by 9 points, but from a huge bisque advantage. But honour was saved when Keith got off to a flying start against Pendle’s No.1, holding on during the middle part of the game before pegging out a 12 point winner against all the odds. Match result, Southport & Birkdale 5, Pendle & Craven 2.
Llanfairfechan 12, Southport 6
Mary Warren led her team of Jenny Mawdsley, Rod Sutton and Chris Winnard into Wales to challenge Llanfairfechan at Golf Croquet. The weather was pleasant and the fabulous views across the Menai Straight could be considered worth the trip, but sadly it didn’t inspire success and Southport returned home the losers with a score Llanfairfechan 12, Southport 6.
Southport 0, Bowdon 9
Oh dear Southport! Things were going so well as the croquet season started, but then the elite of Bowdon descended from their Cheshire Stronghold and everything changed. Advanced croquet is very much their thing and they sent their best to crush Southport. “We were outgunned” said Team Captain, Ray Lowe, we faced a Bowdon squad with handicap levels of minus 1.5 minus 1.and minus 0.5 Southport players could only sit it out and hope for errors, but true to form, Bowdon made none. They left a demoralised Southport with the score Southport 0, Bowdon 9.
Fylde 9, Southport 7
The recent run of Southport’s winning luck against Fylde was broken at the weekend, when the Short Croquet team took their turn to visit Midgeland Sports Stadium. Barbara Haslam, Margaret Dalley, Margaret Flemington and Terry Foster enjoyed a pleasant day of warm sunshine but mixed results. Terry Foster on his first turn out of the season, suffered great disadvantage by his low handicap which allowed compensatory bisques to all his opponents. Barbara Haslam made some compensation for this and excelled, winning all of her games. An exciting finish was provided when she was given an opening just as her opponent had both colours placed to peg out. Barbara took a ball round the green to scoop the game for Southport. Margaret Flemington also played two very closely contested games to win, and another fell to Margaret Dalley. But it was not enough to carry to match and the final score was Fylde 9, Southport 7.
Southport 5, Chester 2
Keith Roberts, Brian Lewis, Anne Mitchell and Peter Bundred were chosen as the Southport Handicap Team to face Chester at the weekend. In brilliant sunshine, but against a background of drums and loudspeakers ringing across Victoria Park from the Extreme Storm event, amazingly they held their concentration to make a very powerful showing. An error of tactics by the Chester Captain during the morning doubles was fully exploited; when choosing to support a weaker team mate instead of building up a decent lead with the bisques in hand, Chester paid the penalty of underestimating their opposition. Peter Bundred played well throughout and achieved a very convincing win in his singles match as well as the doubles, and Brian Lewis also, in spite of several clangs at hoop three, pressed on undaunted to win his match. Southport are showing excellent form at the start of the season and well deserved the end result of Southport 5, Chester 2.
Southport beat Fylde for the second time this week when the Midweek Teams met at Midgeland Sports Stadium, following on from the success of the Advanced team at the weekend. The Midweek team of Tony Thomas, Keith Roberts, Alan Farrell and John Mawdsley were delighted with the result. The morning doubles game was won by Tony Thomas and Alan Farrell, setting the match off to a good start, and was valiantly upheld by Keith Roberts who beat Alan Morton of Fylde. Form held good for afternoon play when John Mawdsley had a fine victory for Southport, followed by Tony Thomas who beat Fylde’s number one player in a nail biting finish. But this was then capped by Keith Roberts who sealed the team’s victory with a golden hoop.
Final score Fylde 2 Southport 5
Three wins in a row against Fylde are a new record for Southport Croquet Club, and there was great jubilation as the Golf Croquet Team emulated the success of the Advanced and the Midweek teams on their visit to Fylde. Don Williamson, Mary Warren, Jennifer Mawdsley and Diana Williamson went to take up the challenge and made a strong attack right from the start. Southport won both of the morning doubles games, Mary and Diana taking their game to a golden hoop. The afternoon suffered slightly from a little rain, but nothing seemed to affect form, Don Williamson taking a formidable 3 singles games and ably supported by the other members of his team.
End score was Fylde 8, Southport 10
In spite of a dreadful winter, Southport croquet lawns are in superb condition thanks to the efforts of members and this weekend they were the setting for the first big tournament of the year. Expert players came from the whole British Isles to take part, from as far as Wales,Scotland, Ireland and Cornwall, bringing very entertaining play of a very high standard to the club. The tournament was won by Mark Ormerod of Dulwich and runner up was Keith Aiton of Nottingham.