the new season starts on Sunday 30th march
try to get down at some time in the afternoon for a game of croquet( weather permitting)and afterwards there is to be a jacobs join with a nice warming cup of tea
PLEASE NOTE….there is a spring cleaning of the club on Saturday 22nd March
if have a spare hour, your help would be appreciated…..please don’t leave it all to the usual people…..many hands make light work as they say
Following a recent debate on the decline of formal dress at Southport and Birkdale Croquet Club, the first meeting of The White Tops Group took place in Victoria Park this week. Seven determined members met in icy cold conditions, braving wind
and driving rain to make their point and all sporting the requisite white
tops. Taking the opportunity to extend their knowledge of various forms
of croquet, care had to be taken not to damage the saturated lawns during this
extraordinarily early start in the year. Time will tell if the move
proves popular, gathering more support as spring approaches. Meanwhile,
anyone braving the elements in the winter park may catch a glimpse of the White
Tops Group on Thursday afternoons
Southport Challenge in Longman Cup Final
The Longman Cup is a prestigious national knock out croquet competition and Southport had a great achievement by reaching the final stages played at Surbiton last weekend – Saturday was semi-finals day with the final on Sunday.
The Southport team of four experienced players, Carol Lewis, Tony Thomas, Brian Lewis and Alan Farrell, turned out in determined mood. In glorious weather, Southport fielded their squad on some of the best lawns in the country in the Semi-Finals against the pride of Midlands croquet – Nottingham. This proved to be a tough match with every game hard fought. In a closely played doubles game, Carol and Brian Lewis just lost out to a very good Nottingham pair, whilst on the other lawn, Alan Farrell played with amazing skill for the first win of the match. Tony Thomas felt the full power of the opposition, falling behind early, to thankfully claw his way back into the game to give Southport another win by one point. Lunchtime score Nottingham 1 Southport 2. In the afternoon singles games, Brian Lewis failed to contain his Nottingham opponent as the sides drew level 2-2. But Tony Thomas had a good win to restore Southport’s lead at 3-2. The remaining singles games were nail biting affairs with players giving their all and no one could sustain any advantage. But with time running out, Alan Farrell achieved the critical break out to produce the vital win. Meanwhile Carol Lewis with almost the last turn of her game came from behind to secure another glorious victory. Final score a flattering 5-2 win for Southport against excellent opponents, putting Southport into the Longman Cup final.
With high hopes Southport took to the lawns again on Sunday to play Woking in the final. Woking surprised Southport with their strength and skilled play, being a team of experience and rising stars. Despite Southport playing good croquet, the talent of the Southerners showed, as only Alan Farrell could salvage a win in the morning session and Woking secured a 2-1 lunchtime lead. Southport discussed tactics over lunch and felt the match could still be turned around. But this was not to be, as Woking turned up the pressure in the afternoon with formidable croquet, which Southport could not counter and failed to secure a further win all afternoon. Final score: Woking 6 Southport 1 – a deserved win for a superb Woking team. A big disappointment to Southport but there was still the pride of reaching a national final, and receiving a trophy for being runners up.
Victoria Park was bathed in late summer sunshine as Southport Croquet Club finished their league season in style. In the Short Croquet league, Southport took on one of the strongest sides in the North West – Bowdon, . In Short Croquet, the game is played on a half size lawn with teams of four, every player playing each other over four rounds. Southport team of Carol Lewis, Brian Lewis, Jean Nolan and Freda Smithies soon realised how closely matched the sides were. In the first round, the scores were level at 2-2, and honours remained even over the second round giving a lunchtime score of 4-4. After lunch, Southport seized the initiative in the third round to edge into a 7-5 lead, but this was short lived as an excellent Bowdon team showed their experience and took the forth round 3-1 to give an overall match score of Southport 8 Bowdon 8, with Jean and and Brian winning three games each. The Southport Short team have now finished their season finishing a creditable second in the North West league.
Birkdale clashed with Bury in a titanic battle which belied their low league positions. Captain Alan Farrell selected a nicely balanced team with Tony Thomas, Ian Goulden and David Key, but was surprised by the strength of the Bury squad. In morning play, David secured an excellent victory, followed by a narrow win in the doubles pairing by Tony Thomas and Ian Goulden, to give Birkdale a 2-1 advantage by lunch. But in afternoon play David could not contain the strong Bury number three, who levelled the match at 2-2. The Birkdale number one, Tony Thomas and Bury number one staged a thrilling encounter, the match advantage changing to and fro, but in a game which could have gone either way, Bury just edged ahead to give them a 3-2 lead. With no time to draw breath, Ian Goulden delivered a high quality win to level the match 3-3. All eyes now focussed at the far lawn where captain Alan Farrell had edged in front by four hoops. But time was running out and as the Bury player gained the advantage it looked ominous for Birkdale. However, a poor shot let the Birkdale captain back into the game, Alan held his nerve and was able to deliver a vital win just as time was called. Final score Birkdale 4 Bury 3.
Southport and Birkdale Croquet Club
The sun cream had to come out again for Finals Day at Southport Croquet Club in Victoria Park. This is the day when all the internal knockout competitions reach a triumphant end and the winners are awarded trophies. The Chairman’s Cup attracted a crowd of spectators as it is always a treat of advanced play by the top players of the club. This year it was battled out by John Haslam and Professor Alan Pidcock. After gaining an early advantage the whole game was dominated by John Haslam, who proceeded to peel both colours through together in an elegant demonstration of how the game should by played. It began to look as though he would win the game without his opponent striking a ball, but at the penultimate shot a frisson of excitement caused a momentary lapse of concentration and John replayed what should have been a dead ball. There was a groan from the crowd as he threw open the whole game. Professor Pidcock was quick to exploit the opening. But there was little chance of the Professor gathering together a useable break and John soon recouped his position and made an impressive peg out to the applause of an appreciative crowd.
The results were:
President’s Cup – Don Williamson beat Ian Gouldon
American Cup – Alan Farrell beat Tony Thomas
Chairman’s Cup – John Haslam beat Professor Alan Pidcock
18 Point Match – John Mawdsley beat Ian Goulden.
Southport 13, Bury 3
the Short Croquet team enjoyed a brilliant end of season match against Bury. Captain Freda Smithies led out her team of Anne Mitchell, Jean Nolan and Eileen Rossiter to win for the second match in succession. In an amazing result, Anne, Jean and Eileen won all four of their games, Eileen taking two to the peg. After an enjoyable days play the jubilant team were highly pleased to finish the season with the score
Southport 13, Bury 3.
Sixteen Advanced croquet players competed for The Sandiford salver this weekend in Southport’s Victoria Park, with the roar of The Air Show overhead. As well as local players, challengers came from Hurlingham, Fylde, Bowdon, Crake, Tyneside, and Middlesborough. Spectators were treated to some excellent croquet battles. and despite the spectacle of the Red Arrows, Spitfires and a Lancaster Bomber performing in the sky above them, there was an extremely high standard of croquet on excellent lawns, including a spectacular straight quadruple by Dave Nick – two balls at once through four successive hoops. Mindful of the worsening weather forecast, play continued until 8pm and two players emerged top of the leader board – Phil Scarr (Middlesborough) and Mark Ormerod (Hurlingham) – Phil hitting in and winning a game by the light of the clubhouse security lamp! Sunday dawned wet and windy to the news that the second day of the Air Show had been cancelled and the match leaders made a very early start before the storm broke. By lunchtime, in torrential rain, Phil Scarr emerged as the tournament winner. The lawns were left to the seagulls and everyone hurriedly departed in a howling gale.
Chester 3, Birkdale 1
Another game that was a victim of the bad weather was the Chester – Birkdale Croquet Handicap match. Alan Farrell took Birkdale Handicap team of David Key, Ian Goulden and Jean Nolen to Chester. In view of the weather forecast it was decided to scrap the usual doubles game and press right on with the singles. A good decision. By lunchtime the wind and rain brought a halt to play and the match had to be abandoned and decided on the morning scores. Unfortunately, these were not in Birkdale’s favour and they conceded defeat: Chester 3, Birkdale 1.
Bowden 13, Southport 5
Southport Golf Croquet team travelled to Bowden for the last match of their season. Mary Warren, Michael Culshaw and Eileen Rossiter are all experienced Golf Croquet players and they were accompanied by a promising new player, Gail Moors, making her debut for the club. Gail was put straight into play, a good tactical move providing a high bisque player to accompany Mary Warren in the morning doubles. Michael Culshaw won two games, taking all of his games to time and one them to a golden hoop. Mary also won two games and a golden hoop, whilst Eileen achieved a further win. But Bowden were the more skilful team on the day and Southport left defeated 13-5.