With brightly coloured hoop markers pegged like fringes to their pockets, two teams strode out onto Southport’s sunlit lawns like gladiators into the fray. Both teams on level points to take the Golf Croquet league trophy for 2016; the outcome of this match critical.
Mary Warren, captain of the Southport squad added Bryan Roberts to her now familiar winning line up of Derek Lunt, Terry Dunbar and Chris Winnard; a successful trio in recent games and hopes were high that they could repeat their great league win of last year.
Both sets of doubles fell to Southport who got straight down to business, and although the teams were well matched and most of the games could have gone either way up to the final hoop, Southport edged steadily ahead and elated, went in to lunch leading 9 games to 1.
But lunch can bring many changes and from somewhere Llanfairfechan regained their form. If they could win all their afternoon matches they could level the score to a draw, and they began gradually clawing back games.
Southport was facing a very determined afternoon attack, but the advances of morning play stood them in good stead and try as they might Llanfairfechan winning only a further 4 games, could not level the score sheet.
Bryan Roberts had the honour of winning the breakthrough game. A groan ran around the watching spectators as what should have been his final shot wedged in the hoop, giving his opponent chance to crash him out of the jaws. But the chance was lost when the opposing shot ricocheted off the hoop stanchion and the crowd cheered as Bryan completed his game with a winning flourish.
At the end of play there was no doubt that Southport would top the league, although there is still one more match to play before the end of the season.
Final score Southport 13, Llanfairfechan 5.
Pictures show: (1) Terry Dunbar in action (2) Bryan Roberts.