Croquet players from all parts of the North West came to Southport at the weekend to take part in the annual jamboree known as the North West Festival of Croquet, many teams taking accommodation in the town for the event. It was the culmination of weeks of hard work by Southport club members, mowing and tending their lawns in Victoria Park to create a perfect playing surface for the 20th year that it has been held and the largest gathering of croquet players in the world. 228 games were played on the 16 lawns at Victoria Park, with 78 players accommodated at any one time.
Southport were pleased to welcome back players from the Isle of Man and also members of a brand new club from Tattenhall in Cheshire. Several renowned county and international players were also present for the Advanced competition. Each team played in colours for ease of recognition, Southport sporting bright red tops over their usual whites and making a bright scene on the sunlit lawns.
The competitions were based on several different forms of croquet; Advanced won by Bowdon, Handicap won by Westmorland, Short won by Chester, and Golf Croquet won by Bowdon. Bowden were winners of the over-all championship. Southport only managed to gain second place in the Short competition, but scoring hoops won Southport the championship second place.
Brian Lewis, Southport’s Chairman, said it had been a relief when the sun appeared for the second day’s play as skill levels seemed to lift with the weather. The competition had proved really good with beginner players, also with several members of the public who had called in to watch. Bury members voiced the feeling of the visiting clubs who said they always enjoyed this event and were really delighted with it this year.
Pictures Show: Presentation of Championship Cup to Bowdon Team (On the left – Southport Organiser, Keith Roberts)