A wonderful croquet weekend under blue skies, but despite a cooling breeze, sun cream was still the order of the day for players as the 24th North West Federation Festival of Croquet took place in sunny Southport over the weekend of 23/24 June 2018. Displaying a kaleidoscope of colours, about 100 players attended on each day, representing ten clubs from all over the North West – especially welcome were the team from Stonyhurst College, making their debut at this unique tournament.
The lawns were in excellent condition thanks to the weeks of work by Don Williamson and Terry Dunbar who prepared 17 beautiful Courts. The infamous North Lawns played well and are now even envied by some clubs. The catering team, led by Margaret Flemington once again excelled. Early each morning, Southport members turned out in force, to ensure hoops, chairs, balls, pegs, coffee, etc. were all ready for the visitors. Thank you Southport.
The Festival needs a fair bit of complex planning to ensure we have two days of croquet action – thanks to Liz Wilson for all the administration and a big thank you to Abdul Ahmad, who made a welcome return to Southport to manage the Festival with great efficiency.
The tournament enabled players of all abilities to participate and standard of play ranged from sheer brilliance to the ‘must practice more’ standard, but played in a great sporting atmosphere where advice and help was freely given but fierce competition was still evident.
In the Advanced Doubles, Fylde Croquet Club, once again took the title beating Bowdon in a final knock out match.
In the 18 Point Handicap, Bury emerged as the victors winning four of their six matches, closely followed by Westmorland and Chester.
The Short Croquet honours went to Chester winning five of their six matches and just edging ahead of Bowdon by a few games.
In the Golf Croquet event, Crake Valley were clear winners being victorious in eight of their nine matches, followed by Llanfairfechan and Westmorland.
The final twist to an excellent competition came when all the scores were suitably weighted and compared, the overall champions by a very slim margin were declared as Westmorland.