Super-B and B-Level events at the Southport & Birkdale AC Advanced Weekend

Sixteen players gathered for the Super-B and B-Level weekend at Southport & Birkdale Croquet Club. The manager, John Haslam, split the field into two blocks of eight, trialling a novel format for those contesting the Super-B: a Swiss format with best of 3s in each round with ad-hoc time limits at manager’s discretion, and a more conventional single game Swiss format in the B-level event.

Conventional wisdom suggests that players enjoy frustrating the best plans of any tournament manager. True to form, three of the four Super-B first round matches went the distance, with only Kevin Carter (Surbiton) showing enough quality to win in straight games, and was rewarded by an extended period on the bench by the manager’s side, whilst the others tussled in the Southport afternoon sun. The experimental format was swiftly abandoned mid-afternoon for the conventional single game, and Kevin again made light work of his next opponent, beating Brian Kerr before Eugene Chang (Sheffield) had even started his second Swiss round. Sunday morning saw both scratch players unbeaten, but Kevin’s challenge faded as the Nottingham contingent of Martin Beacon and Clive Goode, cheered on by their partners and fellow spectators, both edged close games against him to bolster the trophy hopes of their ‘fellow’ Northerner/East Midlander (ahem!!). Notable mention should go to Chris Martin (Edinburgh Meadows), playing south of Hadrian’s Wall for the first time, who came second despite being the joint highest handicap in the Super-B.

The B-level event saw rapid improver Nathan Baker (Fylde), in only his second season of advanced play, edge out Barbara Haslam (Southport) in the effective final, with seasoned warrior Jerry Guest (Chester) coming second by virtue of having played an extra game.

There was light entertainment throughout the tournament provided by the adjacent Southport Radio Car Club, hosting a race meetup for the Off Road National Series with regular loudspeaker announcements proclaiming the exploits of racers Dominic Nun(n?) and Eugene, leading to much amusement amongst the AC tournament regulars in attendance.

Some other highlights for the reporter included:

  • a cash prize in an envelope for winning (does that qualify him as a croquet pro?),

  • the bonus sunshine on Sunday,

  • the camaraderie from local members and spectators,

  • the excellent lunch and teas provided by the members (sadly not to be taken for granted in croquet clubs around the UK these days),

  • the discovery that Southport & Birkdale CC have a permanent webcam with live internet feed onto their main lawns, available for members to see who is playing and decide whether to join in! Surely this should be introduced at all good clubs around the country?

To those reading this article who have not visited Southport & Birkdale CC before, what are you waiting for?

Top of the pile


Eugene Chang (Sheffield) 4/4, 1 TP

Chris Martin (Edinburgh) 3/4


Nathan Baker (Fylde) 5/5

Jerry Guest (Chester) 4/5


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Southport Advanced Croquet v Pendle

On Sunday the Southport Advanced B Level Croquet Team enjoyed their first win of the season away from home at Pendle.  This was a closely fought battle, with Southport edging it to win 3 – 2.  Barbara Haslam produced a wonderful performance, winning her first game convincingly +17, and  going on to win her second game with John Haslam also winning his single match to ensure the win for the team.

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Golf Croquet v Bury

Southport All Ladies Croquet Team joint top after a great Victory  

At Victoria Park on Saturday Southport’s all Ladies Handicap Croquet Team beat Bury Ceasars 5 – 2 to go joint top of the North West Federation League.  The morning may have brought showers but the ladies won the doubles and one of their singles games, losing just one.

The afternoon brought the sunshine and Southport ladies continued to shine as they dominated proceedings, winning three more single games and losing just one. This was another winning performance from the team of Carol Lewis, Gail Moors, Barbara Haslam and Pauline Rooney.  Captain John Haslam is confident they can continue their good form, and go on to win the title.

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Golf Croquet v Culcheth

Southport’s Golf Croquet Success Continues

Captain Mary Warren’s Golf team celebrated another massive win at home to Culcheth.  Enjoying another glorious sunny day, playing on the immaculate lawns at Victoria Park they welcomed their opponents.   The successful team of four: Terry Dunbar, Tina Kelly, Derek Lunt and Chris Winnard produced a wonderful display of croquet.  They evidenced great skill and composure as they outplayed their opponents winning 15 and a half games to 1 and a half.  Derek Lunt said they have the league in their sights, and hope to go on to win again to make it three years on the run.

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England win the AC Home Internationals ( staged at Southport & Birkdale Croquet Club )

England win the AC Home Internationals
Following heavy overnight rain, the start of this year’s Irish-hosted Home Internationals at Southport was delayed due to significant puddles on all five courts.  Ongoing drizzle (with intervals of heavy showers) kept them topped up, so the usual all-play-all format was amended to a knockout format.  The randomly drawn semi-finals were:
*       England v Wales
*       Ireland v Scotland
Play finally got underway at 11am on court 5, with court 4 becoming available later in the day.  The wet conditions made some play heavy going, with one of the first matches being an eight-hour epic, which Jane Morrison won for Ireland (-5 +13 +23).  A quick 13-minute TP in the fading light by Simon Williams over Campbell Morrison (+26 +23tp) gave Ireland their test win 3-1. (Martin Murray having won the single point for Scotland).  The England/Wales test was further behind, with England having an overnight 1-0 lead (Christian Carter beat Garry McElwain +18 +18tp), and only one other game completed (James Hopgood leading Chris Williams +4)
There was no further rain overnight, and Sunday morning revealed three playable courts.  This was enough to start all remaining first round matches.  England won all games played against Wales, to win the test 3-0.  At this point (~11am), all games in play were abandoned in order to start the next round.  All five courts were now playable, so all 20 players were . Courts 2 and 3 had dried sufficiently for all matches to be started.
*       Final: Ireland v England
*       3rd/4th place play-off: Wales v Scotland
These two matches were one-sided affairs, with Scotland and Ireland winning only three games between them before Wales and England won their matches to take 3rd and 1st place respectively.  Play finished at around 5pm, as initially planned, allowing everyone to stick to their travel plans and the manager to claim that everything had been under control all along.  Danny Johnston, on behalf of the Hosts, Ireland, presented the Frank Cooper trophy to England Captain, David Maugham.
match report by Samir Patel
photos show
1 England team
2 Ireland team
3 the presentation
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2017 JUNE Newsletter

2017 June Newsletter

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2017 May Newsletter

2017 MAY Newsletter

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left picture shows the finalists Paul Rigge and James Hawkins

top right Don Williamson congratulates the runner up Paul Rigge

bottom right Don Williamson presenting the winners trophy to James Hawkins


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2017 April Newsletter[1]

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2017 Beginners Course announced

There is a come and try it weekend coming up on 6th & 7th May ( 10am -4pm ) followed by a beginners course starting on 8th May ( 7pm )

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