Southport & Birkdale Croquet Club finals winners

To everyone’s relief Sunday dawned bright and sunny, encouraging many Croquet Club members to attend Finals Day in Victoria Park and sunbathe lawnside, joining a cheerful crowd spectating the final games of croquet competitions that have been their sporting preoccupation for most of the Summer season. Eight trophies were being contested and some of the Club’s best players turned out to defend their titles.

New members joined those from last year, to display their newly learned skills in a full competition of Golf Croquet, a whole afternoon of non-stop play as they battled to win the coveted trophy. The winner, Zandra Cardy, commented that it had been a marvellous day, interesting and fun!

Two of the club’s top players, John Haslam and Ray Lowe, played a sparkling game for the Chairman’s Bowl, hard hitting and crowd pleasing, it filled the early afternoon, Ray Lowe emerging victorious with his formidable reputation intact.

A tactical, slow paced game took place between two of the club’s well known team players. Alan Farrell surprisingly beat Tony Thomas to win the American Cup.

Keith Roberts made a spirited challenge against Don Williamson for the President’s Cup, but couldn’t get a really strong grip on the game. Don was on top form, hitting in with confidence and scoring hoops well, he came out a worthy trophy winner.

Brian Kerr won the Level Play Golf competition, which is an advanced form of the game, while Chris Sweeney won the Handicap Golf Croquet.

Late in the afternoon Gail Moors, fresh from winning the 18 Point Trophy, brandished her mallet and went into the attack again against Derek Lunt, last year’s Short Croquet winner. Derek had fought his way again through all the earlier rounds of the competition in the hope of defending his title. The game went full to time with both players evenly matched and scoring hoop for hoop. When time was called there was no clear winner and play continued for another half hour, as they battled with all the cunning they could muster over a single winning hoop. The art is to keep your opponent’s colours well away from anywhere useful and to place your own strategically within the pattern of play. Time and time again they set up a promising break, only to have it demolished in the next turn. But something had to give and Derek just gave a fatal inch which allowed Gail to steal the honours.

As the sun was beginning to fade the watching members gave loud applause for their new champions and retired to the club house for a well earned picnic tea.
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