Roger Carpenter, Tony McCann, Nigel Martin and Dave Parsons travelled to York on 15 June to play Branston in the first round of the Murphy Shield, eventually winning 6-1.
Branston, a new club entering the competition for the first time, were a tougher nut to crack than the score suggests. Roger and Nigel lost in two games in the doubles, but after that we won the remaining six singles with the majority of the matches going to the third game in the best of three game format.
York was chosen as a neutral venue, being about half-way between the two clubs (Branston – nothing to do with the eponymous pickle – is a village just outside Lincoln). York gave us warm weather and fast greens for a good day out.
In the next round we play the winner of Ashby v Wrest Park.
We start our 2021 Murphy Shield campaign against Branston (near Lincoln) who are a new club to the competition. The match is scheduled for Tuesday 16 June to be played at York.
Following the club closure due to Covid-19, we are pleased to announce that the club is re-starting on Monday 27 July 2020, in albeit restricted circumstances.
We are following the guidelines issued by the Croquet Association and are operating under a number of restrictions imposed on us by Durham County Council.
This means that the number of players is limited and we will have no use of the pavilion (although the public toilets will be in operation).
Our equipment will be removed from the pavilion on Sunday 26 July and a member will be responsible for bringing what is required on any given playing day (still Monday, Wednesday Thursday and Saturday afternoons).
We shall be playing on the single lawn divided into two long narrow courts as in the past, but to start with only 8 players will be able to play on any day due to the requirements of social distancing.
At this time play will only be available to club members, and if you wish to play you will have to contact the nominated play-day manager to book a slot. Members have been sent the relevant contact details.
We hope that we will be able to increase the playing numbers to 12 once things have settled down and we see how things are progressing.
Following the relaxation by the Government of the rules for dealing with the pandemic, the Croquet Association issued guidelines that would allow the playing of the croquet under strict conditions.
Unfortunately the Council, who own the lawns, have stated that they will not yet allow them to be used (although they are being maintained). So, regretfully, we are unable to start playing again.
This seems to be a common theme for clubs whose lawns are owned by local councils, but there are others in the NorthEast for which this is not the case. Croquet North is consulting clubs on their intentions and will announce how things stand when the information has been gathered.
With regret we find that our lawns will not be accessible until further notice and so club playing activities have had to be suspended.
Competitions run by the Croquet Association and Croquet North have been postponed/cancelled until at least the end of May.
In the national Inter-Club competitions, we have been drawn against Belsay in the preliminary rounds of both the main Inter-Club competition and the Murphy Shield. We are again representing Croquet North in the Federation Shield where we are due to play Phyllis Court. The deadline dates for these matches were due to be in May, but have been put back to early July.
Our playing activities for 2019 have now ended following the lawns at Chilton being closed for winter maintenance. As usual we are very grateful to the Auckland Club for allowing us to play there after the lawns at Chester-le-Street closed in mid-September.
Following the difficult summer of 2018, the lawns at Chester-le-Street have not been in the best of shape this year, but following promised from the County Council, we are hopeful that they will be in good order for the 2020 season.
We are seeing an eye on them over the winter so it was pleasing to see that they were scarified at the end of September, which was going to be the first thing in the regeneration of the lawns this winter.
It was a gripping final Division 1 match against Belsay at Chester-le-Street on Saturday 7 September. The winner would win the Division 1 title and in the case of a draw Belsay would be ahead of Durham on games won, and it was still possible for Alnmouth to end up champions if they beat Middlesbrough in their final game by a massive score.
Things were looking good for Belsay at lunch, however, with them leading 6-3, but Durham came back to being only 7-8 down with the final round of games to play and needing at least 2 wins and a draw for victory.
In the end, Durham won all three of the final games to win the match 10-8 and the Division 1 title for the second year running.
Congratulations to Andrew, Dave, Roger and Tony for an outstanding result against a very strong team.
So Croquet Durham ends the year with both the Division 1 and Division 2 titles. Many thanks to everyone who represented us in our 2019 competitive matches.
With the season drawing to its close, the first of the internal championships has been decided, with Susan Martin winning the Division 2 Club Singles Championship.
In the end it was a close contest, with many matches going to 12 or 13 hoops. Susan and Libby both ended up winning three of their games, so the championship was decided on net hoops, with Susan prevailing by 5 hoops. Many congratulations to her.
Our second division team completed their fixture list on the last Saturday of August with an away match at Exhibition Park in Newcastle playing Tyneside.
The team of George, Ken, Susan and Tony won the match 13-5 to complete a season where the second team won all their matches to comfortably win Division 2 of the Croquet North Golf Croquet League.
Many congratulations to them and to everyone who has represented the club this season.
Our second team of Katherine, Richard, Susan and Tony won a very narrow victory by 1 game over Bamburgh on Friday 23 August to put us in an unassailable lead at the top of the Division 2 league table with 4 wins out of 4 and one match to play.
The match had been postponed from a week earlier due to horrendous weather in Northumberland which made travelling down to Chester-le-Street too hazardous at that time.