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 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.
We played High Wycombe in our semi-final at Nottingham on Thursday 29 August losing narrowly four matches to two.
The team of Anne, George, Peter, and Tony fought what turned out to be a close match, although it didn’t start off so well as we lost both the doubles and one of the morning singles (the other singles being paused at one game apiece).
After lunch we came back to win two of the four matches but lost the other two with the last one going to a third game which was only lost 5-7.
With the tie already decided it was agreed unnecessary to complete the other morning single.
Thanks to everyone who took part in the competition which is in its inaugural year, especially since its design will almost certainly involve travelling away for matches.
The annual John Cotes Trophy competition (named after our club’s founder) was played on Thursday 22 August, starting under cloudy skies that steadily cleared through the afternoon.
The eventual winner was Nigel Martin, who defeated last year’s winner, George Cansino in the semi-final before prevailing in a tense final over Arthur Brewster – the first hoop taking 12 minutes to complete.
The winner of the Plate competition was Peter Timms, who defeated Susa Martin in the final.
Many thanks go to everyone who took part for a really enjoyable afternoon, made even better by the excellent provision of very tasty home-made cakes!
Our third visit to play Bishop Monkton in a friendly match took place last week and for the first time we prevailed by 111 hoops to 99 in a seven round series of 30 minute doubles matches where each player plays with each of their own team and against all but one of the opponents twice.
For once in this rather wet August, the weather stayed good and we all enjoyed the usual excellent hospitality of our hosts.
We look forward to entertaining them back at Chester-le-Street next year.
In a close match against Tyneside Hunters at their Exhibition Park greens in Newcastle, Durham prevailed by the closest margin of 9½-8½.
The Durham team of Nigel, Dave, Tony and George, gained and maintained a steady lead so that by lunchtime, they were two matches ahead, and it continued the same way until after the fifth round of matches Durham were four ahead with three to play. Tyneside then came back to win the final three matches, and make the score more respectable from their point of view.
Many thanks to Tyneside for their hospitality and friendly reception.
The Division 2 match against Bamburgh that was to have taken place on 10 August was called off the night before due to horrendous weather in North Northumberland. In the event, the weather at Chester-le-Street was not very bad, but it did contuse to cause major problems further north.
The match has been rescheduled for Friday 23 August at Chester-le-Street.