On Wednesday 19 June, Roger, Peter T, Arthur & Tony travelled down to Nottingham to play Ealing in the quarterfinals of the inaugural Federation Shield competition, as representatives of Croquet North.
In the end we won 4-3, but nails were very short by the end. We won all three morning games, but then struggled in the afternoon against opponents who were much more experienced in playing handicap games.
In the end Roger won his match and we progressed to the Semifinals, where we wait to see who our opponents will be.
Our competitive winning streak came to an end with a resounding 6-1 defeat to Belsay in the first round of the main Inter-Club knockout competition.
The team of Dave, Nigel, Peter T and Roger travelled up to Belsay on Wednesday 5 June to face Phil Errington, Ian Hunter, Eric Nixon and Robert Nixon, on lawns that had not been mowed in some time, and which made hitting shots at distance extremely difficult.
Nonetheless we enjoyed a good welcome for Belsay and, in spite of our losses, most matches went to three games.
So our national competition interest remains with the Murphy Shield, where we will be playing Camerton and Peasedown (from Bath!) in the quarter-finals on 9 July, probably in Nottingham, and in the new Federation Shield where our first match is against Ealing on 19 June, again in Nottingham.
We entertained the Belsay Castle team on 1 June at Chester-le-Street in our first Division 2 League match of the season, winning comfortably by 16 games to 2.
The team was Anne, Madeleine, Susan and Tony. This was Tony’s first competitive match after joining the club in April.
As we were unsure whether the bowlers might want their green later in the afternoon, the format was altered so that all the 12 singles games were played before such by double-banking on both lawns. The doubles were then started in the afternoon again using both lawns but with the option of moving to double-banking on a single lawn if required.
In the event, light rain wet in during the afternoon, and no bowlers turned up before we finished around 2.45 pm.
Many thanks to our opponents for a good match and to various of our members for providing cake and refreshments.
One innovation has been the use of ropes to delineate the boundaries of the two lawns, which has proved to be a great improvement.
While we are able to mark the hoop and corner flag positions on our lawns, we don’t do it on the bowlers’ lawn, but by marking the boundary rope at appropriate points and moving a secondary marked rope across the green we can locate the correct positions very quickly now.
A new page dedicated to interesting videos has been added to our web site, in the drop-down menu under “The Game”.
The first addition there is a 55 minute YouTube video from Reg Bamford entitled “Croquet – The Mental Game”
We played our first league match on Saturday 25 May, a Division 1 fixture against Middlesbrough, winning 11½ – 6½.
The Durham team of Peter Tymms, Nigel Martin, Dave Parsons and Derek Barron had a great morning session and were 6 up by lunchtime. Things got much harder in the afternoon, however, with the visitors pulling one back to leave Durham with a win by 5 matches.
Up to the last hour the weather was very good and the lawns were fast. The experiment of using rope for the boundary on the bowlers lawn worked very well.
Many thanks to everyone who took part and for excellent the cake and biscuits provided by Susan Martin.
We are drawn against Camerton and Peasedown Croquet Club in the quarter finals of the Murphy Shield. The match is to be played by 14 July.
As our opponents are based near Bath(!), we are likely to be playing on neutral ground somewhere around half-way between us both.
After a pleasant drive across the Yorkshire Moors, the Durham team of Peter Tymms, Nigel Martin, Dave Parsons and George Cansino arrived at the Pendle lawns in Early, to a warm welcome from the Pendle and Craven Club team.
Before the lunch break lunch, Peter & Nigel won the doubles and Dave his singles match to leave the score at 2-1. In the afternoon singles Peter, Nigel and George all won their singles matches, to leave the final score at 5-2 to Durham.
While all the matches were completed in two games, competition was nonetheless tight with more than half of the games going to hoop 12 or 13.
The day was rounded off with some excellent hospitality from the Pendle Club in the form of afternoon tea for all.
After success in our preliminary round match against Nottingham we are now drawn against Pendle who beat Ripon 6-1.
We played Pendle last year at Chester-le-Street, so in all likelihood the match will be away this year. It is due to be played by 9 June.
Our team of Roger Carpenter, George Cansino, Dave Parsons and Nigel Martin travelled to York on 26 April to play Nottingham in the Preliminary Round of the 2019 Murphy Shield competition.
After a very close match where the preponderance of games went to hoop 12 or 13, we prevailed 5-2.
Weatherwise, the morning was bright with sunny intervals, but while we were leading 1-0 at lunch time thanks to Dave, the doubles and the other singles were both tied one game each.
As forecast, the weather worsened slightly in the afternoon with a few light showers, but things progressed steadily in the croquet and we finally prevailed. Detailed scores were (handicaps in brackets):
Roger (2) & Nigel (3) beat Cathy Turski (4) & Bob Thompson (4): 7-6, 5-7, 7-3
Dave (4) beat Andy Dixon (9): 7-4, 7-5
George (8) lost to Particia Duke Cox (5): 7-3, 6-7, 6-7
Roger beat Cathy: 6-7, 7-5, 7-5
Nigel beat Bob: 7-6, 6-7, 7-4
Dave lost to Patricia: 7-5, 6-7, 6-7
George beat Andy: 7-6, 7-6
Many thanks to everyone who took part and to York for providing excellent facilities for the day.
We are entered into three national GC Club competitions: The Inter Club, the Murphy Shield and the Federation Shield. The last is representing Croquet North having won the Croquet North League in 2018.
In Croquet North, we shall be again entering a team into each of the two CN GC League divisions.