Wrest Park

GC Western Area League 2017

reports by Richard Keighley

v Northampton Hoops (away)     14 August     drew 9-9

The final League match was against Northampton Hoops on the notorious sloping lawns at St Andrew’s Hospital. The team comprised Roy Bradbury, Terry Collis, Tony Meredith and Richard Skidmore. It ended in a draw, 9 -9.

Captain Roy was in no doubt as to the “Man of the Match”.  He reported: “I know that Richard will underplay an outstanding display by him. Terry, Tony and I were just bit part players who could not cope with a forest of extra shots which we had to face in every match and we could only manage to win one singles each. Richard won all four of his singles which enabled us to force an honourable draw. Indeed, the hoop count for both teams was identical (102-102)

Wrest Park finished with a League position of 5th. Two heavy defeats were compensated by a win, a draw and a narrow loss against strong opposition. The full league table can be seen on the EACF website.

v Watford (away)     27 July     lost 8-10

A team comprising Roy Bradbury, Rob Chatwin, Terry Collis and Richard Skidmore travelled to Watford to face opponents who were League leaders (and eventually Area winners). A spirited performance by all was not enough to prevent defeat by 8 games to 10.

v Leighton-Linslade (away)     3 July     lost 2-16

Calamity had struck Leighton –Linslade when a groundsman had unfortunately confused a bag of weedkiller with a bag of fertiliser at the beginning of the season. Lawns 1 and 2, which are challenging at the best of times, presented as an unattractive patchwork of bare patches. Playable but visually distracting.

An almost equal calamity struck our League team which found itself at 0-14 in games after one round of Doubles and 3 rounds of Singles.  Games had been closely contested but our players had been unable to record any victories. However, both George Savage and Tony Meredith won  their games at the golden hoop in the final round of Singles which gave the match  scoreline a touch of respectability.

As always, Leighton-Linslade were excellent hosts. Four gazebos had been erected in their newly-fenced courts. These protected their members kindly acting as scorers on all 3 lawns, although it was not necessarily a joyous experience to be constantly reminded of the scores!

Team: George Savage (6), Tony Meredith (8), Terry Collis (10), Susan Savage (10)

v Stony Stratford (home)    26 June     lost 5-13

For this match the range of handicaps for each of the teams was identical, but unfortunately this was not reflected in the match result of 5-13. The total hoop count was also 112 to 91 in favour of Stony Stratford.

However, it was good to welcome back Susan Savage (10) to the team, and she excelled by beating  Stony’s  two players with the lowest handicaps. Richard Keighley also won two singles games but was pipped 6-7 in both his others. Tony won one singles game but was unable to recapture his form and Terry had a day he would rather forget.

Keith and Eileen Palmer turned up to support the team and Keith kindly helped to manage the match and act as scorer throughout.

Team: Richard Keighley (3), Tony Meredith (8), Terry Collis (9), Susan Savage (10)

v Northampton Mallets (home)     14 June     won 11-7

A warm sunny day with a light refreshing breeze created ideal conditions for the first League match of the season. The Mallets fielded a relatively inexperienced team with handicaps of 14, 14, 11 and 6. The format is one round of doubles followed by 4 rounds of singles.

The match  was all square after each  round and  the score stood at  7-7 as the final round commenced. A fierce team talk by the manager (but more likely the imminent prospect of cake) caused our team members to win all 4 games, and a match result of 11-7.

Special mention to Tony Meredith and Rob Chatwin who won all 4 of their respective singles games. Tony’s handicap was lowered to 8 and Rob had given away no fewer than 25 extra shots in total.

Team: Rob Chatwin (4), Richard Skidmore (5), Tony Meredith (9), Terry Collis (9).

© Wrest Park Croquet Club