Wrest Park

Beds & Herts League 2021

v Enfield (home)     6 July     won 3-1

David Marsh (-1) and John Bevington (1) beat David Frost (4) and Brian Dawes (18) +5

George Collin (½) beat Peter Brock (18) +9

David Marsh and George Collin lost to David Frost and Peter Brock -9

John Bevington beat Brian Dawes +3

It was teams of three as one of Enfield’s players had had to isolate at the last minute, so Bryan Harral, having arrived early and set up the lawns, was able to offer encouragement from the sidelines. We were 2-0 up at lunch, George having won with bisques standing, but the real drama came later. David did a double peel on his namesake but then missed the pegout from a short distance, and, Nemesis being attendant on hubris, was the pegged out himself leaving George stranded at hoop 5. Brian was getting into all sorts of trouble going for wrong hoops or the right hoops the wrong way round, but in spite of this was all set to finish when in front of rover with partner, for peg, by the side of the hoop. He stuck in the hoop which allowed John, for peg and hoop 6, to rush the rover ball to his hoop and get home +3.

v Northampton (home)     3 June     won 5-1

David Marsh (-1) and John Bevington (1) beat James Skelton (1½) and Richard Caine (8) +3

George Collin (1) and Tim Brewer (2½) beat Mike Hills (1½) and Mel Christie (20) +10T

David Marsh beat James Skelton +8

John Bevington beat Mike Hills +20

George Collin beat Richard Caine +13

Tim Brewer lost to Mel Christie -4T

After a year’s abeyance the B&H League restarted on a warm and sunny day with a home win. The diminished number of available AC players meant that the team was closer to a Mary Rose squad than the usual League team. In the doubles John got round but an intended short rush turned into a tempting double which James hit and made up ground. Richard may have suffered from being given detailed instructions which were invariably and confusingly concluded with “Do what you think best” or words to that effect. After a couple of false starts David finished with a rover peel. The singles went 3-1 to Wrest Park, with Tim eventually losing on time having had to give away 17½ bisques.

© Wrest Park Croquet Club  

v Watford (home)     13 September     won 5-1

David Marsh (-1) and John Bevington (1½) beat Simon Hathrell (-1½) and Mark Homan (4½) +8

Bryan Harral (-½) and George Collin (0) beat Geoff Johnson (3) and Arthur Reed (3) +1t

David Marsh beat Simon Hathrell +12

Bryan Harral lost to Geoff Johnson -4t

George Collin beat Arthur Reed +11

John Bevington beat Mark Homan +11

Wrest Park, needing to win or draw against Watford, won the Beds & Herts League for the first time in ten years by winning 5-1. In the doubles David got to 4-back followed by Simon, and John later got to peg with a streaky but effective break. Bryan and George won on time by the narrowest of margins. After lunch Simon and Mark looked well in control, but David (the only team member to have been in receipt of a bisque throughout the competition) and John both rallied to win. George won after pegging out both Arthur and himself to give him a. substantial lead in a two-ball game, but Bryan’s time ran out again. Wrest Park now go through to the EACF Leagues playoff at Watford on 2 October. Our thanks to Bryan for his organisation and inspirational captaincy.

v Letchworth (away)     11 August     won 4-2

David Marsh (-1) and John Bevington (1½) beat Keith Rhodes (3) and John Hall (12) +8 ?t

Bryan Harral (-½) and George Collin (0) beat John Noble (5) and Colin Davies (7) +6

David Marsh beat Keith Rhodes +4

Bryan Harral lost to John Noble -11

George Collin lost to Colin Davies -26

John Bevington beat John Hall +15

David went round to rover almost immediately and ran it some time later. John B then failed hoop 5 giving Keith a break. He went round but declined to peg David out and was then pegged out himself, leaving John H stranded. I don’t think we actually finished before time was called. In the other game Bryan recovered the innings in spectacular fashion when, for 2-back with George’s ball nearby, he ran the hoop from somewhere near the peg with sufficient control to roquet George afterwards.

In the singles Colin won comfortably, and John Noble had pegged one ball out before Bryan had barely started. Bryan had got one ball round but John finally hit. Keith got to rover with both balls before losing to David, and John B, after taking one ball to rover early on, was the last to finish. To Watford next, with an unbeaten record to defend. Thanks to Letchworth for the nice lawns, the coffee, cake and sunny weather.

v St Albans (away)     19 July     drew 2-2

David Marsh (-1) and John Bevington (1) lost to Heather Bennett (2) and Stephen Mills (6) -7T

George Collin (0) beat Roger Bowman (12) +9

David Marsh and George Collin beat Heather Bennett and Roger Bowman +1

John Bevington lost to Stephen Mills -18

Wrest Park maintained its unbeaten record but only after a protracted end game which began with Heather for peg against David for 2-back and George on peg. Heather had been set to finish when she stuck in rover. George then completed an all-round break and pegged Roger out (he had been peeled through rover by David earlier, but this had gone unnoticed for some time). Heather used the remaining half bisque to take position for rover and then ran it.

David and George then embarked on a series of manoeuvres for position while shifting Heather into distant corners. Heather tried everything but failed to hit, and David was finally left with a short rush to the peg.

The morning doubles was strewn with errors on both sides before time ran out, but George won after Roger ran out of bisques, and in the afternoon singles Stephen beat John comfortably with good break play and a final flourish when, for peg and peg, he hit first time from distance in successive attempts. An entertaining match played in great heat. Our thanks to St Albans for their hospitality and to the surrounding trees for providing welcome shade.

Heather Bennett in play during the morning doubles at St Albans, with the tennis courts, cricket field and pavilion in the background.

The teams after the final match against Watford. L-R Geoff Johnson, Arthur Reed, David Marsh, Bryan Harral, George Collin, John Bevington, Mark Homan and Simon Hathrell.