Wrest Park

EACF AC Leagues play-off 2 October

Home if not dry - the Newport team with the President’s Cup. L-R Chris van Essen, Fran Lambert, James Brind and Andrew Gregory. Also in the picture are Duncan Hector (dark jacket), Terrey Sparks (by the window) and Gabrielle Higgins and Simon Hathrell (nearest camera).

© Wrest Park Croquet Club  

The winners of the three EACF AC Handicap Leagues met at Watford on Saturday 2 October for the play-off to decide the winner of the Chairman’s Cup and the chance to represent the EACF in next year’s Secretary’s Shield competition. The order of play is pre-planned, the only element of chance being the draw to decide which team is A, B or C. Doubles in the morning and singles in the afternoon, with time limits of 3¼ hours.

In the doubles John and Richard were in receipt of six bisques, an unaccustomed luxury. Terrey and Richard had both made progress before John used a bisque to take a 3 ball break to penult, leaving Gabrielle alone near corner 4. She failed to hit in and later John was able to use the remaining bisques to peg out. In the other game Bryan pegged Andrew out but not long afterwards Fran, for rover, hit in and finished. At lunch each team had won one game.

John Bevington (1½) and Richard Keighley (12) beat Great Dunham’s Gabrielle Higgins (-1½) and Terrey Sparks (3½) +16

Bryan Harral (-½) and David Woolley (8) lost to Newport’s Andrew Gregory (2) and Fran Lambert (10) -8

James Brind about to run hoop 6 during his first break in the singles.
Note the misplaced corner flag!

In the afternoon the rain got going in earnest and continued for the rest of the day. Duncan made good use of his bisque to beat Bryan and David lost to Peter Ross. James Brind made an early break against John, who was lucky enough to be close by when James failed a couple of hoops which allowed him to make progress. However he then made a schoolboy error when, with three balls near 4-back, he “formed a picture”, ran the hoop in the wrong direction and got no further. Richard, with five bisques, stuck to his task impressively and eventually won +4 on time (23-19). It was perhaps no bad thing that John lost. Had he won (unlikely but not impossible) each team would have had three wins and there would have been a tie-break, a prospect that, given the conditions, certainly did not please.

Bryan Harral lost to Duncan Hector (½, Great Dunham) -12

John Bevington lost to James Brind (0, Newport) -8

David Woolley lost to Peter Ross (14, Great Dunham) -25

Richard Keighley beat Chris van Essen (7, Newport) +4t

Final result: Newport 4 wins, Great Dunham 3, Wrest Park 2

Congratulations to Newport and a big thank you to Simon Hathrell, who combined the roles of manager, groundsman, caterer and gatekeeper.