Wrest Park

2023 GC Inter-Club Shield
(the Murphy Shield)

v Newport (home)     13 June     won 4-3

report by Richard Keighley

Evidence of recent heavy rain was apparent on the lawns but bright sunshine and a warm breeze combined to provide excellent playing conditions for this closely contested match.

The morning session left Newport in a handy 2-1 lead. Their doubles pairing of Alex Lake and Fran Lambert were taken to three games by George Collin and Marilyn Robinson but ultimately prevailed.

Michael Tideswell defeated Rod George in three games to score a point for Wrest Park but Richard Keighley was unable to emulate him and lost the deciding Singles game to John Glyn-Davis.

Wrest Park needed to win three of the four singles in the afternoon to proceed to the quarter-finals of the competition. This seemed unlikely when an on-form Fran Lambert beat Marilyn Robinson in two straight games. However hopes were raised when George Collin beat Alex Lake in two games and  Michael Tideswell prevailed over a tiring John Glyn-Davis in three games.

The outcome of the match depended on the result of the clash between Richard Keighley and Rod George. Rod took the first game 7-5 but Richard rallied to win the second game comfortably 7-2.. In the deciding game, Richard built up a 6-3 lead but Rod pegged him back to 6 all and the golden hoop became pivotal. Richard put his ball in the jaws and prevented Rod from dislodging him with a timely snuggle*.

A lively tea party followed what had been a very enjoyable match.

* Snuggle: playing a ball very close in front of an opponent ball. Also Stymie: playing a ball very close behind an opponent ball, and Nestle (said to be a combination of the two).

v Nottingham (away)     10 May     won 5-2

report by Richard Keighley

Nottingham hosted this match in the Preliminary Round when the predicted heavy showers did not materialise until the last hoops in the final game were being contested.  The match score does scant justice to its closeness. No fewer than 10 games out of 18 were decided by the golden hoop.

Nottingham names first:

Cathy Turski (4) and Tom Dewar (5) lost to George Collin (2) and Marilyn Robinson (4) 3-7,6-7

Andy Dixon (5) lost to Richard Keighley (5) 7-3, 6-7, 6-7

Debbie Watson (6) beat Michael Tideswell (5) 2-7, 7-6,7-4

Cathy lost to George 0-7, 6-7

Tom beat Marilyn 7-4, 4-7, 7-6

Andy lost to Michael 7-6, 6-7, 5-7

Debbie lost to Richard 6-7, 6-7

Debbie kindly provided a tasty lunch and tea for both teams to enjoy whilst they discussed the “might have beens” of a match played in a competitive but always good-humoured spirit.

© Wrest Park Croquet Club  

The GC Inter-Club Shield (as opposed to the GC Inter-Club Championship) is the GC equivalent of the Mary Rose in AC. The aggregate handicap of the team must be at least 12 and individual handicaps must be at least 3 although one player may be a 2.

The Wrest Park and Newport teams: l-r Alex Lake, John Glyn-Davis,
Marilyn Robinson, Fran Lambert, Rod George, Richard Keighley,
Michael Tideswell, George Collin

v Ealing (away)     1 July     lost 3-4

report by Richard Keighley

George Collin (2) and Tim Brewer (3) lost to David Graham (3) and Simon Turner (4) 3-7, 7-6, 6-7

Michael Tideswell (4) lost to Fred White-Overton (4) 7-3, 3-7, 4-7

Richard Keighley (5) beat John Hutchinson (10) 7-3, 7-4

George Collin lost to David Graham 5-7, 6-7

Tim Brewer lost to Simon Turner 5-7, 2-7

Richard Keighley beat Fred White-Overton 7-6, 3-7, 7-2

Michael Tideswell beat John Hutchinson 7-3, 5-7, 7-3

Lammas Park, Ealing was the venue for our quarter-final match. The 25-acre park derives its name from “lammas land”- land on which manor tenants could graze cattle after a harvest in medieval times. Lawn quality has since improved and Ealing CC was quick to boast that it is to be a satellite venue for the forthcoming 2023 AC World Championship.

Our team arrived by train (including a ride on the Elizabeth line) and car to face an enthusiastic Ealing team, which included John, a 10 handicap. My antennae were twitching as I was drawn to play him first in a best-of-three singles. I suspected that a banana skin was looming, particularly when John disclosed that he had discovered golf croquet whilst on holiday in Martinique last November on a lawn lapped by the Caribbean. Fortunately I avoided an upset and beat him in two straight games.

Also on our lawn, Michael was facing Fred in a singles match. Fred was a quick- fire player who did not cast and who was prepared to shoot for a hoop from anywhere. Michael beat him in their first game but Fred then had an inspired period of play in which his long-distance clearances and hoop runs enabled him to win the next two games.

Over on Lawn 1, George and Tim were doing battle in the doubles, which went to a decider. At 3-5, their prospects looked bleak but they fought back well to draw even at 6-6 only to be defeated at the golden hoop.

At 1-2 down in matches at lunch, our team knew that it had to win three of the four singles in the afternoon. Michael and I were successful but both George and Tim were beaten in two straight hard-fought games by experienced opponents. Ealing now face the winners of a Branston v Chester match which disclosed a variety of opinions as to exactly where Branston is located.  

Ealing kindly provided lunch and tea and warm hospitality. A talking point at teatime was whether or not this was the first occasion that 2 tribologists* (Michael and John) had faced each other on a croquet lawn.

* Tribology is the study of the science and engineering of interacting surfaces in relative motion and includes the study and application of the principles of friction, lubrication and wear.