Wrest Park

Anderson Shield 2024

v Newport (home)     13 June     won 4-3

Eric Audsley (1) & Peter Aspinall (11) beat Cliff Jones (2) & Alex Lake (9) +3

Peter Rothwell (6) beat Chris van Essen (8) +25

Tim Nurse (8) lost to Max Byfield (6) -2

Eric Audsley lost to Cliff Jones -4

Peter Rothwell beat Max Byfield +18

Tim Nurse beat Chris van Essen +1t

Peter Aspinall lost to Alex Lake -11

report by Tim Brewer

This was our first match in the Anderson Shield (an AC Handicap Advanced competition). The shield that is presented to the winning club was originally donated by two former Wrest Park Croquet Club members – Tom and Judy Anderson. Originally the Shield was presented to the winner of the East Anglian regional ‘inter-counties’ competition which ceased to happen in 2012. The competition was resurrected in its current form in 2022. The match is played between East Anglian clubs with Advanced play rules (lifts at 1 back and 4 back for each ball, plus some other rule subtleties) but with bisques.

In the doubles Peter A stunned the opposition by playing a break round to 4-back, but Eric could not run a hoop so eventually the opposition were on 4-back and peg.  Another miss by Eric at hoop 5 left red next to the peg and the opposition decided to peg it out.  Careful hiding by Eric left Cliff with either a very long shot or no shot at all and despite Cliff getting his ball into 4-back from a distant boundary he, luckily for us, then missed a shorter shot and we won by 3.

Eric and Cliff had similar issues in the afternoon singles and with both on peg and penult, Eric managed to blob penult four times from inches away, before Cliff finally ran it.

Peter R’s morning match against Chris was much more closely fought than the scoreline suggests.  Chris’s ball positioning made it very difficult for Peter to pick up a 4-ball break so he adopted a strategy of making hoops when he could with three or sometimes just two balls, minimising the risks and often choosing to retire with a good leave rather than being too aggressive, all the while being conscious of the two bisques available to Chris. This tight control approach proved effective, giving Chris few chances and aided by him missing a couple of relatively short roquets when attempting long rushes and failing to take full advantage of his bisques.

In Peter R’s afternoon game, both players were on the cusp of the index boundary, the prize for the winner would be a handicap reduction to 5.  Both players made mistakes during breaks, and both rescued a poor hoop approach with a jumped hoop shot from an angled position. Eventually Peter got his first ball round to peg and set a rather steep but good diagonal leave with Peter’s balls near corner 4.  Max missed the lift from B-baulk and Peter then set up a 4-ball break spoiled only by the fact that he set up to approach 1-back when the ball was in fact for 2-back!  His despair when he realised his error was made worse by the fact that he had made a similar mistake in a previous match after which he had resolved to “always check the clips at the start of every turn”!  As often happens, this sound advice deserted him in the heat of the battle, so the chance for a winning turn was missed.  Max took advantage of the error, hit in, set up a 4-ball break and was taking one of his balls round with the potential to peg out Peter’s forward ball, but then he broke down at 1-back when his hoop shot was hampered by his partner ball which had been rushed almost, but not quite, into the jaws. This handed control back to Peter and not long afterwards, he got going with his back ball and completed the win.

In Tim’s morning game against Max Byfield, Tim progressed to peg and peg after Max had taken his first ball to peg, only being able to complete the rover peel posthumously and not having a pegout shot; whereupon Max went round from hoop 2 with his second ball and pegged out, winning +2.

Tim and Chris’s final game, with the match level at 3-3, went to time.  With time imminent and two ahead, Tim decided to split himself up.  Unfortunately, this allowed Chris to join up in the first corner with a rush towards his hoop, so when time was called, he had no other option than to go for (and make) hoops 2-back and 3-back using a two-ball break, leaving all the balls wanting 4-back.  Chris decided to lay up almost in front of the hoop leaving Tim an 8-yard shot.  Tim missed, Chris missed the hoop, Tim joined up with his other ball, Chris shot at them and missed, Tim rushed his ball to the hoop, but a back take-off failed to travel far enough to run the hoop, so he now laid up in front. Chris missed the roquet and Tim finally ran 4-back giving victory to Wrest Park!

Colchester are our next opponents at Wrest Park sometime in July. Thank you, team, for a great effort!

© Wrest Park Croquet Club

v Colchester (home)     15 July     won 5-0

John Bevington (½) & Peter Aspinall (11) beat Georgeen Hemming (4½) & Celia Pearce (10) +2t

Peter Rothwell (4½) beat Jill Waters (4½) +19

Tim Nurse (8) beat Al Brown (4½) +2

John Bevington beat Georgeen Hemming +6

Peter Rothwell beat Al Brown +24

Tim Nurse v Jill Waters abandoned

Peter Aspinall v Celia Pearce abandoned

The weather at the start was pleasant enough, but the rain began late on in the morning necessitating the erection of a gazebo near lawn 4 in readiness for the afternoon games. The rain relented for a while, but when it reappeared with the match won and two singles games still unfinished it was agreed to abandon these in favour of tea and the chance for our visitors to make an early start home.

In the doubles on lawn 1 John and Peter were ahead but Georgeen and Celia fought back and were a point ahead when time was called. Celia went to peg out her own ball and let out a cry of anguish when she realised that the shot had missed, but, even worse, had ended up on B baulk near corner 3 with a lift due. John was able to make penult and rover and peg out his own ball for a +2 win.

Peter had a comfortable win, but Tim and Al’s game was much tighter with Tim finally winning +2

Tim Nurse about to peg out against Al Brown. Note the clips on the peg and the yellow clip on Tim’s right-hand trouser pocket. Photo by Peter Rothwell.

In the afternoon Peter continued his good form, conceding only nine points over his two games, to give us a match-winning 4-0 lead. John beat Georgeen after finally making the last two hoops at the third or fourth attempt, and with that the match was concluded. We now face a long wait for the final, with the opponents, date and venue still unknown.