The croquet league match season is in full swing now and lawns are playing beautifully thanks to the hard work of our mowing teams, whiteliners and hoop setters.

In our first GC Level Play match of the season we ventured forth to Himley Hall and, for once, were outplayed from the start by the Himley team who were on top of their game and had recruited a new zero handicap player, Tim Brooker. Himley won the first round 3-1 (including two 7-6 wins) and then repeated it again in the second round with two more 7-6 wins during which we were all drenched in a cloudburst. Broadwas were struggling to read the roll on those up-and-down Himley lawns and the scoresheet had turned into papier-mâché!

Round 3 brought some welcome relief when we won 3-1 with two 7-6s in our favour. Round 4 reversed our short-lived success as Himley won the match with another 3-1 win and, finally. The doubles were halved and we had lost 11-7. Hoop count was 108-99 in Himley favour.

Well played Himley, keep up the successful start of this season and your glory days of yesteryear may be returning.

The Himley heroes

After our AC win against Kenilworth to start that campaign we faced Cheltenham at home on 26th May. Roger Wood received 3.5 bisques as he played Cheltenham’s lowest handicapped Darryl Whitehead and must have used them well as he won +11, Ian Dampney gave away 6 bisques to 6ft 7in Brian Gardener and he ran out a +1 on time winner. Meanwhile John G and Stuart played the doubles fixture and completed victory just before the bell 26-11 = +15. Broadwas ahead 3-0 at lunch.

In the afternoon Broadwas lawns continued to confound Cheltenham players but Tony Mason (a new recruit for Cheltenham) played well in beating Ian 17-10 on time. Elsewhere John overpowered Peter Petrie 26-4, Roger won 24-14 having missed his peg out turn and Stuart won 26-15 after eating two bourbon biscuits to boost his blood sugar when it was running low. Overall, 6-1 was an excellent win and John’s handicap was lowered to 5.

Two days earlier Stuart, Roger and Fran Wall had played in the West Midlands Team Croquet Tournament on Edgbaston’s beautiful lawns against the three other top GC teams from 2021 – Kenilworth, Himley and Eardisley. It was great to meet up again with our friends from three other clubs for a fun event that involves reduced length games (best of 9 hoops), Double banking with one team starting from corner 3 and fiendishly complicated rules devised by Paul Robertshaw who was conveniently away on holiday – more of that later!

We had a flying start by winning five of the six games against Eardisley, then four out of six against Himley (who again played very strongly) setting up a decider against Kenilworth who had also won both their first two matches. At this point the captains looked at the rules to see what was needed to effect a win. It wasn’t clear how match pints, bonus points and tournament points related or converted so it was decided just to play the final round and see what happened. Round 1 Broadwas won the singles, Kenilworth won the doubles – Oh! But doubles were worth two points and singles only one so they were ahead. Not to worry we then won the doubles and lost the singles so back to even on this match. So, the final round commenced with 5pm already passed. Stuart played the singles, got called away twice to “referee” and thought that his score was 3-3, however, his opponent (Phil) thought that he was winning 4-2. Neither player could be certain who had won hoop 1 and no clips were being used. The manager decided that a golden hoop should be played which Stuart won so winning the singles 4-3 or losing it 2-4. Did it matter? No, thankfully it didn’t as Roger and Fran had won the doubles and we gratefully received the Robertshaw Cup watched by our tired friends and a few local spectators. We’re hosting next year.

The winners – two of whom seem to be doing a jig
Action on the lawns at Edgbaston