On Monday 22nd August 2022 the Broadwas team of John Guy, Stuart Smith, Ian Dampney and Roger Wood started a busy week in their defence of the West Midlands Association Croquet League title knowing that a couple of good results would help them retain the title.

The Monday match was away at Church Stretton where the home team, knowing they had a chance of winning the league, put up a very strong team of Brian Christmas (h/c 4), John Knowles (4), Robin Trew (8) and Simon Nicol (11).

In the morning session the Broadwas players had trouble with the lawns which were quite bare in parts but had patches of clover in other areas making it difficult to judge the pace. The doubles pairing of Stuart and John G were beaten 17 – 12 by Brian and Robin; Roger went down 7 – 17 to Simon but Ian beat John K by 26 – 20 including a superb 10 hoop break early on in the game.

So lunch was taken with Broadwas 2 – 1 down, and the clouds were forming leading to some showers in the afternoon.

These showers kept changing the pace of the lawns during the afternoon session which involved 4 games of singles. Results were very mixed with Stuart losing to John K 11 – 26; Roger losing to Robin 8 – 26; but Ian beat Simon22 – 8 and John G beat Brian 22 – 19 in a very tight game. This meant that Broadwas lost the match by 3 games to 4 but gained a ‘losing bonus point’ as they only lost by 1 game. This was vitally important as it meant that, should Broadwas win their last game they would win the league.

And so, three days later, John, Stuart and Ian (handicaps 5, 4.5 and 8 respectively) set off for Eardisley with everything to play for. Only a victory would do. Eardisley could only raise a team of 3 – Tony Johnston (h/c 7); Brian Shorney (11) and Jen Johnston (14) so this meant that in every match the Eardisley players had lots of bisques.

This proved important in that, half way through the morning session, the Eardisley players were ahead in all the matches. Tony stayed ahead to beat John 17 -14 but, in the other games, as the bisques ran out, the Broadwas players hit back. Stuart beat Jen 21 – 14 and Ian overcame Brian 18 – 14. So, 2 – 1 to Broadwas at lunch.

In the afternoon sessions the clouds had dispersed and the sun was out meaning the temperature on the lawns was increasing in more ways than one. Again the Eardisley players used their bisques to get ahead in all the matches. Tony again managed to keep his lead to beat Stuart 19 – 10 but John and Ian were fighting back once the bisques had run out. John overcame Brian 22 – 17 and Ian fought back from 2 – 16 down to score the next 18 points and win 20 – 16. So 4 – 2 to Broadwas who were also awarded an extra point for running most hoops so the final score was recorded as 5 – 2 to Broadwas.

SO BROADWAS RETAIN THE WEST MIDLANDS ASSOCIATION CROQUET LEAGUE TITLE. Congratulations to John, Stuart, Ian and Roger and also to Gill Brookes who played in some of the earlier games but had to stand down later in the season due to surgery. John Guy 27/8/22