Garway v Broadwas – AC South West Federation Clash

A triumphant leap by John Guy during his winning game against Brett Watkins. (Image: Stuart Smith)

Report by Stuart Smith

Garway Croquet Club hosted the Broadwas AC Team recently in their first ever home fixture, way down in the country beyond Ross-on-Wye close to the Welsh border.

Road closures upset our AC team’s timing a bit, but John Guy managed to navigate his way through single track lanes that sported long grass growing down the middle of the road. Thankfully no traffic was coming the other way!

Garway have one daisy-covered lawn on the local common and a second lawn some 10 minutes’ drive away. Stuart elected to visit the “second” lawn and was paired against Brent Watkins. Having done so he found that the lawn was in Brent’s garden! Giving away six and a half bisques in addition didn’t bode well.

Meanwhile John and Ian Dampney set off on the morning doubles game on the club’s lawn on the common.

Stuart started brightly with an eight hoop turn but Brent immediately hit back with solid turns using bisques wisely to regain control of the balls and make steady progress hooping immaculately. Stuart had plenty of time to look at Brent’s lovely garden and enjoy a cup of tea listening to the call of a nearby Common Redstart. End result was 26-15 to Brent using his golf handled croquet mallet – you have to see it to believe it.

Returning to the common, it was clear that Garway were in charge of the doubles. Although Ian made a good break he needed to go all the way to peg on his final turn to potentially take the game. With the lawns being very slow, it wasn’t likely to happen as there was always a problem with under-hitting. That game ended 14-10 to Garway.

Garway Croquet Club’s picturesque second lawn – located in a members’ garden. Image: Stuart Smith

Following lunch in the sunshine, Stuart returned to the garden lawn to take on Simon Collinson, a 9-handicap player. Perhaps he didn’t know Brent’s lawn as well as Brent did! Fat chance! He took a bisque to set up a substantial break including a peel on partner ball and raced into a strong lead. After two hours the game was over 26-10 to Simon and we returned to the common, 3-0 down. Better news there – Ian had a good lead having been quickly off the mark with his first ball and John was also ahead with both his balls on the back leg.

Andrew Bailey then started to haul Ian in as time was running down and just pipped him 19-18. A whitewash was looking possible unless John could beat Brent. It was a relief when the timer went with John having pegged out one ball and leading 25-20. He had one last turn and would surely shoot at an opponent’s ball from distance to try for a roquet then take-off for the peg. But no! He was aiming at the narrow peg from fully 12 yards. With unerring accuracy he pegged out and took off in salute to his winning ball. 26-20 John wins and saved the whitewash.

Garway won 4-1 overall but the brownies and tea were a welcome sight.

Stuart Smith