2005 News

Additional pictures can be seen in our Photo Gallery and detailed match results/reports via our Competitive Play page

10th December – AGM

Frank Gunstone and Selwyn Ward join Committee as Derek Heath retires. Membership Rates unchanged. Decision in principle to go ahead with Equipment Store project. £87 raised for the Development Funds by the Xmas Raffle.

15th November – Pub Lunch

Fifteen people attended our first Pub Lunch of the Winter which was held at the Dovecote Inn, a lovely old pub with hops hanging from the ceiling and many beers in wooden casks behind the bar – it’s a long time since I’ve seen that! Seems a good find for another visit, perhaps in the summer too in their garden? See you all in January too………

11th November – Final Competition Winner

Roger Morris won the final event in the calendar, beating Richard Clark by 22 in the Association Ladder. The final game was played on the Bowling Lawns.

14th October – SECF League results

We’re 3rd in Golf League, 2nd equal in B League and 9th in U league. Pretty good especially for our second year in the Golf league.

12th The Courier article

Online in “This is Kent”

12th September – SECF Golf League vs Ramsgate – lost 4:5

All the country was watching England’s famous winning of the Ashes at the Oval, but a few of our members travelled to Ramsgate to play a gentle game of Golf Croquet under slightly less pressure….

The weather and our team started well with wins in both of the first round doubles. However the morning ended up all square with TW only winning one game out of the four singles, so the afternoon games would be critical. Ramsgate provided an excellent lunch and the sun came out, but this obviously overcame our team since, despite winning the doubles, we lost both the singles by close margins to lose the match by a single point – a great shame since this was our only loss of the season!

Tunbridge Wells Ramsgate Result
John Hobbs & Roger Morris Les Copas & Graham Wallin 7:6
Jon Diamond & Frank Gunstone Valerie Harding & Cynthia Street 7:6
John Hobbs Les Copas 5:7
Jon Diamond Valerie Harding 7:3
Frank Gunstone Graham Wallin 2:7
Roger Morris Cynthia Street 4:7
John Hobbs & Frank Gunstone Valerie Harding & Cynthia Street 7:4
Jon Diamond Les Copas 6:7
Roger Morris Graham Wallin 5:7

7th September – Bowls Lawns Opening!



Bowling green – Opening Day 7th September

Sunday 10th is opening day for our use of the Bowls Club lawn. We will have 2 three-quarter sized lawns available (there’s room for 16 people), both amazingly flat when compared with ours of yesteryear.

We plan to lay them out for play (hoops, boundaries etc) on Wednesday morning and expect them to be ready for play for a standard Club Afternoon at 2pm. We also plan to have the new lawn laid out “full size” at some time for those who wish to play at less popular times.

Access to our existing Clubhouse is still possible using the normal gate (for retrieval of mallets etc) but it is planned to effectively close this for the winter sometime soon with all our gear “down below”. A limited number of keys have been cut for the old Bowls Pavilion and are available for those who need them eg those planning to play at times other than Club Afternoons. Please let me (or some other Committee member) know if you need one. Further keys will be cut for distribution as the situation becomes clearer.

Take a look at our old lawns while you’re there …. it’s been quite a couple of weeks ….. they have been levelled to tolerances that it’s hard to imagine ….. one set of readings showed only a 2mm variation over the entire lawn area!!!! The sprinklers are in and “pop-up” nicely …. and we’re a day ahead of plan and precisely on Budget!! ….. they’ll be sown on Friday 9th and then that’s that!!!

2nd September – Lawns Update

The work on the lawns has started on schedule. Here are a few pictures of the work in progress:

lawns3 lawns2 lawns7 lawns5

27th August – Finals Day

Our first Finals Days for many years dawned grey, but at least promised to keep dry. The first three games got away on time, with the massed spectator watching!

The Doubles proved a long drawn out affair, going to time as had been predicted. It was nip and tuck all way through, with Mick and John pulling out to their final lead of one hoop with only five minutes left.

The Crowborough clash in the Golf Rose Bowl was also close, with Roger running out winner in the end. Pamela Clark, although a late substitute for Brian Ware in the Golf High Bisquers, proved to be just a little better than Miriam on the day and winning the final morning game.

The early afternoon games proved to be a little less close – a lost less in the case of the Calverley with Jon only making one hoop! Chris had obviously been coached too well by his Doubles partner, making 4-ball breaks with his bisques and finally pegging out using his last one after only 1.5 hours. Miriam lost her second game and John won his second in the High Bisquers; sadly everything that we’ve taught John will be returning with him to Western Australia next season. The third game saw Richard Clark redeem his loss in the Golf by a smallish win in the Lustau over Richard Mann in a match that went to time.

With the sun coming out the final game (the Spa) started at 3pm with Jolyon being the obvious favourite. However, Jon made an early break going to 4-back, albeit with an untidy leave. Jolyon caught up, but Jon clawed his way ahead again to have both his balls on Rover with Jolyon’s on Penult and 3-back. Unfortunately Jon blobbed in Rover leaving Jolyon’s ball much too close and Jolyon then made no more mistakes to peg out. Quite a tussle and providing some fun for the spectators who had grown to a tidy number in time for tea!

A good day was had by all, except for Jon and Miriam who lost all their games………… Congratulations to all the winners. Detailed results were:

Start Time Event Players Result
10am Doubles – Handicap Jon Diamond & Chris Barham vs. Mick Belcham & John Hunt -1T
Golf Rose Bowl Richard Clark vs. Roger Morris 1:2
Golf High Bisquers Pamela Clark vs. Miriam Reader 2:1
1pm Calverley – Handicap Chris Barham vs. Jon Diamond +25
Howell – Association High Bisquers Miriam Reader vs. John Hunt -7
Lustau – Handicap Advanced Richard Mann vs. Richard Clark -9T
3pm Spa – Advanced Jon Diamond vs. Jolyon Creasey -4

20th August – High Bisquers Tournament

10 players from Ivychurch and Bromley as well as Tunbridge Wells entered our High Bisquers Tournament, for players of handicap 16 and above. The weather smiled on the players and also Richard Clark, as Tournament Manager. Six rounds of 10-point games were played with Eli Frith (Ivychurch) winning the tournament and Miriam Reader as a very close runner-up, losing by a single hoop in the final. Eric Dennison (Bromley) came third and Betty Boddy (Ivychurch) fourth.

19th August – SECF B League vs Compton won 2:1

The day dawned dry in the areas around Tunbridge Wells, but it had already rained by the time the two teams turned up. The match started off in the dry, but by 11am a steady drizzle had arrived and it gradually got heavier as the morning wore on, making the players feel distinctly chilly. However, nothing interrupted play and all games ended up on time with some fairly tight results and Tunbridge Wells the winners. Unfortunately, continuous rain then put paid to any chance of friendly games in the afternoon.

Tunbridge Wells Compton Result
Jon Diamond (7) & Chris Berwick (20) Mavis Buist (12) & Joan Jarman (14) +5
Roger Morris (16) Ted Platt (12) -3
Stan Oxenbury (20) Marjorie Platt (18) +4

15th August – SECF B League vs Medway lost 1:2

Played at Medway – Roger Morris and Chris Barham won their doubles easy, but unfortunately both Richard Clark and Stan Oxenbury lost their singles.

14th August – Aaron Westerby loses in quarter-finals of World Championship

He lost to James Death at Cheltenham -10tpo, +12otp, -11tpo, -17. The game report is here on CA site.

9th August – SECF Golf League vs Compton won 6:3

A lovely warm day saw another successful Golf League match. The games were tight in the morning with the score tied at 3 games all at lunch after two rounds. However, we won all three games in the afternoon, albeit closely, to put the result in no doubt.

Tunbridge Wells Compton Result
Richard Clark & Stan Oxenbury Stan King & Barbara Lindsay 7:5
Jon Diamond & Derek Heath John Evans & Maurice Charman 6:7
Richard Clark Stan King 4:7
Jon Diamond John Evans 7:1
Derek Heath Maurice Charman 7:5
Stan Oxenbury Barbara Lindsay 4:7
Stan Oxenbury & Derek Heath John Evans & Maurice Charman 7:6
Richard Clark Barbara Lindsay 7:6
Jon Diamond Stan King 7:5

4th August – Irish Championship

Aaron Westerby lost in the semi-finals of the Irish Championship to Ed Cunningham -19 +15tp -9tp. Paired with Dennis Bullock, also from New Zealand, he lost in the Doubles Final to Ronan McInerney & Alan McInerney -25tp.

2nd August – SECF B League vs Canterbury won 3:0

Our team of Barney Lewis, Mark Houslop, Stan Oxenbury and Mark Brown had a good home win with a clean sweep over the opposition.

28th July – BBC Radio


Aaron Westerby”s mallet

With the forthcoming World Championship at Cheltenham BBC Local Radio decided to interview our one member participating – Aaron Westerby from New Zealand. Additional flavour was provided by some coaching of the intrepid reporter (Charlie Crocker assisted by Jonathan Witchell) by Aaron, Janice Ware talking as a novice to the game and also Jon Diamond (getting the website address in). This was broadcast on the her programme on Radio Kent on Monday 8th August at 8:15pm.
Note Aaron’s “Meccano” mallet head pictured here.

26th July – Jersey Open Championship

Aaron Westerby loses in the semi-final to the eventual winner Reg Bamford -26sxp -17q4p.

21st July – Ightham Mote

Another good visit on a warm day to Ightham Mote with some visitors even specially coming for croquet coaching, courtesy of the event being in the National trust magazine!

20th July – BBC TV films at the Club

Filming for a piece on BBC TV South East on the programme Inside/Out took place at the club today. Unfortunately we’re only acting as a back-drop for an interview, but all publicity is good publicity they say! A small contribution will be winging it’s way to us shortly and hopefully a tape of the programme when it goes out in September.

18th July – SECF B League vs Ivychurch (Brenzett) won 3:0


Lunch at Ivychurch – 18th July

ivychurch6Our team was Richard Clark, Roger Morris, Mark Houslop and Chris Barham who struggled with the lightning fast cracked clay conditions in Romney Marsh, but obviously managed a bit better than the locals.

Tunbridge Wells Ivychurch Result
Mick Belcham (4.5) & Mark Houslop (18) Ken Huckle (20) & Vera Phipps (20) +2
Chris Barham (16) Eli Frith (16) +6
Roger Morris (16) Pat Frith (18) +1

16th July – SECF U League vs Caterham – won 4:3

John Hobbs reports: Our match against Caterham had a couple of interesting features in that Stan and I played together in the doubles and both did appallingly badly, especially me, when I couldn’t hit a barn at two paces. This to me showed the fraught nature of doubles when each is upset by letting the other down. In the afternoon Stan won his game and I was peg and peg against a 1.5 when he was about 5 hoops behind. I then had a couple of silly errors at 3 yards and he had a couple of good hits and hoop approaches, pegged one of my balls out and then won. Just shows you ain’t won till you’ve pegged out.

Tunbridge Wells Caterham Result
AM John Hobbs & Stan Oxenbury John Cosier & Bernie Regan -12
Richard Mann John Male -4
Roger Morris Keith Parsons +9
PM John Hobbs John Cosier -1
Richard Mann Bernie Regan +2
Roger Morris John Male +9
Stan Oxenbury Keith Parsons +2

10th July – SECF Golf League vs Hayes, Bromley, Keston won 6:3

Tunbridge Wells Bromley Result
Derek Crocombe & Ray Meech S Wadham & J Portwine 7:4
Stan Oxenbury & Colin Mabey G Coker & B Turner 5:7
Derek Crocombe J Portwine 3:7
Ray Meech B Turner 7:3
Stan Oxenbury G Coker 4:7
Colin Mabey S Wadham 7:4
Derek Crocombe & Ray Meech G Coker & S Wadham 7:3
Colin Mabey J Portwine 7:4
Stan Oxenbury B Turner 7:2

9th July – Virginia Wade Celebrates Her 60th birthday

virginia6Mick Belcham and Jon Diamond helped out Virginia Wade (yes, THAT Virginia Wade, Wimbledon Champion in 1977) with her 60th birthday celebrations at her family home Sharsted Court near Sittingbourne in Kent. Virginia lived in Tunbridge Wells for 5 years and went to Tunbridge Wells Grammar School for Girls.

She had arranged several days of events, one of them being a competitive day for some 80 guests from all over the world divided up into 6 teams. As well as the obligatory tennis and golf, croquet was also included as they have a croquet lawn often used by the family.

virginia3Mick and John had volunteered to manage the croquet event on behalf of the Club [and gaining the Club a donation for their pains], taking mallets, balls and hoops and creating some slightly simplified rules to teach all comers to play Golf Croquet.

A good time was had by all, including Virginia’s celebrity friends (we didn’t recognise most of the tennis ones I fear), as the weather cleared just in time for the start. The croquet was not quite as competitive as the tennis appeared to be (except for certain participants who would presumably compete fiercely at Snap), but most people took part!

3rd July – Barbeque and EGM

Nearly 30(!) club members came to the first of what is hoped to be an annual summer barbeque which raised quite a lot of money for the club. A good time was had by all aided by the weather which was pleasantly warm and dry. Food was provided by Pamela Clark, Jon Diamond, Sue Mabey, Pauline Morris and Janice Ware. Thanks to them all.


Barbeque day – 3rd July

An Extraordinary General Meeting was held after the barbeque to discuss the Lawn Replacement project. Richard Clark briefly discussed the document sent to members a week before, detailing the state of the project. After a few questions it was unanimously agreed to go ahead with the project, the next stage being the appointment of Roger Morris as our Project Manager and the signing of the Lawn Seeding and Irrigation contracts. Richard also reminded members that we needed the donations that had been promised earlier to be able to complete the project and also asked all other members who could help to make a suitable donation.

2nd July – SECF U league vs Canterbury lost 3:4

Tunbridge Wells Canterbury Result
AM John Hobbs & Chris Berwick Frank Hughes & Tim Pomfret +2
Mick Belcham Paul Hill -2
Richard Clark Roger Lowran +4
PM John Hobbs Paul Hill -25
Chris Berwick Tim Pomfret -14
Mick Belcham Roger Lowran -2
Richard Clark Frank Hughes +13

1st July – Visit to Chartwell

14 players visited Chartwell to play Golf Croquet on their lawn. The weather was grey, but it didn’t rain until late in the day, so a good day was had by all – including the spectators who had a try at the challenge of hitting 2/4 balls through a hoop to win a bottle of wine.

27th June – SECF U league @ Compton – lost 3:4

The friends of Royal Tunbridge Wells Croquet Club are sad to announce the defeat of their U team today at Compton. After a valiant fight against the cruel vicissitudes of a lightning fast lawn devoid of the slightest moisture or vestige of grass, our heroes succumbed by 4 games to three to the merciless local champions armed to the teeth with bisques and good fortune. Our Captain took the wrong mallet, our Secretary mislaid his form whilst Timmis (for once playing without deerstalker and Macintosh) and the bearded Diamond managed to salvage some scraps from the debacle. History will record it thus:

Tunbridge Wells Compton Result
AM Mick Belcham (4.5) & John Timmis (9) Mavis Buist (12) & Tom Dixon (12) -10
Richard Clark (6) Tim Smith (9) -19
Jon Diamond (7) Hillary Smith (9) +2T
PM Mick Belcham (4.5) Tim Smith (9) -17
Richard Clark (6) Tom Dixon (12) -18
Jon Diamond (7) Mavis Buist (12) +9
John Timmis (9) Hillary Smith (9) +2T

15th June – Tea at 3

Thanks to Pauline Morris for organising our Tea at 3 event, including a quiz about Tea (what a surprise!), we managed to raise more than £85 for the Hospice in the Weald. Congratulations!!

14th June – SECF Golf League Match vs Merton

The first achievement of the team was in locating the Merton Club! After that the exceptionally fast lawn (they only have one) proved another problem for our team – Stan Oxenbury (Captain), Ray Meech, Frank Gunstone and Derek Crocombe.

The first set of doubles games was shared – score 1:1. The first set of singles, involving all players, were then also shared – so the match was all square at 3 wins each.

Then, Derek and Ray won their doubles and Frank his singles – score 5:3 and we’ve won the match. So the final game, involving Stan, wouldn’t affect the result. Unfortunately Stan lost, but he did manage to achieve success with his first successful jump shot in competition! The final result was 5 wins and 4 losses and a good start to the season.

5th June – Visit to Ightham Mote

Our first visit of the season to Ightham Mote, courtesy of the National Trust, went exceptionally well. We had many people who joined in and learnt how to play, including some very young ones.


Miriam teaching at Ightham Mote

ightham6 ightham3Thanks to Roger Morris for the organisation, including getting all the hoops, mallets etc. there and back and especially the NT gardeners for the lawn preparation.

29th May – Inter-Counties

John Hobbs represented Kent at the Inter-Counties Tournament at Southwick/Compton this weekend. Kent won 4 games out of 9, coming 6/11 in Division 2.

14/15th May – SECF Association Doubles Team Event

Mick Belcham, Richard Clark, Roger Morris and Miriam Reader participated in this event at Southwick on behalf of the club. A total of 5 games per pairing were played over the weekend – we won 4 and lost 6, so not a bad performance. Two of the losses were against the eventual winners, Guildford, who were voted the bandits of the tournament.

The standard of players very varied all the way from 20’s down to a minus one and a half and it was a great coaching experience. Detailed results were:

Pairing Won Lost
Richard Clark & Roger Morris 1 2
Mick Belcham & Miriam Reader 1 2
Richard Clark & Miriam Reader 0 2
Mick Belcham & Roger Morris 2 0

16th May – Handicap Changes (issued by John Hobbs)

Congratulations to everybody!

Association Golf
From To From To
Paul Buckland 24 20 6 5
Derek Crocombe 5 4
Jon Diamond 2 1
Frank Gunstone 4 3
John Hunt 24 20 6 4
Colin Mabey 4 3
Roger Morris 18 16 4 3
Miriam Reader 5 4
Brian Ware 24 22 6 4
Janice Ware 6 4

13th May – Awards for All makes £5,000 grant

We’re delighted to be able to announce that we’ve secured a £5,000 grant from Awards for All, the Lottery’s small grants scheme, towards the redevelopment of our croquet lawns.

The project, costing in excess of £20,000, consists of the removal of existing turf, laser-levelling of the site, seeding of the new lawns and installation of an irrigation system. Work will start in September and should be completed for the 2006 season.

Richard Clark, Club Chairman, said “This is exciting news. It allows us to make a real improvement to our lawns and facilities. Our numbers are rising as more people of all ages are drawn to the game which offers so much. Given the central location of the club it also benefits the town as a whole by enhancing the amenities in Calverley Grounds and therefore attracting additional visitors”.

Once these improvements have been completed, the Club will be undertaking an outreach programme to promote the game and the facilities to the young, disabled and the elderly who will all benefit from the social aspects of the Club as well as the mental and physical exercise involved in croquet.

Other funding for the project has also been confirmed from the Croquet Association, which has offered £6,000 towards the project and club members are raising further funds.

Michael Hague, Development Officer of the Croquet Association, said “the Club fills an important gap in the croquet map of the South East. This project will transform Royal Tunbridge Wells Croquet Club and make it one of the best three-court clubs in the region.”

The project is supported by the Tunbridge Wells Borough Council who have provided technical and funding advice and also extended the existing lease. Elise Rendall, Sports Development Officer, said “this is an exciting project which links the Club with local retirement and disability groups. The grant will extend access and enable more people of all ages and abilities to participate in croquet.”

4th May – Sausage and Mash Lunch

14 people attended the lunch, hosted by Frank and Carolyn Gunstone, which raised £53 for the Club.

10th April – Official Opening Day

22 people attended the official opening day and partaking of the Soup+Ploughman’s Lunch, playing Golf and Association on all three lawns. The weather was fine, if a little cold in the morning. The lawns are looking in good condition, but are somewhat heavy and uneven (which is why they’re being relayed!)

The Committee provided an update on the lawn and other activities. The lawn replacement project is going well, with several contractors having provided their input and refining prices. So far we’ve got grants of £6,500 from the Croquet Association and the South East Croquet Federation with several applications still outstanding. This means that we’re well on our way now when we add in the promises we’ve had from existing members.

31st March – Hay Waggon, Hartfield.

A good start to our Pub Lunch Programme: 13 people came and wanted a series of lunches during the off-season to continue. All members, and partners too, are extremely welcome.

31st March – Web site statistics.

March was the highest traffic month so far (since the website started in August 2003). It actually had 10 times the traffic for March 2004! But admittedly this was from a very low level.

27th March – Lawns Open

15 people braved the cold and wet weather on Easter Sunday for the first Club Afternoon of the season. Congratulations!

20th March – Aaron Westerby nominated by New Zealand Croquet Council for the forthcoming Mitsubishi Motors 2005 World Croquet Championship.

“A very experienced para glider and skier, Aaron Westerby turns 31 on the first day of the World Championship.
He is a Computer Programmer who divides his year between NZ, UK and France. Aaron started playing croquet when he was 12 years old in 1986. He has been a member of the NZ winning Trans Tasman teams in 1994, 1995 and 2003. He is a past winner of the British Mens Championship, Sonoma World Championship and the Championship of Ireland. He has won the NZ Open, Mens and Mixed Doubles Championship and, with his grandmother, the NZ Mixed Doubles on two occasions.”

24th February – English Week at the NCC


NCC with Elaine (and her flower hat)

John Hobbs and Jon Diamond went to the third English Week at the National Croquet Center in West Palm Beach, Florida organised by Diplomatic Travel. Six days of enjoyable playing of croquet, including one day of American Rules playing ensued. A full trip report is here: 2005 croquet_in_america.

The document is 314Kb in size, but here’s a quick picture of our intrepid travellers – Barbara Diamond, John Hobbs, Jon Diamond and Nicky Evans (JH’s daughter and Director of Diplomatic Travel). Other pictures are in the Photo Gallery.


John Hobbs pondering………….

The detailed results are:
Handicap Event
A Class Advanced Event
B Class Advanced Event
Doubles Event

17th February – Draft Social Programme announced

Pub lunch – 31st March at the Hay Waggon in Hartfield at 12:30pm.
First of, hopefully, a regular winter programme of monthly get togethers over a lunch in a pub. No booking necessary, but please contact Jon Diamond if you think you will probably attend, so that we can let the pub know approximate numbers.

Season Opening Day – 10th April from 10am.
Soup and Ploughman’s lunch (£2.50) and tea.
Please contact Jon Diamond if you would like lunch.
If you have friends or family who are potential members why don’t you bring them along too?

Tea at 3 – 17th June
Charity event for Hospice in the Weald. All welcome – bring your friends to this fund-raiser for the Hospice even if they don’t play croquet!

Summer Barbeque – 3rd July (probably)
A lunch-time barbeque to be held at the club.
Various croquet games to be organised am and pm.
Help required! if you can help with food, drink etc. etc. please contact Jon Diamond.
Further details will be announced here as they are decided.

15th January – Aaron Westerby loses in quarter-finals of New Zealand Open Championship