2008 News

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

22nd November – AGM

This was held as usual in the Frant Memorial Hall; thankfully the kitchen was fully in order and the heating had been replaced since last year, so we managed to keep warm without putting our coats on!

Minutes will be available in due course, but the main points were:

  • John Timmis retired as Treasurer and was presented with his favourite “wasting asset” (a bottle of red wine).
    John Hobbs also retired from the committee, after 15 years service, and was presented with an engraved silver photo frame with a typical picture. Selwyn Ward joins as the new Treasurer.
  • Alex Jardine would be taking over responsibility for Competitive activities
  • Finances were in a surplus last year, despite the original forecast of a loss. This was at partially due to the level of grants received
  • Membership remained at 60 and the fees will be unchanged (since 1995!)
  • Internal Golf Competitions would be expanded and we would be entering the CA Mary Rose in 2009
  • We would be hosting the CA Golf Second Eights and also returning to Penshurst Place for a second year
  • Further emphasis on Coaching and on level Golf singles play would be made next year
  • A New Year’s Day event would be planned

The meeting finished with the usual presentation of prizes, a raffle that raised £100 and thanks for the superb hot food provided by Kate Sander.

16th November – Lawn 3 reopens (not to be used when soggy)

14th November – SECF League Results

We’re 3rd in U league, 8= in B league, 5th in Golf Croquet Level league and 15th in Golf Handicap league.

2nd October – Golf Level League v Dulwich – lost 3:4

After an earlier abortive attempt we managed to get to Dulwich and meet a team! Our last match of the season proved to be a close fought one, with both sides not able to put out their strongest teams, due to a very late rescheduling. Despite being a bit chilly the weather was fine and even partially sunny – almost a record for this summer!

The morning singles were both losses for us, but the doubles was an exceptionally long and tight one, ending up with a narrow victory at the 13th hoop in the third game – lunch didn’t start till 1:30pm…

The afternoon games weren’t quite as long and we won the first two. Unfortunately we lost the last two, both being on a pretty fast lawn, so I judge that home knowledge and a slight handicap advantage were sufficient to give Dulwich the win. I think Mick won’t forget his singles game for a while. After the second game Simon started packing up the balls, having lost that game; Mick queried this as he thought he’d lost the first game so the score should be 1:1; in the end they decided they couldn’t remember the result of the first game(!), so they decided they’d better play another as the decider!!!.

27th/28th September – John Belcher wins the Pegasus Plate

We had eight players, plus the manager, for our annual Association Handicap tournament because one player didn’t turn up. The format was an ‘Egyptian’ in which you can play as many games as you wish, so the maximum was six and the minimum four. All games were 18 points only and each player had bisques, which helped to speed up play. The weather was hot and the lawns were quite fast.

The manager (John Hobbs) managed to leave two critical matches to the Sunday afternoon. In one Mick Greagsby could have won the tournament, but he finally came third. The other game sorted out the second and fourth players, who each came from Medway. The winner, John Belcher came from Bromley and he received the Pegasus Plate plus one of our RTWCC wine goblets.

Geoff Chapman enjoyed his first tournament and realised how much he had improved by the end, both by the play and by learning what to do and not to do. It’s a good way to get your tournament experience. Mick’s handicap is now 10, since he is improving so rapidly as a result of his frequent practice sessions – that’s the way to improve!

26th September – Golf Level League v Sussex County – lost 2:5

13/14th September – Alex Jardine won Ramsgate Advanced

Alex Jardine won the Ramsgate B Level Advanced Weekend with seven wins out of seven.

13/14th September – Surrey win the Golf Inter Counties Championship

This annual CA event, held at Southwick, was contested by 12 teams – 11 counties or collection of counties and, due to the late pull-out of Devon, a CA Select team comprising mostly of Southwick players, but including our very own Mick Greagsby. The winners were a very strong team from Surrey, essentially consisting of members from Surbiton, pictured here and including Stephen Mulliner currently number 10 in the world.

Surrey win the Golf Intercounties

The Kent team, consisting of Pierre Beaudry from Dulwich, James Goodbun and David Dray from Ramsgate and Jon Diamond (late draftee) from TW, performed superbly, but not quite up to the standard of the previous two years, when Kent won. They managed to defeat the winners, but lost three other matches which was just one loss more than Surrey, to come in a very creditable second place.

The standard of play was very high, with a mixture of doubles and singles, and many players having taken part in the 2008 World Golf Croquet Championship in South Africa, including Pierre Beaudry and David Dray from the Kent team. Everything ran precisely to schedule thanks to the organiser Bill Arliss and manager John Low and was a very enjoyable event, especially as summer seemed to have arrived at last! Can we have some more TW players joining in next year?

6/7th September – Mike Huxley wins the Honeygrove Cup

Mike Huxley (left) wins the Honeygrove Cup

After and during some appallingly wet weather, 1 inch fell in 24 hours, 12 brave players, including one from Cornwall, walked gingerly around our lawns and played for two days in our annual Advanced Tournament – the Honeygrove Cup. The drainage we’ve installed this year has obviously had a significant effect, but the north sides of lawns 2 and 3 were still so damp that puddles had all but formed.

However, it was still on with the show and eventually Mike Huxley from Guildford and Godalming ran out the winner, beating our own Jolyon Creasey in the final game. Mick Belcham (manager) won the consolation event. The chairman of the Croquet Association, Jonathan Isaacs, was one of the players and presented the winner with his prize.

30th August – B league v Ramsgate – lost 2:3 (revised to win 4:3)

Ramsgate were unable to raise a full team of four for this match, but 3 managed to make the journey. Our team of Chris Sturdy, Alex Jardine and Mick Greagsby were up against some players who were playing above their handicaps, and so struggled somewhat, finally going down by 2 wins to 3.

Result revised to a win for us 4:3 by SECF.

29th August – Golf Handicap League v Medway – lost 3:6

23rd August – Open High Bisquers Tournament won by Geoff Croxford

On a Bank Holiday Saturday like a little piece of Summer squeezed into a sombre weekend, the Annual Open High Bisquers Tournament (Association Croquet) took place yesterday.

We had a total of ten competitors, five home contenders and five challengers from other clubs, Medway, Ivychurch, Hayes and Bromley. Miriam, Elaine, Stan, Dan and Ray were the local hopefuls and there were some familiar faces among our visitors. Several were facing their competitive baptism with some trepidation. A tight schedule of six 14 point games each left everybody tired but content as, the finals over, we enjoyed tea provided by Pam with a little help from her friends.

The day’s laurels went to Geoff Croxford from Ivychurch, with Allan Card from Medway a close runner up. Best of the locals on the day were Miriam and Ray (Ray having been impersonated by Mick Greagsby in the first two games of the day). Manager Richard Clark enjoyed a trouble free day in the sun as the participants put on a display of purposeful amiability and obliged by following his schedule with prompt and self-motivated efficiency. A good day was had by all!

22nd August – U league v Canterbury – won 6:1

18th August – Golf Handicap League v Ivychurch – lost 3:4

17th August – CA Golf Second Eights

This event is run by the Croquet Association and is the second eight players who haven’t been selected for the premier Golf selection event – the Musk Cup, this year being held in Pendle. Due to a late injury one of the players withdrew and Mick Greagsby nobly volunteered to play and, despite being the weakest player in the field, performed very creditably with almost all his losses being by the closest of margins 6-7.

There were several 1 handicap players, including Bill Arliss from Southwick, and several from the North and South West England all demonstrating to our local spectators how good players play the game. The eventual winner, and also the event manager, was Nick Butler who didn’t lose a match. The results are on the CA website.

All the players were very complimentary about our lawns (although they’d like them to be faster), facilities and hospitality! Note to RTWCC members: in addition to profits from the catering we also get green fees from the CA for providing the lawns.

14th August – B League v Medway – lost 1:2

14th August – Medway Advanced

This three day advanced tournament was completed in bright sunshine, despite some filthy weather the previous day. Jonathan Hills of Colchester was the easy winner of the final, beating Dick Knapp in two straight games. Our two entrants, Alex Jardine and Jon Diamond, were the weakest players in the field but both ended with creditable results of 3 wins from 9 games.

13th August – Golf Handicap League v Compton – won 5:4

10th August – SECF Golf Teams

Our first team came 3rd out of 18 in the Singles event, which was won by Reigate, with Sussex County second.

First team results:
Doubles: 1:3
Lost v Reigate 3-7, lost v Ramsgate 4-7 , win v Preston 7-3, lost v Worthing 4-6
Singles: 9:3
John Hobbs vs Rottingdean won 7-6, vs Ramsgate lost 6-7, vs Crawley won 7-3,
Mick Greagsby vs Rottingdean won 7-1, vs Ramsgate won 7-4, vs Crawley won 7-4,
Frank Gunstone vs Sydenham won 7-3, vs Rother Valley won 7-4, vs Littlehampton won 7-5,
Val Rocca vs Sydenham won 7-4, vs Rother Valley lost 5-7, vs Littlehampton lost 6-7

Second team results:
Doubles: 1.5:2.5
lost v Ramsgate 5-7 (Richard Clark & Carolyn Gunstone), Won v Rother Valley 6-2 (Derek Heath & Joyce Rocca), drew v Reigate Priory 5-5 (Richard & Carolyn), lost v Worthing 4-6 (Derek & Joyce)
Singles: 7:5
Richard won 7-5 v Worthing A, lost 2-7 v Merton A, won 7-3 v Preston A,
Derek won 7-4 v Worthing B, won 7-5 v Merton B, won 7-6 v Preston B,
Carolyn won 7-6 v Rother Valley C, lost 4-7 v Sussex 1C, lost 6-7 v Rottingdean C,
Joyce won 7-5 v Rother Valley D, lost 2-7 v Sussex 1C, lost 3-7 v Rottingdean D

8th August – Summer BBQ

More than 30 members and their partners attended the, by now, annual summer barbeque at the Houslop’s house. Unlike last year we didn’t have to rush inside to avoid the torrential rain, so were able to enjoy the extensive gardens. Many thanks to Mark and Elaine for providing the food and drink, as well as hosting the occasion, and also to Frank and Carolyn Gunstone for organising the raffle. A considerable sum was raised for the club funds.

7th August – B league v Purley Bury – won 2:1

3rd August – COWhorn at Compton

Rutger Beijderwellen won the COWhorn event at Compton over the weekend, essentially untroubled by the opposition. Mick Belcham was our only participant and runner-up for the COWbell, with 4 wins out of 6 games. A fuller report is on the CA website.

29th July – U league vs Compton – won 4:3

The lawns were looking in superb condition, with Mick having just re-drilled the holes and eliminated the rabbit runs. The weather unfortunately was not so clement in the morning, despite the forecast – it was almost cold and several felt drops of rain. We must, however, like this since we won all three of the morning games!

A splendid lunch created by John Hobbs followed, the weather improved and we obviously ate too much… Jon lost his game quickly, still having a bisque standing after being TP’ed (in a handicap game you ask?). We still only needed one result in our favour to win the match, but there seemed to be Compton players on the lawns all the time, so it was looking a bit dicey as our players seemed to be enjoying giving the innings away. Nevertheless, Mick finally turned up trumps in the last game to finish. Phew…

29th July – Alex Jardine joins Committee

Returning from France after several years absence Alex is a long-time member of the club and a low handicap Association player. Rejoining the club this year he has now been co-opted to the Committee.

23rd July – Golf Handicap League v Rother Valley – lost 2:5

20th/21st July – Jon Diamond in Northern Europe

“Barbara and I had already decided to visit Sweden in our motor home this year starting at the end of June and arriving back on 21st July when I saw the announcement of the Germany Open Golf Croquet Championship – to be held in Hamburg on 20th/21st July. This seemed such a good opportunity as Hamburg is on the way back and we’d only need to extend our holiday by two days!

Having been accepted this meant we’d need to add the croquet stuff to our load, but then since it was going to be with us why not try and play some croquet in Sweden too? After some emails this came down to an afternoon in Borås which is a town about 80 kilometres east of Gothenburg.

Boras, Sweden


Croquet Hut, Swedish style

They are a small club, with only ten members playing both Golf and Association and a single lawn in a public park, but very enthusiastic. Unfortunately the weather conditions had not been favourable so the lawn was bumpy, with a number of sandy spots, but fairly flat nevertheless. I played two of their members, but was badly beaten by the Swedish champion Jonatan Andersson at both Association and Golf – I’d like to blame the lawn, but that wasn’t the whole story…. Interestingly they have two sets of balls, but they are both secondaries, and the only complaint about the club is the colour of the equipment storage – a blue container provided by the council!

They have a problem in common with the other Swedish clubs with gaining new members in that there is an extremely popular Swedish game of croquet played with different hoops and rules, so their adoption of the international games has been relatively recent. The picture shows a Croquet hut, elsewhere in Sweden.

The German Golf Open is held bi-annually at the Rissen sports club just to the west of Hamburg. We arrived early on the Friday, so Barbara and I were entertained to tea by Joern Vinnen, President of the German Croquet Association and manager of the event and his wife. Following this we adjourned to the club for a little practice and examination of the lawns. There are two slightly sloping ones, made from an old hockey pitch, and are in reasonable condition, although clearly not as good as TW. They are better than last year apparently, although the weather recently had been a hindrance. Following this, we all adjourned to a pub in the middle of a forest for a typical German meal with most of the other players and some local club members. [Recent road closures not being communicated to the satnav system in the Czech car we were in caused many interesting detours around the local housing.]

0721_07 0721_03Saturday dawned English style – grey and raining on and off, sometime quite hard, throughout the day. Nevertheless 14 intrepid players from 5 countries started play in the two blocks, supported by a number of spectators from the local club and plentiful supplies of food and drink continuously throughout the day under a few gazebos. [It’s the only tournament I’ve seen that brings a fridge to the court-side to make sure the beer is cold enough; although maybe they also do so in Australia?]

At English tournaments you normally see the handicap of players next to their names. Since they don’t have handicaps over most of the rest of Europe here we had the positions in the International Golf Croquet rankings. The range was between 110 and 1280, with a couple of the Czechs unrated. Mine was 443, so about in the middle and at the end of the first day I’d come second in my block, having won 5 out of 6 games – a good result I thought after losing the first game. The wind was so strong at one point that we thought it was going to take the gazebos away, so everybody was holding them all down, rather than playing (in the rain it had to be said).

The evening was reserved for a Gala Dinner at a fancy restaurant. Excellent food and drink, of course, was supplemented by the view from the tower over the suburb, the Elbe river and into Hamburg itself – almost the only time in Hamburg that we saw the sun properly!

Sunday dawned grey again, but less windy, less rain and even the odd spot (very odd) of sun. The top eight players were in a knock-out to determine the champion. I started well in my quarter-final, winning the first game against Jean-Yves Gueremont from Paris, but failed to run hoop 13 in the second game when I had a good chance, and then lost this and the final game. So I was knocked out, but winning my last two games managed to come fifth with 8 wins and 3 losses. The final turned out to be an all-German one, with Alexander Kirsten winning at the very final hoop (pictured).

A report on the German Croquet scene is available here.

A well worthwhile trip, great hospitality and fun at the tournament. It’s considerably more expensive than UK tournaments, but includes so much else in the food and drink line that it’s definitely good value for money. I recommend it to anyone.”

20th July – Visit to Penshurst Place

0720_03At the invitation of Penshurst Place we had a very successful visit, demonstrating croquet to many people on the lawn in front of the main house as part of their 2008 programme of events. One slight fear was hitting a ball over the edge and hitting someone below, but this eventuality didn’t happen thank goodness.

Note the childrens’ hoops bought for the occasion and well used!

Penshurst have sent a very complimentary letter which has been put on the Notice Board inviting us back next year and also contributing £150 to club funds.

Many thanks to Mick and Sandra Greagsby, Derek Heath and Miriam Reader for manning the lawns.

10th July – B league v Compton – won 2:1

20th June – Lovat Insurance Brokers win 3rd Annual Corporate Challenge

The third year of this event, inaugurated as part of Royal Tunbridge Wells 400 in 2006, was a great success with another doubling in the number of teams taking part to 20. Taking place on the evening of 20th June the weather sadly didn’t recognised the importance of the event and drizzle greeting the start. However, it cleared by the end of the second game, just leaving a slightly cold and gloomy outlook. Nevertheless, all the teams played with gusto throughout.

The previous winners (Blockley Partnership and Lovat Insurance Brokers) entered again, and were clearly trying to repeat their previous success. In the end the winners were Chris Moon and Juliet Garret from Lovat Insurance Brokers, who won all four of their games.

New for this year was the Churchill Retirement Living Salver, and was presented to the Community team winners Charles Armstrong-Wilson and John Tysoe of the Dad Rock Disasters team (with 3 wins) by Dave Roe, Land Director of Churchill Retirement Living.

Prizes were awarded to the winners and commiserations to the losers and we hope they’ll all be back next year, if not before.

The full list of teams is:

  • Lovat Insurance Brokers – 3 teams
  • Cripps Harries Hall – 3 teams (Forlorn Hoop, Cripps Hit & Hoop and Hoopless Wonders)
  • Courier Media Group – 4 teams (Mallet Time, Scrambled Eggs, Team Supervisor and Hairy Mallet)
  • Churchill Retirement Living – 2 teams (Chartwell Team and Churchill Team)
  • Discord Distribution
  • Blockley Partnership
  • Brenchley Bruisers
  • Dad Rock Disasters
  • Duckweed (Great Culverden Park)
  • The Civics (Royal Tunbridge Wells Civic Society)
  • Four Elms Mallets
  • Philosophical

14th June – Maggie Webb wins Golf Open Handicap Tournament

Our first Open tournament of the year was on quite a nice day, despite initial fears earlier in the week. A full complement of 16 players, with sadly only 3 non-TW players, used all four of our lawns for a full days play of 7 rounds of 13-point games. The main lawns are getting faster, now up to about 10 Plummers for those technically minded amongst you, and the Bowling Green not too bad, having been cut recently, but a little bumpy.

The event was organised as a seven-round Swiss by the Manager (Jon Diamond), with the final being the top two players after the sixth round. The competition was intense, with many very close games, and occasionally the extra turns even being used properly! However, the Webb’s from Southwick proved just too much for our local players – they’ve been playing against some very good players according to their handicap cards. Maggie turned out the winner at the 13th hoop in the final against Keith and came up with an unblemished record of 7 wins to take the first prize, with Keith being the runner up.

We obviously need some coaching in how and when to take the extra turns and also in some of the more detailed rules of the game, e.g. when to call a referee (especially when you’ve got a shot close to a hoop).

The Manager took a little executive action in changing Maggie Webb’s handicap from 7 to 5 (the handicap card index indicated 6, but was very close to 5) and Michael Gentry from 10 to 8.

The final places were:

Position Player Handicap Wins
1 Maggie Webb 7 7
2 Keith Webb 3 5
3 Richard Clark 3 5
4= Frank Gunstone 6 4.5
4= John Moore 9 4.5
6= Mick Greagsby 7 4
6= Derek Heath 7 4
6= Valerie Harding 6 4
9= Val Rocca 8 3
9= Joyce Rocca 9 3
9= Michael Gentry 10 3 from 6 games
9= Carolyn Gunstone 10 3
13= Miriam Reader 8 2
13= Pam Clark 9 2 from 6
15 Gerald White 9 1
16 Valerie Jackson 10 0 from 6

13th June – Golf Level League loss to Ramsgate 3:4

Our first league match of the season was an almost pleasant, but dry day on fairly quick lawns at Ramsgate and saw our intrepid team up by 2 game to 1 after the morning session in three close games. However, the afternoon was too much (too much lunch perhaps?) and losing 3 out of 4 consigned us to a loss. Not too bad though, considering our team was on average one handicap weaker than Ramsgate’s. Better luck next time…

8th June – Kent Cup

This annual event was held at Medway this year, with a slightly disappointing entry of only 9, with no entries from Canterbury or Ramsgate. Their main lawn was in not very good condition, so it was not totally surprising that a local player won – just that it was the highest handicap entry – Philip Mann. Mick Belcham managed superbly as usual, but neither he, nor Chris Sturdy nor Jon Diamond got into the semi-finals. So a disappointing tournament for the TW players also.

4th May – Opening Day Report

Opening Day dawned beautifully and it continued to be lovely and warm throughout. The morning event was the (traditional?) One Ball, being run for the second time with ten players and a novice turned out to be the winner again – this time Derek Heath.

The soup for lunch unfortunately turned out to be a victim of a sudden family emergency, but there was plenty of bread, cheese, tomatoes and fruit, together with some liquid refreshment to make up for that and the 25 members enjoyed it thoroughly.

The lawns were fully crowded in the afternoon, and we entertained a few people who’d come in for the Open Afternoon. Sadly in the morning we had to turn away a group of walkers who’s leader wanted to have a play. We hope they come back again.

Due to the warmth there has been a sudden spurt of growth on the lawns, which made them rather slow, and some damage was observed, so we’re playing on the Bowling Green, now beautifully cut short, for the next week.

29th April – News Update

We’ve decided to introduce another Club Session, this time for AC primarily, on Saturday afternoons starting 10th May. Members are welcome to attend and play GC, but if we fill the lawns with people playing AC then you may be asked to move. However, we will reserve one of the two Bowling Green Lawns for GC in this event. The primary version of Association we’ll be encouraging you to play is the 10-point Handicap Game (see more information on the wall in the Club House). Each of these games should take no more than 1.25 hours, allowing for several games in an afternoon. Other clubs do something similar, matching players on a first come first served basis. So why don’t you come along and play someone new? We’re planning to run some AC Coaching during the season on Saturday afternoons. Watch this space and the website for more details.

The awnings damaged by vandals have been put back, but please be gentle with them, especially the one on the right as you face the Club House.

There are a number of other minor improvements around the Club House that we hope you’ll notice and approve of. We’ve got some new boundary boards intended for the end of lawn 3 (they’re the light coloured ones), new hoops and competition balls so that we’ve got a good set for all our 4 fill-size lawns and a super new tool for digging out hoops during the season to remove rabbit runs etc. Mick is terribly pleased, as it will make this part of his job much easier!

10th April – Pub Lunch

The last Pub Lunch of the Winter Season at the Beacon proved the most successful with 24 members and partners attending – more than 1/3 of the club. This was the first time that a significant number of people managed to walk to the lunch, so an improvement in our green credentials too!

Unless there’s someone prepared to organise summer lunches (please contact Jon Diamond if you’d like to volunteer) this will be the last lunch until the next Winter season.

1st April – April Newsletter

The main points are:

  • Norman Croasdale recruited as Lawns Supervisor
  • Basketball Fencing replaced
  • Season’s Opening Events announced – 16th April (Bowling Green) and 4th May (Main Lawns)
  • Introduction to Croquet Course (Association and Golf) starts 8th May
  • Demonstration at Penshurst Place on 20th July
  • Hosting of Croquet Association Musk Cup second 8 (Golf Croquet) on 16th/17th August

10th February – Aaron Westerby reaches semis in World Championship

Aaron, representing New Zealand and coaching Advanced players here in Tunbridge Wells last year, reached the semi-finals in the World Croquet Championship yesterday. Sadly he lost to Stephen Mulliner from England in three straight games -10, -7, -17.

This is his best ever result, having lost in the previous World Championship held in Cheltenham in 2005 in the quarter-finals.

The new World Champion is Chris Clarke, also from England, who beat Stephen Mulliner in the final by three games to one.

30th January – By Royal Appointment Broadcast Dates

The filming at the club last year has realised something: ITV will be showing the programme…

Programme Three:

  • Royal Tunbridge Wells (inc. The Pantiles, the Town Hall and Croquet Club)
  • Hare and Humphreys
  • Royal Horticultural Society
  • Rupert Alexander

Still subject to possible changes:
ITV London: Friday 11th July @ 20:00hrs
ITV Meridian: Thursday 17th July @ 19:30hrs

27th January – World Croquet Championship

Aaron Westerby will be representing New Zealand at the World Croquet Championship being held in Christchurch, New Zealand from 2nd to 10th February 2008. He is one of the 80 competitors taking part from 24 countries around the world.

He is aged 33, has played Croquet since the age of 13, and is currently ranked number 9 in the world and hopes to win the Wimbledon Cup for the first time. This trophy was presented to the World Croquet Federation by the All England Lawn Tennis Club in recognition of the part Croquet played in the club’s long history.

Aaron lost to James Death of England in the quarter-finals of the previous World Croquet Championship, held in Cheltenham in August 2005.

18th January – Committee Update

Dan Long has been co-opted on to the Committee and is taking over from Mick Belcham as Membership Secretary. Exactly when this happens will be determined between the two of them.

We’re currently planning on installing some drainage under the banking of lawns 2 and 3. With a following wind and a suitably long dry period we’re looking at doing this in April, so the Main Lawns Opening Day is likely to be in the first half of May – we’re hoping/planning for 4th May.