2010 News

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

20th December – Miriam Reader

It is with sadness that we report the death of one of our longest serving meambers – Miriam Reader. She was a staunch supporter of the club, parking supplier, washer-up extraordinaire and sometime committee member. She was always welcoming to all our new members and played most days until late last summer when she fell ill. She will be much missed.

10th October – Finals Day

The finals were blessed with an absolutely fabulous day. We had 5 finals (Shirley Jardine pulled out the night before) and in addition to the players there were a number of family members plus some spectators. Some ladies brought cakes and we had a really sociable day with some people getting a game later in the afternoon.

Golf Doubles – Frank Gunstone and Duncan Cox beat the Roccas, Calverley Cup: Geoff Croxford beat John Timmis, Golf High Bisquers: Mike Gentry beat John Moore, Hunter Plate: Richard Clark beat Duncan Cox, Kitching Rose Bowl: Ray Meech beat Frank Gunstone

26th/27th September – Pegasus Plate

There were only 7 players in this Open Handicap tournament that we run each year (four of them from Medway, none from Tunbridge Wells) and so the best format was for all to play all, meaning six games over two days. To make sure this was possible all games were 18 point and each player received bisques (worked out by the manager). Some achieved four games on the first day and seven in all.

The winner was Richard Lea from Medway who won 5/6 games, he played very well, but started from a favourable handicap and came down from xx to yy. Second was Alan Card from Medway with 4/6 wins. John Hobbs managed the Saturday and Mick Greagsby kindly managed the Sunday.

11th/12th September – Richard Smith wins the Honeygrove Cup

Richard Smith from Bowdon and Chester won the Tunbridge Wells Honeygrove Cup.

Richard won this event, the weekend Advanced B-Level tournament at Tunbridge Wells, with 6 wins out of 7 games. Everybody else won 2, 3 or 4 games, so it was an even tournament with the lawns playing very flat and easily, enabling the players to go home fairly early!

Paul Miles from Medway seemed to be the likely winner after miserable weather on day 1, with rain and blustery conditions throughout, as he had won four straight games with exemplary play. However, despite the lovely sunny weather on day 2, he had a miserable day, losing all 3 games.

Other new players to Tunbridge Wells included Adrian Morris from Kenilworth and Derek Knight from Beverley. Derek impressed and looked much better than his 7 handicap, although he hasn’t played many Advanced games before – he parked his balls on B baulk after conceding a lift on one occasion and missed taking a lift on a couple of others.

Final positions were:

Player Club Handicap Wins
Richard Smith Bowdon & Chester 1 6
Adrian Morris Kenilworth 3.5 4
Paul Miles Medway 1.5 4
Philip Mann Medway 3 3
Jon Diamond TW 1.5 3
John Hobbs TW 3.5 3
Mark Homan Watford 4.5 3
Derek Knight Beverley 7 2

11th September – Alex Jardine at the Treasurer’s Tankard

The Treasurer’s Tankard is the fourth of the Croquet Association annual Eight’s event, selected on the basis of current rating. So it’s gratifying that Alex has managed to qualify for the first time and performed creditably over the 4 days at Ryde, IOW – winning 5 out of the 14 games and coming 6th (out of 8 obviously).

9th September – SECF Golf Handicap League v Medway – lost 3:6

6th September – SECF U League v Canterbury – won 5:2

28th August – SECF Golf Handicap League v Ramsgate – won 6:3

21st August – Summer Supper

30+ members and partners attended this year’s Summer Supper at Kate and Michael Sander’s lovely house. All that was missing from the drinks party on the terrace was the sun and a few hoops on the flat lawn at the bottom of the garden! Sadly, not big enough for a proper croquet lawn. Kate’s food was fantastic, Mike’s wine service exemplary and all enjoyed themselves, even the person winning the booby prize in the raffle – a large home-grown courgette…

20th August – MacRobertson Shield


The mascots being friendly…


MacRobertson Shield


Referee resetting hoop after an almost stuck ball


Aaron pegging out

Several members went to Surbiton on a very grey Friday to watch GB play Australia and NZ v USA. GB were in a slightly embarassing position, having been expected to win comfortably to take the Shield, but were being held to a score of 3:3 after two sets of Doubles. Still there are three days to go, with today being 6 singles (2 starting when a lawn is free after one of the other games has finished). If GB lose this Test then the winner of NZvUSA will win the trophy – which looks likely to be NZ after a great day of singles.

The play is interesting, with the commentary available online from previous day having highlighted the number of errors under pressure being made, tactical, missing shortish roquets and blobbed hoops. A particular example was Rutger playing a short croquet shot in one corner and then stymying himself from the ball he was then trying to rush. A jump short to attempt the roquet then predictably didn’t work, leading to the loss of that game. Hey, ho, I could play as well as that…

Finally we ended up watching one of our occasional members, Aaron Westerby who’s been practising seriously at TW during July, making a synchronised peg-out with a fellow team member on the adjacent lawn in the NZvUSA Doubles matches.

We leave having seen GB win all 4 games to have finished and NZ all three of theirs, so our support was clearly important! Good catering and a great day out.

Some pictures can be seen in our Photo Gallery.

8th August – SECF Open Golf

We lost both the trophies that we won last year! Medway won the doubles and Reigate Priory took the singles.

In the doubles, Tunbridge Wells Team 1 won 3 and lost 1 – but so did 4 other teams.  Medway was clear with 4 wins.  Team 2 drew 1 and lost 3.

Doubles Team 1
John Hobbs and John Moore won 2. Duncan Cox and Derek Heath won 1 and lost 1.
Doubles Team 2
Frank Gunstone and Ray Meech drew 1 and lost 1. Derek Crocombe and John Skates lost 2.

Sussex fielded a very strong team; their number 4 was Maggie Webb (3).  However, they paid the price when it came to bisques, giving many and receiving none.  Our best games were probably against them.

The quote of the day was from a lady returning to the next table – “She was supposed to be a 10 but she played like a bloody 7”  This produced roars of laughter from Tunbridge Wells!

Singles Team 1
John Hobbs won 2 and lost 1. Duncan Cox won 1 and lost 2. Derek Heath won 1 and lost 2. John Moore won 2 and lost 1.
Singles Team 2
Frank Gunstone lost 3. Ray Meech won 1, drew 1 and lost 1. Derek Crocombe won 2 and lost 1. John Skates lost 3.

As usual it was a most enjoyable day.

7th August – Open Super B Tournament

A disappointing entry for this, our second of the year, with only 4 players playing. For no apparent reason only 3 games were played by each player, as opposed to 4 for the previous one. Alex Jardine and Jon Diamond both ended up with 1 win with Mark Ormerod and Jon Male both 2. Since Jon had beaten Mark he was declared the winner!

3rd August- SECF Golf Handicap League v Compton – won 8:1

28th July – SECF Golf Level League v Ramsgate – lost 1:6

24th July – Jon Diamond wins Open Golf Handicap Tournament

The manager of an event isn’t supposed to win, but he did this time beating John Moore in the final 7-5, having also beaten him in the block). Simon Carter beat John Skates in the third place play-off.

The event was organised as two blocks, with play-offs, and the final positions are:

Player Club Handicap Wins
Jon Diamond TW 2 6
John Moore TW 7 4
Simon Carter Sydenham 0 5
John Skates TW 8 3
Carol Bradley Medway 10 5
Christine Parish Ramsgate/Canterbury 9 4
Christina Rice Ramsgate 4 3
Roz Cheesman Medway 9 3
Tricia Francis Medway 11 3
Derek Crocombe TW 8 3
Doug Francis Medway 10 2
Margaret Rose Medway 10 1

John Moore’s handicap was changed to 6.

22nd July – Mary Rose v East Dorset – lost 2:4

19th July – SECF Golf Level League v Surbiton – won by walk-over

16th July – SECF Golf Level League v Ramsgate – lost 1:6

11th July – SECF U League v Reigate Priory B – lost 3:4

11th July – SECF Golf Level League v Compton – lost 2.5:4.5

5th July – SECF U League v Compton – lost 2:3

1st July – SECF B League v Reigate Priory – lost 0:3

26th June – All England Club Final

The club’s internal competition for the Lewis Trophy (and the ensuing accolade of representation at the All England Regional Finals) duly took place on Saturday.

There were five entrants – Alex, Barney, Richard Mann, Chris Barham and Jeff Chapman.

It was played as 3 x 18 point games with the winner being Barney in a tight finish (+3) against Richard Mann in the final game, making the fifth time he’s won his own trophy! Good luck to him in the Regional Finals.

12th/13th June – Jon Diamond second in Southwick Midsummer

In a very tight top block all six players scored either 2 or 3 wins in their 5 games. So it was by the closest of tie-breakers that Jon Diamond came second, missing out on having to regularly polish a superb 80-year old silver cup (phew), with Alex Jardine one of the players on 2 wins.

11th June – Lovat Insurance Brokers win 5th Annual Corporate Challenge

The weather changed for the better and the sun shone on the small number of 5 teams challenging for this year’s trophies. Unfortunately, we’d chosen as a date the opening evening of the Football World Cup! Nevertheless the teams played with gusto throughout and thoroughly enjoyed the evening, saying that they would be back again next year.

For the fourth time a team from Lovat Insurance Brokers were the winners. This time it was Karen Hart and John Bagshawe (the Ventnors). The Churchill Retirement Living Salver for the best Community team was won by Charles Armstrong Wilson and John Tysoe (the Grass Monkeys).

1st June – Kent at the Inter Counties

Alex and Jon were part of the improving Kent team at the Association Inter Counties tournament, held from 28th May – 1st June at Southwick and Compton. The Inter Counties is, we believe, the largest croquet tournament in the world with more than 120 players involved, playing Advanced Doubles matches.

Kent came 6th out of 11 in the Second Division with 6 wins in 10 matches, which is a better performance than last year. The present system of two divisions of eleven teams has been in existence since 1997. In 1997 we were fourth with seven wins, but the three ahead of us all had seven wins and were promoted. The only other time we had six wins was in 2003, we were fifth then.

The current strategy is aimed at winning on the centenary of Kent’s last win (in 1912), so there’s some way to go, including winning promotion next year…

15th May – TW Super B

Just four visitors entered our first one-day advanced tournament of the season, aimed mainly at the working player; three of the “usual suspects” joined by the UK’s number 4 lady, Gabrielle Higgins, who took the honours with a clean sweep of 4 wins.

Alex very nearly prevailed but blobbed rover with all 3 peels done on partner ball (albeit in two turns), giving Gabrielle the “all four balls round rover” leave from which she duly finished +3.

Mick G had an exciting +1 win over Philip after having one ball pegged out and taking on the 3-ball break to the peg. He then finished with a comfortable win over our visitor Mike from Reigate.

Despite the rain showers in the afternoon, the day was generally warm, the lawns played beautifully and not one game went to the 2hr:30 min. time limit, proving again that four games in a day is quite practical and can be all done and dusted by 5:30 p.m.

RESULTS Handicap wins
Gabrielle Higgins 0 4
Alex Jardine 0.5 3
Jon Male 0.5 2
Mick Greagsby 5 2
Philip Mann 3 1
Mike Bottomley 5 0

8th May – Alex Jardine wins the Ramsgate Advanced Weekend

Alex Jardine won the Ramsgate Croquet Club Advanced Weekend Tournament on six wins out of seven. Congratulations – but not quite as good as last year, though, when he won all seven games! (But then last year was a B-level and this year was totally open.)

8th May – Jeff Chapman at the Winchester One Ball

Roger Barnacle won the Cryptorchid Handicap in this popular charity tournament. This year there were 19 club heats, some in far-flung corners – from Sidmouth to Colchester to Southport. Over 260 players participated, over £1,300 was raised for Macmillan Cancer Support and the quality of the final was as high as one would expect in any event seeking the cream of the cream.

Jeff had won our heat earlier this year and so qualified to play this year. He writes “I played at Winchester on Saturday and it turned out to be [apart from the weather] a sociable and enjoyable experience. The lawns were lightning fast with more undulations than at TW. There must be a law that accounts for the gravitational effect of some hoops when four simultaneous games are in progress. I did ‘sport’ the club badge on my shirt – not that anyone would know as the weather was so cold and wet that sweaters [full time] and rain gear [part time] were obligatory.

In the event I had a 50% record 4/8 – scores ranged between 0/8 and 8/8 in a good approximation to a guassian distribution. I played Rutger Beijderwellen in my second game and having not seen him in his first game and having no idea what the really good players were like my tactics were abysmal and I ended up severely thrashed as he completed the hoops in two attempts. I’d wised up in my match against the next best player present [Marcus Evans], managed my bisques better and achieved a win.”

11th April – Alex Jardine in the Southwick Salver

Alex didn’t win, but performed pretty well again as the “victor of the seeds’ graveyard quarter”, losing in the semi-finals to the winner Jamie Burch. More details are here.

14th March – The Cryptorchid Charity One Ball

As part of the Croquet Association’s One Ball Charity event we ran a heat for the very first time. Regretably the organisers failed to notice that it was Mothering Sunday, so the turn-out was somewhat down on forecast with a total of 4 players taking part.

From this very select group Jeff Chapman emerged as winner on a tie-break, so qualifies for the final in Winchester on 8th May. Obviously his handicap will be reduced very shortly…

Out contribution to the Macmillan Cancer Charity is £30.

11th March – Committee meeting

Kate Sander has been co-opted and wll take responsibility for Catering this season.

A replacement Lawn Supervisor has been recruited. He’s David Evans and has already made a good start with slitting and attacking the moss.

14th February – Mick Greagsby wins again!

Our Californian correspondent writes: “This week we have had a Scrambled Doubles Tournament – playing American Rules (with the ‘deadness board’). Because Mick doesn’t play the game much and doesn’t know the rules, let alone the strategy, he was put in the high handicap block – meaning he got to play partnered with a different low handicap player in each game.

He ended up winning the high handicap block and so was partnered with the winner of the low handicap block for the knock out ladder. His partner is a very good player – Bob van Tassell (handicap 0.5) – who coached him round the lawns. The two of them won the final game yesterday with both of them pegging out in the allotted time (the only pegged out game of the week).”

1st February – Committee meeting

Due to a major project Elaine Houslop has decided to retire from the Committee. Carolyn Gunstone has been co-opted in her place.

A number of improvements to the Club House are planned in addition to the normal maintenance tasks – installing electric hand-dryers and lockable lockers in the Ladies Changing Room. New badges should be available by the start of the season. No replacement for Norman has been found yet, but we’re advertising locally as well as nationally.

24th January – New Zealand Mac team announced

Aaron Westerby, an occasional member at our club, has been appointed Captain of the New Zealand team for the series of test matches to be held in the UK for the World Team Championships – MacRobertson Shield. This follows on from the NZ Open which finished on the 23rd, won by Paddy Chapman, who beat Aaron is the semi-final and Stephen Mulliner, from England, in the final.

15th January – First Winter Pub Lunch

At last the snow went, if only just, and 10 plucky people attended the first pub lunch of the Winter in Fairwarp. Well, actually you had to navigate slightly carefully through the slush in the local road and car park, but everybody got safely home after a jolly nice lunch!

10th January – Mick Greagsby wins again in the USA


Mick Greagsby and Bob van Tassell with the Club croquet pro and tournament director, Ben Rothman


Ben Rothman (US No 1 and Club Pro), Jim Butts (Club President) and MG

Mick has just finished the Pat Apple Tournament – named for one of the club’s founders – which is an Association tournament and the only time in Mission Hills, California that they play with bisques. It started with two flights – A and B, Mick being put in A, the one with handicaps 4.5 to 0.5 (having been given a handicap here of 3.5!). After block play, the two flights were divided into three for the play offs, based on the block results. Mick went into the second of these, where he had to play some of the A flight players again as well as the winner of the B flight. Well, he ended up winning his flight!

Here he is getting his award (an apple trophy), together with the winners of the other two flights – they all get their names on the trophy.