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

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 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!

0110_01 Ben Rothman (US No 1 and Club Pro), Jim Butts (Club President) and MG 0214_01 Mick Greagsby and Bob van Tassell with the Club croquet pro and tournament director, Ben Rothman

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.

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2009 News

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

25th October – John Hobbs wins Golf Level Play

10 players enjoyed a windy but sunny day in a club afternoon, probably the highest number this late in the season, but the star game was the final of the Golf Level Play competition.

In the last competitive game of the season John Hobbs beat Frank Gunstone 7-5, 6-7, 7-6 in an enthralling game, full of mistakes. Frank managed to get good position at hoop 13, following the loss of hoop 12 in the final game. However, he was unable to run the final hoop with two clear chances and John clinched the match at the second attempts in front of the three massed spectators!

26th/27th September – John Bateson wins Tunbridge Wells Desert Handicap (sorry Pegasus Plate)

Well the players decided that with all the sand on the lawns it was a bit like playing on a very level desert.

Ten players entered, with four from Tunbridge Wells. Handicaps ranged from 6 (Mick G) to 18 (Jeff and Miriam). The format of this tournament was called an Egyptian, which means you score points for winning and lose for losing, but how many depends on how strong or weak your opponent was. The winner is the player with most points at the end.

To make all games shorter we played only 18 points (not 26) and each player had bisques if they were high handicappers. This meant most games finished with a peg out, which is the most exciting bit of the game – much better than having longer games that get cut short by time limits. At the end of Saturday Pat Duke-Cox, the Croquet Association chairman was a leader with three wins out of three.

On Sunday fortunes changed and by the time the last game was being played three people might have won, including Jeff Chapman, but in the end the winner was John Bateson from Medway with 5/6 wins. Second was Lucy Beach from Reigate who managed to qualify for her Croquet Association Bronze award (running 10 hoops in one turn with bisques).

Full results are:

Player Club Handicap Wins Games
John Bateson Medway 10 5 6
Lucy Beach Reigate 14 4 6
Peter Highton Medway 14 4 6
Jeff Chapman Tunbridge Wells 18 4 6
Mick Greagsby Tunbridge Wells 6 3 6
Allan Card Medway 14 3 6
Pat Duke-Cox Woodhall Spa 8 3 6
Ted Robinson Sussex County 14 2 5
Miriam Reader Tunbridge Wells 18 1 6
Ron Benson Tunbridge Wells 12 0 4

13th September – Alex Jardine wins Honeygrove Cup

Alex beat Jon Diamond in the final of the Honeygrove Cup, despite Jon winning all six of his games in the flexible Swiss, sealing a TW name on the cup for the first time since 2002.

Following four withdrawals, the field was reduced to eight which meant that the swiss format nearly became all-play-all. Excellent weather and true-running lawns made for rapid play and an early finish each evening.

Classiest game was the third-turn ball to rover and fifth-turn finish from Jon after John Hobbs got round to 4-back, with the rover peel, off the contact but failed to peg the opponent out. However, in the final, it was Alex who got both balls round before rushing onto the peg, leaving a three-ball ending. Jon refused the safety option and went for a brave 3-ball break, eventually coming to grief off oppo’s ball at rover, giving an easy finish.

Final: Alex JARDINE beat Jon DIAMOND +15

Alex JARDINE 4/6
John HOBBS 3/6
Paul MILES 3/6
Rodney PARKINS 2/5
Mick BELCHAM 2/6
Philip MANN 0/6

4th September – Late Summer BBQ

More than 30 people were at Elaine and Mark Houslop’s house to enjoy a splendid BBQ, albeit eating indoors given the lateness of the season. A good time was had by all, including some US visitors who play croquet with Mick Greagsby and have been touring the UK for the last 2 weeks! Many thanks to Elaine and Mark.

2nd September – SECF Golf Level League v Compton – won 4:3

A tight event this one, with excellent catering provided by Compton on a day which was better than forecast.

Richard wasn’t having a good day at the office, but Craig Oakley’s handicap of 5 was clearly out of line as he runs hoops hard and clears balls from almost any distance. So it wasn’t a surprise that Craig won both his games. Frank was having a good day and won both of his.

The match was tied at 3 games all when Richard and Hilary left the lawn after all the other games finished and announced that they were one game each and did they need to finish it? Well, we made them play the last one and Richard did carve out a win for us, but made the spectators sweat a bit.

30th August – SECF A League v Woking – won 4:3

Phew, what a nice win and such a tight finish! Despite our handicap deficit, our average handicap being 2 v Woking’s 0.5, we managed to eke out a narrow win at the end of the day.

Mick had reset the hoops on Saturday, after the lawns had been cut to their shortest ever, so the hoops were tight and the lawns pretty fast, making conditions a little more difficult than usual…

The morning was disappointing with Jolyon and Jon both unable to run hoops, Jolyon failed three times at hoop 3, and so went down to a comprehensive defeat having scored only 4 hoops by Woking’s top two – Jeff Dawson and Malcolm Bigg. Mick echoed this problem, running only 3 hoops in his defeat by Nick Harvey. Face was saved with Alex having a comprehensive success against Annabel McDiarmid, leaving the match score at 1:2 and with us having to win 3 of the 4 singles games to win the match.

The afternoon started much in the vein of the morning with Jolyon, Jon and Mick still not running hoops well, but Alex having more of a struggle with Nick than against Annabel, but still a little ahead. Jeff soon wrapped up his game against Jolyon, including a triple peel attempt, so leaving us requiring all three games to win the match.

Jon decided that the weather was too cold and put on his fleece; this seemed to change his fortunes. Despite rolling off the lawn twice when close to his opponents’s ball he managed to put his breaks together and soon after ran out the winner by 19. So, only 2 more games to be won!

Mick had recovered his hoop running ability, but not perfectly, so was still struggling somewhat and missing too many roquets. However, after making penult he was hampered and couldn’t hit his partner ball and so had to hit one of the two balls joined up in corner 2, to stop Annabel getting in again – an excellent pressure shot. After this, he failed to make the rover peel and had to lay up for the final ball to make rover. Running rover was successful, but he turned down the opportunity of a 5-yard roquet on the opponent ball in favour of trying to set up for a rush to the peg next turn. This didn’t work, leaving some tortured play to split Annabel’s balls up and setting up the rush again, but he eventually pegged out – so we only need Alex to win!

Alex wasn’t doing too badly, but Nick had caught up and managed to peg out Alex’s forward ball. This left a three ball ending to Alex’s disadvantage, with his ball on 2-back and Nick’s backward ball on 4-back. However, rather than being very defensive to ensure a win after Alex had missed a long shot, Nick tried to make a 3-ball break and overran 4-back, leaving his balls too close to Alex’s after a failed hoop attempt. Alex picked up the break and after some good rushes across the lawn finished the game nicely; so winning us the match with a very good win and a handicap reduction to 1.5!

16th August – CA Mary Rose v Colchester – won 5:2

On a lovely day out to Colchester we make it to latest round we’ve ever been to in one of the CA events! We’re now in the semi-finals for the first time, playing the East Dorset club at Parkstone, near Poole.

Our team made a clean sweep of the morning three games against a slightly weaker team, so only had to win one of the afternoon ones. However, we struggled a bit throughout most of the afternoon, but Mick won the first of the games to finish, so the others could relax and we eventually ended up winning 2 of the 4 games in the afternoon.

Phew! It was a scorcher of an afternoon, with all having to retreat to the shelter of the clubhouse when not on the lawns. Great hospitality though.

10th August – SECF B League v Canterbury – lost 2:5

9th August – We have clean sweep at the SECF Golf Croquet Team Day

Last Sunday, 9th August, 17 teams from 13 croquet clubs all over South East England competed in the annual Golf Croquet Team event, hosted by the Sussex County Croquet Club at Southwick. This year, for the first time, the teams from the Royal Tunbridge Wells Croquet Club ran out as winners in both the Singles and Doubles events.

0809_01 SECF Golf Singles Team winners: Joyce Rocca, John Hobbs (captain), Duncan Cox and Derek Heath
Team 1: John Hobbs (captain) won 2 lost 1, Derek Heath won 3 lost 0, Duncan Cox won 3 lost 0, Joyce Rocca won 2 lost 1 – overall score 10:2 (1st place)
Team 2: Frank Gunstone (captain) won 2 lost 1, Derek Crocombe won 1 lost 2, Val Rocca won 2 lost 1, Anita Hunter won 0 lost 3 – overall score 5:7

0809_02 SECF Golf Doubles Team winners: Anita Hunter, Derek Crocombe, Frank Gunstone & Val Rocca
Team 1: John Hobbs & Duncan Cox won 1 drew 1, Derek Heath & Joyce Rocca won 1 lost 1 – overall score 2:1:1
Team 2: Frank Gunstone & Val Rocca, won 2 lost 0, Derek Crocombe & Anita Hunter won 2 lost 0 – overall score 4:0 (1st place)

1st August – Jon Male wins TW Super-B

Kevin Carter writes: “Jon Male won the Tunbridge Wells Super B event with four wins in four games. His play is unflashy but steady and error-free; he is much better than his 1.5 handicap implies. Local player Jolyon Creasey and Kevin Carter finished with three wins.

This was one of this season’s experimental one-day ‘Super-B’ events. They are proving popular, since they appeal to those who have busy jobs and/or families. Four games are guaranteed. Watch out for more next year, at Tunbridge and elsewhere.

For those who have not yet been to the Tunbridge Wells Club they really should try it. You get a big welcome, it is in a pretty setting and the courts are very flat (if they were rather green after the recent wet weather).”

24th July – Golf Handicap League v Dulwich – lost 2:5

Havey rain in the morning didn’t stop play, at least for very long, but the thunder and lightning did! Our opposition were very complimentary about our drainage, as it recovered pretty well, although the water table was only one inch below the surface as we arrived – we were very careful about putting hoops slowly in to avoid being seriously splashed…

As to the match itself: Jon Diamond and John Hobbs were well outclassed by their opposition, both 0 handicap, with Frank Gunstone and Derek Heath unable to retrieve the situation. The return of the sun in the afternoon failed to improve the outcome and we were well beaten – more practise required!

11th July – TW beat Dulwich in the second round of the CA Mary Rose Cup

Tunbridge Wells are through to the third round (quarter-finals) of the Mary Rose!! Well it did help to get a bye in the first round, but on 11 July, we beat Dulwich 4-3 on their lawns, avenging our home defeat in the opening South-East Federation A-League match.

Jolyon and Alex romped round to the peg in the doubles and then spent an awful long time failing to complete the game. Mick B had a good win over Belgian international Pierre Beaudry while John H went down to Mark Ormerod, a returning minus player from the eighties.

So to a fine lunch 2-1 up (again!) but this time the necessary two wins came from the same lawn, Jolyon taking out an erratic Ed Dymock, while Alex eventually managed to hit in at long distance after one ball had been pegged out by David Collins.

6th July – Golf Handicap League v Compton – won 6:3

What a pleasure to report that we triumphed.

Richard Clark, Frank Gunstone, Val and Joyce Rocca represented the club against visitors from Compton who admired the fresh green lawns we had in wait for them. By lunch time we had a 4 -2 lead, having taken both doubles matches and half the singles. Fortified by lunch Richard and Frank combined in the doubles to put the outcome beyond doubt. Joyce won but Val lost the remaining singles games to give us a comfortable 6-3 win and to restore a bit of local pride. Richard and Frank, survivors of the Surbiton Massacre of the previous week had recovered their form while the Roccas performed very well too. Our opponents did not always appreciate the length of our clearances, but took away a few tips on jumps shots to salve their wounds. Beware next time.

2nd-4th July – Jon Diamond wins 6 Lawns Trophy

One of the more unusual tournaments is this 6 Lawns handicap event, with two lawns at each of the Littleton, Winchester and Hamptworthy Croquet Clubs (all within a 25 mile radius).

Brian Fisk, as manager, has a more difficult job than most managers – having to schedule groups at the three clubs, so that players remain at the club they’re scheduled to start at for the whole of that day and collecting results by mobile phone.

This year he had to do a complete re-organisation as two more players entered in the last week, making a total of 18 and so 3 blocks of 6 in an all-play-all over the first two days. The last day was occupied by the semi-finals (block winners plus best loser) and finals at Hamptworthy.

As it happens I had a clean sweep, winning all 7 games, and so won the event; although not without alarums – the semi-final (13.5 bisques) was only won by 1 hoop and the final (11.5 bisques) by 3, after a disaster with a rover-peel attempt and an easy win beckoning. I think this is the first time Barbara has really been watching my games and the stress was too much for her at various times!

A great event with much hospitality including accommodation for may players, a barbeque and fish & chips supper. However, I’m not sure what they’re going to call the event next year as they’re hoping to have another two lawns at Hampworthy… but do try it yourself – the natives are friendly.

2nd July – Golf Level League v Surbiton – lost 0.5:6.5

Just like doing the driving test on an ice rink with Fangio, Schumaker et al watching. England internationals did us the honour of playing with (against) us. We went down by 6.5 to 0.5 to a highly polished team of handicaps 1,2,2,3. The lawns were quite an experience, lacking the comforting green of ours, and sporting more Plummers than the human brain can comprehend. I have to report that we all played very well, with some valiant clearances, but we were mere Riddicks to Surbiton’s Federers in the end. I suppose even dead gladiators could claim that the experience would do them good in later contests. Food excellent. It was very hot. Nice people, but as golf croquet players not in our class, I’m afraid.

27th June – Jean Cobbold wins Open Golf Handicap Tournament

On a lovely sunny, if rather hot day 10 players managed to play 6 rounds of Golf, despite the fox/crow damage to Lawn 3. Jean Cobbold, from Reigate Priory, ran out the winner fairly easily winning all her games, except the one against her husband! This one ended up as a draw…

Full results are:

Player Club Handicap Score
Jean Cobbold Reigate Priory 9 5.5
Ian Cobbold Reigate Priory 5 4.5
Duncan Cox TW 7 4
John Hobbs TW 4 3.5
Jon Diamond TW 2 3
Robert Laver Dulwich 8 3
Lynn Whyte Temple 7 3
Miriam Reader TW 9 2.5
Anne Laver Dulwich 7 1
David Whyte Temple 7 0

Jean had her handicap reduced to 8 and David increased to 8 as a result of the tournament.

26th June – SECF Golf Level Play League v Ramsgate – lost 2:5

Not one of our better outings – only Mick Greagsby played well enough to avoid a whitewash. At least we did provide some decent weather and lunch.

22nd June – SECF U League v Compton – lost 2:5

The U-league team visited Compton on Monday 22 June and had a mostly successful morning, turning round 2-1 up, before a disastrous whitewash in the afternoon, eventually losing 5-2.

Mick and Richard were first in the bar at lunchtime, losing the doubles without really getting into the game, while Jon was next, beating the hard-hitting youngster Craig Oakley who at this time was mainly hard-missing. Alex took till the brink of “time” to finally come from well behind with a winning break.

After a fairly basic lunch of bread and cheese, Compton came alive and Tun Wells slid into a mutual post-prandial torpor. Jon was out-bisqued, Alex was out-hit (Craig now hitting everything), Mick never got into the game and finally, Richard was also out-bisqued by the Compton sub who had got to rover and penult (against 1 & 2) before the bisques ran out.

Strange things can happen at Compton – first Alex, on a normal all-round break, inexplicably ran rover in the wrong direction, then later Jon, having run hoop 2, went straight to penultimate instead of three without any of the intervening nonsense. The ley-lines in Eastbourne are mighty strong, and obviously run down the centre of lawn four !

19th June – Lovat Insurance Brokers win 4th Annual Corporate Challenge

The fourth year of this event, inaugurated as part of Royal Tunbridge Wells 400 in 2006, was a great success with 14 teams taking part on a sunnyish, if slightly cool evening. Sadly the Courier and some other teams were unable to attend again. All teams played with gusto throughout and thoroughly enjoyed the evening, saying that they would be back again next year.

0619_5 Winners: Chris Moon & Robert Elkins (Mallet Masters 2008)
The previous winners (Blockley Partnership and Lovat Insurance Brokers) entered again, and were clearly trying to repeat their previous successes. In the end the final was between two teams from Lovat, with Chris Moon and Robert Elkins (Mallet Masters 2008), who won all four of their games ending up as winners. Runners up were Tim Austen and Cheryl Bowden (Creme de la Creme).

0619_7 Community winners: Rose Harrild & Charles May (Brencley Bruisers)
The Churchill Retirement Living Salver for the best Community team was won by Charles May and Rose Harrild (the Brenchley Bruisers).

Prizes were awarded to the winners and commiserations to the losers, who we hope to see later on in the season.

The full list of teams is:

  • Lovat Insurance Brokers – 3 teams
  • Cripps Harries Hall – 2 teams
  • Wells Associates – 4 teams
  • Blockley Partnership
  • Brenchley Bruisers
  • Four Elms Mallets
  • Discord Distribution
  • Expense Accounters

Thanks to all the helpers – Duncan Cox, Frank Gunstone, John Moore and Val Rocca, together with those in the kitchen Barbara Diamond and Joyce Rocca.

15th June – B League v Ember – lost 1-2

The B-league match against the Ember club from Esher in Surrey was played at home on Monday 15 June.

The match was lost 2-1, mainly due to Alex’s complete inability to hit anything in the last half-hour when points were desperately needed. Miriam had “… one of those days …”, while our only success was newly-joined Ron Benson (formerly of Surbiton CC) who squeezed past Mike Lambert (other club Surbiton CC) by the proverbial +1 on time.

Despite the threatening clouds, the rain held off till nearly lunchtime but afterwards fell in torrents and no further play was possible.

12th June – Golf Handicap League v Crawley – won 5:4

Another day, another story. This time a similar team (Richard Clark, Frank Gunstone, Derek Heath and Duncan Cox) found their circuitous way to the ground of Crawley Croquet Club. This time the bisques were entirely in the hands of our opponents and they were plentifully ranged beside the court to strike terror in our hearts. But oh! What a different story! The morning’s doubles saw us at one all. The singles which followed left us locked at 3-3. The final session saw us win the doubles (Richard and Derek) and one of the singles (Frank) to emerge 5-4 victors.

8th June – Golf Handicap League v Reigate – lost 1-8

They came, they saw, they conquered. (8 – 1)

There is little else to say but that the collective might of Richard Clark (Captain), John Hobbs, Frank Gunstone and Derek Heath could not withstand the polished arts of our Reigate visitors shielded from our futile efforts by an tidy basket of bisques. All had been decided well before lunch. Significantly however in the one and only tie in which we were the recipients of a solitary bisque, the stalwart John Hobbs used it to good effect, running out the winner by 7-6 in the last game of the day, salvaging not only something of his own reputation but our collective self esteem. I am sure our next opponents (Crawley) will pay dearly for this chastening experience.

6th/7th June – Kent Cup

0507-04 Jon Diamond presenting the cup to the winner Robert Alexander, with Alex Jardine (manager on left) and Rodney Parkins (runner-up)Tunbridge Wells hosted the Kent Cup over the weekend of 6/7 June, with victory going to a Medway member yet again, this time Robert Alexander from Rodney Parkins in second place.

Despite the threat of rain, and a downpour in the early hours of Sunday morning, the playing conditions were excellent. With Dulwich having decided they are no longer a Kent club, and no representation from Ramsgate or Canterbury, the small entry of just eight from Medway and ourselves got in seven games each in an all-play-all block.

The Saturday was dominated by the careful and steady play of Rodney, who won all four games albeit two by just +1 in overtime after the time turns had finished level. In the meantime, Robert had three easy wins but was himself beaten +1 by Jon Diamond in an exciting three-ball ending.

Key game on Sunday then, was the win by Robert over Rodney, right on the 2 ½ hour time limit by 15 points (!) with one of Rodney’s balls still to get off hoop 1. Shot of the day was Alex’s 8-yard penultimate (in another 3-ball ending) which then glanced off the peg to end up next to David Parkins’ balls, carefully wired behind hoop 4, giving him an easy finish. In the final round, Jon comprehensively defeated Rodney to leave Robert clear on number of wins.

6 wins – Robert Alexander
5 wins – Rodney Parkins, Alex Jardine
4 wins – David Parkins
3 wins – Jon Diamond, Philip Mann
2 wins – Paul Miles
0 wins – John Hobbs

18th May – Ivychurch friendly

We had a very enjoyable day at Ivy Church yesterday although it was somewhat windy! We lost all the association matches and I am told the lawns were not ideal for that form of croquet, a point you made at the bank holiday tournament. We won all but one of the golf matches which meant we lost overall by one game.

17th May – SECF A League v Dulwich – lost 3:4

The very first SE Federation Advanced-league match was played at TW on Sunday 17 May, when we entertained (and that is the right word) the Dulwich team. Despite the fact that their highest handicap ranked better than our lowest, we lost by only 4 – 3 on an entertaining and most enjoyable day, even though the weather was both showery and very breezy.

Following the loss of a fairly turgid doubles, and John going down to superior hitting, the star of the morning was Mick G (playing off handicap 9) who took out his very-experienced oppo (off 1.5) after an exhausting 4-hour struggle. So in to an excellent lunch only 2-1 down, when we were expecting worse, to be honest.

In the afternoon, Alex soon succumbed to his minus-handicap opponent, making most of his points after Peter had missed the peg-out, while the match was secured by Simon beating Mick G to give Dulwich an unassailable lead.

Nonetheless, there was still pride to be played for, and both Mick B and John, in an exciting 3-ball finish, came through with fine wins to level the singles tally.

9th/10th May – SECF Association Team Doubles Championship

The Tunbridge Wells Five (Messrs Belcham, Greagsby, Chapman, Clark and Ms Reader) entered the SEFC Doubles Championship at Southwick this weekend with twelve other teams. We were scheduled to play under the pseudonym of Tonbridge (sic) and acquitted ourselves… averagely, winning no fewer games than we lost. The tournament was won by Dulwich we think. (they were still playing when we left having unsportingly broken for tea in mid afternoon.)

We thought it a trifle odd that Bill Arliss’ computer left some of us playing four of our five games against Purley Bury. Charming opponents though they undoubtedly were, we would have enjoyed it even more if that dratted computer had introduced us to new friends.

As to our play, new boys Chapman and Greagsby acquitted themselves well, especially the latter who raced to the peg in his first game leaving his bereft partner to battle it out to a narrow win! As to the other performances the proverbial curate’s egg provides some clue. Richard C seemed on Sunday to have formed an undying attachment to the ironwork of two back, and Miriam was plucked unremittingly from the jaws of hoop one by an overzealous Purley Bury lady on her first coming out tournament.

Ah well! Five wins and five losses and Southwick’s fine catering under our belts, we’ ve made it home for this week’s coaching. Still better things may be expected.

4th May – Mick Greagsby wins Tunbridge Wells Golf B-Class Level Play

With only 3 playable lawns the 18 players from 4 clubs who took part in this tournament felt somewhat crowded, and had to treble-bank and wait on too many occasions. Still, they did manage to play 6 rounds on a somewhat colder day than anticipated, with our own Mick winning them all.

This was perhaps not totally surprising since he was in the group of players all at 5 handicap (the best allowed) and had been playing throughout the winter in California, albeit Association and not Golf. Eli Frith from Ivychurch with 5 wins, came second. The table of results is (detailed wins/losses are on the CA website):

Player Club Handicap Wins
Mick Greagsby Royal Tunbridge Wells 5 6
Eli Frith Ivychurch 5 5
Duncan Cox Royal Tunbridge Wells 7 4
Paddy Croxford Ivychurch 10 4
Valerie Harding Ramsgate 5 4
Geoff Croxford Ivychurch/ Royal Tunbridge Wells 8 3.5
Pat Frith Ivychurch 9 3.5
Carol Bradley Medway 9 3
Derek Heath Royal Tunbridge Wells 6 3
Vera Phipps Ivychurch 10 3
Miriam Reader Royal Tunbridge Wells 8 3
Michael Sander Royal Tunbridge Wells 9 3
Frank Gunstone Royal Tunbridge Wells 5 2
Michael Gentry Royal Tunbridge Wells 8 2
Roz Cheesman Medway 9 1.5
Kate Sander Royal Tunbridge Wells 10 1.5
Doug Francis Medway 10 1
Tricia Francis Medway 10 1

It was no surprise to find that the only change in handicap was Mick – he now won’t be able to retain his trophy next year as his handicap is now 4!

13th/14th April – Surbiton Easter Advanced

The manager Kevin Carter reports “Fine weather and great lawns (approx 11 plummers) meant that some players got in nine or ten games during this two-day Spring warm-up. It helped that the first games each day started by 9.30 – the benefit of having the last four to arrive being given a late start.

However, the result was settled not long after lunch on the second day. The winner was Rutger, just ahead of last year’s winner, Chris Farthing. Rutger tried several SXPs, completing one and also a QNP. Rutger and Chris were two of half a dozen players getting in practice for the World Championship (ten Surbiton members will compete in it).

At the other end of the scale it was good to see some B-level players entering the fray. Jon Diamond (from Tunbridge Wells and playing off 3.5) did especially well, with 4 wins from 8 games.”

The handicap range for the tournament was from -2.5 to 7, with a median of 0, so quite tough!

5th April – Opening Day

More than 25 people enjoyed the fair weather for our Season’s Opening Day, with the One Ball event in the morning being won by Jon Diamond and the Golf Doubles by Val Rocca & John Moore who won all their games.

Kate Sander provided the superb lunch, with assistance from Shirley Jardine. It was fantastic value for £5, with 3 different types of soup made from vegetables from her garden, as well as pate, cheese and deserts. If we want to repeat this in future I think we’ll have to charge much more!

26th March – Alex Jardine wins 7/11 at the Cheltenham Advanced Tournament

8th March – Sussex County Golf Inter-Club tournament

This is a new event as part of Southwick’s Winter Programme. With only five lawns available it was restricted to 6 teams of four, playing a Doubles and two Singles in each round.

Despite the awful weather in the afternoon it was enjoyed by all, and won by the local team, with 5 straight wins. Our team consisting of Jon Diamond, John Hobbs, Derek Heath and Miriam Reader won three of our matches, finishing up second equal.

27th January – New Zealand Golf Croquet Doubles

Congratulations to Bob Jackson and Aaron Westerby who today won the 2009 NZ Golf Croquet Doubles championships at Wanganui croquet club. It is Aaron’s first time in the event.

27th January – New Zealand Open

Aaron Westerby lost in the second round of the Knock-Out phase of the New Zealand Open to the eventual winner, Stephen Mulliner from England – 17-26, 26-22, 26-19. Aaron finished up 7th overall and winner of the Z-event.

24th January – Desert Classic Association Rules Croquet Tournament

0125_01 Mick Greagsby winning the First Flight of the Desert Classic Association Rules Croquet Tournament!
Played at Mission Hills in California this is an important US Championship and was won by Ben Rothman, with Danny Hunneycutt second.

0101_01 Mick Greagsby at his other home: note deadness board - US rules croquet being played
The First Flight was won by Mick Greagsby. In the final he played the lowest handicap in the flight (Jon Essick – ranked 61 in the USA/516 in the world) and won 13-11! And this with a dodgy shoulder and a split mallet head . (Yes, John Hobb’s replacement did arrive in time, but he didn’t want to change it.)

Anyway. attached is a photo of Mick getting his award ($400, which he has donated to a local charity), and a shot of all the winners. (Leeds & Son (jewellers) were the sponsors).

All this under clear blue skies and temperatures in the 70’s, life is so hard!

2nd January – Frostbite Challenge

Despite much trepidation over the weather forecast, with the 5-day forecasts showing freezing weather for many days, 20 people came to our first ever Frostbite Challenge! The weather was only about 4-5 degrees, but as the picture shows the sun even came out for the occasion.

Plenty of croquet was played with two separate events running side-by-side – Golf Croquet Handicap Doubles with 8 players and One Ball also with 8 players. According to the results sheet Gerald White and Val Rocca won the Golf having won both their games. The full One Ball results are:

Player Wins Games
Mark Houslop 5 5  
Jon Diamond 5 6
Mike Brown 3 4
Mick Belcham 4 7
Alex Jardine 2 5
John Hobbs 2 7
Richard Clark 1 5
Miriam Reader 0 5

so obviously a handicap reduction for Mark is in prospect, he’s been practising too much in Florida…. On the other hand what can we expect from Mick Greagsby when he returns from 6 months in California!

Many thanks to Alex Jardine for organising the event and Elaine Houslop for the hot soup and organising the variety of other food available for lunch. A good time was had by all.

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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”. MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA
    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.

0914_01 The Kent team at the Golf Intercounties - David Dray, Jon Diamond, James Goodbun and Pierre Beaudry
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

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.

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!

0721_02 Croquet Hut, Swedish style
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.]

Saturday 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_01 Penshurst Place - 20th July
At 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.

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2007 News

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

14th December – December Newsletter

The main points are:

  • Yet more fencing news
  • Winter Warmer chilli on 31st Jan
  • Kent Youth Service to take over Pavilion (and share it with us)
  • We’re visiting Penshurst Place in July

17th November – AGM

Our AGM was held as usual in Frant Village Hall, where we immediately encountered a few obstacles, starting with the doors being locked and there was nowhere obvious to find the key! Having overcome this the main entrance into the meeting room was locked (again without a key) and there was a nice sign over the cooker saying “Don’t turn on the oven until 21st January”.

This caused Anne Boyle a large headache, since she had planned hot food and had been assured by the person responsible that there was a working cooker! (Pam Clark, who had stepped in nobly at the last minute when Carolyn Gunstone was called away an a family emergency, was also rather disconcerted.) And lastly, the Mobile Library graciously blocked the car park completely until the scheduled meeting start time. Nevertheless we managed to this all sorted out, had coffee and starting the meeting pretty well on time at 11am.

The minutes will be available in due course, but the highlights were:

  • John Hobbs was presented with his Croquet Association Diploma (see last year’s AGM for details)
  • We had a surplus in 2007 of roughly £2600, but would be spending significantly more on the lawns in 2008 and were forecasting a deficit of £2400.
  • Ann Boyle and Selwyn Ward retired from the Committee, with Mick Greagsby being elected as a new member (despite being in California). There are still spaces available on the Committee, so if you’re interested contact Jon or Mick
  • Membership fees unchanged
  • The Constitution amendment passed, although there was a significant discussion about communications to members without email access
  • The Council will be undertaking some fencing work to minimise intrusion from foxes.
  • Kent Youth Service will be using the Pavilion by the Bowling Green as an office and meeting place, so we will only have limited storage there in future.
  • A discussion on Club sessions next year suggested Saturday am for coaching and pm for a playing session
  • We would be hosting the CA Musk Cup (top 8 English Golf players) on 16/17 August

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

10th November – Final Competition decided

Mick Belcham beat John Timmis by 3 hoops in the final of the Calverley Cup. This is probably the latest in the year that we’ve had any competitive game played. So, there’s something to thank global warming for, and also our being able to use the Bowling Green!

3rd November – Still playing!

The weather is gradually getting colder and the colours in the park are just lovely this year. So it was good to see that 10 hardyish souls turned up on Sunday to play croquet. We had to lay out both lawns on the Bowling Green, which had just been cut. It was still somewhat long and slow, but reasonably straight – so there were quite a few accurate long shots and hoops. Derek Crocombe was noticeable with a splendid jump shot, despite saying that he can’t do them…

If the weather continues like this perhaps we’ll be playing all winter.

27th October – SECF Results issued

We came second of 19 in the B League, 11th of 13 in the U League, 6th equal of 7 in the Golf Level League and 4th of 18 in the Handicap League. Not a bad result at all!

Woking may have to do something about their Golf Handicaps, since they won all 8 of their Golf League games…..

26th October – Pub Lunch update

The last pub lunch of the season at the Mark Cross Inn was also the largest ever, with 23 attendees. From the comments of many this is an obviously undiscovered pub, well worth another visit; not only were the portions large, the quality of the cooking and service was excellent too.

19th October – Main lawns close

A working party of Mick Belcham, Derek Crocombe, Mike Greagsby, John Hobbs, Dan Long and Ray Meech led by the damaged Roger Morris are scarifying, mowing, trimming the banks, weeding and reseeding bare patches on the lawns today. The lawns are therefore now closed for the winter.

They’re also mowing the Bowling Green, so this is now properly open again. Thanks to all helping.

13th October – Croquet Association AGM

1013_01 Apps Heley award presentation to our Chairman (Jon Diamond) by Bernard Neal at the Croquet Association AGM
At the CA AGM Jon Diamond received on behalf of the club the Apps Heley award for 2007, shared with the Crake Valley club. See for more details.

Diplomas were also presented to Richard Clark and Roger Morris recognizing their services to croquet, especially to our club.

10th October – Competition Updates

Congratulations to the following winners:
Spa – Jolyon Creasey
Lustau – Richard Mann
All England – John Greenwood
Golf High Bisquers – Elaine Houslop
Doubles – Chris Sturdy and Miriam Reader

8th October – TV filming

1008 TV filming on 8th October
A TV production company making a half-hour programme about Royal Tunbridge Wells, with the emphasis on the “Royal” spent 2 hours filming at our club, with Mick taking time to teach them how to play Golf Croquet. Many other members were present to give some background shots, including those playing in whites for the final of the Association Doubles! Thanks to all those who helped. Hopefully not all the film will end up on the cutting room floor (or whatever they have these days).

25th September – Golf Level League v Dulwich – lost 3:6

23rd September – Open Handicap Tournament (Pegasus Plate)

Another successful tournament with 12 players from many clubs managed by John Hobbs. Philip Mann from Medway retained the trophy that he won for the first time last year – if he wins it next year he WON’T retain the trophy permanently!

Congratulations to Miriam Reader for playing so well that her handicap was reduced to 16.

6th September – Golf Handicap League v Merton (Green) – won 6:3

2nd September – Paul Miles wins Open Advanced Tournament

Despite the best efforts of the four local players, manager Mick Belcham together with Jon Diamond, John Hobbs and Chris Sturdy, Paul Miles from Medway and Simon Whiteley from Dulwich contested the final, with Paul running out an easy winner in the end. Jon picked up the other prize for the Block winner, having only lost one game, to Paul.

As usual for this late summer(ish) the sun shone, the six visitors were again from far and wide with the furthest coming from Bowden in the North West. The catering was good and the washing up, by Miriam (not a player!) was excellent.

30th August – Golf Handicap League v Littlehampton – won 6:3

On Thursday 30th August, the club, represented by Frank and Carolyn Gunstone and Miriam Reader under Richard Clark’s captaincy took on the might of Littlehampton. So often a scourge to us in past seasons, Littlehampton fielded two scratch players, a two and a three.

After the first round, the scores were level with each side winning one of the doubles games. Carolyn on her first outing in a club match played consistently alongside Richard to secure our first game. In the second round Frank, Miriam and Carolyn all won, whilst Richard conceded victory to Colin Thornton. Now 4-2 up, we needed only one win in the final round to carry the day. Carolyn went on to her third win partnering Miriam in the doubles, while Richard found form again to beat Elizabeth Thornton, Frank this time falling to the mallet of Colin Thornton.

So, a very satisfying 6 – 3 overall victory to which all contributed. It was particularly pleasing to see Carolyn make a very full contribution, as have all the others of this season’s debutant(e)s : Elaine Houslop, Val Rocco, Ann Boyle, Mick Greagsby, Pauline (as a substitute for a stricken Roger) and Miriam. Their form, when viewed alongside others knocking at the door of selection, bodes well for our chances in next year’s league matches.

Littlehampton returned home much impressed by our lawns and no doubt more respectful of our skills after a friendly but keenly competitive day.

23rd August – B League v Canterbury – won 3:0

Another miserable summer(?) day with Lawn 2 only just playable with squelches on the North half of the lawn. The only saving grace in the col was that we only had drizzle for about 5 minutes. Despite the slow/average speed of the lawns on the North/South sides of the centre respectively most players eventually learnt how to cope – although the water trails in the air were sometimes a bit disturbing, not the sort of thing you expect when playing croquet.

Anyway, it is clear that the local players coped better with the conditions than the visitors, who clearly need a bit more practice in the taking of bisques and blew quite a few away. We won all three games comfortably; although Mark, having just beaten the Club Handicapper on Monday to see his handicap reduce from 18 to 14 (shame), managed to waste his last 3 bisques (out of 4) trying to peg out from about 6 feet and gave Ted an opportunity to recover with a three-ball ending – luckily he didn’t take it and Mark pegged his other ball out at the first attempt from about 10 yards.

We had a lovely lunch with the left-overs from the barbeque (thanks again Elaine) and continued with our domination on the lawns in the afternoon friendly games, with Jon winning the first of two games against Ted in just over one hour, before everyone left after an early tea.

22nd August – Summer Barbeque

A cloudburst greeted our arrival at the Club Summer Barbeque, hosted and with delicious food prepared by Elaine and Mark Houslop – so just another typical day this summer…… Despite this 37 people attended with Mark barbecuing the chicken underneath an umbrella! We all managed to crowd into the house and everybody met at least someone they hadn’t met before and had a great time, even those with White tickets who didn’t seem to win much in the raffle.

20th August – U League v Compton – won 4:3

A classic U League Match …… good lawns, good spread of handicaps (from scratch to 9), good enough weather and some very tight games. The morning did not bode well with Tunbridge Wells losing 2 out of its 3 games. While Richard Mann walked all over his opponent, John Timmis and Mick were having the same done to them in the doubles. But the real game of the morning was Chris Sturdy against Compton’s scratch player. Chris managed to hold him at bay for most of the game but then, with both his clips on peg, succumbed to an impressively executed triple peel. A pleasure to watch – but not for Chris.

In the afternoon Tunbridge Wells won 3 out of its 4 games, with Mick, Chris and John racking up a total score of +60 for their three games while Richard had to concede victory after a very tight finish.

16th August – B League v Ember- won 3:0

The team consisted of John Hobbs, Dan Long, Mark Houslop and Miriam Reader.

We set off on a fine morning to Ember where no-one had been previously, so no-one knew the way, although our driver had a map. We were all chatting about Medway C.C. so no-one noticed when we found ourselves heading in that direction, and our driver had to do a U-turn back to Pembury and get to the M25.

Subsequently there was a lot of talk about women not being able to read maps, during which Miriam seemed to develop a very bad cough. Her opinion was vindicated when the car had to pull into a side-road and all three males took several minutes sorting out the route.

Ember is part of a sports complex with tennis and bowls, and a large and sumptuous clubhouse with comfy chairs. They have 1 1/4 lawns, so John and Miriam played doubles in the morning and Dan and Mark singles in the afternoon. Ember very kindly gave us lunch in a small dining room in the clubhouse and we had a gorgeous chocolate cake and strawberries for tea.

We won all our matches and then drove home through some torrential rain, but on arriving at TW it had not rained at all. Unusual!

15th August – Golf Level League v Southwick – lost 0:7

11th August – U League v Canterbury – lost 2:5

10th August – Golf Handicap League v Ramsgate – lost 3:6

A beautiful day saw the sun blinds in action as Ramsgate took to our lawns for the second time in a fortnight. This time, in a handicap league event, the fortunes were reversed and Ramsgate emerged the 6-3 winners after what was agreed by all to be a cracking day’s croquet.

On his debut, Val Rocco distinguished himself by being on the winning side in two of his three games, narrowly losing the third by one hoop, a fate he could have avoided by using the three bisques at his disposal. We lacked the concentration our visitors displayed and vital points were lost by playing out of sequence and even stepping on a ball (Richard) at a crucial point. As their handicaps demonstrate, Ramsgate are now formidable opponents and our win in the level play match and the closeness of many of the games in this one show that we are fast improving.

Our opponents joined with us in a relaxed and friendly lunch provided by Pam under our splendid awnings which on a rare fine summer’s day really came into their own. The lawns were noticeably faster than a fortnight ago and their essential flatness encouraged some spectacular long range shots and clearances. Overall, we are now beginning to see on these occasions the full value of our investment over the last two busy years.

6th August – U League v Caterham – lost 2:5

We lost all 3 games in the morning – John Greenwood + Miriam Reader (doubles), Richard Mann and Mick Belcham (both singles). Then Miriam and Mick won our singles in the afternoon while Richard and John lost theirs.

3rd August – B League v Ivychurch – won 2:1

Just a lovely day………

2nd August – New Club Sessions

In response to a consistently large number of players attending Club Afternoons and demand for more ‘professional’ Golf playing we’re initiating two addition Club Sessions – Association on Wednesday mornings from 10am and Golf Handicap Singles (primarily) on Thursday evening from 5pm.

29th July – Open High Bisquers Tournament

Sunday 29th July saw us play host to an Open High Bisquers Tournament (Association), the fourth annual one of its kind aimed at providing a friendly setting for those entering their first tournament or still perfecting the art of competitive play from a high bisque base. Feedback from this and the earlier events suggests that the format is very much appreciated by our visitors who are always complimentary about our lawns, hospitality and organisation.

Despite the rival attractions of the big South East Federation Golf Croquet fest at Southwick, we had eight contestants from four clubs. Very heavy overnight rain left the lawns little short of squelchy at the start of play, but they dried out fast rapidly to provide good playing conditions as the cloud gave way to sunshine.

This year Richard Clark, as tournament manager, opted for slightly longer games (four rounds of 14 point games played over one hour and a quarter each). Skill levels quickly proved to be higher than in previous years and a clear leader emerged in each of the blocks. Betty Body from Ivychurch won all three of her Block games very convincingly, whilst John Wright from Medway topped the second Block, demonstrating why in his first season he had already progressed from a handicap of 20 to 18. The play off between the two block winners was a thriller. When time was called, the game was even, but John had a ball in his next hoop. In extra time, all hinged on Betty’s long attempt to roquet, which was narrowly missed. John tapped his way to glory, to the first prize and to a further handicap reduction.

The three local contenders, Miriam Reader, Ray Meech and Dan Long all acquitted themselves creditably, without this year hitting the high spots. They will be back for more next year as all of our visitors vowed to be.

Winner : John Wright – Medway

Runner up : Betty Boddy – Ivychurch.

28th July – Miriam Reader wins Golf Handicap Tournament

Despite being held the same week-end as the SECF Golf Team event at Southwick 10 players took part, although only one was not from Tunbridge Wells (Neil Coote from Reigate Priory) . It was a 7-round Swiss event on a slightly blustery but mostly sunny day and a pleasant introduction to tournament play for 5 of our new members this year.

0728_01 Open Golf Handicap Tournament winner - Miriam Reader!
After 5 rounds Neil Coote was the clear leader having won all his games, but he lost the last two and after the smoke had cleared four players all had 5 wins. After a tie-break on hoops scored; Miriam Reader, who beat Neil by 7-3 in the final game, was declared the winner with Neil as the runner-up. A tight finish, but everyone enjoyed the day and learned a lot about playing the game – especially that if you receive bisques they actually need to be used if you’re losing! Miriam also had her handicap reduced to 5.

The final places were:

Position Player Handicap Wins
1 Miriam Reader 6 5
2 Neil Coote 5 5
3= Frank Gunstone 3 5
3= Val Rocca 6 5
5 John Moore 6 4
6= Joyce Rocca 6 3
6= Tim Austen 6 3
6= Mick Greagsby 6 3
9 Cheryl Bowden 6 1
10 Peter Sinclair 6 0

27th July – SECF Golf Level League – we beat Ramsgate 5:4

Our team of heroes, Jon Diamond, Frank Gunstone, and Ray Meech, led by Richard Clark set off at a blistering pace against Ramsgate in the SE Federation Level Play Golf League on Friday, convincingly winning both doubles and sharing the 4 singles games to go to lunch with a 4-2 advantage.

So all was set fair for a leisurely afternoon’s play with our home team needing only one win from 4 to clinch victory. Ramsgate needed three wins from four to snatch a victory which before lunch looked unlikely. Maybe the lunch, provided by Pam was just too much, or our team are too used to a post lunch nap!

Richard and Frank, so unbeatable in the morning, went down in a thrilling finish 7-6 to Sheila Prentice and Val Gould. The match was sealed however when Jon Diamond beat Graham Wallin (who had earlier had the better of Richard) by 7 -3.

Ray Meech, unaware of the outcome, was left locked in a close duel with Geraldine Stone and playing well. At 6 – 6, Ray taking first shot in the decider, obligingly struck his opponent’s ball instead of his own for a perfectly placed first shot. Geraldine could not believe her luck as she called foul on the dumbfounded Ray and elected to play her ball from where it lay, the only ball played for the final hoop, six inches dead in front! Ray’s relief at hearing that victory was already ours was palpable.

A good home win over formidable opponents.

25th July – Friendly against Bromley

Another traditional Association friendly, hosted by Bromley on this occasion, (we have two common members) ended up with two games won by each team and we won on number of hoops scored.

21st July – Away match against Merton

Abandoned after 2 hoops due to rain – see the state of the lawns……

6th July – Blockley Partnership win 2nd Annual Corporate Challenge

The second year of this event, inaugurated as part of Royal Tunbridge Wells 400 last year, was a great success with a doubling in the number of teams taking part to 11. Taking place on the evening of 6th July it sadly didn’t attract quite as many participants or spectators as the other major sporting event in Tunbridge Wells over the weekend – the Tour de France. However, the weather recognised the importance of the event and magically cleared to provide a bright and sunny occasion.

The previous year’s winner (Lovat Insurance Brokers) entered an additional team this year, but just failed to repeat their previous success and had to give second-best to the team of Jim Page and Rob Kirwan from the Blockley Partnership, a local dental practice in Mount Ephraim, who won all four of their games. Runners-up were Tim Austen and Cheryl Bowden from Lovat Insurance Brokers.

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

Full results are:

4 wins Blockley Partnership (Hen’s Teeth)
3 wins Lovat 1 and 2
2 wins Thomson Snell & Passmore (BP2), Mayo Wynne Baxter (No Wynne No Fee), Lovat Insurance Brokers (Lovat 3), Mayo Wynne Baxter (Amanda’s Magic Mallets), Wells Associates (Big Cheese), Royal Tunbridge Wells Civic Society (The Civvies)
1 win Wells Associates (Little Cheese), Thomson Snell & Passmore (BP1)

3rd July – SECF Golf Handicap League – we beat Medway 6:3

Leaving Tunbridge Wells in a tremendous rain storm we drove all the way to Medway in the rain, but it subsided within 10 minutes of our starting the match. The lawns were in reasonable shape, having just been cut in the rain and therefore there being some longer bits, with the main lawn playing pretty straight. Lawn 2, being on a slope, obviously needed some adjustment to aiming when going across the slope, but otherwise was fine.

The first round of doubles ended even, but we drew away in the second round (the sun even deigning to make a brief and warm appearance) bringing the score to 4:2 and therefore we needed to win only one game in the final round after lunch.

The first singles to finish provided us with the match winner, but the final game between Ray Meech and Roz Cheeseman went to the final hoop. After nearly half an hour of toing and froing the two captains were beginning to debate whether we should put a time limit on the game, but luckily Ray claimed it in the end bringing the final score to 6:3!

As we left the rain started again – a fitting tribute to this summer!

28th June – Aaron Westerby coaching

Aaron, currently ranked 6th in the World, has given our Advanced Association players two coaching sessions this week. Obviously, we all need to tighten up on our 4-ball breaks! Hopefully he’ll be able to give some more needed tuition when he returns to TW in early September.

22nd June – SECF Golf Level League – we lose at Worthing 8:1

An overcast day, tight hoops and a pair of limping protagonists made for a disappointing day for RTWCC. Richard and Roger began the day looking like battle worn heroes after a conflict. Roger, after two rounds, had to concede to pain and Pauline substituted for him in the final doubles, sharing in our first and only triumph of the day.

However, Elaine and Mick Greagsby, both playing in their first competitive games, acquitted themselves well, and the scores did little justice to their efforts. Had we been playing handicap rather than level play, the scores might well have been very different.

Worthing on the day were deserving winners, rewarded for their greater accuracy and patient approach play. We have yet to learn that the dramatic clearance and long hard hoop shot can go astray and will not be a match for the persistent return of the ball to the shooting area.

17th June – Ightham Mote NT visit

Most of the other players from TW not involved in the Kent Cup went off to a visit to Ightham Mote NT to participate in one of their family days, organised by Selwyn Ward. There were lots of people there and the croquet proved a big attraction – we had people literally queuing to play throughout the whole day – and even had to stay ‘open’ an hour or more beyond the scheduled time. Everyone seemed to have a good time and we had some genuine interest from people in taking it further (tho’ not necessarily with us, as, inevitably, many came from farther afield). National Trust people seemed equally well pleased.

16th/17th June – Kent Cup

The Kent Cup is an individual competition amongst members of all the clubs in Kent and rotates around the county each year. This year was the first in Tunbridge Wells for some years and allowed us to show off the development on our lawns. A final cut just as the players arrived got the lawns even, but they need to be cut even shorter in future as they were said by all participants to be too slow. Luckily, despite the forecast, the rain mostly held off and the second afternoon was a lovely sunny one.

Participants from Tunbridge Wells were Mick Belcham (Manager), Jon Diamond, John Hobbs and Chris Sturdy. In addition, Alex Jardine, a ex-member of Tunbridge Wells living in France and winner of the Kent Cup twice, also played.

However, our players didn’t manage to do quite well enough with the final being contested between two Medway players – David Parkins and Robert Alexander, with Robert turning up winner in a one-sided final by +26 at the late hour of 7pm. Jon Diamond was third and Chris Sturdy won the Consolation Event.

30th May – Bateman’s NT Visit

A disastrously wet day thoroughly soaked Stan Oxenbury and Paul Barnard who volunteered to try and teach some youngsters at Bateman’s on one of their Family Days. Thanks for their perseverance and better luck next time.

29th May – Inter-County

John Hobbs represented Kent at the Inter-County Championship. Unfortunately they finished 10th out of 11 in the Second Division.

25th May – Jean Heath

It is with deep regret that we have to announce that Jean Heath, a long-time, stalwart member of the club, and a past committee member, has died after a long illness. Our sympathies are with her husband and family and we hope to see Derek back on the lawns soon.

12/13th May – SECF Team Doubles

Southwick was a picture as usual as 14 teams from all over the South East Region played this annual Association Doubles Event with 5 games over the two days. Medway turned out easy winners – assuring their victory after 4 rounds by winning all their games, well ahead of the other teams.

Our team of Miriam Reader & Jolyon Creasey (Saturday)/Mick Belcham (Sunday) and Jon Diamond & Ann Boyle (Saturday)/Ray Meech (Sunday) didn’t perform brilliantly – each pairing winning 2 games. Things could have been marginally better as Jon blobbed in Rover with his last turn after time in the final game against Ember; ensuring a loss by one hoop when he had an excellent opportunity to peel Ray through his next hoop to win the game! Shame…

6th May – Opening Day report

After a long spell of almost summery weather of course our Opening Day for the Main Lawns was quite chilly, but dry. Nevertheless almost 40 people turned up at some stage during the day, with more than 25 for Elaine Houslop’s excellent Mushroom Soup and Ploughman’s Lunch.

0506_01 Opening Day - Ray Meech winning the One Ball
The morning One Ball Handicap event was contested by 10 players, for most of whom this was their first experience of the game! (In case you haven’t seen it before it’s a cross between Association and Golf Croquet.) The handicaps varied between 24 and -0.5, so there were some very different styles of game to be seen. A closely contested final between Miriam Reader and Ray Meech saw Ray run out the winner by the narrowest of margins to win the prize – one of the new badges (see below). We hope to see him sporting it shortly.

The afternoon saw several newcomers to the club being shown the ropes by experienced club members in a mixture of Association and Golf playing during the normal Club Session, with an overflow having to use the Bowling Green as the other 3 lawns were full. We were obviously successful since two cheques for membership were handed to Mick later in the day and several more new members look in prospect.

Finally, after tea (with splendid cakes), about a dozen players took to Lawn 1 for a game of Pirates. Much hilarity ensued, obviously everybody enjoyed themselves and I’m sure there must have been a winner, but I’ve forgotten who it was.

Many thanks must go to Elaine for the food, Roger Morris and his helpers for the lawn and garden maintenance and John Hobbs plus his helpers for the improved state of the club house and surrounds.

We hope to see all of you on the lawns shortly.

6th May – New signs and badges unveiled

A brand new sign incorporating our new logo on the side of the Equipment Store was unveiled on Opening Day. This replaced our old sign that was getting very tatty. A second new sign will also be mounted on the other side of the Club House, so that people walking up the path from the Bowling Green will also know who we are! A third copy will be left inside the Pavilion at the Bowling Green, so that it can be displayed outside when people are playing on the lawns there or taken to external events, such as Ightham Mote, for publicity purposes.

To complement this we’ve also produced copies of our new logo suitable for putting on a T-shirt, cap etc. These are iron-on transfers and are available from the Club House (on board opposite door), price £2.00 each, together with instructions on how to apply them. We plan to have sow-on badges later this summer.

15th April – Main Lawns news

Because of the over-crowding on the opening day Roger has mowed and laid out Main Lawn. It’s somewhat slow still, but flat and only to be used when the Bowling Green is full. Lawns 2 and 3 are recovering after a very wet period in the winter, but still need sometime before they’re ready for play.

8th April – Bowls Lawn Opening

With our first Club Afternoon of the season more than 20 people came out in the sunny weather to enjoy the Bowling Green lawns.

4th April – April Newsletter

The full Newsletter is here. The main points are:


  • New logo announced
  • Lawns 2 and 3 have suffered from the very wet winter
  • Fencing still in progress
  • Season’s Opening Events announced – 8th April (Bowling Green) and 6th May (Main Lawns)
  • Frank Gunstone resigns from Committee, but will run Club Afternoons
  • Introductory Association Course starts 20th May
  • Hosting of Kent Cup in June


16th March – Hammock Dunes Croquet Club visit

0316_01 Hammock Dunes
Six members of RTWCC challenged the prestigious Hammock Dunes Croquet Club in Florida to an American Rules Golf Croquet match on Friday 16th March (Wal Mart supplied the whites). Mallets were non-standard objects except for Elaine Houslop who had her Super Mallet which was in great demand by several players. Our team of Frank & Carolyn Gunstone, Roger & Pauline Morris played well winning the majority of games. We were made very welcome and invited back on the next afternoon to continue the contest as guests of Elaine and Mark Houslop, who are members of the club. Thanks to all for a memorable event.

21st February – Tunbridge Wells wins Apps Heley award

It has just been announced that we have jointly won the Croquet Association’s Apps Heley award for the club (3 or 4 lawns) that has done most over the last 2 years to further the sport in their area. This recognises the massive effort we’ve made in relaying our lawns, adding equipment and the Equipment Store, using the Bowling Green and the external marketing efforts, especially the “Croquet in the Park” event and participating in Sport 2006 on behalf of the CA.

This is the second time that we’ve won this award, the first being 1995 and related to our move to Calverley Grounds. In addition to the plaque, we have also received a cheque for £100 from the CA – a welcome addition to our club funds. Thanks to everyone who helped over the last two years in making the club what it is today.

24th January – Pub lunch update


19 people (a record number which included almost 1/3 of the membership) attended the first pub lunch of 2007 at the Globe and Rainbow, Kilndown, despite the first snows of the winter.


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2006 News

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

15th December – AGM

Chairman’s Report to the AGM

Richard Clark retires as Chairman, replaced by Jon Diamond, Colin Maybe also retires, new members are Ann Boyle and Elaine Houslop.

22nd November – Aaron Westerby at the MacRobertson Shield

Aaron plays in the No. 1 spot in the New Zealand team at the MacRobertson Shield (World Team Tournament) in Melbourne, Australia. In the first Test Match against Great Britain he beats David Maughan (-17; +26tp; +6tpo) and Robert Fulford (+19tp, -9tp, +5tp), but loses both doubles. The NZ team lose 15:6.

30th October – Lawns still open

The lawns on the Bowling Green are still open! Despite the clock change last Sunday saw 12 people playing in the pleasant sun, very unusual for this late in October. Today saw a working party undertake grass maintenance on the Bowling Green (scarifying, slitting and mowing), but it’s still OK to play.

26th October – Aaron Westerby wins New Zealand Top Ten tournament

17th October – Chris Barham & Roger Morris win Doubles Goblet

In the last competition final of the season on a beautiful sunny October day and at least two spectators, Chris and Roger beat John Timmis and Miriam Reader by 10 hoops.

12th October – Club award by the Royal Tunbridge Wells Civic Society

The Royal Tunbridge Wells Civic Society decided to recognise the Club’s endeavours by the award of the Society’s new “Community Contribution Commendation”. As the Club’s briefing document stated: “From its roots as a traditional private members’ club, it has become a community-oriented club that not only is open to all but also recognises that it has a key role to play in preserving (and enhancing) the ambience of Calverley Grounds”. The Commendation was presented by Lord Sandy Bruce-Lockhart, Chairman of the Local Government Association, to Richard Clark at an Awards Ceremony at the Town Hall on October 12th.

11th October – Latest Newsletter

2006-10 newsletter– warning 809K size

It includes a full review of the season’s activities and future Diary dates/locations for the AGM and Winter Pub lunches

27th September – SECF U League v Canterbury – lost 1:6

John Hobbs reports: “Mick Belcham was the only winner. Roger Morris and I lost the doubles, due to Roger’s injury making it impossible for him to play properly. He lost his singles for the same reason. The sloping lawns didn’t help any of us, especially me when I had to rely on hitting in at a distance to get the innings.”

25th September – SECF B League v Ramsgate – lost 1:2

John Hobbs reports: “Roger Morris, Miriam Reader and I travelled to Ramsgate for the second time in four days, along with Dan Long and we enjoyed the beautiful lawns once more. They are fast, but manageable and made accurate play possible.

Dan and I won the doubles fairly easily because their second string was rather too fast with her shots and consequently seldom hit straight. Roger was pipped by one in a close finish and Miriam put up a fight against their best player, Trevor Longman (9), but lost by 5. We enjoyed lunch again, courtesy of Zoe Hawkins and in the afternoon I finished my game against Trevor, but lost – both playing long breaks. The other games had to be curtailed, otherwise we would have been a bit late departing. The rain held off and the wind was moderate for once.”

23rd/24th September – Philip Mann wins Pegasus Plate

John Hobbs reports: “Twelve players duly turned up for our Autumn Handicap Tournament, but sadly only two local players – Chris Barham and Miriam Reader, so that I just managed. The format was Egyptian, with shortened games for high handicap players (Bray formula). To get games going between high handicappers I played full bisque to base 7, which was the median handicap and meant that all the lower half had no bisques, but games between two high handicappers would have bisques for both players. This set a cracking pace with some players getting 5 games on the Saturday. I applied Wharrad turns for just two games on Saturday.

The runaway winner was Philip Mann from Medway, but he was beaten in his last game by Jeffrey Rushby from Caterham and this meant that Jeffrey became the runner up. There was another game going on at the same time in which it emerged that if Peter Highton won and Philip lost, Peter would win the tournament. However, Peter lost to our visitor from Bath, Andrew Willis and thus the final ranking put Peter third and Andrew fourth. It was an unplanned and exciting finale.”

22nd September – SECF Golf Level League v Ramsgate – lost 4:5

Chastened by recent defeats, our gallant team this time comprised Richard Clark (Captain) John Hobbs, Roger Morris and Miriam Reader. The long journey to Ramsgate served to acclimatise the team to the heavy rain, but not to the very fast paced lawns.

The morning’s doubles saw us romp to a two game disadvantage, with Miriam and Richard crashing 7 – 0 and John and Roger losing by 7 – 3. By now, we had all registered that we needed to drop our hitting by an octave or two, and wins in the singles by John and Richard cancelled out losses by Roger and Miriam and sent us in to lunch 4 – 2 down and needing to win all the afternoon games to secure victory.

The lasagne, beer and sweet were all recognised as Ramsgate ploys to dampen our resurgence, but the reverse effect saw Roger and Miriam back to form with a good doubles win, while John Hobbs pushed the stakes higher by winning his singles game. Four games all. No pressure therefore on Richard whose last game against Graham was a marathon, decided 7-5 in Ramsgate’s favour after a magnanimous refereeing decision by John Hobbs and a heroic hit in from 30 yards by Graham Wallin turned the tide in his and Ramsgate’s favour. A Ramsgate win by 5 games to 4 was the outcome of a dour, wet, hard fought but most enjoyable day’s play.

15th September – SECF Golf Level League v Dulwich – lost 0:9

Some things in life are best savoured in the smallest portions. Dulwich, a small hamlet within the great sprawl of our Capital City, sent a team of four golf croquet devotees to Royal Tunbridge Wells on Friday last to challenge the local heroes.

The weather was fair, the playing field level, but alas the contest was not so. It was of course fair, but scarcely level as the visitors, led by a Frenchman Pierre Beaudry, triumphed emphatically by 9 games to 0. There is little to add, as the local contestants prefer anonymity to public shame. Well done Dulwich! The detailed scores have been posted to the South East Federation in a plain brown envelope – edged of course in black.

6th September – SECF Golf Handicap League v Canterbury – lost 2:7

The sleek Jaguar of Frank Gunstone purred its way to Canterbury with Richard Clark, Roger Morris and Ray Meech aboard, all hopeful for a fine day of power golf croquet at the quiet pastures of Polo Farm. Seven hours later, the Jaguar returned, tail between legs, bearing four tired, dejected dispirited souls, soundly beaten by a margin of 7 – 2 by Brenda Porrer, Jean Byers, Ted and Elaine Salisbury.

Fast, close cropped lawns provided the setting, with hoops which showed a determined impenetrability to the RTW team’s shots. The locals had the pace of the lawns and knew the virtues of patiently putting their balls in front of the hoops while we blasted away with impeccable long range clearances before succumbing to the devastating bisque whenever within range – a tactical lesson to be learnt. The good side? Ray Meech contributed both wins, and almost every game went to the final hoop. At least we did justice to the tea, remembered our manners, said thank you through tears and gritted teeth and looked forward to seeing our hosts next year on our new lawns.

3rd September – Open Advanced Tournament (the Honeygrove Cup)

16 players entered this tournament, using all four of our lawns for the Association tournament for the first time, with a handicap range of 2 (the minimum) to 9. Saturday dawned misty with a poor forecast for the day – rain and wind. Well, it turned out like that, but not quite as much as forecast thank goodness.

Jon Male from Caterham started off well and definitely looked the person to beat as he swept through the opposition on the first day scoring 5 straight wins, including our own Jon Diamond and John Hobbs. So it was odds-on that he would be one of the finalists.

The other finalist eventually turned out to be John Daniels from Purley Bury and the final was a classic! John started really well and had got to Peg and 4-back whilst Jon was on 1 and 3. However, Jon gradually clawed himself back into the game and was catching up all the time, still needing to ensure that John never had an opportunity to hit in as if he did he would surely finish the game off.

Finally, with John on Peg and Rover Jon got to Peg and 2-back, and was then able to peg out one of John’s balls to leave a three ball ending; clearly Jon thought he had the advantage then. However, he then made a slight slip in the leave and allowed John to hit in – surely the game would be over now as John just has to run Rover and peg out his solitary ball? But no, he ran Rover but was hampered and unable to hit the escape ball; so he had to hit away and hope to hit the peg from a long distance. This left Jon in control, but he still had several hoops to make and all the time he had to try and ensure John was wired from the peg! Slowly he made the final hoops and finished the game off – winning by a solitary point. Phew……

So Jon Male retained the Honeygrove Cup, which he won on the last occasion it was run in 2004 with John Daniels as runner-up. Mark Homan from Watford won the Egyptian block. Other TW participants were Chris Sturdy (good to see him back from the USA) and Richard Clark. This was another great tournament, ably managed by Mick Belcham, with the weather eventually clearing to leave the final and the presentation ceremony bathed in sun. Just a shame it was so late!

1st September – Lovat win Corporate and Community Challenge

Some late cancellations meant that only six teams competed for our first Corporate Challenge, which we hope to repeat annually from now on. However the quality was high, despite all entrants being new to the game of Golf Croquet. After two closely fought rounds the final decider was between the two Lovat Insurance Broker teams, with Tim Austen and Cheryl Bowden winning on the very last hoop.

img_2454 Wells Associate team
Other teams participating were from the Civic Society, Wells Associates and one headed by our local reporter Mary Harris from the Courier newspaper. Everybody involved had a thoroughly enjoyable time and look forward to playing in it next year.

1st September – SECF U league v Ramsgate – won 6:1

31st August – SECF B League v Medway – won 2:1

29th August – SECF U league v Compton – won 5:2

29th August – Radio Kent

Part of the Breakfast Show on Radio Kent today (at 8:40am), broadcast from their local offices in the Great Hall less than 5 minutes for the club, was an interview with John Hobbs and Mick Belcham about croquet and our Croquet in the Park week. It’s available on-line until 5th September.

28th August – Open Day

Our Open Day as part of Croquet in the Park was a great success, with more than 20 people attending and enjoying learning about the game – several stayed for more than 3 hours!

img_2429 Open Day - Selwyn and Jane Ward and two visitors (not in costume!)
Four brave (foolhardy?) members, (Mick Belcham, Carolyn Gunstone, Jane and Selwyn Ward) wore historic costumes for the occasion, as part of the 400th anniversary celebrations of Royal Tunbridge Wells, and were photographed by the Kent Messenger and a local audio-visual society. Hopefully, we’ll see the results soon.

27th August – Geoff Croxford wins Golf Handicap Tournament

In our inaugural Golf Handicap Tournament Geoff Croxford (handicap 5 from Ivychurch) beat Pierre Beaudry (-3 from Sydenham) in the closest possible final – winning by a margin of 7:6, albeit with some bisques in reserve.

Pierre had been the clear winner from Block B, winning all his games. However, Block A was much closer, with the final game to finish between Eli Frith (handicap 4 from Ivychurch) and Geoff finishing in a draw. Each had 5.5 wins and were inseparable by points scored and points differences, so we had to resort to hit-off – closest nearest to the peg to be the winner. Geoff went first and left it well short, but Eli couldn’t do any better.

in the third place final, Eli beat our own Selwyn Ward (handicap 6) by 6:5. Geoff, Eli and Selwyn all had their handicaps reduced as a result.

All 16 players including several from Ramsgate and Worthing had a great time, including a very tired manager Jon Diamond having to play to even up the numbers. The event used all four of our lawns for the first time and the sun shone on and off all day. 

26th August – Croquet in the Park week starts with Mark Houslop winning our High Bisquers Tournament

Mark Houslop emerged as winner with Stan Oxenbury as runner-up in a hard fought six round 14-point game Association Tournament today. There were twelve contestants, half from our own club with opposition from Ramsgate, Ivychurch and Southwick. The new lawns were still slow paced, but dried rapidly after heavy showers which did little to dampen the spirits of the entrants, several dipping their toes for the first time into tournament play.

After a shaky start and bouts of self recrimination, Mark Houslop settled and relaxed to show his true form and come through strongly at the end. Stan Oxenbury had several very good games, pegging out in two of them to reach the final, whilst Dan Long in his first outing showed that he threatens to be a force to be reckoned with in the future. Ray Meech had a particularly good tournament and there were creditable performances from Miriam Reader and Ann Boyle.

Manager Richard Clark, presenting the prizes remarked on the much higher level of skill displayed in this year’s contest and thanked everyone for their quite remarkable conformity to his tight time schedules. By six o’clock, all was stowed away ready for tomorrow’s Golf Tournament and some very tired but happy contestants were on their way home.

24th August – Cripps Harries Hall Corporate Event

Our first corporate event on the new lawns went extremely well, with about 28 players from two departments of Cripps playing some friendlyish Golf Croquet. Together with the spectators who couldn’t be persuaded to play this meant that 40 more people were exposed to the game and more than £300 contributed to club funds. Well done to all helping on this occasion – Mick Belcham as Manager and Impresario, Richard Clark, Jon Diamond, Frank & Carolyn Gunstone, John Hobbs and Miriam Reader as coaches and Barbara Diamond as barmaid! We look forward to the next Cripps event in September and seeing some of them back as players in the future.

17th August – SECF Golf Handicap League v Medway – won 8:1

All of the Medway team arrived with handicaps of 6, so our work was cut out to win as we were giving between 2 and 7 bisques in each game. Nevertheless, superior skill and guile combined with the heaviness of our lawns, compared with Medway’s home ones , saw us through to a convincing win by 8 games to 1.

19/20th August – Sport 2006

Sport 2006 was an innovation, showcasing some 40 different sports in a single venue and sponsored by Sport England amongst others, to encourage participation in sports of any kind. Groombridge Place was the chosen location this weekend, with publicity attempting to attract people from over South East England. Since we are the closest club to Groombridge (a mere 5 miles) the Croquet Association had nominated us to participate.

Groombridge Place is a lovely old medieval moated manor house, reconstructed in the 17th century, now trading on its location for the filming of Pride and Prejudice, with They managed to provide a flat enough lawn, albeit with some rabbit holes and somewhat lengthy grass, which we shared with the bowlers from The Grove Bowling Club. So given that Sport 2006 had forecast between 10,000 and 12,000 attendees we thought it worthwhile to put on a show, which was organised by Jon Diamond.

img_2382 Sports 2006 @ Groombridge Place
A gazebo was purchased and, whilst the forecast was for showers, a pretty fine and sunny Saturday ensued, but boy were we glad of the gazebo on Sunday. The event started slowly, but by the middle of Saturday there were 3 groups of players on the lawn simultaneously, with people queuing for a go! When we had a chance to pause for breath and look around the show it looked like we were about as busy as any other sport.

We don’t know how many people we introduced to Golf Croquet, but it must have been over 100, with an age range of 7-70. We expect some to come to Tunbridge Wells; but there was significant interest in others in the region from people as far away as Dulwich, Reigate, Gravesend, Canterbury, Brighton and Worthing. So hopefully we’ve contributed to membership at other clubs too.

Our impression was that there were nowhere near the original 10-12,000 target, our best guess being probably 2,000-2,500. So the event may not happen again, but if it does we should certainly attend, and now we know what to expect! One definite message is to bring some short mallets for the children.

Thanks are due to all the club members helping – Mick Belcham, Miriam Reader, Carolyn and Frank Gunstone, Pauline and Roger Morris, Stan Oxenbury and Jane and Selwyn Ward, together with two ex-members Barbara and Brian Kitching who now play at Southwick (Brian is also on the CA’s Marketing Committee). It was hard work, but enjoyed by all.

17th August – Courier update

Our Croquet in the Park event makes the front page of “Focus on Tunbridge Wells”. This follows up on an article in The Courier the previous week

10th August – SECF B League v Purley Bury – lost 1:2

This was our first club Association match at home on our new lawns. Purley Bury, whose home lawns are always frighteningly fast, found ours very slow and heavy although they were appreciative of what we have achieved so far, as they still recall the lottery of shooting on our old lawns. Audrey Sherwin adapted well to the unfamiliar conditions and beat Richard Clark in the morning (+7) and Mick Belcham in the afternoon to be the most successful player on the day. Mick started his game against Pauline Davies with panache and quickly took a convincing lead, winning by 7 hoops after his opponent managed some dogged catching up. The new combination of Chris Berwick and Dan Long were bettered by their Purley Bury opponents Valerie Edwards and Margaret Hampson by 16.

In the after lunch friendlies, Richard Clark came back with a convincing 18 hoop win over Pauline Davies, and Ann Boyle, replacing Chris Berwick, got off to a good start in our club matches by beating Valerie Edwards by 11 hoops on time. Dan (-11) and Mick (-14) lost to Margaret Hampson and Audrey Sherwin respectively.

The lawns were green, but despite drying out later were slow following overnight rain and a couple of showers during play.

1st August – SECF Golf Handicap League v Ivychurch – lost 4:5

Our second home match on the new lawns was decided on the last hoop after some hard-fought competitive games. At the lunch break we were in the lead but we lost all three afternoon games. The lawns played well; slow but accurate and were appreciated by all players. An excellent tea was provided by Pauline Morris, Carolyn Gunstone and our team.

30th July – SECF Golf Teams Championships @ Southwick

Doubles 1st Sussex County, 2nd Reigate 1, 3rd Sydenham 1 & 2 (tied)

Our pairings were Richard Clark & Paul Buckland (one win, one draw), Stan Oxenbury & Frank Gunstone (one win, one loss), Miriam Reader & Pam Clark (one win, one loss) and Carolyn Gunstone & Selwyn Ward (one win, one loss).

Richard and Paul had a very creditable draw against Simon Carter, an England player with a minus 4 handicap and his scratch partner, denying the Sydenham pair their 3rd consecutive tournament win and narrowly missing a place themselves.

Singles 1st Reigate, 2nd Sydenham 2, 3rd Sussex County.

Our scores (3 singles played each): Stan 1 win, 1 draw; Richard, Paul, Frank, Miriam and Carolyn 1 win; Pam and Selwyn 0 wins.

The Southwick lawns were at their best after a poor season and the weather defied the forecasters to bless us with sunshine. Our teams acquitted themselves well, despite meeting some very good opposition and will all have profited from experiencing the occasion and the challenge. Next year, to greater glory!

27th July – SECF Golf Level League v Compton – won 5:4

Our first home match on the new lawns was successfully won in some very hot weather! All three awnings are now in place and the shelter from end to end of the club house was much welcomed.

Despite the very slow nature of the lawns our opponents were also very appreciative of the flatness, certainly compared to last year. However, it appeared that home advantage was decisive as Compton’s total handicap of 3 (morning) and 0 (afternoon) should have outclassed ours of 12. [Actually, I think that our team just played better.] An excellent tea was provided by Carolyn Gunstone and Barbara Diamond. 

17th July – Official Lawn and Equipment Store Opening

It’s all finished! The Equipment Store is now complete, the Lawn is growing well, the Club House tidied up, reorganised and repainted, benches provided outside and there are now two awnings to provide some shade (especially needed this summer).

The lawns were opened yesterday in a ceremony performed by Councillor Ron Weeden, Mayor of Tunbridge Wells Borough Council. Our Chairman, Richard Clark, introduced the ceremony and there were speeches by the Mayor and also Bernard Neal, President of the Croquet Association. Also attending were Councillor Scholes from Kent County Council, Richard Hilditch and Michael Hague from the South East Croquet Federation. The 2006 Lawns Re-opening Brochure is here.

Richard’s Welcome address is reproduced here. Bernard Neal described his original visit to the club, in the old Frant days, and went on to say how impressed he was with the developments since then and especially in the last year. The Mayor, having already run the first hoop for the photographer from the Courier, said how pleased he was to see this development in the centre of Tunbridge Wells and how enjoyable both the club and croquet are. (We trust he’ll be back to enjoy it a little more when out of his dark suit and mayoral chain.)

Also to be noted was a friendly visit by our local (cycling) policeman – Keith Farmer. We hope to see him and a team of the local force for Croquet in the Park.

One point to note for members – although the grass is growing well and the irrigation system has helped greatly, the climatic conditions have not been in our favour. It has therefore been decided that use of the new lawns will be reserved for external events and matches. All internal games and matches will continue to be played on the Bowling Green lawns, probably for the remainder of this season.

In addition to the formal Opening Ceremony, with the obligatory champagne and canapes to make a proper celebration, many informal games were played, so that everyone could see how flat the lawns are (a few patches need reseeding though). A Soup and Ploughman’s Lunch was provided by Jon Diamond and a bunch of helpers, a Raffle raise £90 for club funds and a magnificent tea with home-made cakes was provided to round out a wonderful day when the sun shone on us all.

Thanks to everyone who helped on the day as well as those who helped make it all possible.

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

5th July – SECF Golf Level League v Worthing – lost 4:5

Richard Clark and Paul Buckland won their doubles match, while Frank Gunstone and Stan Oxenbury lost their two doubles games. In the singles, Richard had 2 wins out of 2, Paul 1 win out of 2, Frank and Stan each lost 1 of 1.

The weather was hot, hospitality first class, but the marked slope of the lawns towards the sea end caught us out. It took time to adjust for the inevitable drift of the balls to be mastered by which time the locals deservedly had the better of the match.

30th June – Courier Report – Festival of games will prove a hit in the town

A full news report about our Croquet in the Park week appeared today, together with a mention in the Editorial. (Anyone for croquet? – original title eh?)

20th June – SECF Golf Championship

16 players were persuaded by some last minute arm twisting from Bill Arliss to enter this event at Compton, with handicaps ranging from -3 to +5. Jon Diamond performed reasonably well – winning 5/7 in his block, but then lost all three matches in the Knock-Out by two games to one and 7:6 in the final game, so coming 8th. Simon Carter won for the second year running.

15th June – National Veterans Championship

John Hobbs reports: “The handicap was run as an Egyptian and I won three games on Monday giving me 61 points (4 + 4 + 3). The chap who had most was Tony Wately, (62) with a handicap of 18 and on Saturday he played one more match, which he won and therefore won the prize. I played Paul Castell h/cap 0, who had had a bad time and was only on 44 points, so when, by heroic play I managed to beat him I earned only one point, so came second. In the doubles, my partner and I reached the semi finals. In the advanced block I won 4/5 and was beaten by Don Meers who won 5/5. So, not a bad week.”

10th June – SECF U League v Purley Bury – lost 3:4

8th June – Royal Tunbridge Wells 400 grant

As part of the Tunbridge Wells Borough Council year long celebration of Royal Tunbridge Wells 400 we have just been granted an additional £1,000 to cover 50% of the costs for publicity etc. to support our Croquet in the Park week.

7th June – Equipment Store update

Almost finished now!

5th June – Ightham Mote

12 members made it to the NT property at Ightham Mote on a gloriously sunny Sunday, as well as a photographer from the Courier who seemed to like lying on the ground to take photos!

The warmth brought out the spectators who sat on the banks around the lawns enjoying the high standard of playing. We managed to get may of them to try out the game, although unfortunately most of them don’t live close to Tunbridge Wells.

15th May – Equipment Store update

Building work is now well underway and should be completed in a couple of weeks (mostly by Roger Morris and John Hobbs, supported by Jason – Jason and the Saganauts!).

14th May – SECF Team Doubles

Our team of John Hobbs, Jon Diamond and (Saturday) Roger Morris, Stan Oxenbury, (Sunday) Barney Lewis and Miriam Reader had a slightly disappointing weekend. The lawns at Southwick were not in good condition with some noticeable tram lines and the weather was slightly chilly which was discouraging too. Saturday wasn’t too bad with us winning 4 out of 6 games, but Sunday didn’t stack up so well with all 4 games lost, albeit by small margins. Medway won with 7/10 wins and we came 10th out of 14 teams with 4/10.

7th May – Swing Trainer

With the season now in full swing and full lawns on Club Afternoons John Hobbs has provided a Swing Trainer, to enable you to improve the consistency of your swing and therefore the accuracy of your strokes.

Please use it carefully, after reading the instructions! (Top players use it for up to one hour at a time!!!)

15th April – Surbiton Easter Handicap Tournament

Despite the slightly unfriendly weather, Chris Barham in his first tournament outing came second in this two-day tournament and had his handicap reduced from 14 to 10. Jon Diamond didn’t do quite as well, but came 8th of 32. A full report is here

10th April – Latest Newsletter

2006-04 newsletter – warning 569K size

The main points are:

  • Lawns (Bowling Lawns) Opening 16th April
  • Official Lawn Opening by the Mayor 16th July
  • Ball Trolleys being replaced by new design img_2300
  • Equipment Store funding received from Tunbridge Wells Borough Council and Kent County Council and is now under construction. Plans and views are in our Photo Gallery.
  • Association Croquet Thursday session now coaching from 4pm

27th March – Croquet in the Park launched

Today we’re launching our Croquet in the Park initiative in conjunction with Royal Tunbridge Wells 400th anniversary. This incorporates our first Corporate Challenge aimed at introducing novices or non-players to Golf Croquet in a competitive, but fun, environment. See the above links for full details.

28th February – Pub Lunches

The two Pub Lunches so far this have been very successful, with 9 and 15 people attending respectively, although the Rock in Chiddingstone Hoath proved a little difficult to find (especially if you followed Mick’s directions). The local beer (Larkin) was excellent, as was the brewer who popped in while we were there. By popular request the Brown Trout was selected as the location for the last one (March) in the off-season.

20th January – NZ Open

Aaron Westerby (Waikato and Tunbridge Wells) loses in the Quarter-Final of the New Zealand Open to Paul Skinley (Wellington) 12-26, 26tp-13, 26-19

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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

10th September – Opening Day Pictures

MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA Bowling green - Opening Day 7th September 

7th September – Bowls Lawns Opening!

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:

day1_100 Roger and Mick at work

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

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. aw_mallet_head Aaron Westerby's mallet

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

Our 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

Mick 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.

Mick 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.

bbq1 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.

Thanks 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

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.

img_0461 The Tunbridge wells crew (Barbara, John H, Jon and Nicky)
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.

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

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2004 News

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

11th December – AGM

Richard Clark elected as new Chairman as John Hobbs retires (but remains on Committee).

1st year membership fee increased to £75, other rates unchanged.

The Lawn Replacement project approved in principle – an EGM in Spring will consider more detailed proposals.

Hazel Moss-Davies was made the third Life Honarary member on her retirement from the club due to ill-health.

15th November – Final Competition results

Barney Lewis wins Spa Salver, John Timmis wins Lustau Cup, Nita Davis wins Howell Trophy, Colin Mabey wins Golf High Bisquers and Richard Clark wins Association Ladder

9th October – SECF U league @ Worthing – won 4:3

Despite playing late in the season, the weather was not too unkind – some sun, no rain, but a rather chilly wind from time to time.

worthing_john_timmis John Timmis showing his style @ Worthing
The host were as hospitable as ever and the lawns mostly true and certainly better than ours! The result of the match was in doubt until the very final game, with John Timmis (see picture) eventually pulling away from Pauline as the crowds encouraged both of them on.

TW Worthing Result
Richard Clark + John Timmis Pauline Griffiths + Steve Lewington -5
Barney Lewis Frank Lee
Marina Murdoch
Richard Clark Frank Lee -20
John Timmis Pauline Griffiths +14
Jon Diamond Marina Murdoch
Steve Lewington

5th October – Competitions results so far

Barney Lewis wins Calverley Cup, Jon Diamond wins Lewis Shield, John Timmis & Chris Berwick win Doubles and John Hobbs wins Golf Rose Bowl

26th September – Tunbridge Wells Open Handicap Tournament (Pegasus Plate)

Twelve players took part in this annual two day handicap tournament held at Tunbridge Wells. Three were club members (the previous winner Jon Diamond, Richard Clark and Roger Morris) and the remainder came from as far afield as Nottingham and Northampton.

pegasus_presentation John Hobbs presenting the trophy to Mark Homan
The main format was a knockout competition, leading to a best of three final between Mark Homan from Watford and Philip Mann from the Medway club. Mark won both of two very close games and received the Pegasus Plate with Philip receiving a bottle of wine.

pegasus_players Pegasus Trophy players
Players knocked out of the main event entered into a ‘block’, where they played each other and the winner, Michael Hague, from Surbiton, managed the highest percentage of wins with four out of five games.

7th September – SECF Golf @ Littlehampton – lost 1:8

5th September – All England Regional Final

Barney Lewis just fails to qualify for the National Final, winning 2/5 games at the Regional Finals held at Compton

5th September – Tunbridge Wells Advanced Tournament

A disappointing entry this year of only 6. Particularly disappointing was the complete absence of Tunbridge Wells entrants for the first time since the Tournament was first run.

And then … the Ramsgate entrant was unable to attend due to injury!

And then there was 5.

Not an auspicuous start to the Club’s “premier” tournament!

However the 5 participants that did make it (2 from Norwich, 1 from Colchester, 1 from Guildford and 1 from Caterham) all appeared to enjoy themselves and fought some memorable battles.

By mid Sunday morning, four out of the five were effectively level pegging. Even the semi-finals and final were close.

The result: winner of the Honeygrove Cup – Jon Male of Caterham, runner up – Colin Hemmings of Colchester

28th August – Mike Brown wins Open High Bisquer Tournament

The Royal Tunbridge Wells High Bisquer Tournament was established last year to give a first taste of competitive Association Croquet to beginners and those still young in the game. It attracted four local players this year (Miriam Reader, Stan Oxenbury, Mark Houslop and Mike Brown) and four contestants from Brenzett. Among the latter, Ken Huckle as a former RTW player was a familiar face, accompanied by Betty Body , Eli and Pat Frith. The day served to show that competitive play and enjoyment can go together on and off the croquet lawn.

The day proved a rarity for August with the rain keeping away, although there was a distinct autumnal start as the dew and wormcasts had to be swept clear of the lawns. The tournament took the form of ten point games played over one and a quarter hours in two blocks of four. Each player had bisques, their number calculated by deducting 14 from their handicap. The Final, between the two block winners, Eli and Mike went in Mike’s favour by 10 hoops to 3. Third place went to Stan Oxenbury.

The Manager for the day, Richard Clark promptly reduced Mike’s handicap from 22 to 18, a reward as significant for the winner as the engraved goblet presented to him. Eli took away a bottle of wine for his endeavours and a promise by his fellow club members that on return to Romney Marsh his handicap card would be reconstructed and his handicap set at 16 to reflect the unconventional but highly effective style of play that is his hallmark. In all a most enjoyable day.

23rd August- SECF Golf vs Ramsgate – lost 3:6

21st August – SECF U league vs Ramsgate – won 4:3

19th August- SECF B league @ Compton – lost 1:2

A wet drive down to Eastbourne was followed by a partially sunny, but mostly showery morning, even forcing us to stop play for a few minutes twice. We didn’t quite manage to master the lawns as well as the home team as the results show.

Luckily, the weather cleared up and the afternoon, as well as the friendly games, was splendid. However, we clearly had better luck on the day than the cricketers, who’s game started at 4pm rather than 2pm, because of the wet conditions. So we didn’t get a chance to watch them free of charge when we were sitting out! All in all a good day.

TW Compton Result
Jon Diamond + Roger Morris Mavis Buist + Libby Fleming +13
Barney Lewis Ted Platt -8
Miriam Reader Bryan Stone -10

10th August – SECF Golf vs Brenzett – won 7:2

8th August – New Club evening sessions for Association starting on Thursdays from 5:30pm

3rd August – SECF B league vs Purley Bury – won 2:1

TW Purley Bury Result
Richard Clark + Miriam Reader Jean Alexander and Audrey Sherwin +13
Jon Diamond Janet Pascall -2
Roger Morris John Reynolds +3

1st August – Inter Club Golf Croquet Championship @ Southwick

secf_golf_doubles_team SECF Golf Doubles Teams - John Hobbs, Miriam Reader, Derek Heath and Stan Oxenbury
One of our teams won the Doubles competition, with 3 1/2 wins out of 4. Pictured from left to right – John Hobbs, Miriam Reader, Derek Heath (captain) and Stan Oxenbury.

2nd August – SECF Golf @ Compton – lost 1:8

19th July – CA Seniors Championships, British Open and Medway High Bisquers

Aaron Westerby loses to Robert Fulford (ultimate winner) in Knock-Out section of the British Open. John Hobbs wins the CA Seniors Doubles event (with partner Ron Atkinson – not from RTWCC). See the CA site for more details.

Miriam Reader wins Medway High Bisquers Tournament.

11th July – Friendly with Bromley

Bromley were captained by Eric Dennison who is of course also a member of our club. This naturally makes for a core fixture. They fielded 7 players on this occasion to the 9 of TW. Although modest in numbers theirs was a strong team and we were missing some of our crack squad. The match consisted of a blend between Association & Golf. Insofar as a result is possible to call, Bromley definitely took the honours on the day. We shall be visiting them on 12 Aug and are resolved to set matters straight.

2nd July – SECF Golf @ Crawley – won 7:2

Crawley were captained by Len Nash and included Betty Woodhams, Malcolm Roberts and Cecil Henman. TW fielded Colin Mabey, Roger Morris, Ray Meech and Frank Gunstone. A keenly contested game provided a closer result than the overall score of 7-2 to TW would suggest. The match was carried out in a very good spirit – no surprise at all. We were however glad to bag the spoils in our very first encounter ever in the Federation Golf Tournament.

18th June – SECF U league match vs Compton – won 5:2

Our first match in the new 7 game format was successful! The day was fine and dry, with a little sun and not too warm. Our opponents took a little time to get to grips with our much slower lawns, winning 2/4 of the afternoon games, but we ran out winners having won all the morning ones.

TW Compton Result
John Hobbs + Jon Diamond Graham Thompson + Ann Jarman +7
Barney Lewis Barry Jones
Graham Thompson
Jolyon Creasey David Atkins
Barry James
John Hobbs David Atkins -14
Jon Diamond Ann Jarman +24

18th June – Visit to Chartwell NT


Fifteen members of the Club had a day out at Chartwell, the former home of Winston Churchill. They played croquet on the lawn in this beautiful location where many former leaders had relaxed over a game or two whilst discussing and planning events that had shaped our nation and changed the course of history. Churchill was known to play with an unconventional one handed swing similar to that of a polo player. The day was combined with visiting the house and gardens and made possible with the kind permission of the National Trust.  

11th June – Friendly @ Crawley

As usual this was a popular fixture and “TW” probably won although the result was complicated by player switches, even representing the opposition when necessary. This is a tested formula and worked well. We were fortunate to have a real summers day and a full house – 12 a side.

10th June – SECF B league vs Reigate Priory – lost 1:2

TW Result
Richard Mann + Roger Morris won
Barney Lewis lost
Nita Davis lost

25th May – SECF B league vs Hayes, Bromley & Keston – lost 1:2

TW Hayes Result
Jon Diamond Geoff Coker -14
Miriam Reader Jim Whitehead +13T
Richard Clark + Roger Morris John Belcher + Margaret Sinclair -3T

5th May – Visit to Chartwell National Trust

Roger Morris is organising a visit to play on their lawn on 18th June, commencing at 11am. We will be taking our equipment (a packed lunch is optional). Please contact him if you want to be part of the party.

4th April – Lawns open

14th March – Jean Heath retires from the Committee due to ill-health

22nd January – New Lease (to 2009) signed with Royal Tunbridge Wells Borough Council

signing_the_lease_1 Signing the lease (at last!)
signing_the_lease_2 ditto

16th January – Aaron Westerby loses in semi-final of New Zealand Open

12th January – Aaron Westerby to play for NZ in Tasman Trophy vs Australia

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2003 News

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

16th November – AGM

Clive Horton retires as Treasurer after 12 years, John Timmis elected new Treasurer. Jon Diamond and Roger Morris join Committee.

7th November – All lawns now top-dressed, so cannot be used for the Winter. Should re-open mid-March.

17th October – Internal Competition Winners:

Spa Salver – Aaron Westerby
Lustau Cup – Barney Lewis
Calverley Cup – John Timmis
Lewis Shield – Jon Diamond
Howell Cup – Miriam Reader
Golf Rose Bowl – Chris Berwick
Association Ladder – Nita Davis
Golf Ladder – Nita Davis
Doubles Goblet – John Hobbs + Doreen Hough

11th/12th October – Tunbridge Wells Autumn Handicap Tournament – Pegasus Plate

Delightful weather, especially on the Saturday and certainly compared to the deluge last year, saw 12 players from 8 clubs all over the country playing. This was organised as a Knock-Out, together with a Consolation Block event.

The tournament used Bryce adjustments to making 26, 22 or 18 point games depending on the strength of the players. This resulted in many interesting peg-out endings for the spectators to cheer and groan over. Mark Homan clearly regretted one of his – failing a peg-out against Jon in the Knock-Out when leading by 13 points. Sorry Mark!

In the final of the Knock-Out Jon Diamond (9 handicap from Tunbridge Wells) fairly well shut-out Owen Bryce (8 handicap from Northampton) winning by 18 points, although the 10-year old Port was some compensation for Owen.

Richard Clark, having been beaten by Jon in the Knock-Out, won the Consolation Block.

Thanks to Pegasus Retirement Homes for sponsoring the tournament, presenting the trophy and the prizes.

The Consolation Block full results are:

Player Club Handicap Wins
Richard Clark Tunbridge Wells 7 4
Chris Crowcroft Winchester 3 3
Michael Hague Woking and Surbiton 8 3
Mark Homan Watford 7 3
David Clarke Sidmouth 7 2
Nita Davies Tunbridge Wells 18 2
Ted Robinson Southwick 12 2
Barbara Clarke Sidmouth 16 1
Miriam Reader Tunbridge Wells 18 1
Avril Willshaw Rottingdean 9 1

Mick Belcham was an exemplary manager, although one (anonymous) comment was that Care in the Community appeared to be working extremely well!

Dry roasted peanuts next year please.

7th October – Friendly vs Compton

17 players all-told turned up for this Golf Croquet event. Despite the showers it was clearly enjoyed by all.

29th September – U league vs Ramsgate – won 2:1

21st September – Advanced Tournament @ Southwick

Mick Belcham and Chris Sturdy both went down to Southwick to play aganist significantly stronger opposition. Mick managed to win 3/5, but Chris had a mega-tournament. He didn’t win overall since he lost one game and so had only 4 wins. These did include Bill Arliss (1-handicap), and so he comes down with a bump from 7 to 5 handicap. Congratulations Chris!

13th/14th September – All England Handicap Final @ Colchester

The weather was splendid, but the lawns (despite the watering) were too fast for Jon Diamond who only won 1 of his 5 games. Perhaps he’ll manage to emulate Barney sometime in the future.

6th/7th September – Tunbridge Wells Advanced Tournament

The weather continued to be kind, but unfortunately a few late cancellations meant that only eight players took part in our five-round Swiss event and John Hobbs being a playing manager. In the end the result was as close as one could wish, with Steve just pipping Jolyon on the second tie-breaker for the Honeygrove trophy: the total of their wins in hoops!

Thanks to Honeygrove Properties for sponsoring the tournament, presenting the trophy and the prizes.

The full results are:

Player Club Wins
Steve Woolnough Reading 4
Jolyon Creasey Tunbridge Wells 4
Russell Bretherton Surbiton 3
Mick Belcham Tunbridge Wells 2
Richard Clark Tunbridge Wells 2
Jon Diamond Tunbridge Wells 2
John Hobbs Tunbridge Wells 2
Paul Miles Medway 1

30th August – High Bisquers One Day

The high bisquers was won by Brian Hough with four wins and his handicap now comes down to 16 (with which he is pleased). Runner up was Michael Brown (24) our country member from Sheffield! His handicap will also come down, since it was evidently too high (his garden croquet experience enabled him to hit straight!). Two players notched up 5 games in all and everyone said they enjoyed the day.

30th August – All England Regional Final at Southwick

Our representative, Jon Diamond, finished second with 4 wins out of ten participants and goes through to the Finals in Colchester in two weeks time.

20th August – Southwick August Mixed Doubles

Miriam Reader was back to defend the title she won last year with John Hobbs, but as John was unable to play she had press-ganged Richard Clark to join her. Due to the glorious weather the lawns were rather tricky and they weren’t quite able to reproduce the previous result, having to settle for being on the losing side in the knock-out final. The other TW team of Chris Berwick and Jon Diamond ended up in fourth place, out of 16 pairs.

20th August – Website changes

Visitor counter added for front page plus other committee photos and some minor changes.

12th August – B league match vs Southwick – lost 3:0

Southwick Tunbridge Wells Result
John Gosney Jon Diamond +7
Martin Rogers Miriam Reader +14
Moira Gosney
John Constable
Richard Clark
Derek Heath

2nd August – U league match vs Reigate Priory – won 2:1

Tunbridge Wells Reigate Priory Result
Jon Diamond Mike Bottomly +5
Richard Mann John Taylor -3
John Hobbs
Miriam Reader
Rex Davies
Ron Farr

27th July – SECF Golf Croquet Team Tournament

Two teams of four (selected after some toing and froing and late changes) went to the SECF team handicap event held at Southwick, competing in a field of 18 from 15 clubs as far away as Sydenham and Ramsgate.


Our performance in the mornings doubles was creditably absolutely average, with both teams scoring 2 out of 4 games (including 4 drawn matches on time). The afternoon session was slightly better with Tunbridge Wells 1 scoring 6/12 and Tunbridge Wells 2 scoring 6.5/12 and finishing up 6th.

John Hobbs was at his usual best, succeeding with two jump shots and failing with one that cleared the hoop completely. He also casually ran Hoop 4 from Hoop 3! Jon Diamond managed an excellent two-ball cannon which finished up running the nearby hoop to much amusement from the spectators. Not quite what he intended, but welcome nevertheless.

Doubles results were:

Tunbridge Wells 1  
John Hobbs
Miriam Reader
Derek Heath
Jean Heath
Tunbridge Wells 2  
Jon Diamond
Derek Crocombe
Chris Marshall
Stan Oxenbury

Individual singles results were:

Tunbridge Wells 1  
John Hobbs 2.5
Miriam Reader 2
Derek Heath 0.5
Jean Heath 1
Tunbridge Wells 2  
Jon Diamond 3
Chris Marshall 0
Derek Crocombe 1.5
Stan Oxenbury 2

The weather co-operated, with sun most of the day (even for the prize-giving at 7pm) and no rain at all. The event was magnificently organised by Bill Arliss, with David Hopkins as Manager on the day. Winners of the Singles Event were Rottingdean and of the Doubles were Littlehampton and a good time was had by all!

26th July Friendly vs Sydenham/Bromley

8 of the Tunbridge Wells club took on a combined Sydenham/Bromley team who bravely faced the elements. At the half way stage honours were even at 4 doubles a piece. TW were just one hoop in front. As the rain increased, tea was taken early in the hope of some abatement. It was not to be. Gathering flood water across the lawns forced early abandonment. The visitors thanked us for our hospitality and vowed to return at a hopefully more favourable time.

24th July B league match vs Compton

Tunbridge Wells Compton Result
Mick Belcham
Miriam Reader
Mavis Buist
Joan Jarman
Chris Sturdy Brian Jarman +19
Brian Hough Libby Fleming +9

15th July

Retrospective detailed match results added, plus a few bits and pieces

13th July – Website changes

Change detection added for front page plus club photos (including most of the committee) plus some re-organisation.

5th July – One Ball Tournament

There were 16 entrants from 5 clubs (Littlehampton, Roehampton, Hayes/Bromley, Brenzett and Tunbridge Wells)

Brian Hough won his block and lost in the final Knock-Out to Eli Frith from Brenzett.

1st July – B league match vs Purley Bury – lost 1:2

Purley Bury Tunbridge Wells Result
Ken Pascal Miriam Reader +1T
Dave Rogers Richard Clark +1T
Audrey Sherwin
Janet Pascall
Mick Belcham
Brian Hough

26th June PPP takes up croquet

Recently three members of a department of PPP (the financial healthcare company based in Tunbridge Wells) joined the club so that, not only would they have full playing privileges, but they would be able to have colleagues from PPP as guests. Guests will be limited to weekday lunchtimes (12 – 2) and weekday evenings from 5.30, on payment of green fees. This arrangement will enable several PPP staff to have a taste of the game and to relax at lunchtime or in the evenings, playing golf croquet doubles, for the extra fun and interaction it provides. We hope that other departments will take up the idea – or other companies!

24th June – Jon Diamond wins All England – Club section

20th June – Website launched

14th June – U league match vs Medway – lost 1:2

Tunbridge Wells Medway Result
Clive Horton R Parkins -6
Barney Lewis Liz Maltby -22
John Hobbs
Miriam Reader
R Alexander
A Dickens

10th June – B league match vs Chartham Hatch – won 2:1

Tunbridge Wells Chartham Hatch Result
Richard Mann Paul Hill +1T
Miriam Reader Albert Sidebottom -8
Mick Belcham
Chris Berwick
Brenda Porrer
Ken Dawes

7th June – U league match vs Compton – won 2:1

Compton Tunbridge Wells Result
Barry James Mick Belcham -3
Ann Jarman John Timmis +4
Arthur Nelson
Mavis Burst
Jolyon Creasey
Miriam Reader


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