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28 March - Hoops in place for tomorrow's first day back for croquet!
                  - And meet our new Bowdry

Welcome to new member Stuart Drew.

Rick and Chris sited the hoops on courts 1 and 2 today, in readiness for croquet's restart tomorrow.
We also unpacked our new 'Bowdry' water removal machine (and here is ri9ck posing with it)

29 March - Sad news: Nina Cox has died

    I am sorry to have to tell you that very long-standing Croquet Club member Nina Cox died peacefully in her sleep on Friday (26 March).
    Nina was a lovely lady of advanced years who had unfortunately not enjoyed the best of health in recent times, yet she always stayed positive with a keen interest in all that went on within the Croquet Club and the wider Phyllis Court Club.
    She was serving on the Croquet Club committee i/c Golf Croquet, at the time I joined as a beginner in 2009, and I have learnt from Raymond and Pauline Wood, that Nina was already an established croquet member as long ago as 2005.
    As well as Nina's croquet being rooted in social play, she was a very good supporter of our doubles tournaments, the highlight of which was when she partnered Helena Fensome to the runners-up position in the Cave and Wolff Salvers tournament as recently as 2016.

Arrangements for Nina's funeral will be made in the coming weeks and with the current gathering restrictions, will doubtless see only very limited numbers able to attend.  Pauline Wood is our contact for this.
29 March - . . . and we are back playing again!

Play got off to a cracking start today (the first day of slightly relaxed covid restictions) with double banked singels games on both courts as the clock ticked past 10am.
31 March - Deadline passes for season-long competitions entires (Another Record Year!)

As the 'chopper' came down on entries for our season-long competitions - it's another record year for entry numbers.
A massive 51 players have entered the Handicap Singles, smashing the previous high mark of 44 set in its inaugural year (2014).
The draws will be published in the next couple of days.

                    - however the new 10+ Singles has entry dealine extended
Because of the unprecedented high numbers entering the Handicap competition in particular and to give that one 'clear run' before the next biggest competition (the 10+) competes for court booking slots, it has been decided to delay the start of the 10+.
The deadline for entries for the 10+ Singles only is therefore extended until the end of April, which will also allow the keenest of this year's newcomers to enter if they wish.
04 April - Call for entries to two handicap Singles tournaments

A call for entries for either of our two scheduled GC Handicap day-tournaments (19 & 29 April) was sent out today. The alocation date is 12 April.
05 April -  Hardy souls brave the wind chill for AC intro and GC 10+ coaching sessions

It was blooming cold this morning and we even had the odd snowflake!
But AC introduction caoching went ahead for Roger Goldring (in his shorts of course), Rick Lilley and Michael Christmas)
And GC 10+ coaching followed on for Allan Henderson, Hugh Baylis, Patricia Mulcahy and Liz Smith.
  . . . and then we went home for a warm-up!
06 April -  Beginners Training Courses get under way

The first eight of our 'Class of 2021'  attended their first day Beginners Training Course today under the tutorlidge of Helena Fensome and Chris Roberts.
All did pretty well and I look forward to name-checking them off at the end of the week.
06 April -  Season-Long Competitions launched today

The knock-out grids for all but one of our season-long Singles Competitions were published today (only the 10+ has a delayed start until May).
Everyone is encouraged to get on with organising their matches as soon as possible please.
09 April -  First 8 'Class of 2021' pass their Beginners Training Courses

Congratulations to the 8 members below who sucessfully passed their Beginners Training Course today, following four days of training classes with coaches Helena Fensome and Chris Roberts.
Left to right:

Lynn Lewis (12)
John Merkle (12)
Ian Forster (12)
Jean Forster (12)
Henry Sless (12)
Deborah Sless (12)
Danny Hall (11)
Diana Wildman (12)
09 April - Peperell wins the delayed final of our 2020 AC season-long K-O handicap competition

Richard Peperell ground-out a deserved win over Chris Roberts in this much delayed final played at High Wycombe this afternoon.
Using the first of his 3 bisques, Peperell set up a break and made it tidily round to hoop 9 before misjudging a croquet stroke and going off.
He recoverd at the cost of taking a second bisque, took his ball round to Rover and set up a resonable leave, allbeit challening Roberts to take on risky long hoop 1 with his first stroke after some time as the out player.
Roberts impressed in scoriing that hoop firmly enough to get right down the court to his partner ball close to hoop 2 to, momentarily at leas, take control of the game.
Peperell hit staright back in though, and with his last bisque taken on the hour, the game became a long a protracted affair, lasting closer to four hours than three, with Peperell sitting on Peg and Rover for a full hour and a half, as Robets hung in there with safety play an only the ocasional hoop.
Evemntually Peperll got the fortune that his patiennce deserved and he pegged out to win +14, an with that also won the Adlam Tankerd (when we can find it!)
10 April -  Big training day today with Beginners, 10+ Improvers and an AC introduction class

Allan Henderson, Steve Morton, Patricia Mulcahy and Carol Wadsworth all attended an AC Introduction class this moring given by coaches Frances Colman and Chris Roberts.
A 10+ improves class followed on for Julia Green, Wendy Kingon, Hilary Cowley and Carol Wadsworth (again), in preparation for the 10+ Singles tournamnet in two days time.
And rounding the day off, the next tranch of four begiiners name checking at the end of their course) discovered crouet this evening, with Helena Fensome and Chris Roberts.

12 April -  Snow postpones today's 10+ Singles tournament

The unexpected arival of snow this morning put paid to the running of our first tounament of the season - the 10+ Singles will be re-advertised for a new date yet to be decided.

15 April -  Charity One Ball raises 325 for the British Heart founfation

Phyllis Court Croquet Club raised 325 for The British Heart Foundation today when they hosted one of over 40 heats in the Croquet Association's National Charity One Ball handicap competition.
The money raised came fairly evenly from entry fees for the tournament and generous extra donations from the players and a number of non-participating club members.
Such was the support shown by members, keen to play but also keen to support the charity effort, the event had to be cut in two, in order to comply with Covid-19 rules that limit the number of players on court at a time.

Half of the field played in a morning session which was won by an undefeated Robin Coates and, in the afternoon, the improving Rick Lilley turned the same trick.
Raghu Iyer was the runner-up with the better record and he joined the two winners in qualifying for the Charity One Ball national final which will be held at Surbiton CC on Sunday 9 May, when everyone will again wear red which is the house colour of The British Heart Foundation.
This national competition is mainly about fund raising and Phyllis Court CC have been good supporters of the enterprise since its early days over a decade ago, since when over 37,000 has been raised nationally for ten different charities.
19 April -  Lilley wins Handicap Singles tournament no.1

Fairly close games throughout confirmed the robustness of the club's handicap regime as Allan Henderson (handicap 10) and Rick Lilley (5) won their blocks, and Robin Coates (1) and Dianne Browne (3) also qualified for the senior half of the afternoon action.
The end of the day resulted in a three-way tie having to be resolved on net hoop scores where Coates' zero tally put him in third place behind Henderson on plus two and event winner Lilley on plus five.
Lilley and Henderson will now face off against the winner and runner-up of next week's heat in a round-robin play-off for the Phyllis Court White Ball trophy, and all four will progress to the area finals stage of this years All England Handicap competition.

Coates drops his handicap to 'Scratch' for the first time

For Coates, who is the defending National All England champion, his disappointment at not qualifying for the 'final quartet for the 'White Ball Trophy' will have been tempered somewhat by his handicap reducing to 'scratch' (zero) for the first time, which is a milestone achievement in his steadily improving game.

21 April - Phyllis Court 'C' 13 - 3 Phyllis Court 'D'

the first teams to play the new experimental Advantage GC game, and only well after the event did we realise that we'd been beaten too it by High Wycombe a few days earlier.
This PCC 'C' v PCC 'D' match saw good debut performances from Kevin Ward and Alan Henderson who both won all four of their games for the 'C', while the more novice PCC 'D' were lead by two wins from Baylis and a stronger performance that the scores suggest, from Patricia Mulcahy.
PCC 'C' - Morgan (6), Pitkeathley (6), Ward (9), Henderson (10)
PCC 'D' - Baylis (11), Green (11), L.Smith (11), Mulcahey (11)

26 April - Goldring wins handicap tournament no.2

second of Phyllis Court's two Handicap Singles tournaments, which are both part of the same overall event, being played to the existing 'extra' turns handicap play rules.
Roger Goldring (handicap -1) gave away at least eight extra turns to each of his opponents, yet still came through undefeated I his five long games.
Buoyed by her successful league outing five days earlier, Mulcahy picked-up four wins to finish runner-up and looked impressive all day with her only loss being a narrow 4-5 timed-out reverse to the canny Goldring.
Mulcahy and Goldring go forward to join the top two from the previous week's first tournament, Rick Lilley and Allan Henderson, in a four-player 'round-robin', on a date to be decided, for the Phyllis Court White Ball Trophy.
All four will also progress to the Area Final of the national All England Handicap competition, also to be held at Phyllis Court on 6 August, with the hope of qualifying for the National Final at Sidmouth on 11 September.

26 April - Phyllis Court 'A' 6.5 - 1.5 Blewbury 'A'

PCC'A' made hard work of what should have been a routine win against Blwewbury, but insted dropped a morning tie wen HelenFensome was pipped 6-7, 6-7.
Mike Fensome's rubber washeld at one game apiece (and untimatly taken as a draw), so it was as well that Chris Roberts and Roger Goldring won thier matches to give PCC 'A' a half time lead of 2.5 to 1.5.
PCC 'A' got their mojo up and running in the afternoon session as they won all four matches, but with three going to deciding 13th hoop drama.
PCC 'A' - Chris Roberts (-3), Roger Goldring (-1), Mike Fensome (1), Helena Fensome (1)
30 April - Robinson springs surprise on Day 1 of our A-Level (0+) Series Tournament

Russell Robinson put in an unexpectedly good performance today that made light of his outsider seeding, to qualify for the senior 'Cup' half of this tournament tomorrow.
Playing in the Phyllis Court based block (the other one was at co-hosts High Wycombe), Robinson secured the third of four qualifying places behind Helena Fensome who lived up to her high billing by topping the block.
Richard Peperell also qualified (via the High Wycombe base block) giving Phyllis Court representatives still in the hunt for the Cup tomorrow.
Missing the cut this time were Raghu Iyer, Robin Coates, Bill Pitkeathley and Rick Lilley, who will all play in the 'Plate' event tomorrow.
1 May - Disapointment all round at Day 2 of our A-Level (0+) Series Tournament

There was disappointment for Phyllis Court players in both the Cup and Plate events today at High Wycombe CC and at home respectively.
Helena Fensome's good form of yesterday (when she won 6 out of 7 games) deserted her and along with surprise package Russell Robinson, the pair only managed two wins between them in today's cup event at High Wycombe.
Richard Peperell faired a little better but no Phyllis Court players got near Winner Paul Gunn of Wingrave.
In the 'Plate' event at Phyllis Court, Robin Coates swept aside all before him until a last round showdown versus Charlie Sale of Ealing, where even a narrow loss would have been enough for Coates.
But uncharacteristically he lost that crucial game 2-7 allowing Sale to pick up the 'Plate' on net hoop count.

27 April - Henderson the Phyllis Court pick at Watford C-levle (7+) Series tournament

Phyllis Court's national tournament debutant Allan Henderson had a marvellous unbeaten morning to qualify for the leader's block in the second sessionat the Watford C-level (7+) Series today.
He was right in contention with the leaders thereafter with only two 6-7 reverses pushing him into fourth place overall which earned him two points in the national series competition.
There was good representation from Phyllis Court at this tournament, with Tony Peperell and Steve Morton recovering well from morning disappointments and both Patricia Mulcahy and Christine Searle getting valuable experience at this level prior to further planned outings as the season progresses.