12 September - Goldring is the All England Handicap National Champion!
- and Lilly comes very creditable 4th
Phyllis Court's Roger Goldring won the All England Handicap National Final at Sidmouth today to bring the trophy back to Henley again.
His success repeats that of club mate Robin Coates who won the title last year.
Also doing well this past weekend was Frith's own Rick Lilley who was just pipped to third place on a net hoops count, which was a terrific showing the fellow Phyllis Court player.
In fact, is was net hops that untimely gave Goldring his victory after an incredibly closely fought out last three rounds on the south coast.
Players with handicaps ranging from Goldring's minus 1 to plus 7 provided a very broad spectrum of abilities, yet all were competitive thanks to the Croquet Association's handicapping system which affords weaker players with extra turns that that can be chosen to be played any time during a game.
This final was the culmination of a season-long competition which involving over 250 players from 35 different clubs. and as is the tradition for this national final, an 'all play all' format was employed to provided a full thirteen rounds of play.
Goldring was 'in the mix' on the Saturday night with no less than six players all tied on five wins from seven games, and the Phyllis Court man was fastest out of his blocks on Sunday morning too and soon after the lunch break he had rattled of another four game wins to go clear of the field.
As the Sidmouth town brass band serenaded play from not close by during the afternoon's play, Rick Lilley staged a concerted drive to be in to contention for a time too.
But going into the last round, the title was between Roger Goldring (handicap 1, Phyllis Court), Dom Aarvold (0, Bristol) or Andy Loakes (-1, Camerton), all on 9 wins and
Charlie Martin (0, Ramsgate) on 8 going into the final round.
To make matters more interesting Goldring had to play Martin, and Aavold was to play Loakes, and two interesting games ensued with so much at stake.
Goldring started superbly and blew Martin away to establish a 5-2 lead, which he never gave-up and went on to win 7-4, but he didn't know if he done enough for the outright win.
Loakes had defeated Aarvold by the same score line and it was 'calculator time' for the manager to sort out the net hoop sores.
Loakes' late surge in his last two games caused a very close final result, but Goldring's net hoops score of 20 bettered his rival by three and secured the tournament win.
As the lowest handicapper player in the tournament, Goldring had, at times, needed to work very hard with up to eight extra turn against him to become the 2021 All England Handicap Champion.
14 September - 10+ Singles tournament called-off with courts waterlogged
Heavy and prolonged overnight ain left all three courts unplayable (with stanking water on courts 1 and 2, and the usualy dryer court 3 also untypicaly soggy today.
The planned 10+ Singles tournament was called-off as a result (and the courts colsed for the day), with conflicting forcastes for the remainder of the day were somewhat averaged out with light rain coming and going throughout the late morning and early afternoon.
16 September - Phyllis Court are National Team Handicap Champions!
Phyllis Court are the National Team Handicap Champions thanks to a Hollywood style comeback in the final of the GC Federations Shield competition last week.
The Henley side trailed Sussex County for the entire match and had appeared sunk by mid-afternoon at 0-3 down, but came back in dramatic fashion to win 4-3 in an exhilarating finish.
A late start due to the Sussex team's traveling delays, made way for an equally slow start on the Phyllis Court courts that are now showing much improvement and which had been presented in splendid condition for this prestigious match.
Only the doubles rubber was completed before the lunch interval and Phyllis Court's Roger Goldring (handicap -2) and Raghu Iyer (3) were defeated 4-7, 4-7 by the Sussex pair Tony Jolly (2) and David King (3), who both displayed accurate clearing skills in addition to using their greater number of extra turns to good effect.
Unusually the morning singles rubbers took longer that the doubles with the players handicaps providing two excellent tight contests that had to be suspended for lunch at one game apiece.
The host's Ian Norris (-2) was evenly matched by the visitors Roger Sutton (-1) with scores of 7-5, 5-7, and likewise Phyllis Court's captain Chris Roberts (-2) was held by Linda Gavigan (7) who's intelligent use of her nine extra turns, left the pair tied 7-5, 4-7.
A decision was made to start afresh with the afternoon program of head to head singles matches and only return to the unfinish morning games if the overall team match result was dependent on them.
So, Phyllis Court trailed 0-1 in completed matches going into the second session and by half past three, the prospects for a home victory were looking grim, when their semi-final hero Goldring (-2) fell to Jolly (2) 6-7, 4 - 7, and was followed shortly afterwards by Norris (-2) who faded after a bright start against Sussex captain King (3), 7-6, 4-7, 3-7.
With the team match score at 0-3, Sussex need just one of the other two matches still in progress for victory and they came very close indeed, but for a life-saving seven-yard hoop score from the boundary by Phyllis Court's Iyer (3) at the last hoop of his second game against Gavigan (7).
Gavivan had beaten Iyer in their first game without taking any of her four extra turns and was in good form all day but perhaps had the wind taken from her sails by Iyer's dramatic score and the Phyllis Court man finally got his side on the scoreboard 5-7, 7-6, 7-3.
There was drama to on other court too, where Roberts (-2) had to pull out all the stops to contend with Sutton (-1) and succeeded with a string of very long-distance clearances, including a monster 23-yarder to hit a half ball target to turn the first game.
Roberts eventually prevailed 7-5, 7-6, bringing the team match score back to 2-3, meaning that all then hinged on the resumption of the two suspended morning singles rubbers, and these were started straight away.
Norris (-2) blew away Sutton (-1) more easily than the Sussex player's performance thus far had suggested likely, and with the team match score now tied at 3-3, all eyes fell on the Roberts (-2) versus Gavigan (7) encounter, and the 'picket fence' of nine extra turn sticks that the Phyllis Court man had to overcome.
Gavaigan again used her extra turns cleverly and she forced Roberts into two well-executed jump shot scores as he kept her lead in check, as her handicap advantage unwound.
Again, Roberts' long-distance clearances were on song and were enough to make-up for some below par hoop running attempts.
Gavigan's extra turns finally expired with an untypical error at hoop 10, and with the score 5-5, the more experienced Henley player was able to control the game with a no risks patient approach, to an eventual and much relived finish 7-5.
With the team match settled at 4-3, there were compliments all round from competition Director Frances Colman, who commiserated with Sussex who had come so close, and congratulated her own club team, as she presented the GC Federations Shield to National Handicap Champions, Phyllis Court.
Results detail, Phylis Court scores first, (the games marked *, were played at the end to decide the team match)
Roger Goldring (-2) & Raghu Iyer (3) lost to Tony Jolly (2) and David King (3) 4-7, 4-7
Chris Roberts (-2) beat Linda Gavigan (7) 7-5, 4-7, 7-5*
Ian Norris (-2) beat Roger Sutton 7-5, 5-7, 3-7*
Chris Roberts (-2) beat Roger Sutton (-1) 7-5, 7-6
Roger Goldring (-2) lost to Tony Jolly (2) 6-7, 4-7
Ian Norris (-2) lost to David King (3) 7-6, 4-7, 3-7
Raghu Iyer (3) beat Linda Gavigan (7) 5-7, 7-6, 7-3
15 September - Coates & Browne win our Open Doubles day-tournament (Iain Lindsay Cups)
The established doubles pair Robin Coates and Dianne Browne scored a hard fought victory in Open Doubles day-tournament today to lift the Ian Lindsay Cups for the first time.
The day started with the eight team field split into two blocks which both ended in ties having to be settled on a net hoop count.
The long games forced the abandonment of a second phase of block games, in favour of straight semi-finals and final (and 'plate' versions of the same).
Coats and Browne got past Terje Johansen and Raghu Iyer 7-3 whist the other semi-final was an extremely close affair in which Roger Goldring and Colin Morgan squeezed past pre-tournament favourites Chris Roberts and Frances Colman 7-6.
Coates and Brown always had the edge over Goldring and Morgan in the final and maintained that advantage to the end, winning 7-5.
In the bottom half of proceedings, Helena and Mike Fensome made some amends for missing the cut for the main event by winning the (non-existent) 'plate' with ease.
See the full results here:
20 September - Mulcahy flys Phyllis Court flag at C-Level Series National Final
Patricia Mulcahy capped a fine first seson in the wider competitve scene with an appearence in the C-level Series national Final this weekend at Ryde on the Isle of Wight.
Despite being the lowest ranked player at the event, she won a creditable three games and hopefuly enjoyed the experience as she stepped-up to the challenge of the toughest crouet of the career so far.
20 September - Colman wins AC class at Budleigh
Frances Colman rounded-off her English AC season with a fine class win at the Budleigh Salterton tournament this weekend.
She won four out of her five games to initially end in a three way-tie, but then won a 'corner 4 two ball brake' play-off against her two rivals to win her class trophy.
Chris Roberts lost all six of his class games at the same tournament.
The pair fly to Corfu on Subday, along with Richard Peperell, to compete in the Annual Greek AC Open.
21 September - PCC 'C' lose 6 - 10 to Ryde in SCF Advantage League Final play-off
PCC 'C' started badly and, despite a maid match rally, were beaten by a good Ryde 'C' team in their League final toady at Phyllis Court.
Jeff Smith came in as a fairly late replacement for team captiain Bill Pitkeathley who was called away on a family business but satyed in touch with procedings via text messages.
Smith clearly relished the oportunity and was the only Phyllis Court player to record wins in the fisrt two rounds, which left the Henley side 2 - 6 down at lunch with an up hill task to save the match in the afternoon.
They did fight back well and won the third round by three games to one, with Michael Christmas, Kevin Ward and Jeff Smith again cliaming victories to take the match score to 5-7.
And when Christmas won the first fourth round game to finish, the come-back was on, but only for a short while as Ryded scored the next one to put one hand.
The reamining two games took some tme to compete and two OPhyllis Court leards were eventually overhauled by the visitors who competed a deserved 6-10 win.
It was fiiting that Dianne Browne and her junior partner Gillain Symons won the Restricted (10+ combined handicap) Doubles touirnament today for the Cave and Wolfe Salvers, because Gillian is the neice of trophy donator Stella Cave.
On a golorious day the wining pair were undefeated throughout and Symons in particular was I good form for the whole tournament, which nicely rounds her competiticve season win which she has enjoyed much improvement.
Browne & Symons defeathed Roger Goldring & Julia Green 7-4 at the end of a long day in which Symons and Green earned their first trophies.
It was good to welcome Andy Jones and Ruth Raunkiaer to their full day tournament debuts as they were partnered by the exxperienced Delia and Ian Norris.
The full results are below.
Congratulations to our winniers Dianne Broebnd and Gillian Symons
26 Sept -Raghu Iyer wins the AC 'Ark' Tournament at Surbiton
Raghu Iyer did extremely well this weekend to beat a 24-player field at Surbiton to in the well known 'Ark' tournemanet,
This one is unusual as it is playeed to Advanced Handicap rules (usually it is one or the other, not both) but our man used his now, not inconsiderable, tournament nouse to naviagte the complexitited of the situations to win all six of his games.
In fact he won it with a game to spare, bercause going into the last round, he hadalreasdy beaten al his colsest rivals, but he won that late game anyway for good measure!
Raghu also reduced hos handicap back to AC 11.
27 Sept -Robin Coates completes a 'clean sweep' in our AC 'Poulton Cup'
With a faultless four out of four winnimg record, Robi Coates swept to the clearest of victories in our season-long AC Handicap block competition to lift the Poulton Cup for the first time.
Coates beat Richard peperell (+26), Chris Roberts (+25), Raghu Iyer (+20) and his closest win was against Frances Colman (+3).
The Poulton Cup is one of our oldeast trophies and has been competed for annually since 1969.
I wining this year, Robin reduced his habdicap to a new low mark of 11.
26 Sept - Cliffhanger finishes on our FINALS DAY!
GC Club Champion - Roger Goldring
3+ Singles winner - Rick Lilley
7+ Singles winner - Allan Henderson
10+ Singles winner - Gillian Symons
Handicap Singles - Patricia Mulcahy (see 1 October report)
10+ Singles 'plate' - Sally Batty
Roger Goldring became the Phyllis Court GC Champion for the first time today when his season-long Open Singles competition final climaxed in a thrilling cliff-hanger ending at the last deciding hoop.
It was really exciting croquet served up for the assembled crowd that had only just settled down from the same knife edged drama that had ended the curtain-raiser match in the final of the second tier 3+ competition that had been won twenty minutes before hand by Rick Lilley.
Indeed, such was the closeness of both contests, that there was appreciation for the losers, Ian Norris and Russell Robinson respectively, as much as the eventual winners.
The designated Phyllis Court 'Finals Day' last Saturday, certainly lived up to its billing as one to come and watch, and it started with the final of the fourth tier 10+ Singlescompetition between two of the Club's most improved players this season, Gillian Symons and Patricia Mulcahy.
Both have enjoyed success representing the Phyllis Court D team this season and Mulcahy has ventured to many a far-off location on the national C-Level 7+ Series circuit this season, culminating in qualification for the National Final tournament on the Isle of Wight a fortnight ago.
In this final however, it was Symons who established the upper hand eventually and included a comeback from four hoops behind to win 7- 5, 7-5 and become the inaugural victor of this competition.
The morning was completed by the 10+Singles consolation plateevent where Sally Batty won a topsy-turvy final against Carl Billson 7-5, 3-7, 7-2, to cap a fine season that rewarded many diligent practice hours.
The third tier 7+ Singles final had already taken place ten days earlier, but the achievement of winner Allan Henderson, who defeated former winner Hugh Crook 7-6, 7-1, in that completion final, was mentioned in despatches at the end of day presentations.
Moving up the grades, the final of the 3+ Singles started soon after lunch and proved to be an ideal prelude to the Open Singles Club Championship that began an hour later, and so for some time there were two exciting matches being played out on adjoining courts.
Russell Robinson took an early command of the 3+ final wining the first game of three 4-7 as Rick Lilly struggled to find his shooting accuracy and nerves clearly affected both players in a mistake ridden second game which Lilley rescued to win 7-6.
As the Open Singles was following similarly close pattern, most eyes fixed on the final game of the junior match which Robinson seemed to have in his grasp when he got into the jaws of hoop 11 and converted the advantage into a 5-6 lead with a good position for a potential match winning hoop 12.
Lilley than played the shot of the match from some distance to block Robinson's hoop attempt and stayed in the match before getting very lucky when a missing clearance attempt glanced of the hoop leg and found its intended target by the most fortunate of routes, which altered the dynamic o and put Robinson on the defensive at that hoop.
Robinson was the faulted by referee Helena Fensome as he tried to block the hoop from the rear and Lilley scored to take the game, match and title to the 13th and deciding hoop.
Robinson had the advantage with the first stoke but was over cautions and took a very deep position that was then replaced by the next two stokes, and surprisingly Lilley's last ball into the fray was the best.
Several clearances later, and Lilly was shooting for the match - he puled out of his stroke nervously before re-composing and then scored with a confident stoke worthy of his 3+ Singles title win 4-7, 7-6,7-6.
Meanwhile, The Club Championship was also building to its own crescendo as Ian Norris' first game 5-7 win had been answered by Roger Goldring's steely 7-4 response, setting up third game deciding drama again.
Positioning perfection by Norris earned him a commanding 4-6 lead but the competitive experience built up by Goldring over many years now, kept his belief strong and he was quick to capitalise on a miss by Norris to get back to 5-6.
Goldring then staying the match with the most difficult of clearances that needed to avoid the centre peg by the tiniest of margins and he nailed it with aplomb, to eventually win hoop 12, tie the match at 6-6 and once again it was 'golden hoop' time.
There was rather more interaction than in the earlier match as both Norris and Goldring fought for position rather than taking on a 'do or die' hoop attempt risk.
After much to and fro, Goldring earned a good advantage, settled, shot for the win, and with much relief, saw his nervous attempt rattle both hoop legs before mainlining just enough momentum to successfully score.
Golding won 5-7, 7-4, 7-6 and was duly presented with the Phyllis Court Champions Cup for the first time.
1 October -Patricia Mulcahy wins the Handicap Singles competition title
Patricia Mulcahy capped a fine season of improvement when she wrapped-up the Handicap Singles season-long competition title today with a fine win in the delayed final over Ian Norris.
Using all her experience gained from appearences in two sucessive All England Handicap national finals, Mulcahy swept to victory 7-3, 7-4 with intelegent use of her exta turns and a new reliable jump shot skill that she has recently developed.
Norris uncharteristically missed a few jumps that are so crucial in handicap play when the higher handicapper places ball in hoop jaws, and this victory for Mulcahy must go down as her best performnace yet, coming as it does at the expence of one of the msot experienced handicap players in our club.
6 October -Ricahrd Peperell best of Phyllis Court trio in Corfu
Richard Peperell reached the semi-finals of the annual Greek Open AC Handicap tournament held on Corfu this week and was the best performer of the Phyllis Court trio present.
He was beaten in the firts round of the main event but won through a series of repacharge rounds before losing out to the eventula winer Charles Ostler from Lincolnshire.
Frances Colman and Chris Roberts both won their fisrt round ties but were defeated in the second round on the main Singles event after competing well and leading the doubles event for a time, and Roberts eventually won the consolation 14-point event.
9 October - Gillian Symons wins a close 7+ Plate Final
Gillain Symons reports that she had "a really tight match, either of us could have won" in the 7+ Plate Final this morning.
This Fian had been delayed due to an injury to oppenent Phil Johnson and Gillain already have an engagement on our Finals Day in etyn 10+ Final.
A rather wet and misty early morning broke into a poovely day and although Phil took the firts game 4-7, cool Gillain cam back to win the match 7-4, 7-5.
17 October - Allan Henderson beats Phil johnson in 3+ Singles 'Plate' Final late nighter!
Allan Henderson defeated Phil Johnson on Sunday evening in the last of Phyllis Court's golf croquet internal competition finals, and in so doing brought down the curtain on the club's competitive season.
This final of the 3+ Singles plate competition had been delayed by three weeks due to a holiday and then an injury to Henderson's opponent Phil Johnson.
The match itself was a long one, seeming almost as if its protagonists were eking out every last minute of their court time, but in truth this was good close completive play with prolonged contests at most hoops.
Johnson has developed a very accurate eye and his clearance strokes were on song all game, with the effect that despite Henderson's generally more accurate ball placement and hoop shooting skills, Johnson was 'disrupter in chief'.
Areas of worn ground in the hoops bedevilled Henderson's touch play on several occasions when his softly struck hoop shots that would ordinarily have scored, instead stuck in the hoop jaws and Johnson always seemed to be well position to execute strong clearances from behind.
Favourite, Henderson won the first game easily enough 7-4 but was then pegged back by Johnson who grew in confidence as the match went on and he took a 4-6 lead, which Henderson heroically got back to 6-6 to take the game to the deciding 13th hoop.
Johnson squandered his first approach advantage with two over-hit strokes but Henderson's resurgence also faltered and he also played to two poor positions, short of the target, a clear sign of last hoop nerves, from both players
Then, in a strange turn of fortunes, Johnson hit a superb tight angled hoop shot to nestle in the hoop jaws and Henderson's previously poor position instantly became ideal and he took a leaf out of Johnson's book with a back of the hoop clearance of his own.
Henderson didn't catch it quite right though and the clearance only sent Johnson about eight feet, rather than to the safety of seven yards to the boundary; Johnson coolly made the score to win the second game 6-7, taking this final to a deciding third game.
By now the match had been in progress for two and a half hours and there was less than an hour's daylight left, so after a brief adjournment, the action re-commenced and Henderson streaked into a 3-1 lead before taking both middle hops in quick-time to establish a commanding 5-1 score line.
Johnson was by no means done and a series of splendid long clarences delivered him both a hoop and hope, but 5-1 became 6-3 and Henderson was just one more score away from victory.
He blocked himself accidentally with the game and match at his mercy but when Johnson missed a crucial clarence and ended up far away, Henderson had match points to spare.
Without much more ado, Henderson converted with aplomb to win the game and 3+ plate title in the nick of time, as darkness descended and celebrations moved swiftly to the club bar.
5 November - Good membership engagement at our first Hybrid AGM
Our first Hybrid AGM was a great success, thanks to the technical skills of Steve Morton who brought 16 on-line (Zoom) members in to the room to joining the 29 physically present in the Riverside pavilion, so we easily surpassed quoracy requirement.
Additionally, 24 members had sent apologies and all of them had voted on the resolutions in advance, so all told, 69 members engaged with our AGM one way or the other.
The minutes will be circulated in the next couple of weeks, but the headlines were the re-election of all bar one of the 2021 committee and the first election for Patricia Mulcahy, who we are very pleased to have in our committee number.
The committee members standing down this time was Roger Goldring, who came to the end of his 5-year stint, all spent as our excellent Secretary. Roger was given a book on AC and the now customary personalised Phyllis Court Croquet mug as a small token of our gratitude to him.
A couple of days after the AGM, the new committee elected Chris Roberts to continue to serve as Chairman, and at the same time, it was decided that Madeleine Probert would take over as Secretary and Russell Robinson remained as Treasurer; other positions will be confirmed at the first meeting of the new 2021-22 committee in a couple of weeks' time.
18 October onwards
IMPROTANT - We are all going to have to be very careful with how and when we play in order to protect the courts, otherwise the facility may be withdrawn.
- No play if ground is frosty* - you will have to wait for it to thaw
* treading on frosted grass seriously damages the grass plant (so don't do it).
- No play if it's waterlogged - you will have to re-book for another day
- No jump shots
11 November - Good night had by all, as Goldring scoops silverware hoard at our Annual Prizegiving Dinner
Hilary Cowley organised a lovely evening for our Annual Prizegiving Dinner in the Club ballroom this evening.
It was especially nice to see so many of our members who have joined in that last two years present - remembering of course that we weren't able to hold an event last season, so this was a debut dinner for many.
The 'taking of wine with' interjections kept the evening on a 'together' and 'on theme' basis whilst providing some soft fun along the way, as each time our National Handicap Champions Roger Goldring was brought to his feet to take the toasts.
There were an unusually high number of absentees (mainly for Covid concerns) amongst those due to receive prizes this year, which was a shame but understandable, by this was countered by a good number of first time winners, including John Rumford (winner of the new Evening Series) who only joined us this year.
Roger Goldring took home the most silverware however (be needed two boxes!), including his National Trophy which was presented as the penultimate prize by Frances Colman on behalf of the CA and she was on hand also to re-present the GC Federations Shield to our National Champions team!
18 November - 2021-2022 committee roles asigned
The 2021-2022 committee met (via Zoom) for the first time today and, amongst other business, the following committee roles were confirmed and decided:
Chairman - Chris Roberts
Secretary - Madeleine Probert
Treasurer - Russell Robinson
Membership - Hilary Cowley
Courts - Rick lilley
GC - Chris Roberts
AC - Raghu Iyer
w/o portfolio - Paddy Bunch
w/o portfolios - Patricia Mulcahy
Contact details for all the committee members are available on the 'About Us' page, always accessible from our front page, but also for your convenience, here: