Match reports

3rd May 2015 York v Beverley away

We drove through picturesque villages on the Yorkshire Wolds grimly viewing the bunting for yesterday’s Tour de Yorkshire through the pouring rain. When we arrived our hosts gave us a welcome hot drink prior to the match commencing with a biting wind adding to the rain.

The first problem was to try and work out the tactics that were appropriate with puddles on the lawn. We quickly learned that hitting harder was ineffectual, croquet ball + water = stop, no matter how fast the ball is travelling.

Water Croquet - 2015 League match at Beverley

Water Croquet – 2015 League match at Beverley

Eventually York settled on making use of the puddles rather than seeing them as a problem. Placing your opponents ball in the middle of a puddle made it difficult for them to play a shot and placing a puddle between your balls and theirs provided a very successful defence. In an unsurprisingly low scoring game York’s tactics worked with Dave & John beating Jim & Debbie 15-12

Lance and Tom were playing on the higher lawn which was devoid of puddles but was very slow because of the dampness making long shots very difficult to achieve. In the end Lance gave York a clean sweep of the morning games by beating Tom 26-9.

Beverley, as usual, provided an excellent lunch but York showed great restraint by avoiding over consumption of the sticky chocolate cake which was clearly intended to have a soporific effect on our afternoon session.

Luckily the rain had stopped and was replaced by frequent spells of sunshine making play on the lawns much easier. York were fortunate to manage a clean sweep of the three afternoon singles games, the standard of play being much closer than the results imply.

Morning Session

Jim Gillespie(10) & Debbie James(24) v Dave Hudson(9) & John Crompton(18) 12-15 (York)

Tom Judge(12) v Lance Andrews(11) 9-26 (York)

Afternoon Session

Jim Gillespie v Dave Hudson 20-26 (York)

Tom Judge v John Crompton 15-26 (York)

Debbie James v Lance Andrews 12-26 (York)

York beat Beverley 5 -0


York vs Tyneside
14 June 2015

York: Andy Starkey (2.5), John Harris (14), Alison Larard (18)
Tyneside: Derek Watts (2.5), Sheila Watts (10), Alice Fleck (14)

York Croquet Club found its determination put fully to the test when they welcomed an experienced Tyneside team to their Scarcroft Road lawns for their Croquet North encounter in a day of cold weather and steady rain.

The morning and afternoon doubles matches saw Andy Starkey working hard to guide his higher-bisque York partners through some carefully considered tactics, and making good use of the new ‘alternate stroke’ format of Croquet North to construct some thoughtful shot sequences. The result of these two matches was honours even, leaving the singles matches to decide the overall result.

Here Alison Larard pulled off a convincing win against Tyneside’s Alice Fleck, while John Harris edged a win against the visitors’ Sheila Watts, resulting in a welcome 3:1 victory for the home side. York now look forward in the next Croquet North encounter to meeting Middlesbrough.

Doubles: Andy Starkey and Alison Larard 16, Derek Watts and Alice Fleck 19
Andy Starkey and John Harris 19, Derek Watts and Sheila Watts 11
Singles: John Harris 16, Sheila Watts 14; Alison Larard 26, Alice Fleck 4


York vs Belsay Hall
31 May 2015

York: Andy Starkey (2.5), John Harris (14), Hywel Beynon (16)
Belsay Hall: David Millener (6), Eric Nixon (11), Derek Johnson (14)

Croquet North - York Croquet Club vs Belsay Hall

York in the glorious surroundings of Belsay Hall’s grade 1 listed gardens

York Croquet Club proved to be no match for Belsay Hall when the York team travelled to Northumberand for their Croquet North encounter in the glorious surroundings of the English Heritage grade 1 Belsay Hall gardens.

York made an uncertain start as they adjusted to a very damp, heavy lawn and as they came to terms with the tactical demands of the unfamiliar ‘alternate stroke’ format that is a feature of the Croquet North competition.

York’s Andy Starkey worked hard in the morning and afternoon doubles matches, adapting his strategy well to the new format as he shepherded less experienced York players through each game, while Hywel Beynon mounted a strong performance in the morning singles. But in the end the experience and skill of the Belsay Hall players showed through with a 4:0 victory for the home side. All in all a most enjoyable day’s croquet in the lovely surroundings of Belsay Hall’s walled garden.

Doubles: Andy Starkey and John Harris 16, David Millener and Eric Nixon 24
Andy Starkey and Hywel Beynon 14, David Millener and Derek Johnson 19
Singles: Hywel Beynon 23, Derek Johnson 26; John Harris 15, Eric Nixon 19


28th June 2015 York (Eboracum) v Huddersfield

It is pleasing to report that out team included two less experienced club members (Sally Hebron and Denise Foster) one playing in her first league match.

The doubles played in the morning formed a good introduction and players enjoyed the day, especially when the sun came out in the afternoon as a prelude to a glorious evening.

My only complaint: the lawns dried out quicker than I released and I `rolled off’ twice misjudging the speed. Still as bad workman……

The overall result of 4-8 was not in our favour, but reflected close matches with successes for both teams .

The lunch arranged by Sally was more that compensation for me at least. I’m a sucker for interesting quiche and ham salad. The splendid cakes (yes plural) and fruit salad prepared by Hywel for lunch and tea breaks must also be mentioned. A good day on the lawn.

Huddersfield beat York (Eboracum) 8 – 4

10th May York (Jorvik) v York (Eboracum)

May 10th was the first Short lawn league match of the season and the first League match for Sally Hebron. Jorvik versus Eboracum which was a pleasant gathering of York players. The weather was kind to us and the morning’s doubles were all very close games with time running out and sudden death being the deciding factor at times.

Jorvik were three games to one up by lunchtime but no game was more than a 3 point difference. A most enjoyable lunch was mainly provided by Sally with a little help from Alison and Fiona. Pudding provided a surprise for Callum who had to blow out the candles on his sixteenth birthday cake. The cake seemed to have an impressive effect on Callum who started the afternoon session with a stunning 14-0 win over Andy.

Most of the other singles games were similar to the mornings results with only a point or two difference, but always with Jorvik on top. The overall result was Jorvik 11 Eboracum 1 which is a misleadingly one sided result for a lot of close but very enjoyable games.

Morning Session

Dave Hudson(3) & Alison Larard(7) v Andy Starkey(0) & Sally Hebron(9) 10-9 (Jorvik)

Callum Johnson(4) & Kevin Potter(6) v Fiona Crompton(7) & John Crompton(7) 5-7 (Eboracum)

Dave & Alison v Fiona & John 12-11 (Jorvik)

Callum & Kevin v Andy & Sally 11-8 (Jorvik)

Afternoon Session

Dave v John 10-9 (Jorvik) Callum v Andy 14-0 (Jorvik)

Kevin v Sally 14-2 (Jorvik) Alison v Fiona 12-11 (Jorvik)

Kevin v John 10-9 (Jorvik) Alison v Sally 11-7 (Jorvik)

Callum v Fiona 14-11 (Jorvik) Dave v Andy 11-9 (Jorvik)

York (Jorvik) beat York (Eboracum) 11-1


29th June 2014

York v Huddersfield

David Palmer (4) Anna Giraud (3)
Kevin Potter (6) Marjorie Eldon (4)
Hywel Beynon (6) Denise Hoyle (6)
Alison Larard (7) Rena Souten (8)
Lunch Ireen Heptonstall.

After a cool start the weather stayed fine, and even became quite warm by the afternoon. The croquet was enjoyed by both sides and after the doubles games in the morning York were ahead 3 – 1.

Unfortunately York were not so proficient in the afternoon and Huddersfield won 6 of the 8 singles games, so enabling them to win the match 7 – 5.

A good day had by all was rounded off well with tea and cake!– thank you Hywel.

report by Alison Larard

Huddersfield won by 7 games to 5



15th June 2014

York v Huddersfield

Dave Hudson (9) Marjorie Eldon (12)
John Harris (14) Rena Souten (18)
Ted Flexman (14) Denise Hoyle (18)
Kevin Potter (16) Richard Forman (18)
Lunch Fiona Crompton and Sally Hebron.

No sign of sun but the weather was warm & the rain that Huddersfield had experienced when they left home was satisfyingly absent apart from a very light mizzle whilst we were eating lunch.

In the morning doubles Dave and Kevin took over 2 hours to score their first hoop whilst Marjorie had gone round to rover and Richard was making steady progress. Luckily York improved during the last hour avoiding a whitewash but still losing 17-14.
Honour was maintained by our second pairing of John and Ted who managed to peg out within time whilst restricting Rena and Denise to 7 hoops. Always nice to go into lunch with everything to play for.

Much gratitude has to be expressed to Fiona and Sally who provided us with a sumptuous meal including much delicious home baking. Thank you. Suitably replenished we approached the four afternoon single games with everything to play for.

Dave repeated his morning performance by not scoring anything for the first two hours despite Marjorie’s repeated attempts to help – running a hoop the wrong way, or hitting the wrong ball. Finally Dave managed to do some scoring but insufficient to gain the lead, Huddersfield winning 19-12. John played very well managing to peg out against Rena’s score of 7. Ted did us proud in his first league match for York managing to win a close fought game with Denise by 20-19. Kevin started slowly but improved as the game progress to finally win by an equally close margin – 18-17.

York chalked up their first league win of the season – let’s hope there are more to come.

report by Dave Hudson

York won by 4 games to 2



8th June 2014
Tyneside v York

Colin Green (11) Andy Starkey (2.5)
Alice Fleck (14) Lance Andrews (14)
Alison Heywood (18) Fiona Crompton (16)

There was extra cake, good company, sunshine and croquet. Brains ached but arithmetic calculations were harmoniously concluded following the CA’s new ‘trial’ handicap system for doubles. Tea and coffee were drunk, so battle commenced!

Lance concluded his game successfully against Alice in quick time and was able to witness Fiona and particularly Andy throwing away a potentially winning position.

Lunch was a consolation!

York were more successful in the afternoon doubles and Fiona had a broadening experience losing against Alison.

The final result was an equitable draw in games, but with a distinct hoop advantage to York.

Report by Andy Starkey

Draw – 2 games each (York ahead on hoops)


1st June 2014

Beverley v York

1st of June and the weather was brilliant with strong sun relieved by the very occasional passing cloud shadow. The beech hedge and the long view over the Humber estuary added to the grandness of the day. Oh! and mention mus be made of the splendid homemade coffee cake and chocolate brownie, post the speciality pork pie.

Croquet? Churlish to ask really: The net balance of bisques to York proved insufficient to swing the games to us with an overall result of York 1 Beverley 3. We were educated by a near faultless exhibition of an innings of 12 hoop, 2 peels and peg out in the morning by Beverley’s Andrew Davies in the morning doubles. The afternoon singles produced York’s one win and avoided a white-wash. All players clearly enjoyed the occasion.

Report by Andy Starkey

Beverley won by 3 games to 1


25th May 2014

Middlesbrough (Endeavour) v York

Roger Staples (3.5) Derek Knight (1.5)
Phil Terry (11) Mark Fitzsimons (4)
John Fitzpatrick (18) Dave Hudson (9)

We set off for Middlesbrough with high hopes. This would be our first match in the Croquet North League following a three year absence so we were fielding one of our strongest teams.

In the morning singles Mark sustained a commanding lead taking his first ball round to peg whilst John had struggled, using two bisques to gain his first hoop. Then it all went wrong, from York’s point of view, with John using his bisques well to peg Mark out and then deny him the chance to hit in before pegging out himself.

In the morning doubles the York pair of Derek and Dave were not concerned when Roger took his ball round to rover. Derek also got to rover, though not without some hiccups along the way, whilst Dave only managed a 3 hoop break. Phil had clearly not got into his stride but then Dave hit a bad patch missing easy shots and hoops and only managing to pick up 6 more hoops. Finally Phil found his form and Middlesbrough were able to peg out.

Unfortunately the afternoon session proved no better for York. In the afternoon singles Dave made an early 4 hoop break but then Phil went round to rover using just one bisque. He then managed to leave Dave with very difficult hit ins, none of which Dave made, until a bad mistake let him in to score 9 more hoops. Unfortunately that was the last error from Phil and he soon pegged out.

There was more confidence in the afternoon doubles as Mark went round to peg and then left Derek with a four ball break to win. Unfortunately a mistake by Derek let our opponents in and they were never going to allow us another chance, pegging out in under two hours.

Report by Dave Hudson

Middlesbrough (Endeavour) won by 4 games to nil


21st May 2014
York v Ryedale

Piers Percival (5) Mike Haslam (4)
Alison Larard (7)John Hurd (5)
David Palmer (4) David Wilson (5)
Lance Andrews (5) Shirley Haslam (10)

It was a glorious Summer Day, York at its best with beautifully prepared lawns, players all in white and lazy chairs on the sidelines.

The match itself was enthralling. We started well (we thought), with Piers and Lance beating Mike and Shirley Haslam, but David and Alison losing to a clearly superior pair in David Wilson and John Hurd.

For the second doubles session these two whitewashed Piers and Lance, winning even before Lance could play a second shot, nevertheless counterbalanced by a good win from Alison and David.

In the 3rd session (singles) Lance was quickly defeated by David and in a 90 minute tussle against John (we were double banked) without either pegging out, Piers stupidly missed an easy roquet in the final seconds, which could have allowed his ball to be pegged out, so lost 9-10.

We now entered the final session dead level, both in matches won and total number of hoops scored, but unfortunately though Lance managed to overcome Shirley’s long distance hit ins, Piers lost to Mike, David lost to John and Alison lost to David.

All in all a great day enjoyed by all, not least because of Alison’s excellent catering arrangements.

Report by Piers Percival

Ryedale won by 7 games to 5


18th May 2014
Yorkshire Short Lawn Tournament

On a glorious sunny Sunday on the 18th May, 20 players arrived at the York Croquet Club lawns from all over Yorkshire for the Yorkshire Federation Short Lawn Tournament. At stake were the Millennium Trophy for the winning team, held by Sheffield Croquet Club, and the Armada Plate for the leading individual, held by David Wilson of Ryedale.

In the first round Sheffield defeated Ryedale and Beverley defeated York, both by 3 games to 1. Adrian Simmerson of Sheffield and David Wilson shared top individual spot with 14 hoop points, having both pegged out. In round 2 York defeated Sheffield 3 games to 1 whilst Huddersfield, having sat out the first round, gained a point by drawing with Ryedale. Despite their defeat Sheffield maintained their lead with a 14 hoop margin over York. Callum Johnson for York, playing in his first Tournament, joined David and Adrian as joint leaders in the individual competition.

Round 3 saw York taking their turn to sit out a round giving Sheffield the opportunity to consolidate their lead by beating Huddersfield 3 games to 1. Ryedale drew with Beverley, leaving Beverley just one point behind Sheffield. With Callum sitting out, the individual battle continued between David and Adrian, though both knew they would need to sit out one of the afternoon sessions.

By the end of round 4 excitement was starting to build. Both Sheffield and York had won their matches leaving Sheffield on 6 points but no more games to play. York were on 4 points and only 3 games behind Sheffield so a clean sweep in the final round would give them the Trophy.In the individual competition Adrian was clearly in the lead with 8 points and 37 hoops but with no more games to play. Snapping at his heels were Robin Edwards from Beverley on 6 points and 25 hoops, and David Wilson on 6 points and 34 hoops. David only needed to win his match and score 4 or more hoops to retain his trophy.

In the fifth round all eyes were on the York v Ryedale match, the results of which would determine the winners of both trophies. David Wilson was playing John Crompton who had completed York’s Introductory course only last year. However John had already proved himself to be a skilled croquet player, and perhaps the tension affected David’s play. In the end John won his match leaving Adrian Simmerson as the clear winner of the Armada Plate.

With 10 minutes to go York were ahead in all four games giving them the prospect of a win in the team competition. Then Ryedale’s John Hurd managed to peg out, narrowly beating Fiona Crompton in her first tournament. This left Sheffield and York level with 6 points each. A count of games won also led to a tie with 10 games each. Finally a count had to be taken of hoops scored during the competition – 128 to York, 132 to Sheffield. Therefore, by the narrowest of margins, Sheffield were able to retain the Millennium Trophy.

It may be a cliché, but more important than the winning was the taking part, the pleasure of meeting fellow croquet players, and making new or renewing old friendships. There is no doubt that a full day’s croquet on a sunny weekend is a most enjoyable experience.

Report by Dave Hudson

10th September 2013

York v Ryedale – Short Lawn – Away

How to turn possible victory into certain defeat

1 Take 3 welcoming Pickering players. Add 3 hopeful York players. Stir until mixed.

2 Place on variable grass with an east-west incline and a north-south curve.

3 Arrange cold weather for 3¼ hours.

4 Ensure York secures early successes but runs out of bisques.

5 Pause for an excellent lunch before resuming.

6 For a further 3¼ hours, arrange weather which is cold, wet and windy.

7 Again ensure York secures early successes but runs out of bisques.

8 Confirm a final score of Pickering 4, York 0.


18th August 2013

York v Ryedale – Short Lawn – Home

In August, the Ryedale league team

were hosted at York’s Scarcroft Green.

But Ryedale collapsed

as the morning elapsed,

and by lunch had scored one to York’s three.

York seemed to be holding its nerve,

till Ryedale produced a reserve.

He scored with a will

and with enviable skill.

Could York keep ahead of the curve?

Inspired by the warm, sunny skies,

our visitors fought back with great drive.

With some nervous tingles

through afternoon singles

York scraped home, by seven to five.

4th August 2013

York v Huddersfield – Short Lawn – Away

In the morning’s doubles, both pairings of Alison Larard & Dave Hudson and Lance Andrews & Kevin Potter managed to win one game and lose one game against Huddersfield’s pairings of Anna & Rena and Marjorie & Denise.

We therefore went into lunch with everything to play for.

As usual we were treated to a wonderful spread of salad, quiches, pork pie, cheesecakes etc. and, again as usual, York probably overate – well, that’s my excuse for our afternoon’s performance.

Congratulations go to Lance who played extremely well against Denise and won the game +5.

Unfortunately we were unable to match that result in ANY of our other 7 games.

Final score 9-3 to Huddersfield, and aching arm muscles to York.


Secretary’s Shield 2013

The first round of the Secretary’s Shield against Belsay Hall was held at Middlesbrough on Sunday 16th June 2013.

In the morning session Andy Starkey (handicap 2.5) and Mark Fitzsimons (4) were clear winners in the doubles game against Phil Errington (2) & David Milliner (7) with a final score of 26-9. Dave Hudson (10) faced an uphill battle against strong opposition and lost his game against Derek Johnson (12) by 18-26. Lance Andrews (14) was playing an extremely on form David Turner (7) and did well to score 9 hoops against David’s 26.

In the afternoon session Andy played with care and precision to beat Phil 26-11. Despite setbacks, Mark found himself having to work hard to maintain focus but still played to the high standard we know he is capable of and matched Andy’s score, beating David M 26-11. Dave H only managed to score 2 hoops in his match against David T (2-26) whilst Lance put on a brave fight against Derek but eventually lost 15-26.

The end result is that York were unfortunately knocked out of the competition 4-3.

We wish Belsay Hall all the best in future rounds. We would certainly prefer to be knocked out by the eventual winners!