News for 2020

News Items for 2020

Lawn use during Tier 4 Restrictions

New guidance from the Croquet Association (dated 21st December 2020) states that:

The new Tier 4 areas face tighter restrictions. The government’s guidance states that outdoor sports courts can remain open for individual exercise, and for people to use with others within your household, support bubble, or with one person from another household.

The CA’s Coronavirus Task Force interprets this to mean that, for clubs or players in Tier 4 areas, only one game of singles should take place on a court, unless the players are members of a family group or support bubble.

Our main restriction at present of course is the cold weather but, when that improves, please observe the ruling that only a singles game or one involving a family group or support bubble is allowed. 

Crake Valley AGM for 2020

Recent picture of an area planted earlier in 2020

The Club’s AGM was successfully held on 26th November 2020 via Zoom with 17 members tuning in. We elected a new Chair, Simon Robins, and welcomed Graham Jowett to the Committee structure. Details of the full Committee can view viewed here.

On the lawns play is limited owing to the poor weather, but further work on our surroundings is ongoing.

Frank Sharps 3rd in National GC C level Finals

Crake Valley Croquet Club had 2 finalists travel to Colchester to compete for the National GC C level trophy over the weekend of 19th & 20th September.

Frank studying his next move

Frank Sharps and daughter Sandra Cornes finished 2nd and 1st at the Crake Valley qualifier in July and joined 8 other players for the national final. The initial round was a block of “all play all” and both players scored a credible 49 hoops (maximum 63). Frank won 5 out of 9 matches and qualified for the semi finals whilst Sandra fell short with 3 wins (losing 2 matches 6/7).

In hot weather for the time of year Frank showed great stamina and skill pushing the undefeatable winner, Duncan Catterall (High Wycombe) to 6-10 in the semi final. He then played Rick Lilley (Phyllis Court) in the 3rd & 4th place play off. Frank took the first game 7-4 and then lost 5-7. Due to the fact the final had concluded both players felt it fair and proper to share 3rd place rather than play a decider.

David clarifying a situation to players


To complete the family involvement David Cornes stood in at short notice to manage the tournament whilst already being requested to be referee for the event.

Golf Tournament National Final

David in action in the beautiful walled garden lawn at Roehampton

Crake Valley’s David Cornes travelled down to Roehampton, SW London to play in the B Level Golf Croquet Finals over the weekend of 5th & 6th September.
The 16 national qualifiers came from all over England and most had the same handicap as David (3) so a very close tournament was anticipated.
The sun was out for both days with the 4 lawns in immaculate condition living up to their reputation as being amongst the best in the UK.
David normally has good control over the ball position but found reading the pace accurately difficult at times and any mistakes were punished by his opponents. The damage to his chances were done by Saturday lunch. His first match was lost against the eventual winner. Then 3 defeats (6-7, 6-7 & 3-7) meant he hadn’t recorded a win at that time.
After that David performed better and won a very credible 6 out of his 11 remaining games to finish on Sunday afternoon in a lower mid table position. A good result after a poor start.
At the end of tournament 3 players were tied on 11 wins. Young Jack Good (Bowdon – Handicap 0) took the title and its’ impressive trophy by 1 net hoop difference.

Feast of Bank Holiday Croquet at Crake Valley

The bank holiday weekend of 29th/30th August was a busy time for croquet at Crake Valley. On the Saturday, 12 players from 6 clubs in the north west played the Federation’s Short Lawn Millennium. After 3 group matches there was only one player with 3 wins and 7 with 2 wins so hoop difference was important.
In the Semi finals Barbara Young (Bury) overcame John Henderson (Penrith) 12-8 and Neil Adams (Westmorland) beat Ian Theakstone (Fylde) 14-1.
In the final Neil used his additional bisques very well giving Barbara only a few chances on the lawn before he won 14-5. It was Neil’s first experience of competitive play and his handicap has reduced from 5 to 4. In the 3rd place play off John beat Ian 14-7. Many thanks to Tournament Manager, David Cornes, and Referee, Jim Allcock, as well as all the helpers that made this enjoyable event run smoothly.


On the Sunday, 10 players from 5 clubs competed in Crake Valley’s first ever Golf Croquet invitational event. Many of the group games went to the 13th hoop and the semi-finals saw Frank Sharps (Crake Valley) beat Bernard Lord (Bury) 7-4 and Sandy Grievson (Chester) beat Phil Snowdon (Fylde) 7-3. The final saw Frank go ahead to lead 6-3 but Sandy fought back using her extra turns well to 6-6. On the deciding hoop Frank tried a clearance but only for Sandy’s ball to run the hoop for victory. Participants  in the competition expressed their appreciation for the work David Cornes and others at the Club had put in to make this event possible.

All players commended the club for the excellent condition of the lawns. Both tournaments showed how competitive croquet can be played in a pleasant manner and good company.

The Cavendish Clock Advanced A/C Tournament

The weekend of 15th and 16th August saw Crake Valley host some of the best croquet players in the country, in Greenodd to play in the Cavendish Clock Tournament. The players’ handicaps ranged from 4 to -2 and were from the South Coast, Bristol, Nottingham as well as from the NW Federation.

James Death with an interested spectator

Play started at 9.30am in warm weather with no sign of rain. The first-round games were all remarkably close, with a surprise win for Robert Wilkinson over Paul Rigge 26-25. Thereafter, James Death started to show his skill by winning all his matches and completing three triple peels over the weekend. Paul Rigge and Robert Wilkinson both completed triple peels and the overall level of play by all the players was excellent.

Paul Rigge in action
‘Clip-art’ from James Death (holding all four clips)

The last match of the weekend was between James Death and Paul Rigge giving the watching players a real treat. Paul started very strongly taking one ball to four back and after a short period of tactical play James started his turn and peeled Paul’s ball with his own ball and pegged both out.
In the process he peeled both of his opponent’s balls as well as one of his own ending with him holding all four clips. The match then turned into a one ball match with both players providing everyone with an exhibition of outstanding play. Eventually James took control and finished the winner.

As the only player to win all his matches James was declared Tournament winner and was presented with Cavendish Clock.

Golf Croquet at Ashby and Wrest Park

Congratulations to Crake Valley’s David Cornes who has qualified for the National B-Level finals after winning 6 out of 6 games at Moira, near Ashby-de-la-Zouch on 15th August. He also finished 3rd at Wrest Park qualifier on the 17th August. David will now be playing in the National Finals to be held at Roehampton in early September. Picture (courtesy of George Collin at the Wrest Park Club) shows David preparing to play (left foreground), conspicuous according to their website because of his red mallet!

Frank Sharps Wins NW FED Millennium GC

On Saturday 8th August, in glorious sunshine and high temperatures, Crake Valley hosted the 2020 GC Handicap Millennium competition.

The day got off to a bad start with news that 2 players from Chester had a punctured tyre on the M6 and had to turn back after it had been repaired. Luckily, David Leach (Bury) and Sandra Cornes (Crake Valley) were present and agreed to fill the spaces. So, we had 12 players from 5 clubs competing.

At the end of the group stage the semi-finals took place. Frank Sharps (Crake Valley) beating Bernard Lord (Bury) 7-4 and Richard Leach (Bury) beating Peter Uglow (Pendle) 7-5.

The final was keenly and fairly contested. Frank used his 3 extra turns well and the match went to the 13th hoop. Richard played a superb first shot to give sight of the hoop but couldn’t capitalise. After a short exchange of play Frank held his nerve to run the hoop and win 7-6. In ‘recognition’ of Frank’s fine performance, his handicap was reduced to 7!

All players complemented the Club for the quality of the lawns and the surrounding areas. The Club thanked the players for making the competition a most enjoyable day.

The pictures show general play from the day and Frank with his celebratory drink.

More pictures here courtesy of Graham Jowett.

GC C-Level Qualifier held at Crake Valley

Crake Valley hosted the first GC C-level qualifier of 2020 on Sunday 26th July in overcast, but mainly dry conditions. Ten players from 4 clubs attended and played some excellent croquet on the very well-presented lawns.The group stage was cross block so all players played 5 games with the top 2 in each group moving to the semi-final (Round 6) stage. Half the group games were won by a single hoop and were most interesting to watch.

In Group A Sandra Cornes (Crake Valley) won 4 out of 5 and Phil Snowden (Fylde) 3. In Group B Frank Sharps (Crake Valley) won 4 and there were 3 players with 3 wins. John Armer (Westmorland) progressing with the best hoop difference.

In the semi-finals Sandra beat Phil on the 13th hoop whilst Frank eased past John 7-1.
The final was an evenly-contested game with Sandra coming out successful 7-5. Sandra qualifies to play at the National Finals in Colchester mid-September.

Sandra in action . . .
. . . and observing the opposition.

The Club wishes to thank David and Sandra Cornes for all their work in organising the event which was clearly enjoyed by all.

Social Visitor Group Croquet Returns to Crake

Monday 20th July saw a return to visitor sessions at Crake Valley. In the early evening sunshine we welcomed 9 members of the “Escape” social group. It was the first time members of the group had met in person since lockdown and so a good time was had by all. It is hoped they will return for a further session during 2020.

The club can currently cater “covid compliant” for up to 12 people at any one session and croquet is naturally a socially distanced game so perfect for families, work buddies or social groups to come and have fun.

Tournament Play – July 2020

The NW Fed AC Tournament with David Cornes (far left) lining up a shot.

Congratulations to David Cornes on doing well in his first AC tournament, the NW Federation Millennium AC Handicap held at Pendle on 11/12 July. An overall report of the tournament can be viewed on the NW Fed website. David’s weekend was marked by wins against Philip Bass, Steve Skelton and Philip Snowdon but losses against Paul Dowdell and the eventual tournament winner, Ann Alvey. With 3 wins from 5 games, however, David finished third equal for the competition, but the price of his success was a slashed handicap from 18 to 14!

David Cornes also played in the GC Lancashire Open held at Pendle on 18/19 July where he was, by some distance, the lowest ranked player. The field included 4 International players, 4 county players, 3 members of the England Junior Development squad and their Youth Development Director plus 4 others. David (handicap 3) managed to win 2 of his 11 matches including one against a minus 3 player. David’s performance meant his handicap index points remained intact and he finished 15th (higher than expected). His overall hoop difference a creditable minus 19.

The tournament was won by the England captain John Paul Moberley. Full report can be viewed on NWFed website.

Crake Valley are pleased to be hosting an “open” GC tournament for the first time on Sunday July 26th. Up to 12 players will compete to qualify for the National C level series finals due to be held in mid September at Colchester.

Tournament Croquet Returning Soon

The Northwest Federation of Croquet Clubs is allowing tournaments to re-commence starting with the Millenium Handicap AC at Pendle on 11/12th July.

The Crake Valley Club will be hosting both the C-Level National Qualifier (GC level play for 7 and above handicappers) on Sunday 26th July (entries via CA website or page 120 of the CA fixtures book) and the Millennium Handicap GC Tournament on Sat 8th August (click here for an entry form).

Arrival of a Time-saving Machine

Yesterday, 6th May, the Club took delivery of a ride-on mower, a purchase made possible by the help of members. Jim estimates that this machine will shorten the time to mow all 4 lawns by at least 3 hours (and sitting down too!).


Anyone for Pétanque?

Another facility is being made ready for when we all get back to more normal living. Those not playing croquet will then have the opportunity to have a relaxing game of Pétanque and hopefully, when that time comes around, someone will have found out how to play!

Work Continues to Brighten Non-playing Area

Our intrepid band of volunteers continue to work tirelessly to improve the non-playing area by controlling weeds and creating a new planted border. The picture shows the group working hard to keep the weeds at bay – all their efforts are much appreciated.

Restored Lawns Looking Good

Even in the current spell of dry weather the grass still grows, but Jim Allcock together with a select band of volunteers (working in very small groups because of the lockdown restrictions) has been doing a superb job of maintaining the grounds with regular mowing of the lawns and keeping the surrounding areas under control. The picture shows the two, newly-mown lawns that have been restored over the past year with funding from Aviva and other organisations. Many thanks to Jim and his team for all their hard work.

With the lawns in such good condition, Crake Valley was ready today, Saturday 25 April, to host the Croquet Association National Qualifier for the GC C-Level Competition, but has of course been beaten by Covid-19. A new date for this competition has been set as Sunday 26th July.

Official Opening of New Clubhouse

Following the Government statement about the length of the crisis we spoke to Roger Staples who had already agreed to officially open the new clubhouse.
We jointly decided that the opening should go ahead but with a minimum attendance as advised.
Today (Saturday 21st March) the opening took place with Roger cutting the tape.
We are grateful to Roger and the Croquet Association for all their help with the new clubhouse.
We will have a celebration at a later date when all of our members and guests can be there.