News Items for 2022
Lawns Reopen After Rejuvenating Treatments
Our lawns are about to reopen for play on 17th October after several weeks of hard work by volunteers. After a thorough ‘going over’ with the spiking machine, over-seeding was completed using a special blend of grass seed. The Committee had agreed to contract Geko Engineering from Preston to help with spreading top dressing using their machine which is very efficient in spreading evenly at high speed (see below). In fact, 9 tonnes of top dressing were laid down in less than 5 hours.
The final treatment before winter was to spread soil conditioner. The grass has grown well and now been given its first cut. The results of all this work are very pleasing (see pictures below) and we look forward to maintaining a reputation gained last season in providing excellent quality lawns at Crake Valley.
Crake Lakes Team wins the Advanced B-Level AC Final
The Play Off Final of the NW Federation Advanced B-level AC League was kindly hosted by Fylde Croquet Club who also laid on some fine weather for the event.
Both Bowdon and Crake Lakes fielded strong sides and an evenly contested final was delivered.
In the morning games Neil Adams proved too strong for Bowdon’s Charles Harding whilst John Lucas & Adrian Apps evened the scores with a +1 win over Steve Skelton & John Henderson.
The afternoon saw Neil beat John and Charles overcome Steve. The overall winning “peg out” was achieved by John Henderson who made solid breaks against Adrian.
Final Score Bowdon 2 Crake Lakes 3. The Trophy was presented to Captain Steve Skelton by the 2022 League Manager, David Cornes.
National GC A level finals – Wrest Park – 24th & 25th September 2022
Crake Valley had 2 representatives at the CA National GC 0+ Finals held at Wrest Park, Bedfordshire.
Crake Valley qualifier, David Cornes (Handicap 0) was joined by Country Member, Tom Grievson (Chester) who was allocated a place thanks to his top 4 finish at Pendle recently
On the Saturday, both Crake players were in Block B, a group of eight playing “all-play-all” to determine qualifiers for the knockout stages. David played a little inconsistently but managed 3 wins out of his first six games. Tom surprised players who are higher ranked than himself and also won 3 out of his first six games. With the pair meeting in the last round of matches on the day it was clear that whoever won would qualify with the loser going into the Consolation Plate on Sunday.
A close match followed with David’s experience coming through with a 7-4 victory.
On Sunday, Tom continued with his good form winning 4 out of 7 matches and taking Taunton Deane’s undefeated winner Stephen Custance-Baker (handicap -2) to the “golden hoop”. Overall, Tom finished 3rd in the block, well above his expected placing. He also achieved over 80 ranking points.
In the Championship knockout David came from behind to beat David Frost (Enfield) 2 games to 1. In the Semi-Finals he blew away Andrew Loakes (Camerton & Peasdown, handicap -1) 7-3,7-1. In the final, his opponent was Mike Hills (Northampton) whom he had beaten on the golden hoop the previous day. Both players were extremely well matched with the spectators being treated to a classic final. In the end Mike won it 6-7, 7-6, 7-6. David missed out on the National Title by 1 hoop but had the consolation of a handicap reduction to minus 1.
Ladies GC Open 17th & 18th September
Twelve players were due to compete in the 2nd Annual Crake Valley Ladies GC Open. Unfortunately, Sara Clements (Chester) had to withdraw the day before due to her vehicle breaking down in the Highlands of Scotland with no replacement part available until after the Bank Holiday. Crake member, Brenda Knight, stepped forward, even though she has extremely limited experience, to complete the full complement.
The format was “all play all” with the top 4 to progressing to the knockout but at lunchtime (after 4 rounds) on Saturday Sue I’Anson (Ripon Spa) was too unwell to continue so had to withdraw. The Tournament Manager had to do some slight adjustments but by Sunday lunchtime all the remaining 11 players had completed 10 eligible rounds.
Defending Champion, Sandra Cornes (Crake Valley) had recorded 8 wins along with Jane Pringle (Auckland) and Glynis Davies (Northampton). Marcia Henderson (Auckland) recorded 7 wins to complete the knockout qualifiers.
The “Auckland derby” semi-final was won by Jane 10-7 whilst Glynis gained revenge from the block match with a comfortable 10-5 win against Sandra. Sandra took 3rd place with a 7-4 win against Marcia whilst the final was being closely contested on the adjacent lawn. The quality of play in the final was, as expected, of high standard with Glynis coming out on top 10-7.
In the plate knockout the final was contested between 2 players new to tournament play but who took to the challenges extremely well. Liz Jordan (Llanfairfechen) overcame Jo-Ann Hughes (Bishop Monkton) 7-3 to win her first trophy.
Thanks go to the catering team of Tom Grievson (Chester) and his helper Sam Seal (Llanfairfechan). Also, to Frank Sharps for the superb condition of the lawns. All players thoroughly enjoyed the weekend which was played in a competitive but friendly manner.
Our league teams have finished their respective fixtures with the Handicap AC team finishing mid-table and both the Handicap and Level Play Golf team finishing 2nd. The Club would like to thank all members who represented the Club during the 2022 season.
Work is due to commence on the lawns in week commencing 19th September with top dressing, seed and spiking all on the work agenda. The lawns will then be closed a several weeks to allow germination.
The National GC A level finals take place on 24th & 25th September at Wrest Park. We wish David Cornes and Tom Grievson (Country member) well as finalists representing the Club.
Finals Day a Great Success
In glorious weather, our Finals Day on Monday 29 August was attended by over 25 members and guests.
In the GC Block competition, there was an all-play-all set of games between the three block winners, Sheila Edmondson, John Armer and Roger Coates as well as the best-placed player from blocks A and B, Fiona Armer, a position that had been resolved after a play off with Peter Thompson. After many closely fought contests, Roger Coates emerged as the winner as the only player with three wins.
The first semi-final of the GC Knock-out competition also involved John Armer losing to David Cornes who played well to overcome the 4-hoop difference at the start under the Advantage system. In the other semi-final, Steve Skelton won against Martin Ibbott overcoming an even more challenging Advantage starting score of -4:2. That set up a keenly fought final between David and Steve in which David finally emerged the winner by one hoop.
The games were enjoyable to watch but many also had fun playing ad hoc games on the third lawn which generated a celebratory Club atmosphere. This was continued when finals play ended with everyone making their way into the clubhouse for presentation of the trophies followed by an excellent buffet.
Congratulations to Roger and David and thanks to David and Sandra Cornes for organising the day, and to Paul Galley for the photos.
An Appreciative Note
It is always pleasing to receive a complementary note from groups following a visit to the Club, with the one below now pinned on the clubhouse notice board. Also, it’s gratifying for our team of helpers, on this occasion Sheila Thompson and ‘hubby’, Peter, who work hard throughout the season to take care of visitors.
The Cavendish Clock Advanced A/C Tournament, 6th/7th August
On a bright, crisp Saturday morning, players from Bowdon, Fylde, Keswick and Westmorland were welcomed to the Crake Valley Club with the news that, because of a last minute withdrawal, tournament manager, David Cornes, had agreed to step in to maintain the planned structure of two all-play-all blocks for the Saturday. Great credit to David Cornes who, despite his relative inexperience at this form of the game, won all his block matches. Neil Adams also won all his block matches finishing top of the other group.
In the semi-finals on Sunday, Neil Adams beat Charles Harding and Brian Medley beat David Cornes.
The final was a fascinating encounter with Brian gaining the upper hand in the initial exchanges, eventually taking his blue ball to peg. Neil countered in the later stages, electing to peg out the blue ball, but having limited time to make up the 8-hoop deficit at that point. After some tense, frenetic play, Neil was unable to fully close the gap, with Brian hitting in at the end to win by 3 on time.
In addition to his award of the Cavendish clock, Brian was pleased to receive a glass trophy to keep, customary now at Crake Valley events, as well a booklet charting the 125-year history of the Club.
The tournament, played in a competitive but friendly atmosphere, was enjoyed by all with compliments not only for the excellent hospitality but also the fine quality of the lawns. Liz Wilson announced the handicap changes resulting from the tournament play were Neil Adams reduced from 2 to 1.5 and David Cornes reduced by 4 to 8.
July was a very successful month for our various league teams.
In the Advanced B level Association Group B Crake Lakes had home and away victories against Pendle. If they win their remaining fixture (v Fylde on 14th August) then a place in the League Play Off Final will be secured.
The Weekend AC team had a resounding 6-1 win against Bury Peelers. The Level Play Golf team had convincing performances over Chester Chariots (15-3) and Culcheth (16-2). The Handicap Golf Team also won 13-4 (1 drawn) against Pendle & Craven.
During August, the league fixtures are due to come along thick and fast as we near the “business” end of the season. There is also the prestigious “Cavendish Clock” tournament on 6th & 7th August which will see some of the best players from the North West in action. Spectators are welcomed.
Great 125th Anniversary Celebration and a Fun Day
Tuesday 21st June was a significant day in the history of Crake Valley Croquet Club as a date representing the climax of our 125th Anniversary Year celebrations.
The special Club Day was transformed after lunch with a set of fun games testing croquet techniques, with the day’s highlight being the unveiling of the Commemorative Garden by our special guest, Liz Vaughan.
Before the unveiling, members and guests were welcomed by Club Chair, Simon Robins, who outlined the reasons for the Committee’s decision to commemorate anonymously all those who contributed to the Club but are no longer with us – the garden would be a celebration of their lives and love of croquet. The only name chosen for special mention in Simon’s introduction was that of Bob Vaughan who in the late 1980s and early 1990s had done a tremendous amount to save the Club from near collapse. It was fitting therefore that Liz Vaughan had agreed to inaugurate this commemorative space within the Club grounds.
Simon thanked all who helped preparing the Garden, but particularly Sandra Cornes who had developed the concept and created the stunning glasswork in the form of a croquet mallet and balls.
Members and guests were invited to charge their glasses and make their way to the garden where Liz Vaughan proposed a toast to the continued success of the Club, declaring the Commemorative Garden open by unveiling a plaque containing a poem which was read to all.
On returning to the marquee for improved acoustics, Liz gave a fascinating account of her time helping Bob at the Club, recalling some of the outrageous exploits such as the two 24-hour croquet sessions, still valid in the Guinness Book of Records, and mentioning many of the people involved.
After much pleasant reminiscing chat over a delicious buffet and more drinks, Simon thanked all who had helped in making the event such a success.
There was, however, one more surprise when Liz presented the Club with her own painting of the clubhouse and surrounds. This generous gift was admired by all and would take pride of place on the clubhouse wall.
Crake GC National Qualifiers 16th to 19th June
Thirty players from all over England played in three National Qualifying tournaments at Crake Valley this week. On Thursday, Giles Pepperell (Llanfairfechan) beat our own Chairperson, Simon Robins 7-5 in the final. On Friday, our 2nd club member Neil Adams (Westmorland) beat Marcia Henderson (Auckland) 7-3.
Over the weekend, Crake Valley’s David Cornes was consistent throughout, winning all his 11 games to take the trophy against a top-class field to earn a place in the National Final at Wrest Park in September. This follows David’s success the previous week in the Pendle Open Championship Series and sees a reduction in his handicap from 1 to 0. We wish David well in the forthcoming World Championship Qualifiers in July.
The Club is grateful to all who made the events a massive success including Susan Boxell, Helen Barbour and our members.
Final of the Cumbria Cup
Congratulations to Richard Harding on winning the Cumbria Cup beating Steve Skelton in the final held at Crake Valley. Richard dominated the lawn through most of the match which included a triple peel in the final game. In addition to receiving the Cumbria Cup, Richard was presented with a glass trophy which he retains to mark the occasion.
International Guests at Crake Valley
Tuesday 7th June was no ordinary club day at Crake Valley. Two international players who are in the UK for the GC World Championships came along. Alison Sharpe is the number1 female player in Australia (4th best player overall). Morten Weaver is Norway’s number 9. Both are on an extended holiday to see much of Britain and were visiting the Lake District.
Alison and Morten played 2 single games against David and Sandra Cornes with honours even at 2 wins each for the “Rest of the World” and Crake Valley.
Both International visitors were extremely impressed with the beautiful setting and quality of lawns. They are hoping to find time to call in again when travelling down from Scotland in a couple of weeks’ time.
We wish them well at the World Championships in Sussex.
Plans for June
June is a busy month for the club as we celebrate our 125th year anniversary. There are 4 tournaments to be hosted here at Crake along with our club teams playing 5 competitive matches.
The Club Celebration Day will be Tuesday 21st June. To mark the Anniversary, the Club has documented its history into a 108 page booklet available for just £10 (£13.95 inc P&P) – click here for details
The Club is now welcoming visitor groups on a regular basis and also holding Club Day each Tuesday.
The AC team had a 1-6 loss away to Westmorland in the Cumbria Tankard.
The Level Play Golf had a resounding 14-4 win against Bury Monarchs.
Individual performances were most impressive. Frank Sharps came 2nd at Pendle GC B level tournament with David Cornes also coming 2nd at Bury A Level the same weekend (14th and 15th May). The following weekend, David played in the National Doubles down at Budleigh Salterton winning his block on Day 1 with his partner, Neil Fillery (Taunton Deane). They were expected to do well in the knockout stages but Neil had to withdraw due to a family emergency.
The highlight of the month, though, was Frank Sharps winning through at Southport in the NW Federation Millennium Handicap GC tournament. Frank regained the title (he also won it in 2020) despite giving lots of extra turns to his opponents.
Crake Valley News
The league season is now underway. On Saturday 7th May the AC team travelled to Chester and recorded a 4-3 victory. The following day the Golf handicap team lost away to Bury South 8-10 and, two days later, the level play golf won at Pendle 11-7.
The photo is from Bury South v Crake.
Success in the USA
David and Sandra Cornes spent the winter months playing Croquet in Sarasota, Florida. They both enjoyed successful tournaments with David finishing 3rd in the USCA National Eight (top flight) and Sandra runner up in the Third Eight. Overall, both came home with much improved ranking grade.
In their Club Championships, David was runner-up overall and Sandra won her block of B level players.
Golf Croquet Friendly Against Penrith
On a bright and sunny Sunday 10th April, a team of 7 players from Penrith and North Lakes visited for a friendly, but competitive, GC match. Crake started strongly and were ahead at lunch, but Penrith rallied later in the day so that Crake finished ahead only by the narrowest of margins over the 24 games played. The day was enjoyed by all and made a very pleasant start to the season’s activities.
Crake Valley in the USA!
Sandra and David Cornes recently returned from several weeks playing in Sarasota, Florida.
Both had successful tournaments with Sandra coming runner-up in the Shark Tooth GC tournament – 2nd flight (B level) and David reaching the quarter finals of the Florida GC Open (Championship level).
Sandra won the majority of her games but was beaten by rising star Lee Yielding in the final David played some of USA’s top ranked players (Jim Teal, Rich Dell, David Malouf, Helen Covington and Billy Harper) before losing, under floodlights, to Macey White 5-7, 6-7.
Both also learned how to play American Rules “6-wicket” and have brought a “deadness” board back to the UK helping teach Crake club members on club days during the season.
Winter work on the lawns and surroundings
The lawns had their first cut of 2022 recently and play has been ongoing on half lawns when the weather allows.
Off lawn we had storm damage with a tree falling off the lawn in November. We are grateful to the 9 members who came on Wednesday and Thursday 2nd & 3rd February, to assist Luscombes Plant Hire Ltd for their efficient clearance of the site. The wood from the tree has been broken down into chippings and spread by members upgrading our wooded walkway just off the lawns.