News Items for 2023
GC Over 50’s World Championships 2023
David Cornes has just become the first player from Crake Valley to represent England when playing in the World Over 50’s GC Championship in Bunbury, Perth, Western Australia.
The event, which is held every four years, attracted top players from Egypt, USA, New Zealand, Spain, Sweden, Norway, Canada, Switzerland and the host country.
Despite being 42nd seed out of 48 players David excelled overall. In his group there were 6 players and he managed 3 game wins out of 12. All wins were against the top 4 who qualified and continued with distinction – two players made the Championship Quarter finals, one won the shield and the other caused the shock of the tournament beating Stephen Mulliner in the last 32.
In the Plate David won 5 out of 6 in his block to progress to the knockout. In the quarter final Steiner Olsen (Norway) produced some amazing play to take the first game 7-4. David responded with a 7-2 win. The final game went to play order with Steiner always ahead having played blue first. At 5-5 there was a 30 minute battle on hoop 11 but Steiner eventually won. David then ran 12 from 4 yards to set up the “golden hoop”. Steiner placed his first ball superbly but then jawsed it. David had a 9 foot angled jump shot on the difficult Quadway hoops and his ball hit the frame, span on top of Steiner’s black before coming back the wrong side of the hoop. David’s other ball was on the side boundary with no real chance of clearing but he gave it his best shot only to peel Steiner through.
David sums his tournament up ” A great experience under really tough conditions playing on another continent. Nearly 50% win ratio overall against better players in their own back yard is pleasing. Even more rewarding is I am somewhere near back to my best and proud to be representing Crake Valley, the North West and England.”
The Championship was won by the world number 4, Ahmed El Mahdy (Egypt), who beat New Zealand’s Jenny Clarke in the final.
On Tour in Portugal
Members of Crake Valley recently travelled with croquet friends from the Northwest to play at Algarve Croquet Club in Benamor Golf Club.
As well as plenty of social play and day trips to local sightseeing venues, the main event was a 3-day tournament. Both sides fielded 8 players in an “all play all” contest. At the end of day 1 the scores were even at 12-12. Day 2 saw Algarve surge ahead 29-19. The final result early Sunday afternoon was Algarve 38, Crake Valley 26.
In total 683 hoops were run in the 64 games with many games going to the golden hoop, Crake running 316 of those.
At the end of the proceedings, Crake presented the Chair of Algarve, William Weber, with a glass trophy to display in their new clubhouse.
The travellers are now looking forward to some winter play back at Crake.
Final Lawncare for the Season
Thanks to all members who have helped this week with topsoil, seeding and distribution of 10 tonnes of top dressing, all completed on a dry and sunny Saturday. Lawns will now rest to allow for seed germination, probably until 21st October when they will re-open with winter rules (please see the notices on the hoop store).
We ask members to keep off the lawns during this period, but part of the practice area remains open for use. Members should follow the arrow signs to the practice area via the river side and landlord fence side of lawn 1.
The top dressing was applied by Geko Engineering from Chorley ably aided by Paul, Graham, Ray and Bernie. The topsoil was administered by Steve. Thanks to you all.
Crake Ladies Open – 16th & 17th September
Eight players travelled to Crake Valley to play in our 3rd Annual GC Ladies Open. The handicap range was 5 and higher so a close contest was expected.
Saturday was “all play all” with the first four going through to the finals block on Sunday and the other four going into a Plate block. The good news is that everyone won at least one game and most were closely contested. The higher handicap players, in particular, Sharon de Maine (Pendle & Craven) performed well against tough opposition. The clear winner, with 7 victories, was Jo-Ann Hughes (Bishop Monkton). Marcia Henderson (Auckland) and Liz Jordan (Llanfairfechan) had 5 wins each with Gill Brent (Bishop Monkton) managing 4 wins. These four players progressed to Sunday’s final block.
Play was followed by the traditional Fish and Chip supper and a short “murder mystery – whodunnit at the local Caravan Park” evening in the clubhouse. Special mention goes to the catering team on both days. Our Master Chef, Tom Grievson, was second to none in the variety and quality of food he presented. If only we could book him for all future Crake tournaments. Tom was very ably assisted by Sandra and Gill who made the players feel most welcome.
Onto Sunday and both blocks played “all play all” twice (6 rounds of games in total). Both blocks were not decided until the final game in each. In the Plate, Sue I’Anson (Ripon Spa) won her first five games and Jude Wise (Chester) had 4 wins. The situation was simple – their hoop difference was only one hoop and so whoever won that game won the Plate. In a very close match Sue managed to hold her nerve at the 13th hoop to triumph 7-6.
Over in the Finals block Jo-Ann and Liz won their first two games. In their first encounter (Round 3) Liz had her ball in the jaws of 13 but Jo-Ann somehow managed an amazing 5 yard jump shot to fly through the hoop. Liz then failed to beat Marcia in the first game after lunch but still had the chance to win the block. Going into the last match (Liz v Jo-Ann) the situation was that a 7-3 win or better for Liz would see her win the title. As it happened, Hughes Jo-Ann was too strong, running some great hoops to win 7-3.
Internal Competitions – Finals Day
On Saturday 9th September, 20 members attended the Club Internal Finals Day. Congratulations to Paul Galley who becomes the first member to win both the handicap golf croquet block and knockout competitions in the same year.
The first game of the day saw Frank Sharps beat Steve Skelton in the outstanding semi final of the knockout. Attention then turned to the Block competition. After two rounds of matches, all four players had recorded one win and one loss meaning that any one of them could win the competition, depending on the final round outcomes. Karen Bowes beat David Oprey 7-3 but Paul’s game with Frank went to the deciding hoop which Paul managed to run. Because Paul had earlier beaten Karen, the result meant that he won the group.
Paul then went onto to outplay Frank in the final of the knockout to win the “double”.
Chair Simon Robins presented Paul with the Golf Croquet trophies and also the Association Block winner (played throughout the summer) to David Cornes.
Club Update 1st September
The North West Federation of Croquet Clubs held its annual level play golf tournament at Crake recently. Nigel Matthews from Bowdon won the trophy after a superb 10-9 victory in the final against Roger Brooks (Westmorland).
The league season has finished for the Crake Valley teams. The Handicap AC finished in the top half of their league. The level play golf finished third and the handicap golf team runners-up. Overall the final placings were pleasing given that we had several new players experiencing competitive play for their first season.
Club Competition Finals Day is due to be held on Saturday 9th September. A taster day will be held on Sunday 10th September and the Crake Lakes Advanced AC team (based at Crake) play their Final play-off against Bowdon on Thursday 14th September. The playing season finishes with the Annual two-day Ladies Golf Open in mid-September.
The Club wishes David Cornes well on his selection to represent England in the forthcoming Golf Croquet Over 50 World Championship to be held at Bunbury, Australia.
Excellent performances in the GC National Eights
David and Sandra Cornes were selected for the Croquet Association’s prestigious National 3rd Eights tournament over the bank holiday weekend. Held at Budleigh Salterton’s fantastic lawns, David was ranked 5th and Sandra last (8th). The format was “all play all” best of three games to be followed by a knockout.
David played to his full potential to win all 3 matches (2 games to nil) on Saturday before losing narrowly in his other group matches. Sandra excelled with 3 match victories, including wins against experienced, local players Louise Smith (Sidmouth) and Marc Colson (Budleigh).
The outcome was that David had to play top seed and England player Diana Wilson (Roehampton) in the semi-finals. A closely fought contest which took over 4 hours to complete saw Diana win the first game 7-6. In game two, David came from 4-6 down and used his developing AC skills to execute a superb cut rush over 15 yards to promote partner (Red) ball before running hoop 12 (ahead of Diana’s perfectly positioned Black ball).
An extraordinary run of shots at 13 eventually saw David run a difficult 4 yarder to take the match into a decider. Again, the third game was extremely close with David coming through 7-6.
In the Final, David played Phyllis Court’s, Rick Lilley. Rick played solid and took the first game 7-4. David responded with a 7-5 reply. The decider was close but David had the misfortune to peel Rick through Hoop 10. in fading light, Rick finished the match on the next hoop to take the trophy.
In the Shield Sandra progressed through to the final only to be beaten by Marc Colson 3-7, 6-7.
Crake at the Rusland Show
The Rusland Show was held on Saturday 19th August with nine Crake members in attendance. For the 2nd year running we had an indoor stall where the basics of Croquet were explained using a table top version of the game. This year we were also allocated a space outside where members of the public were encouraged to try their hand at running hoops.
The main purpose of our presence at the show was to attract potential new members to our club based at Greenodd. We are pleased that 11 local people signed up for a free taster session on either Saturday 2nd September at 11am or Sunday 10th September at 2pm.
Cavendish Clock Report
Twelve AC players took to the superb lawns at Crake Valley over the weekend of 5th & 6th August.
Two blocks of six saw only 4 games out of 24 go to time, most games being decided by quality breaks by the winner.
At the end of the 5 rounds, there were two players in Block A on 4 wins – Rick Harding (Southport) and Charles Harding (Bowdon): Charles progressed to the final by virtue of “who beat who”. In Block B, three players secured 4 wins out of 5. Neil Adams (Westmorland), Mike Sandler (Bowdon) and Steve Skelton (Keswick) all had a win each against each other so Neil progressed on hoop difference (of plus 95!).
In the group stages both Neil and Rick achieve a triple peel.
Moving to the final and Neil took early control and overcame Charles by 26-4 TP. This was a great achievement as Neil only started playing about 3 years ago.
The other significant achievement was in the 3rd and 4th place play off where Mike Sandler only had 3 shots as Rick Harding achieved a SEXTUPLE PEEL. This was fantastic to watch and, we believe, the first time it has been achieved at Crake Valley. Dave Nick achieved this feat in Southport in 2006 but there is no record of one being achieved in tournament play at Crake. Liz Wilson (NW Federation AC handicap officer) presented Rick with his paperwork to receive a Platinum Award from the CA.
League and Event Updates at 1st August
Several fixtures have been completed since the last update (16th May) with the Club holding mid table positions in both the Handicap AC and Golf leagues.
The Crake-based Crake Lakes Advanced AC team has qualified for the league final play-off with three wins out of 3 so far. They will play Bowdon or Chester in the final.
The Level Play Golf team has to win both its final matches to win the league for the first time. A tall ask but one where we will be hoping for success.
Coming up in August is the Cavendish Clock and the internal Alternate Strokes AC for the Bob Vaughan Trophy.
We also hope to promote the Club’s membership drive whilst at the Rusland Show on Saturday 19th August.
Let’s just hope that our excellent water-clearance machine (left) can stay in the shed during August!
Millennium Advantage Golf at Crake Valley
Friday night – 12 players are entered with two blocks of six planed leading to semi-finals and final. What can go wrong? Answer – a telephone call at 8.30pm with two cry-offs due to predicted stormy weather and advice from fellow club members regarding potentially poor travel conditions.
Saturday morning – with the paperwork re-worked to allow cross-block (5 games), 10 players from (Chester, Crake, Fylde and Westmorland) arrived for the early morning briefing. Play throughout the day was very competitive despite the persistent drizzle falling from the Lake District clouds.
At the end of the block stage we were faced with a bizarre situation. Despite the total handicap of players being very similar in each block (47 to 49), the majority of wins came from the same block! In Group A – Jude Acda (Fylde), Karen Bowes (Crake), Kerry Dadson (Chester) and Paul Galley (Crake) all had 4 wins out of five with the fifth player, Mark Hutchinson (Westmorland), with 3 wins. In Group B – John Bowes (Crake) and Sue Clarke (Fylde) were the only winners with 3 out of 5 wins each.
A decision was needed as to who progressed. This was difficult because under advantage rules you do not take into account hoop difference and there was no “who beat who” due to the cross-block situation. The % of hoops scored to the maximum available for each player was considered but this was too close to call between all the players involved.
The drizzle continued but the lawns remained playable (with some assistance from the BowDry equipment) all 4 players from Group A went into a “mini” KO to determine the group winner, with the first games being 7-point and the others 13-point. The two players from Group B went straight to a play-off to decide their group winner.
In Group A – Paul beat Kerry 4-3 and Karen beat Jude 4-0. Paul then overwhelmed Karen 7-1. In Group B Sue beat John 7-4 to set up the final pair.
The final was a 19-point game with the start scores equal at 0-0. Paul took an early lead from which Sue could not recover despite her courageous determination. In the end Paul triumphed 10-5 to ensure the trophy stays at Crake following Frank Sharps win in 2022.
Handicap reductions achieved were Kerry Dadson, now 5: Paul Galley and Sue Clarke, both now 7. A huge thank you to all players who made the day possible.
100% Success at Crake GC National Qualifiers
Why 100%? 36 entrants from all over England travelled to the most northerly based CA qualifying venue to participate in Crake Valley’s C, B and A level tournaments (15th to 18th June). The weather was superb, the lawns smooth running with hoops that were challenging but runnable. Many of the players were returning to Crake but some came for their first time, all of them left having enjoyed the facilities, hospitality, and friendly yet very competitive play.
On Thursday in the “C Level” Block A, local prospect Paul Galley (Crake Valley) impressively won all 5 games to qualify for the Semi-Finals with Jo-Ann Hughes (Bishop Monkton) finishing second with 4 wins. Block B saw two players each with 4 wins to progress, Sandy Grievson (Chester) and Ian Saunders (Bury). Jo-Ann and Ian won their semi-finals (7-2 & 7-3, respectively).
In the Final (19 point game) Jo-Ann raced into a commanding lead and was 9-3 up after 12 hoops. Ian then staged a tremendous fightback, winning the next 4 hoops to make it 9-7. Jo-Ann dug deep and secured the title on the 17th hoop. Jo-Ann’s handicap has reduced to 6 as a result of her success.
On Friday in the “B level” Block A, Tom Grievson (Chester) and Giles Pepperell (Llanfairfechan) won 4 out of 5 games to qualify. In Block B, 2022 winner, Neil Adams (Westmorland) was solid and clinical winning all 5 games with a plus 16 hoop difference. Second place in the Group was between Peter Adams (Guildford) and Frank Sharps (Crake Valley) with Peter edging qualification on Net Hoops. In the Semi-Finals, Tom beat Peter 7-2 and in the other very closely contested game, Neil beat Giles on the “Golden Hoop”.
In the Final, both players produced fine play with Neil just winning 10-8 to retain the title. His GC handicap has dropped to 2 as a result of this performance.
Onto the weekend and the “A Level” tournament. There was a late withdrawal and Robert Mumford (Ripon Spa) Handicap 6, kindly agreed to step up a Level, performing well enough that his Index finished intact. In the Blocks, Sam Seal (Llanfairfechan) and Charles Sale (Ealing) performed exceptionally well to secure 4 wins each and qualification to the quarter finals. They were joined by top seed of the group, Glynis Davies (Northampton) and Jane Pringle (Auckland).
In Block A, Mark Buckley (Leicester) and Tom Grievson (Chester) were strong to win 4 games each to progress. The remaining two quarter final places were not known until the final game. Going into that round Tony McCann (Croquet Durham) and Giles Pepperell (Llanfairfechan) each had 2 wins. Top seed of this tournament and recent Cheltenham GC Open Championship Winner, Mike Bilton (Gainsborough) had only recorded one win and knew he had to beat Giles in his final game. Drama unfolded with hard fought hoops going both ways. On the deciding hoop Mike used his experience to produce the win needed to qualify on hoop difference. Giles also scraped through on net hoops.
With the Block top seeds both finishing third, some unpredicted pairings in the Quarter Finals ensued. Jane Pringle beat Mark Buckley (10-8), Mike Bilton beat Charles Sale (10-6), Glynis Davies beat Tom Grievson (10-7) and Giles Pepperell overcame Sam Seal with the same scoreline.
Both Semi Finals went the full distance, best of 3 games, Mike being just too strong in the end against Jane. Glynis was pushed all the way by Giles in a classic (5-7,7-6, 7-6). So, the Final saw the top two seeds play each other, although both took an unexpected route to it. Great play followed from both, but Glynis prevailed 7-4, 7-5 to take the Trophy (and add to her success at the Crake Ladies Open in September 2022).
Giles took 3rd place and Jane 4th with both players having their handicap reduced to 2 due to their consistent play throughout. In the Plate Alison Murray (Leicester) won 5 out of her 6 games to take the title and a lovely glass trophy to keep.
The Club is extremely grateful to Karen Bowes and Gill Uglow for their much needed assistance keeping our guests nicely fed and watered. Thanks to all players and spectators for coming to our scenic venue in the South Lakes and we hope to see you all again soon.
Presentation of Seat in Memory of Dave Nick at Cumbria Cup Tournament
Crake Valley’s first major Advanced rules AC Tournament, the Cumbria Cup was held on 10th – 11th June, attracting 10 players from many parts of the North West. Arranged as a strict Swiss format, the first day’s play saw Neil Adams (Westmorland) attain a strong position by winning all three of his games.
Although the weather was fine and warm for most of the tournament, the players arrived on Sunday morning to find standing water from some heavy localised rainstorms, causing a delay whilst the lawns were cleared with the Bowdry. Neil continued strongly winning his first game to have 4 wins, but at this stage Charles Harding (Bowdon) and Brian Medley (Bowdon) were each on 3 wins, leaving the final result wide open. In the final matches, Charles narrowly beat Neil, but Brian lost to a fine performance from Ged Smolskas (Bury), leaving a two-way tie at the top. Charles and Neil were also tied using the allotted tie-break of the number wins of their opponents. The result rested on the fact that Charles beat Neil in their final match (by 1 hoop!), so Charles Harding was declared winner of this keenly fought tournament. (Full results are on Croquet Scores).
Before the prize-giving, Pam Bevins kindly presented to the Club a superb bench with an inscription in memory of Dave Nick, saying a few words on how much her former partner loved the game of croquet. The bench will undoubtedly be well used and will be a fitting tribute to all the work that Dave Nick put into Club.
Update 16th May 2023 with Triple Individual Successes
Our league teams have got off to a mixed start to the season. The Handicap AC team lost 3-4 at Fylde, the Level Pay Golf team lost 5-13 at Bowdon whilst the Handicap Golf Team lost at Pendle 8-10, but won at home to Fylde Coasters 11-7.
On an individual basis Frank Sharps (handicap 5) finished in 3rd place at the Golf B-level (3 plus handicaps) National Qualifier at Pendle on Saturday 13th May. During the same weekend, Sandra Cornes (Handicap 3) won the Plate event at Bury GC A-level (Zero plus handicaps), winning all 6 of her matches on the Sunday to take the prize.
Finally, congratulations to David Cornes who has been selected to represent England in the 2023 World Croquet Over 50’s tournament to be held in Bunbury, Perth, Western Australia. David is one of 5 England players in the 48 player tournament which takes place in October. We wish him well participating in this prestigious event.
First Tournament of 2023 a Huge Success
2023 has brought the return of the very popular, early season, Alternate Strokes AC Pairs Tournament. The last time the tournament was held was 2019 so it was great to welcome 16 players from 7 North West based clubs, on a sunny, if windy, day in the Crake Valley.
There were 3 rounds of matches in two “seeded” blocks, playing 18 point games to determine the finalists. In Block A, Howard Bowron & Sandra Cornes (Penrith & Crake Valley) and Gail Moors & Phil Snowdon (Southport & Fylde) used their (small number) of bisques effectively to both win two out of three games. By virtue of a better hoop difference Gail & Phil progressed. In Block B, the holders (David Cornes & Simon Robins – Crake Valley) won two matches but were beaten to top place by Steve Skelton & Jim Wilson (Keswick) who had two wins and a tie.
The final saw Gail & Phil take the lead but as their bisques reduced, the greater the chance of a comeback by Steve & Jim. In the end Gail & Phil stayed ahead by two hoops to win the event. This is a great achievement by two 10-handicap players who have never played together before.
All players are to be thanked for making the day friendly but competitive. The Club is also grateful for the lawns preparation undertaken by members to prompt so many compliments about the quality of the lawns, so early in the season.
Pictures show play from the day and also how high the River was just a few days earlier. With the tide so high we seem to have a natural irrigation water system.
The next tournament is the Advanced AC Cumbria Cup on 10th & 11th June.
Ready for the New Season
Members have been working hard treating the lawns which received their first 5 mm cut on Sunday 3rd April. Members have returned to playing on full lawns from this week.
The first tournament of the season is to be held on Thursday 20th April. There is a slot for one pair to play in the AC Alternate Strokes. Email us for more information.
Singles and Doubles winner – Third Flight – in Florida
Sandra Cornes was undefeated in 7 games recently in the Sarasota American 6-wicket Club Championship (3rd flight).
Sandra’s name now goes on the Club records board to join John Haslam (Southport) who won over there almost 20 years ago.
She is pictured with Doug Ledgett (Tournament Manager) Sarasota Croquet Club Florida.
Passing of a Local Croquet Legend
The sad news of the passing of Dave Nick in February was noted in the NW Federation website. Below is an obituary prepared by a former Crake member, Bob Burnett, which is to be published in the Croquet Gazette. A current member of the Crake Valley Club, Tom Griffith, has recorded his personal reminiscences of Dave Nick which can be viewed here.
David Nicholson, known in the croquet world as Dave Nick died quite suddenly on Sunday 19th February from a heart attack. For many years, he was the Chairman, Captain and leader of Crake Valley Croquet Club. He organised and managed the tournaments at the Club as well as setting out and mowing the lawns.
He was for many years a member of the Lancashire County Team and with a handicap of minus 1.5 and a platinum badge to his credit was one of the stalwarts of the team. He was a natural, no nonsense player who assessed the situation, chose his shot and hit the ball without any preamble or “casting” – as his record shows, very successfully.
He stopped playing croquet a few years ago due primarily to bad health.
He will be remembered most for his sense of humour around the Northern Circuit and his willingness to help and coach other players. He was a great friend to many and will be sadly missed.
First Roll Up for 2023
Saturday 28th January saw the first “roll up” of the year with 7 members playing from 11am through to 3.30pm.
The lawns are in good condition and playing flat, if a little slow.
Weather permitting, roll ups are planned for Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday’s during the next couple of months.
International Recognition for Crake Valley
Congratulations to David Cornes who has accepted an invitation to join the GC England International Player Development Squad for 2023 & 2024. This group comprises a maximum of 8 players selected each year by the Croquet Association to help aspiring international players to gain their full potential through coaching and mentoring. David will join up with the squad for its first session at Wrest Park in April.
David has been playing competitively since 2018 and is well known on the GC circuit. He has won tournaments in East Dorset, Budleigh Salterton as well as locally at Bury, Pendle and Crake. In September 2022 he was runner-up (losing 6-7, 7-6, 6-7) in the A level National Finals at Wrest Park. David’s GC handicap is -1, his AC handicap has improved to 8 after playing more of this format since 2022. David has also played in Florida earlier this year with top 3 finishes in Regional and National Tournaments
A second north west based player, Nigel Matthews (Bowdon), has also been selected for the squad and joins David in wanting to advance both their GC and AC skills. They welcome this opportunity and are looking forward to attending the squad weekends as well as playing in several other tournaments during next season.