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Crake Valley Teams Successes and Tournament Activities

July has to date been busy and largely successful for the Club. The weekend Handicap AC League team continues to do well with wins away at Bury and at home against Pendle. Crake Valley is currently heading the North section, unbeaten in 3 matches (League table). The Handicap GC League team is also doing well having won a home match against Fylde Coasters and an away fixture against Bury: the team is currently heading the North section of the League table. The Level Play GC team which has done well to win 2 of 3 matches, losing out only to a very strong Chester Centurions team (League table).
In addition 4 members travelled to Ashby in Leicestershire to play High Wycombe, the holders of the National GC Federations Shield defeating them by 4.5 to 2.5 (see report).
On an individual basis, David Cornes excelled at reaching the semi-final of the Lancashire International Open at Pendle where he was beaten 2-1 by the eventual winner, Jack Good (Bowdon) (see report).


Frank Sharps Wins Hunstanton GC C-Level

  Frank receives the C-Level Trophy from Hunstanton Chair, Janet Kendal

Four players from Crake Valley recently played at Hunstanton in the GC National Series Qualifiers over 2 days.


On Saturday 6th June, David Cornes was beaten 7-6 in the final by Mark Buckley (Leicester) who now joins David in the National B level Final in Compton (Eastbourne)

The Sunday saw 8 players compete “all play all” with Frank Sharps beating all opponents to take the title and his place in the C level Final in Ryde, Isle of Wight, in September.

Earlier in the week the Level Play GC team played well to beat Pendle 15-3.

AC at Crake Valley in June

The internal Block AC competition is now progressing, but in external competitions our teams have had mixed fortunes. On Thursday 10 June, a team of Jim Allcock, Simon Robins and Dave Williamson lost a Cumbria Tankard match 3 – 0 at home to Westmorland. On Saturday 26 June, our first Weekend Handicap League fixture was against Bury Peelers and Jim Allcock, Neil Adams, John Henderson and Simon Robins travelled to Coronation Park in Bury. Their team included a talented young player who had only recently taken up the game and was involved in gaining two points for his team. Most of the singles games, however, went Crake Valley’s way and the match was won 5 – 2. Crake Valley is grateful to to the Bury team for their friendly hospitality and for providing such good lawns for play.

GC National Tournaments at Crake Valley

From 17th to 20th June, Crake Valley hosted for the first time, 4 days of GC National tournaments, with lawns in great condition and a marquee erected should players need to shelter from the Lake District unpredictable weather. In the end there was 4 days of back to back sunshine to help competitors produce their best croquet.
In the C level, 12 players took part with many games finishing 7-6. In the end John Armer (Westmorland) beat Crake Valley’s Frank Sharps 10-9 in a thrilling final. Sue I’Anson (Ripon Spa) took 3rd place from Tom Grievson (Chester). John is now eligible to play in the National Finals in September at Ryde, Isle of Wight.

The B level saw Tony McCann (Croquet Durham) unbeaten in his 7 games win the tournament with Mark Buckley (Leicester) runner-up. Tony is now eligible to play in the National Finals in September in Compton (Eastbourne)
The A level was 2 days of all play all twice for the 8 players. In the end Paul Durkin (Long Eaton Park) won with 12 wins followed by Charles Sale (Ealing), David Cornes (Crake Valley and Jane Pringle (Auckland).

The lawns and general conditions were greatly praised by all players who promised to return next year.

Cumbria Cup 2021

On the weekend of 12th and 13th June, Crake Valley hosted the Cumbria Cup, an Advanced Rules AC Tournament organised and managed by Jim Allcock. With two late entries, 8 players contested the event run as all-play-all so that each player could have 7 games. Congratulations to Paul Rigge on winning the competition without losing a game, beating Lee Hartley in the final. Steve Skelton took third place beating Richard Harding in the play-off.

Level Play Golf Team Start with a Win

In their first NW League fixture of the season, the Level Play Golf Team of David Cornes, Steve Skelton and Peter Wardle beat the visitors from Bury 13 – 5, with David and Steve each winning 5 games. The drizzly and overcast weather was brightened by the competitive but friendly spirit in which all the games were played.

More GC Success

Having spent many hours travelling to play at Ryde and the East Dorset Club in Poole, David Cornes has triumphed again winning the East Dorset B-Level GC Tournament held on 22-23 May, returning with another cup for the clubhouse cabinet. Well done David!

Meanwhile, the exterior surface of the clubhouse has received several coats of varnish and is looking good.

Success in the GC B-Level National Qualifier

Congratulations to David Cornes on winning the National GC B-level Qualifier held at the Pendle & Craven Club on 15 May. On a rather wet day, David competed with players from Leicester, Bury, Ripon Spa and the home club, finishing first by winning 7 of 9 matches.

In addition to receiving the Tankard, the win gives David a place in the National Final to be held in Cheltenham at the end of the season.

Social Croquet Expands and a Return to Competition

David playing in the B-Level National Final in 2020

In addition to social games between members, the Club has seen a sharp rise recently in the number of groups enjoying croquet sessions, and many thanks to the members who give their time to organise and manage these events.

Competitive croquet has also returned and Golf Captain David Cornes travelled to play in the CA Open Series at Cheltenham mid April featuring some top players. The highlight was to play England number 2, Stephen Mulliner, who needed 50 minutes to beat David 7-3. Ranked 24th out of 28 David won enough games to end up 23rd overall. David enjoyed Cheltenham lawns and has been accepted into the National Open Championship series there at the end of May when he will be 31st ranked of 32. We wish him well for this event.

New Initiatives for Encouraging Croquet

Now that lockdown is starting to be relaxed, many people are looking for new outside activities and, as reported below, there is a resurgence of interest in playing croquet. The Crake Valley Club is helping to satisfy the anticipated increase in demand by welcoming players to a series of Pay and Play sessions during the summer. The cost for these 1.5h sessions is just £6, including an administrative charge by Eventbrite, but they must be booked in advance. Our site on Eventbrite is now live and can be viewed here.

A second initiative being promoted by Crake Valley member, David Cornes, the newly-elected NW Croquet Federation Development Officer, is to utilise Active Cumbria to publicise croquet as a game to promote both mental and physical health in all age groups. Active Cumbria now includes croquet as one of their promoted Activities & Sports and the Club’s entry can be viewed here.

Resurgence of Interest in Croquet

The Croquet Association has highlighted a BBC News report that Croquet clubs have been in ‘inundated’ during lockdown (click here for the report and video). As commented in the report, “Forget tea on the lawn, pressed slacks and the genteel clacking of balls, croquet is enjoying a modern comeback.”

Lawns are Looking Good

A lot of work has been done recently getting the lawns into shape and they have now had their first cut of the season. Many thanks to all those who have been involved. The Club is fortunate to have the lawns in such good shape this early in the season and, as the pictures show, both members and visitors are taking advantage.

Playing Croquet Again After Lockdown

Although the weather lacked the bright sunshine we had hoped would herald the resumption of playing croquet, spirits were lifted by the simple fact that play was possible on Monday 29th March. Pictured are a few socially-distanced players, well wrapped up against the stiff breeze enjoying a game. Let’s hope that the timetable for 2021 can progress as currently planned and that we can all enjoy an almost complete season of croquet.

Crake Valley Wins the Apps Heley Award

The Club is delighted to announce that Crake Valley has won the Apps Heley Award for 2021. This prestigious Croquet Association award is given every two years to the club with three or four courts that has made most progress at a national or local level over the previous two years. The major progress at the Club recognised by this award includes bringing a third lawn into operation with improvements in the quality of all lawns, as well as construction of the new clubhouse. Before (left) and after (right) pictures are shown below for the clubhouse and a newly-created parking area.

Much of the funding for these projects was obtained locally and was seen to be providing a local community facility attempting to provide croquet for all. Many members have worked tirelessly to gain this award but special thanks are due to David Cornes who has led the team with enthusiasm and determination. This is the result of a lot of hard work, not least of which was filling in a quite extensive award application! There is, of course, always more to do and the Club looks forward to continued progress in future years.

Crake Valley Member Elected to NW Federation Post

Congratulations to David Cornes who was elected as Development Officer for the North West Federation of Croquet Clubs. He replaces Sarah Andrew who is taking up a newly-created post heading a Croquet Association Funding Committee. We wish David well in his new role.

Changes Announced at the NW Federation Spring Meeting

At it meeting held on Saturday 6th March attended by Zoom and You Tube, several changes to the fixtures for 2021 were announced. These were of course driven by Covid-19 restrictions and the uncertainties over whether the phased timetable for lifting restrictions would be maintained. To give added confidence that the Festival of Croquet in Southport, the date of this event has been changed to the 14th and 15th August. The Cavendish Clock Tournament initially set to be played at Crake Valley on those dates will now be played one week earlier on 7th/8th August.
League Manager, Ivan Wheatley, proposed changes to the structure of all 5 NW Fed. Leagues involving splitting each league into north- and south- mini-leagues, mainly to avoid excessive shared travel to matches. The proposal was accepted but Clubs have until 21st March to confirm their participation before fixture dates will be announced. It’s planned that play in the leagues will start on 17th May.

Back on the Lawns

With a timetable now in place for releasing Covid-19 restrictions, we are all looking forward to playing again, starting on Monday 29th March. Please remember, however, that restrictions will still be in force, particularly for the first two weeks after resuming play. The details have been circulated by our Secretary, Sheila Edmondson, and can be viewed here. Enjoy your croquet!

Sad News

Members were shocked recently to learn of the death of David Lloyd. David was undergoing surgery for a ruptured aneurysm on Sunday 14th February and tragically did not survive. Our deepest sympathy goes to his family and those close to him at this very sad time.

David was passionate about playing croquet with a great determination to succeed. He was a valued team member in all forms of the game, representing the Club at both league and national events. The picture shows David  receiving the Winners Trophy in the 2016 AC Handicap Millennium Tournament.

David was also instrumental in pushing forward several projects to improve facilities at the Club. He will be sadly missed.

Lockdown Success at Crake Valley

Sandra Cornes at work – another day, another ditch!

Although the Club is closed in January with no possibility of playing croquet, some members have been working in shifts within social bubbles and Covid rules to improve drainage of the lawns.
Using a diagram from 2012 when some drainage work was undertaken, the members set about identifying, rodding and hosing out each outlet. There were 20 outlets (some buried) and all bar 4 of them had some level of blockage.
The beneficial effects of the drainage work was demonstrated recently following the deluge deposited by storm Christoph on Thursday 21st January. The lawn pictures below (left) were taken at lunchtime on that date and then again just 24 hours later (right). Whilst the Club will always suffer from a high water table owing to its location next to the river Crake, the pictorial evidence shows that standing water now drains much faster than before.

This work involved the Sandra and David Cornes bubble, ably assisted by (socially-distanced) Graham Jowett, and the Club is extremely grateful for all their efforts in bringing about this highly successful outcome.

Latest Restrictions dated 5th January 2021

In view of the most recent guidance from the Croquet Association:

The latest national lockdown guidance for England states that “Outdoor sports venues, including tennis courts, golf courses and swimming pools, must close.” The CA therefore advises croquet clubs to close until the restrictions are lifted.

the Club must now be closed for play until the situation changes.