Lawn Clippings

Blewbury Croquet Club News (archive edition)

Photographs wanted
23 January 2011

Photos of club events, with a story to go with them, can help to liven up these pages.

Prebendal Manor Cup final 2010

This little picture shows an incident from the final of the Prebendal Manor Cup last year. Paul's break had just come to an abrupt end at 3-back when he realised he'd somehow managed a smooth transition to playing with the wrong balls. Stuart has put on his referee's hat and is striding out purposefully to make a ruling, thumbing through the rulebook as he comes. Deirdre thinks it's a great joke, as she'll get on to the court with an easy start to her turn. Paul is peeved at having spoilt his break, seems to have parted with his mallet, and is demonstrating Body Language for Beginners. And it was all going so well!

Maybe we should start a photo gallery page?

League Champions!
16 November

Late news - the Blewbury Croquet Club team for the Southern Croquet Federation Advanced League came out on top, and win the trophy.

The Club was represented during the season by Deirdre Cochrane, Avril Rangoni-Machiavelli, David Spear and captain Nick Butler in this Association croquet competition, played under advanced rules.


Annual General Meeting 2010 - Preliminary Report
14 November

The Club's AGM took place on Friday November 12

Bernardine Shirley-Smith kindly hosted the AGM once again.

Twenty members turned out on a dark and wet night. All the formal Officers of the club were present, namely Rustom Patel (President), Deirdre Cochrane (Chairman), and Jim Bartlett (Treasurer and Secretary), together with Nick Butler (Captain), David Seed (Grounds Manager), and other members, who had all taken on assistant roles of one kind or another during the year. A full report of the AGM will appear on these pages in due course.

Deirdre opened the proceedings with a general welcome, and a special one for our President, who we are always pleased to see.

The previous year's active Officers together with the Captain and Grounds Manager gave their reports, and then as required by our rules the Officers and exisiting Committee stepped down before the elections for the 2010/2011 year. President, Chairman and Treasurer were re-elected to continue in office, and Paul Wolff was elected to the Secretary's job, so Jim wouldn't be quite so overloaded next year with all the hats he had been wearing doing his very much appreciated work for the Club (though he would welcome a volunteer apprentice Treasurer). Nick Butler decided to step down from the Captain's role, which was taken up by Jim; fortunately David Seed, who has made tremendous strides during the year in picking up the very arduous and critical job of lawns management supremo, will keep that responsibility (but members will have to give David as much practical assistance as they can, to spread the load).

The four members of the new Committee, in addition to the Chairman (Deirdre), Treasurer (Jim) and Secretary (Paul), are David Seed, Susan Tilbrook, June Wolff and David Spear. The new appointments and responsibilities can be seen in full on the Who's Who pages.

After the prizegiving (for the winners, see the Club Competitions pages), members enjoyed one or two glasses of wine and some delicious puddings organized by Bernardine.

Annual General Meeting
9 November

The club's AGM and prize-giving will take place on Friday 12th November, at 7.30pm, at Bernardine's house, 2 Westbrook Green, Blewbury.

For those who don't know where that is, it's off Westbrook Street, on the left, 300m up from London Road. Just put OX11 9QD into your sat-nav, and Bob's your uncle.

It's said there will be puddings to follow.

End of Season
9 November

The courts closed to end the 2010 season on Sunday, 3rd October.

Since then, David Seed and his helpers have been giving the lawns some post-season treatment, scarifying and debating just how many tons of top dressing are a reasonable dose. The Hoop Fairy has been seen disconsolately trudging around the edges of Ticker's Folly, wondering when she'll get her games back. Not till April - but that's only another five months now.

Cheer up, Hoop Fairy!

Blewbury Village Community Interest Company
9 November

Meeting between the the Company and the Member Organizations held on Thursday October 14

Following the final meeting of the Recreation Ground Management Committee, the first meeting of the sports clubs with its successor organization, the Blewbury Village Community Interest Company (the CIC), took place last month. The croquet club sent along Paul Wolff to report.

The CIC is a registered company and as such it can apply for funds and grants. Its purpose is to promote local benefits and it is focussed on the sports areas of the village recreation ground and Tickers Folly Field, where our courts are. It takes over the running of the pavilion now being built on the recreation ground on 1 January next, when the changing rooms, toilets and showers should be complete. A kitchen and bar, opening on to a good-sized community room, will soon follow. These will be available for private meetings and parties, at reduced rates to member clubs.

So from the start of next season we shall be able to use these, as will our visiting teams.

There are plans for a Grand Opening Day in the spring. Anyone for an early season Sports Day with the Brass Band in full flow? All suggestions for making a big splash will be welcomed by the CIC, so don't be shy about contributing your ideas via Deirdre, who's our representative.

On a practical level, the kitchen and community room will need equipment, and any suggestions for sourcing will be appreciated. A volunteer to take on the desired drinks licence for the bar is sought - it would involve a day's training course, followed by whatever responsibilities the post entails. And publicity suggestions are also needed, to promote utilization of the new facilities.

Summer Party
8 September

Blewbury Croquet Club Late Summer Party at Hall Barn, on Sunday September 12 at 3pm

Jim writes:

Please note that we've changed the venue for next Sunday's party to Hall Barn.

Hall Barn (in Westbrook Street, Blewbury) is the home of Deirdre and Malcolm Cochrane. Weather permitting, we'll play a mini-tournament of Golf Croquet (singles over 5 hoops) on their croquet lawn but you'll need to remember to bring your flat shoes.

The party will start at 3 p.m. and last until about 7 p.m.  If you would like to come, but haven't signed the list, you are still very welcome - just let Jim or Susan know.  There are about 40 on the list so far.

Please remember to bring your own drinks and glasses (a welcoming drink is included in the entry price of £3), and please bring a plate of food as mentioned in the original invitation (or talk to Susan on 01235 850066).

Recreation Ground Update
27 August

Blewbury Recreation Ground Management Committee Meeting August 26 at 8pm

Bernardine Shirley-Smith has been the Club's representative on this body. Bernardine writes:

The purpose of this meeting was to close the RGMC, which will no longer function after the Community Interest Company (CIC) takes over the management of the new pavilion and recreation ground.

The Blewbury Croquet Club has never actually been part of the Recreation Ground because Tickers Folly Field has remained separate under the management of the Parish Council. Nevertheless the club has made a nominal yearly contribution to the Development Fund of £80 and some of its members also joined the 100 Club, the proceeds of which were to be used for development. There is now a small sum of money in the kitty and it was decided that each of the clubs be invited to put in a reasonable request for a share of the residual fund. (Not for maintenance or repair). Suggestions please.

The scouts have surrendered their lease on the Scout Hut which is now being used for temporary storage. Dr Alan Wagner has worked extremely hard clearing the old pavilion and removing any possessions of the Cricket Club into temporary storage prior to the demolition of the old pavilion.

Your Lawn Clippings correspondent adds that, according to a Blewbury Parish Council report in the May 2010 issue of the Blewbury Bulletin, Clubs and other user groups are being invited to become members of the CIC. Subsequently, we received an invitation to send a representative to join the company; our representative will be Deirdre Cochrane.

Further, the terms of many of the leases on the Recreation Ground and on Ticker's Folly Field, including the Croquet Club lease, are under review, because of "past inaccuracies and uncertainties".

Hopefully, more to follow on this.

Armada Trophy win for Blewbury pair
16/19 August

The Armada Trophy is a handicap doubles event organized by the Southern Croquet Federation, in the person of Blewbury Captain Nick Butler. It was held this year on 14 August, at Winchester. The Blewbury pairing of David Spear and David Moren-Brown won all four of their games, and brought the Trophy back with them.


Nick writes:
Six pairs from all over the SCF converged at Winchester on 14th August for the annual Armada tournament, a 14pt handicap doubles competition, including one pair from South Africa who were over visiting friends in Henley.  Except for a brief heavy downpour in the early afternoon we were very lucky with the weather as most of the expected rainclouds passed us by and the sun even made a cameo appearance later on.  After 3 rounds of the 4-round Swiss format, three pairs could still win the tournament, which, if results in the final round went a certain way, would have made determining a winner interesting.  Fortunately for the manager though, the pair from Blewbury of David Spear and David Moren-Brown maintained their 100% record to become the champions ahead of the pair from Hamptworth & Bransgore of Susan Bradley and Hugh Gallacher, keeping the trophy at the club after it had been won by Nick Butler and Bruce Gallop on the two previous occasions

Summer Doubles players
Golf Croquet Summer Doubles
29 July

Photo by Katherine Bartlett on the occasion of the Summer Doubles on 3 July, won by Jim Bartlett and David Seed (centre stage, naturally).

Temporary toilet block
Comfort Stations
24 July

Members may be relieved to know that, while the construction works are progressing at the Blewbury Recreation Ground, a sturdy toilet block has been established for the temporary convenience of all clubs and societies based there. Painted an uncompromising navy blue and elevated on steel legs, it is hard to miss: but just in case, here's a picture so you know what to look out for. Separate men's and women's departments are reached up their respective short flights of steps

The doors may well be unlocked during the contractors' working hours, but we have been given a key by the Parish Council so croquet players will always be able to answer calls of nature. If you have to unlock, do remember to lock again on your departure.

The key is clearly labelled, and hangs on a hook in the tall black cupboard in the clubhouse. Don't forget to return it after use!

Geeks' Corner (or if there's only one of you, Geek's Corner)
21 July

This little item is all about this web site. Our hosting organisation provides tools for recording whether anyone actually clicks on the web address and ends up here. Thankfully, some people do. At least, computers request files and information from these pages, and there must be a human agency behind some of those visits. Mustn't there?

A single visit is defined as a request or a sequence of requests for web pages, originating from the same Internet address, not more than 30 minutes apart. It turns out that during last winter we had around three visits a day, on average (but six a day in January, for some reason. Was everybody snowbound with nothing else to do?). But in March this year we began a programme of converting the web site into an informative resource (OK, a bit of marketing speak) and start updating it so it would actually be useful for club members and for casual visitors too: and from April 2010 we have been getting around twelve visits a day.

We can also see how many different Internet addresses made those visits. The number was about 40 in total during each winter month. Since April the number has been about 150 different addresses visiting our web pages each month.

So what does this mean? We can't be sure, of course. Many people who have Internet connections are given a different numeric Internet address by their ISP (all right, Internet Service Provider) every time they log on (make a connection, for the uninitiated). But even so, these web pages do seem to be attracting some attention and serving, we hope, a purpose.

Right, geeks, you can go home now. And the rest of us can yawn and get back to our croquet.

Longman Cup
20 July

The Longman Club Team Cup is a national competition organised by the Croquet Association. It is for club teams of four, all players to have a handicap between 3.5 and 20, and an average handicap of at least 6. Blewbury won the Longman Cup in a famous victory in 2004.

This year we were drawn at home against Woking in the first round, which was played on 27 June. Results:

(Blewbury players first)

David Spear (8) and Paul Wolff(14) beat Bill Wood-Roe (6) and Bernard Jones(6) +24

Deirdre Cochrane (7) beat Chris Gay(9) +9
Bruce Gallop(18) beat Michael Holland(8) +22
Deirdre Cochrane lost to Bill Wood-Roe -4
David Spear beat Bernard Jones +24
Paul Wolff lost to Michael Holland -1 on time
Bruce Gallop beat Chris Gay +25

So that was a 5 - 2 win for us. The second round sees us play Reigate, who beat Sussex in their first round match. We will be playing at home again, since Reigate have only one lawn. The match will be on 31 July.

The winner goes forward to the quarter-final round.

Golf Croquet Summer Doubles
19 July

The result of this competition was a win for Jim Bartlett and David Seed.

Electricity supply
19 July

As reported by Jim in his May newsletter, the intermittent cut-out problem has been fixed. The irrigation pumps and the alarm are now on a separate circuit and the correct breaker is installed.

Progressive Supper report
by June Wolff, 19 July

We were fortunate to have a perfect evening on 26th June for the Progressive Supper. 16 couples participated, of which 11 had at least one half being a club member. The other participants were village residents, some of whom expressed interest in the club.

The food and wine as usual was excellent and plentiful; and the evening went off mostly without a hitch. We all finished at Pound House for cheese and coffee and the chat continued well into the night, lit by fairy lights, candles and the full moon.

Thank you every one who took part and helped to make it a success, we raised £320 for the club funds.

Winter events: funds raised

The Winter Party raised a net £226 for the club, and the Scottish Dancing evening £329.

Match results
19 July

Two Golf Croquet friendly matches took place in late May. The first, away to Phyllis Court in Henley on May 24, ran to lots of very close games, but the final result was a win to Phyllis Court by 9 to 7.

The second was a home match two days later against Thames Valley Croquet Club, from Abingdon. Again there were many close games, but again the result went against the Blewbury team, by the same score of 9-7.

SCF League (Association Croquet)
19 July

It is hoped, indeed intended, to add a formal Results page to this web site, to be updated as results come in: but for the moment, odd reports will appear here among the Lawn Clippings.

In the Southern Croquet Federation league, the results so far this season have been mixed. Blewbury lost away to Oxford University in May, playing in The Parks but entertained afterwards in the Eagle and Child for lunch. We beat High Wycombe in June, but lost to Eynsham in July. Matches against Phyllis Court and Harwell are still to take place.

Golf Croquet Spring Doubles
16 May
Four hardy pairs turned out on a damp, breezy and very cool Sunday morning to play in this first tournament of the club's own season.


Round 1
Mike and Diana Elliott beat Paul and June Wolff 7 - 3
Jim Bartlett and Prue Adams beat Bruce Gallop and Susan Tilbrook 7 - 6
Round 2
Jim Bartlett and Prue Adams beat Mike and Diana Elliott 7 - 4
Bruce Gallop and Susan Tilbrook beat Paul and June Wolff 7 - 5
At this point the players retired to the clubhouse for hot coffee and tea, sandwiches, and cake.
Round 3
Jim Bartlett and Prue Adams beat Paul and June Wolff 7 - 4
Bruce Gallop and Susan Tilbrook beat Mike and Diana Elliott 7 - 5

Jim and Prue, having won all their games, were undeniably worthy winners of the tournament.

Progressive Supper
2 May
Posters advertising this event on Saturday 26 June in and around Blewbury are now going up. Spread the word! The more who take part, the more variety in your dining.

More details on the Progressive Supper pages.

All entries and questions to June Wolff, Pound House, Church Road, Blewbury
OX11 9PY, telephone 01235 850520.

Association Croquet Tournaments
2 May
Entries are now open for the local Blewbury and Harwell rounds of the All England Handicap, a knock-out format competition, and for the Blewbury Croquet Club's own Banded Blocks tournament, in a format where everyone plays everyone else in the block corresponding to their handicap band.

Entries to Nick Butler not later than Friday 14 May, please.

Press Officer
28 April
Bernardine Shirley-Smith has been appointed as the Club's new Press Officer. Bernardine is a former Chairman of the Club and has good contacts with local media. When we have any news that ought to be let out, Bernardine's the one to tell. Her phone number is 01235 850186.

Bernardine's first scoop is to report to us that a new Blewbury Parish Councillor, Mike Shread, has been delegated to keep in touch with the croquet club.  He reminds us that Blewbury Residents should consider attending the Annual Parish Meeting on May 5th in the Methodist Chapel at 7:30pm.

Blewbury Recreation Ground Committee
28 April
Bernardine also represents your club on this Committee, and attended their meeting this month on our behalf. All the sports clubs and two parish councillors were there.  The meeting heard that estimates for the proposed new pavilion were all too high for the money available. So the Parish Council was reviewing the architect's plans with a view to reducing costs and putting the plans out to tender again.  A loo for the croquet club was at the bottom of the list - not good news for croquet players. Queries were made about the use of the Scout Hut loo; awaiting a reply.  There is a proposed business plan for the new pavilion facilities to be managed by a Community Interest Group.
Committee Meeting
12 April
The Committee met on 9 April at Hall Barn, Blewbury. Present were Deirdre Cochrane (Chairman), Jim Bartlett (Secretary and Treasurer), Susan Tilbrook (Assistant Secretary), and club members Stuart Parks and June Wolff. Apologies for absence came from Nick Butler (Captain) and David Moren-Brown (Publicity and new members).

Topics discussed and progressed included:

  • Coaching for members. The club only has three qualified coaches now (Jim, Deirdre and Nick)
  • The need to avoid members separating into distinct groups, of golf croquet players and association croquet players
  • The playing timetable to appear on the web site and in the clubhouse
  • The possibility of providing a signing-in book or some other means for collecting day-visitor fees
  • Re-allocation of managers for club competitions (see the Programme 2010 page for details)
  • Ongoing maintenance and repair work at the clubhouse and to the electricity supply
  • The extraordinary requirement to pay £150 for a certificate to state that the clubhouse is still asbestos free
  • New members
  • Wider publicity for the club’s activities
  • The date of the next Committee meeting hasn’t yet been fixed.

Weekly timetable
11 April
Two new reservations have been made, one each for Association and Golf Croquet. Thursday evenings have been allocated for Association, running through from the afternoon session, and Saturday mornings for Golf.

The season kicks off (if croquet can indeed kick off) on Saturday 24 April with the first Golf Croquet session at 10am.

We now have an arrangement with our neighbours at Harwell Croquet Club whereby its members may use our courts on Thursday afternoons and evenings and join us in playing association croquet. We look forward to seeing them.

Supper table
Progressive Supper
Plans are going ahead to run another of our famous Progressive Suppers on Saturday 26 June. For those who don’t know, this will involve eating different courses of your meal in different houses with different dining companions. A great way to get where you haven’t been before, and have conversations that you’d never have had otherwise.


More to follow in due course.

David Seed succeeds Godfrey Nehring as Groundsman
25 March
Jim writes:

After many years of dedicated hard work and great service to our croquet courts, Godfrey has decided to retire from active service for the Club.  Our courts are recognised as being the best in Oxfordshire and that fact is a great credit to Godfrey. His years of knowledge and experience will still be called upon, however, as he will continue as Grounds Consultant to both the Club and the Southern Croquet Federation.

David Seed has taken on the Grounds Officer role with immediate effect. David is full of enthusiasm and eagerly drawing on Godfrey's advice at this critical time of the year for grounds management.

Godfrey, David and I met today to discuss the schedule of necessary work on the courts before they can be used for play and we agreed that the first day of play is expected to be Saturday April 24th, but this still has to be provisional as we are very weather-dependent for the various activities.

On behalf of the entire membership, I would like to thank Godfrey for all that he has given the Club, and David for taking up the reins.

Subscriptions are unchanged from 2009. They remain at £100 for individual memberships, but only £35 for individuals living more than 30 miles from the courts. The sub is £180 for family membership, and £35 for individual junior members. Payment fell due on 1st April, the start of our club year. Please send your subs to Jim as soon as you can.

March update - New Loo News
Planning permission for this development has been granted and Blewbury Parish Council (BPC) has invited tenders from local builders.  At this stage, progress of the project is in the hands of BPC, but Jim will be discussing the list of interested builders with BPC.  The "New Loo" subcommittee (which consists of Ken Gotch, David Moren-Brown, Prue Adams and Jim) will meet again as soon as is appropriate.

Dates for your diaries
Sunday May 15     Spring Doubles Golf Croquet Competition (Jim)
Saturday June 5    Inter-Village Association Croquet Tournament (Nick)
Sunday June 20    Roger Cambray One-Ball Competition at Hall Barn (David Spear, hopefully)
Saturday July 3    Summer Doubles Golf Croquet Competition (Jim)

Saturday July 10     Summer Party at the courts (for members, friends, neighbours et al)
Saturday July 24    Inter-Village Golf Croquet Tournament (Jim)

Sunday August 21    Founders' Cup Competition (Deirdre)
Saturday September 11    Autumn Doubles Golf Croquet Competition (Jim)
Saturday & Sunday September 18 / 19 Finals of Prebendal Manor and Icknield Competitions (Jim)
Saturday September 25    Autumn Doubles Association Croquet Competition (Nick)
The entry to each one-day tournament will be £5.
Details for the 2010 Icknield, Prebendal and Banded-Block tournaments will be issued later.

Golf croquet initial coaching for new members, as necessary, with Jim

Golf croquet coaching "games" for all with Jim during GC club sessions early in the season.

Golf croquet for handicap levels 6 to 12 at Hamptworth on April 24, with Nick.  Anyone interested should contact Jim asap.

Association croquet for existing golf croquet players, with Jim - date to be arranged.

Association croquet each Thursday evening in May from 6:30.

Annual General Meeting 2009
The 2009 AGM was held on 13th November at Bernardine's house in Blewbury. Twenty-three members attended, the formalities were dealt with, a number of questions were discussed, volunteers were appointed to the various old and new jobs, and an hour and three-quarters later we settled down to very welcome puddings and drinks.

The complete Minutes of the 2009 AGM are here.

Blewbury Croquet Club