If ever there was an Easter weekend made for croquet, it was this one. At Blewbury CC, players signed up for block rounds of the Roger Cambray handicap one ball tournament. Paul Wolff and Carol Jamieson emerged unbeaten from the preliminaries, with Edmund Shirley and David Long close behind. AfterJoe King gave up his finals spot so he could spit roast beef on his charcoal barbecue, the qualifiers with one win were Brian Jamieson, Susan Tilbrook, Andy Robertson and David Seed.
On Monday morning, the form played true; this quartet went out in the quarter finals. In the semis, Paul and David (Long) beat Edmund and Carol respectively, setting up the big game for the trophy after lunch. Meanwhile Joe was heating up charcoal in a rusty half oil drum he’d converted himself. Spectators watched five kilos of topside revolving slowly under a corrugated hood with at least as much attention as they gave to the croquet.
How delicious it was, served perfectly rare to 26 guests who could hardly believe their good fortune. These who normally wince at the threat of a bbq – burnt burgers, undercooked bangers – were quick to recalibrate and move in for seconds. Steve Fisher’s well-stocked bar was also very popular. Likewise Minty’s salads.
Paul assessed the right measure for afternoon play. Half a glass of beer, his coaching preference ahead of wine; David abstained. Wrong call. A hard fought duel resulted in a + 4 win for Paul, finishing with a laser shot to the peg from 15 metres. Our recently retired chairman received the Memorial Shield from Roger Cambray’s son, Chris, a Blewbury resident who hasn’t followed his dad onto the courts. Not yet,…..
Then it was time for newcomers to Have a Go. With court one set up for short croquet, Joe King and Duncan Sinclair took six never evers through the basics while members renewed old rivalries on court two. A timeless scene marked by the click of well hit balls and the epithets of missed ones. 1950 or 2050? When croquet is at its best, it’s always hard to tell. And MIND will benefit too.