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This page gives the details of this years regional and national competitions that we are entering.  For 2023 this is

We're not eligible for the Secretary's Shield this year.

This year we also started playing interclub GC matches with a friendly against Wingrave.

Longman Cup

This is a nationwide handicap inter-club tournament for teams of four with handicaps between 3.5 and 20. This is normally played with teams of four when one doubles and two singles are played in the morning and four singles in the afternoon.  

St Albans won the 2020 Longman Cup.  We were knocked out in the first round in 2022.

The draw/table for 2023 is here Our next match is against Nottingham in the quarter final.

20th June 2023 v Shrewsbury  Won 5-2

The St Albans team of Stephen, Roger, Brian and Andrew travelled to Kenilworth to play Shrewsbury in the 2nd round of the Longman Cup.  The weather was not kind, and it was raining steadily as both teams arrived.  The Kenilworth lawns are well drained however, and play started at 11am on one lawn for the singles and 11:30 on the other for the doubles.

The morning was not kind to St Albans, going 2-1 to Shrewsbury

  • In his Roger’s singles game he struggled to find his form in the wet. As the lawn dried, already 10 hoops behind, he suddenly got started with a 7-hoop break and was 1 hoop ahead with 3 minutes to go. David from Shrewsbury however made 2 hoops which Roger couldn't match and Roger lost 16-15 on time.

  • In Brian’s singles game he used his bisques to get his first ball part of the way round, but his opponent got in, established a lead and never really let Brian back in.

  • In the doubles Andrew got his ball all the way to Rover, which was matched by James from Shrewsbury.  After that the game became very scrappy, Stephen losing all of his form which meant there was only one hoop in it for most of the remaining time.  With time running out Stephen managed to find a 3 hoop break to win the match.


In the afternoon the lawns were still very slow from the rain but the weather was clear and there were some signs of sunshine.

  • In Roger’s second singles game he hit in from 25m and made a 10-hoop break using his only bisque. His opponent seemed overwhelmed and could not find the form he showed in his earlier game. Roger relaxed, made a further break of 7 hoops and won +20

  • Brian used his bisques to get his first ball around with a four-ball break and then successfully shut his opponent out whilst running the remaining hoops to win +21

This left St Albans needing one more game to take the fixture.  Stephen’s and Andrew’s games finished almost simultaneously.

  • In Stephen’s game he found some of his form, but the game remained scrappy.  Stephen managed to pull out a lead of 13 hoops through a series of small breaks which used up most of the time.  However, his opponent’s form returned in the last 15 minutes of the game, but he fell short when needing a 4 hoops break plus a peel in the final turn of the game leaving Stephen to win +4(T)

  • In Andrew’s game he got his first ball to rover using his bisques and two 4-ball breaks.  His opponent matched the feat, but Andrew made a series of small breaks to win the match +8.


Overall a clean sweep in the singles and a 5-2 victory.     


Scores (St Albans names first)
Stephen Mills (4) & Andrew Apps(20) beat James Handley (4.5) & Barbara Edwards (10) +3(T) 19-16
Roger Bowman (11) lost to David Hart (14) -1(T) (15-16)
Brian Johns (18) lost to Phil Extance (10) -14(T) (11-25)

Stephen Mills (4) beat James Handley (4.5) +4(T) 22-18
Roger Bowman (11) beat Phil Extance (10) +20
Brian Johns (18) beat Barbara Edwards (10) +21
Andrew Apps (20) beat David Hart (14) +8

WhatsApp Image 2023-06-20 at 21.07.51 (3).jpeg
WhatsApp Image 2023-06-20 at 21.07.51.jpeg


2nd August 2023 v Nottingham  Lost 6-1

The team of Roger, Stuart, Brian and Mike travelled to Nottingham to play in the Quarter Final.  It had been raining heavily overnight, and the match start was delayed by the need to squeegee the rain from the doubles lawn and to transfer the singles games to a drier lawn.  Thunderstorms were forecast at 4pm so the games started with a 3-hour time limit.


All bar one game went to time and Nottingham played better than us on lawns which were difficult to control the balls in drying conditions and deserved to win the match.


Stuart and Mike played the doubles which was particularly attritional and the score ended at 14-11 after 3 hours.


In Roger's game against Dave Park, Roger started slowly, allowing Dave to take a lead of 11 hoops after an hour, using all his bisques. Roger then started hitting in, culminating in a 10-hoop break and going 3 ahead. Dave capitalised on some of Roger's errors and was able to draw 2 ahead by time.


In Brian’s game both he and his opponent made shaky starts, with the number of errors preventing any real flow to the match. Brian used his 2 bisques to make a break to hoop 5 and held a small lead for some time. However, his opponent seemed to adjust better to the lawn growing faster as the game progressed, and eventually made a break to Rover. He then successfully shut Brian out whilst making small breaks to extend his lead, eventually winning 17-8 as the 3 hours ended.


In the afternoon singles:

In Roger's game, the Nottingham captain Mick made a stunning start, taking his first ball to peg with only 2 bisques.  Roger managed to hit in, exploit mistakes and make many medium-length breaks, so that after the 2 'time' turns, they were both on peg and hoop 7, leading to a 'golden hoop' situation.  Mick hit in but wasn't quite able to capitalise on it, leaving his ball in the jaws of hoop 7.  Roger hit in and made the hoop, winning by 1.


In Stuart’s game the variable paced lawn meant he was constantly running out of position, (particularly when hitting a wetter patch) and although he ran a lot of hoops from 7 feet, his opponent played very well building breaks of 9, 6 and 4 hoops to eventually win by 11 hoops in the only completed match.


In Brian’s game both players started to make long hit ins on the smooth, fast lawn. However, his opponent found a steak of form, playing some excellent split rushes to grind out a series of 3 ball breaks, leaving Brian's balls split around the lawn, and building a lead of 18-8 when time ran out.


In Mike’s game he lost to an experienced GC player converting to AC. With 15 minutes left Mike had clawed back from 7 hoops behind to be 1 hoop ahead - but his opponent made a 4 hoop break and held on as the clock ran out.


The downpour duly arrived as the match completed and the team entered the pavilion.


Many thanks to Nottingham for their hospitality and providing lunch!


Scores (St Albans first)

Stuart Stafford (10) & Mike Hann (18) lost to Mick Owens (11) & Tom Dewar (16) -3(T)

Roger Bowman (8) lost to David Park (16) -2(T)

Brian Johns (14) lost to Mark Innes (12) -9(T)


Roger Bowman (8) beat Mick Owens (11) +1(T)

Stuart Stafford (10) lost to Mark Innes (12) -11

Brian Johns (14) lost to David Park (16) -8(T)

Mike Hann (18) lost to Tom Dewar (16) -3(T)



Herts-Beds League

This is a team tournament for the croquet clubs within the Herts-Beds area, in 2022 there are six teams playing. Matches are played on handicap, a combination of singles and doubles, between teams of three or four players depending on whether the match is being played at a club with one or more lawns.

We finished 2nd in the table for 2023 which is here.  We were 4th in 2022, 3rd in 2021, but won in 2018 and 2019.

4th May 2023 v Wrest Park  Drew 3-3

The St Albans team of Chris, Stephen, Stuart, and Mike (in his maiden match) travelled to Wrest Park for the first league match of the season.  Although the match was meant to be a ‘home’ match the state of the St Albans lawn meant that the match was switched to Wrest Park and their much better lawns.  The weather forecast prediction was overcast with sunny spells, however, the sun never really came out and Wrest Park’s ever-present wind was a factor in distracting some people.


In the morning doubles, Stephen and Stuart put together a number of breaks and used their bisques to shut out their opponents who only really had one break, winning +20 relatively quickly having used all of their bisques.  Chris & Mike’s match was more finely balanced, with time running out all of the balls were on hoop 10 or 11 with St Albans one hoop ahead. Unfortunately, a missed roquet let Wrest Park back in and they took a ball to peg to win the game +2 on time.


In the singles, Stephen found his form to take both balls round, do a rover peel and winning with 2½ bisques still standing.  In Chris’ match Bryan lived up to his –½ handicap, with Chris never really getting started.  A dodgy chicken leg at lunch impacted Stuart’s playing and whilst he put some hoops together towards the end of the game, John went onto win.  That left our debutant needing to win to salvage a draw.  Mike used his bisques to pull out a strong lead, and whilst his opponent put together some multi-hoop breaks when Mike has reached penult/rover, he held on and pegged out from distance to level the game at 3-3.


A solid draw against last year’s league winners, and particular congratulations to Mike for winning in his first game.  

Scores (St Albans names first)

Chris Frost (3) & Mike Hann (20) lost to Bryan Harral (-½) & Peter Aspinall (10) -2(T) (20-22)

Stephen Mills (4) & Stuart Stafford (10) beat George Collin (-½) & John Bevington (1) +20


Chris Frost (3) lost to Bryan Harral -23

Stephen Mills (4) beat George Collin (-½) +26

Stuart Stafford (10) lost to John Bevington (1) +12

Mike Hann (20) beat  Peter Aspinall (10) +16



31st May 2023 v Watford  Drew 3-3

The team of Heather, Stephen, Andrew and Mike travelled to Watford for another ‘home’ match that we played away because of the state of the lawn.  Watford’s lawns were well presented, and although the morning drizzle had passed by the time we got there, the promised sun never really materialised.


In the morning doubles, Stephen and Andrew managed to keep their opponents off of the lawn for large periods of time, pulled out a lead and went on to win +10.  In Heather’s and Mike’s match it was Watford who pulled out an early lead; Mike used bisques to get round to 4 back, but Watford advanced to peg and peg.  Heather managed to hit in and get to peg and as part of that peeled Mike’s ball through 4-back from halfway across the lawn.  However, a missed roquet let Watford in to win +3.


In the afternoon singles, Heather’s opponent proved too strong but Andrew managed to use his bisques efficiently to shut out his opponent and win 26-0.  In Stephen’s match a four ball break got his first ball to rover, but his opponent hit in, went all the way round, peeled Stephen’s ball and pegged it out, leading to a Watford win.  As with the previous match at Wrest Park this left Mike needing to win to draw the match.  Having pulled out a lead using most of his bisques, his opponent was rapidly making up the deficit, but some audacious hoop runs by Mike on penult and rover and another peg out from distance gave us a drawn match.


Scores (St Albans first)

Heather Bennett (2) & Mike Hann (20) lost to Nick Archer (1½) and Gary Bennett (2½) -3

Stephen Mills (4) & Andrew Apps (20) beat Arthur Reed (3½) and Andre Machell (5) +10


Heather Bennett (2) lost to Nick Archer (1½) -23

Stephen Mills (4) lost to Gary Bennett (2½) -8

Andrew Apps (20) beat Arthur Reed (3½) +26

Mike Hann (20) beat Andre Machell (5) +6



19th July 2023 v Letchworth  Won 5-1

The match started with a few raindrops, but the day quickly turned into a perfect day for croquet: intermittently sunny and cloudy, but little or no wind. The Letchworth lawns are in excellent condition, helped by their new (this year) automatic watering system, which we admired enviously.  

On lawn 1 in the morning Chris and Brian had the luxury of 6.5 bisques but managed to establish an early lead without using any of them, as our opponents narrowly missed a number of long-range roquet attempts. When they did eventually get in, they were unable to get a break going and ultimately Brian had the luxury of having 3 bisques left to make the final hoop and to peg both balls out. The match on lawn 2 was much tighter. Heather made a nice break to get her ball round to rover, but the opponents closed to within 1 hoop with around 30 minutes of the match remaining.  Aided by the judicious use of a carefully saved half-bisque Mike got back in, and some good hoop running led to a 5-hoop win when time was called.

In the afternoon Chris found some form on lawn 1, making 10-hoop and 8-hoop breaks in successive turns. Aided by a fluked rover-peel from about 10 metres away Chris managed to finish his match not long afterwards. On lawn 2 Heather’s opponent was also playing well and Heather couldn’t find a way back into the match after his strong start. Back on lawn 1 Brian used his bisques well to keep his successive four ball breaks going. But, having pegged one ball out and with his second ball very close to the peg, his opponent managed to a hit a long-range roquet to keep the match alive. Unfortunately for him he then managed to croquet Brian’s ball off the lawn with his own two balls well separated. Brian nervelessly hit his ball to within two metres of the peg, and then pegged out when his opponent failed with his next long-range roquet attempt. The final match on lawn 2 was a good battle with Mike establishing a lead, but both players keeping hold of 3 bisques until the later stages to leave the outcome in doubt. Aided by some of his trademark roll-shots and by good hoop running Mike prevailed, running out the winner by 12 hoops.  Many thanks to Letchworth for their hospitality and also to Heather for the excellent cakes.        


Scores (St Albans first)

Heather Bennett (2) & Mike Hann (18) beat Keith Rhodes (3) and Martin King (14) +5

Chris Frost (3) & Brian Johns (16) beat David Matthews (2½) and Jeremy Scott (3) +25


Heather Bennett (2) lost to David Matthews (2½) -23

Chris Frost (3) beat Jeremy Scott (3) +25

Brian Johns (16) beat Keith Rhodes (3) +20

Mike Hann (18) beat Martin King (14) +12



23rd August 2023 v Northampton  Won 5-1

This was our first visit to Northampton’s new lawns, which are actually in the village of Roade, a few miles south of Northampton. The day started with what seemed like our first ever roadworks free trip up the M1, meaning that we arrived more than 20 minutes earlier than ¾ of Northampton’s team! 

Heather and Mike’s match started promisingly for St. Albans, with an early lead established. However, in a match which was always tight, they ended up losing by 2 hoops. On the other lawn Northampton’s minus player started strongly, seemingly effortlessly making 10 hoops in double quick time. Chris used one of our 5 bisques to get started and was then able to make 9 hoops without needing any others, albeit in rather less style. Roger then made a series of short breaks, including running 2-back with his first ever jump shot, but Northampton’s second player responded with a break of his own. With a few minutes remaining all four balls were on penult with all bisques used. Chris hit a roquet to recover the innings, making penult, but seemingly crucially failing to make rover. Northampton’s minus player hit in and made penult as time was called, but left himself hampered and couldn’t make a roquet.  Given a second chance Chris hit another roquet and was able to make the winning hoop.

After lunch an overcast morning turned into a hot and humid afternoon. Mike was the first to finish his match, making a series of breaks to win 26-15. This makes it four wins from four singles matches in the Beds & Herts league for Mike; an impressive first season. Heather’s minus opponent again started impressively, taking his first ball to peg early on, but Heather used her bisques well to eventually win, also by 26-15. Chris’ match followed a similar pattern, Chris falling behind early and also seeing his opponent fluke hoop 4 when shooting at a ball in the middle from corner 2 (the furthest distance it is possible to run a hoop from). Aided by a fluke of his own (a roquet rebound off a hoop) Chris was able to recover, ultimately to win 26-15. Roger started well, using four bisques to get his first ball round and stayed in front for the remainder of the match. When he pegged out to finish the match there was a seemingly inevitable score: 26-15 to St. Albans.

We finished the season undefeated, with two wins and two draws from four matches, thereby finishing runners-up in the league to Wrest Park. Congratulations (and thanks) to all those who have represented the team this year - Stephen, Stuart, Andrew and Brian as well as Heather, Roger, Mike and Chris.

Scores (St Albans first)

Chris Frost (3) & Roger Bowman(8) beat Lionel Tibble (-1) & Mike Hills (2) +1(T) (22-21)
Heather Bennett (3) & Mike Hann(18) lost to Nick Evans (1.5) & Jane Evans (16) -2(T) (15-17)

Heather Bennett (3) beat Lionel Tibble (-1) +11
Chris Frost (3) beat Nick Evans (1.5) +11
Roger Bowman (8) beat Mike Hills (2) +11
Mike Hann (18) beat Jane Evans (16) +11

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GC Matches

18th May 2023 v Wingrave Friendly Lost 3-1

Sarah, Pauline, Stephen and Keith, ably assisted by Jan with some excellent cakes and tea, enjoyed a lovely sunny afternoon on Thursday (18th May ) when we hosted a friendly GC match against Wingrave CC. The first two doubles games resulted in a win for each side, with Sarah and Stephen notably winning by 7 - 1. After some helpings of cake and biscuits, St Albans sadly suffered as the next two doubles games were won by Wingrave. Nevertheless, a good time was had by all, and we might well have a return match later in the year.

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