This page gives the details of this years regional and national competitions that we are entering.  For 2022 this is

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

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.  In 2020 and 2021 teams of three are allowed.

St Albans won the 2020 Longman Cup.  We were knocked out in the second round in 2021.

The draw/table for 2022 is here.  We lost in the first round against Newport (Essex).

26th May 2022 v Newport  Lost 4-3

The team of Stephen, Roger, Derek and Andrew travelled to Newport for the first round of the Longman Cup.  The match was played in dry but windy weather with the lawns being very fast.

In the morning all the games took the full 3¼ hours.  In the doubles Stephen and Andrew pulled out an early lead but neither side managed to put together a long break and went time ran out they were 5 hoops in front.  Derek led for most of his game but his opponent put together a 10 hoop break in the turn after time to win +4.  In Roger’s game as time ran out both players had run 17 hoops, but Roger was set-up in front of the next hoop.  His opponent failed to hit in in the go after time, and Roger made the hoop to win on a Golden Hoop.  So St Albans were 2-1 up at lunch.

In the afternoon singles matches Andrew and Derek’s opponents managed to go all the way round to win their games, meaning that both Stephen and Roger needed to win to secure the tie.  Stephen started well getting his first ball to hoop 9 before his opponent had a run of form to draw ahead, but with time running out Stephen got in and retained the innings eventually winning +5 on time.  In Roger’s match it was fairly even, but his opponent manage to run a hoop in the last few minutes to win +1 on time.

Overall Newport won 4-3

Scores (St Albans names first)
Stephen Mills (5) & Andrew Apps (18) beat Chris Van Essen (5) & John Richardson (16) +5(T) 20-15
Roger Bowman (11) beat Francis Lambert (10) +1(T) 18-17 (Golden Hoop)
Derek Lambert (18) lost to Matt Hardy (10) -4

Stephen Mills (5) beat Chris Van Essen (5) +5(T) 22-17
Roger Bowman (11) lost to Matt Hardy (10) -1(T) 16-17
Derek Lambert (18) lost to Francis Lambert (10) -14
Andrew Apps (18) lost to John Richardson (16) -17

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.

The draw/table for 2022 is here.  Our next match is at home against Enfield.  We were 3rd in 2021, but won in 2018 and 2019.

 
 

9th June 2022 v Wrest Park  Lost 4-2

The team of Heather, Stephen, Roger and Brian (playing his maiden match) travelled to Wrest Park to play our next match in the Herts and Beds League.  The lawns were busy with a Golf Croquet match also being played.  The lawns weren’t quite as fast as we had expected but were still playing well.  Wrest Park again fielded a strong team with handicaps of -½, 0, 1½ & 10 

In the morning doubles Stephen and Roger made good use of their 7 bisques to win their match by 25. After all the balls were put on the lawn there were essentially 5 goes, Roger used two bisques to get his ball round to penult, Wrest Park hit in and made one hoop, Stephen used a bisque to split them up, Wrest Park failed to hit in, and then Stephen used two bisques to take his ball all the way round, peel Roger’s ball through penult, then fluke a peel of Roger’s ball through rover from penult before pegging out, winning the match with two bisques standing.

In the other doubles match Wrest Park’s combination proved two strong, and although Brian made a 7 hoop break, Wrest Park won to leave the match level at lunch.

In the afternoon singles Heather’s match finished first, when Bryan (Wrest Park’s minus player) took his first ball all the way round, Heather took her first ball all the way round, and then Bryan took his second ball all the way round and pegged out.

In Stephen’s game, Wrest Park’s scratch player (George) got round to hoop five with his first ball, then Stephen used bisques to get his first ball all the way round to Rover, and his remaining bisques to get his second ball all the way round (peeling his first ball through rover on the way round).  Unfortunately, on his final approach to the peg he roqueted his first ball onto the peg, pegging it out (a ‘grevious’! – see https://www.croquet.org.uk/?p=games/tech/jargon#G) ending his turn.  This left George with an easy hit in and he proceeded to run a further 10 hoops before Stephen managed to hit the peg with his remaining ball.  The fixture was back level again.

In Brian’s match his opponent proved too strong (and demonstrated some of his Golf Croquet skill by hitting in and running hoops from long distances) but congratulations to Brian for making a solid first appearance in the team!

In Roger’s match he used his bisques to get both his balls through rover (including a rover peel) but he couldn’t peg out.   At that point Roger had a 10 hoop lead but his opponent hit in and proceeded to eat into that lead.  Roger pegged one of his balls out but his opponent managed to get all the way round and peg out before Roger could hit the peg.  Wrest Park won the game +1 and with that the fixture 4-2.

Scores St Albans names first
Heather Bennett (1½) & Brian Johns (20) lost to Bryan Harrel (-½) & Peter Aspinall (10) -17
Stephen Mills (4½) & Roger Bowman (11) beat George Collins (0) & John Bevington (1½) +25
Heather Bennett (1½) lost to Bryan Harrel (-½) -14
Stephen Mills (4½) beat George Collins (0) +11
Roger Bowman (11) lost to John Bevington (1½) -1
Brian Johns (20) lost to Peter Aspinall (10) -20

 

 
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8th June 2022 v Watford  Won 6-0

The team of Heather, Stephen, Roger and Stuart travelled to Watford to play in the Beds & Herts League.  Despite the forecast of showers it stayed dry all day.  The Watford lawns are very flat and much faster than the St Albans lawns (although slower than Wrest Park apparently!).

 

St Albans won both the morning doubles relatively easily with Heather and Roger winning +19 and Stephen and Stuart winning +14.

 

In the afternoon, in Heather's game after an interesting start of 2 pairs of touching balls on the E boundary, Nick took his first ball round to peg. Heather then took her first ball round to peg and pegged out Nick's ball, leaving both 2nd balls for hoop1. After a succession of 2/3 ball breaks from both players, and some very close misses on long hit-ins from Nick, Heather managed to get her 2nd ball round to peg. She missed the long peg-out, so it became a one-ball! After a few more exchanges, Heather finished the game to win +8. 

 

Roger’s opponent never really got started and he won +23, including an 11 hoop break using no bisques on the first ball.  Stephen put together some good 4-ball breaks, including a final 10 hoop break and a rover peel and peg out.  Stuart’s match was much more keenly contested, with chances on both sides, but Stuart eventually won +7.  The 6-0 result will move us up into second in the league.

 

Results St Albans names first

Heather Bennett (1½) & Roger Bowman (11) beat Nick Archer (1½) and Robin Barry (11) +19

Stephen Mills (4½) & Stuart Stafford (12) beat Geoff Johnson (3) & Wendy Spencer Smith (20) +14

 

Heather Bennett (1½) beat Nick Archer (1½) +8

Stephen Mills (4½) beat Geoff Johnson (3) +21

Roger Bowman (11) beat Robin Barry (11) +23

Stuart Stafford (12) beat Wendy Spencer Smith (20) +7

 
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3rd May 2022 v Northants  Lost 3-1

Our opening match of the season was in the Beds & Herts League against Northants who fielded a strong team (including a minus handicap player).  The match was played at home on a rather slow lawn.  The morning games were both over within time with Northants winning the singles and St Albans the doubles. 

 

The afternoon games were much closer affairs with both going to time, St Albans could have won both games in the shot after time, but unfortunately failed in both games so lost the match 3-1. 

 

In the afternoon doubles, with time running out Heather put together an impressive break to get to peg and finished with less than a minute to go meaning St Albans were 2 hoops behind; time ran out in Northants’ turn leaving Derek needing to go through two hoops to draw level, but unfortunately he failed to get the first hoop.  In the afternoon singles, Stephen was a long way ahead, with both balls on rover, with the opponent on rover and hoop 5 when Northants peeled and pegged out one of his balls.  Stephen went for the last hoop with his remaining ball and when that missed Mike from Northants was able to put together a 3 ball break to get his second ball around – however he failed to peg out and left his ball close to Stephen’s remaining ball.  A good roll and making the last hoop would have meant that Stephen would have drawn level (and be in a good position to win), but in way very reminiscent of the Secretary’s shield final, Stephen came up short and blobbed the hoop mean Northants won by one.  If only he’d hid in the corner rather than going for the hoop!

 

Morning

Heather Bennett (1) lost to Lionel Tibble (-1½)  -15

Stephen Mills (5) & Derek Lambert (18) beat Mike Hills (1½) & Paul Chard (16) +10

 

Afternoon

Stephen Mills (5) lost to  Mike Hills (1½) -1(T) (25-24)

Heather Bennett (1) & Derek Lambert (18) lost to Lionel Tibble (-1½) & Paul Chard (16) -2(T) (21-19)