This page gives the details of this years regional and national competitions that we are entering.  For 2021 this is

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 through to the final of the 2020 Longman Cup but for various reasons including Covid Lockdowns and bad weather on the finals day in October the final wasn't played until 2021 hence its inclusion below.

The draw for the 2021 tournament is here. Our second round match will be against High Wycombe.

First Round v Ealing  Won 3-2 (19th May 2021 @ Ealing)

We travelled to Ealing to play in the first round of the Longman Cup – a repeat of our first round match from last year and the start of the defence of our title!  The Ealing lawns were well presented and flat although not as fast as they had been in the same fixture last year, because of the amount of rain that had fallen.  It had rained heavily in the morning and was due to rain heavily in the afternoon, but with the exception of one very light shower, we stayed dry and indeed lots of the match was played in bright sunshine.

 

In the morning doubles, the Ealing pair failed to get started, Stephen quickly went round to rover, and Derek used St Albans' bisques well to follow and the match closed out +20 to St Albans.  The singles match between two Rogers was much more keenly fought, Ealing Roger put together a good break to build up a commanding lead. In his last go, St Albans Roger needed make a 6 hoop break (to peg) and peel his second ball through a hoop to draw level.  Roger made the 6 hoop break but failed to peel his second ball so Ealing won +1 on time, to leave the fixture level at lunch.

 

In Stephen’s match in the afternoon, after an exchange of multi-hoop breaks Stephen gradually drew ahead with what looked like a commanding lead, but a hampered shot after getting his second ball through rover, left a double target for Ealing and Simon duly hit in, executed a 8 hoop break, peeled his second ball through rover and pegged out to win +2.

 

In Derek’s match he used his bisques productively and achieved a 10-hoop break to pull ahead.  However, having gone through rover, his opponent was in a position to peg his ball out, and after a brief exchange of missed peg out shots, Ealing succeeded in pegging out Derek’s ball.  From this point Ealing were gradually eating into Derek’s lead.  However, using his three remaining bisques Derek got to peg with his second ball and as time ran out his opponent had only got through to penult so Derek won +2 on time, making the fixture level.

 

In Roger’s afternoon match he built an early lead but as the other two matches finished his opponent put in a long break to get round to rover.  However, as time run out his opponent wasn’t able to repeat this with the second ball, meaning, for the second year running, Roger clinched the point that put us through to the second round.

 

Our second round match is a repeat of last year’s final again High Wycombe.

 

Scores (St Albans names first)

Stephen Mills (7) & Derek Lambert (18) beat Simon Tuke (5) & Carol McLoughlin (8) +20

Roger Bowman (12) lost to Roger Mayhew -1(T) 17-16

Stephen Mills (7) lost to Simon Tuke (5) -2

Roger Bowman (12) beat Carol McLoughlin (8) +9(T) 23-14

Derek Lambert (18) beat Roger Mayhew +2(T) 25-23

 
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2020 Final v High Wycombe  Won 3-2 (25th April 2021! @ Surbiton)

 

The Longman Final is traditionally held at Surbiton early in October together with the final of the Interclub Competition (in which some of the country's best players play), however, the 2020 final's day was called off because of torential rain.  The rescheduled final was been cancelled because of lockdown so it wasn't possible to play the final until 2021.

The final was against High Wycombe and played at Surbiton with teams of 3. The St Albans team was Stephen, Roger and Stuart. The morning games saw Roger playing singles and Stephen & Stuart playing doubles. Despite putting together a very good break Roger lost to Ed Olhausen, High Wycombe’s in form best player. In the doubles match the lead switch multiple times with Stephen & Stuart winning by one hoop as time ran out.

In the afternoon’s singles, Stephen rapidly lost to Ed (26-0!), meaning we needed to win both of the remaining matches. Both matches went to time. Stuart’s match was close throughout with Stuart making a 5 hoop break with time running out which proved decisive. In Roger’s match he used his bisques to pull out a 10 hoop lead, High Wycombe gradually ate into that lead, and both teams had 4 ball breaks set-up which if they converted them could have been decisive, however, High Wycombe were unable to close the deficit in their final turn after time had been called meaning that we won the Longman Cup trophy for the first time!

Scores (St Albans names first)

Stephen Mills (6) & Stuart Stafford (16) beat Robin Morrison (10) & Mark Higgins (20) +1 (T) (12-11)

Roger Bowman (14) lost to Ed Olhausen (9) -11

Stephen Mills (6) lost to Ed Olhausen (9) -26

Roger Bowman (14) beat Robin Morrison (10) +4(T) (17-13)

Stuart Stafford (16) beat Mark Higgins (20) +5(T) (22-17)

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The Secretary's Shield

This is a tournament for the winners of the previous year's regional federations' tournaments.   It is normally played with teams of four with one doubles and two singles in the morning and four singles in the afternoon.

We're in the 2021 Secretary's Shield competition because there was no federation tournament in 2020 and we won in 2019.

 

The draw for the 2021 tournament is here. We got a bye in the first round, so our first match will be against Tyneside on the 26th July at Nottingham.

                                                 

Herts-Beds League

This is a team tournament for the croquet clubs within the Herts-Beds area, in 2021 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 for 2021 is here.  Our next match is at home against Wrest Park.

 

12th May 2021 v Letchworth  Won 4-2

Our first match in the Herts & Beds League was away against Letchworth.  Our team was Heather, Stephen, Roger and Derek playing in his first league match.  The morning matches consisted of two doubles; in Heather and Stephen’s game the handicaps matched precisely so neither side had bisques, neither side made major breaks and after initially being down Heather and Stephen pulled out a substantial lead only to see it clawed back to turn it into a finally balanced match.  Both sides had multiple opportunities to win the match but eventually Letchworth pegged out and won by 3 hoops.  In Roger and Derek’s match, Roger made a brilliant break only using 3 bisques to go round to rover, Derek made good use of his bisques to get round to peg and the St Albans pair won by 2 hoops as time ran out, leaving the match level 1-1 at lunch.

 

In the afternoon Roger used his bisques well making two good breaks which took him all the way round and quickly won his match.  Heather’s won her game next, leaving St Alban’s 3-1 up and unable to loose the overall match.  Stephen’s and Derek’s matches finished almost simultaneously.  Derek had used his bisques to pull out a significant lead, but his opponent overhauled him when the bisques ran out.  Stephen led from the start and put together a number of 4-5 hoops breaks after his opponent blobbed twice in hoop one, to win the game which meant St Albans won the match 4-2 overall.  Many thanks to Derek for acquitting himself well in his first match.

 

Heather Bennett (3) & Stephen Mills (7) lost to Jeremy Scott (3) & Colin Davies (7) -3

Roger Bowman (14) & Derek Lambert (18) beat Robert Skeen (4½) & John Noble (6) +2(T) 23-21

Heather Bennett (3) beat Jeremy Scott (3) +14

Stephen Mills (7) beat Robert Skeen (4½) +14

Roger Bowman (14) beat John Noble (6) +19

Derek Lambert (18) lost to Colin Davies (7) -12

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6th June 2021 v Northampton  Won 3-1

Our second match in the Herts & Beds League was at home against a strong Northampton side.  This was our first home match in over two years!  Our team was Jon, Stuart and Derek. 
 

In the morning singles, Lionel (-1) took the lead with an effortless 10 hoop break. Stuart took advantage of his forest of bisques, and a few mistakes from Lionel, to fight back to just 21-19 down, but Northampton took the match 26-19.

 

Progress in the doubles was slower, with defensive play and no significant breaks. Derek and Jon led from start to finish and won 22-13 on time, with half a bisque in hand, to leave the scores level at lunch.

 

Jon found his form in the afternoon singles, putting together a few good breaks and winning 26-8 with over an hour to spare, and secure at least a draw.

 

In the doubles, Stuart and Derek used their bisques to build a strong 23-7 lead, with a nine hoop break from Stuart, and Derek achieving the unusual feat of running two hoops from croquet strokes. However, Lionel struck back with another substantial break, this time from 4 to peg, and pegged out Derek. Northampton were then able to make a succession of wired leaves and single hoops to cut our lead further, before a missed roquet after penult. Stuart hit in and finished to claim the match for St Albans 26-23.

 

Scores (St Albans names first)

 

Stuart Stafford (12) lost to Lionel Tibble (-1) -7 (19-26)

Jon Palin (1½) & Derek Lambert (18) beat Nick Evans (1) and Jane Evans (12) +9(T) (22-13)

Jon Palin (1½) beat Nick Evans (1) +18 (26-8)

Derek Lambert (18) & Stuart Stafford (12) beat Lionel Tibble (-1) and Jane Evans (12) +3 (26-23)

 
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