Author Archives: Kathy Wallace

2023 dates

1st April:                         First day of the season.  Soup will be served from 12.00

14-16 April:                      SWF Short Croquet Teams Event

9 May                               OBE Tournament; Manager Libby Howard-Blood

20/21 May:                      May AC Advanced Class Tournament; Manager Kathy Wallace

17/18 June:                     June AC Advanced Class Tournament; Manager Robert Upton

12/13 August:                 AC Advanced Tournament; Manager Marcus Evans

15 August:                       GC B Class Tournament; Manager Steve Durston

2/3 September:              NDCC semi-finals

7-11 September:            Spencer Ell Cup

23/24 September           NDCC Finals

2024 Tournaments and other important dates


30 March:  First day of season

12-14 April: SWF Short Croquet Teams Competition. Liaison with SWF: Kathy Wallace

4-5 May: Nailsea Golf Croquet Championship  manager – Louise Smith, manager

14 May: OBE  – Libby Howard -Blood and Terry Young -managers 

18/19 May: Advanced Class Tournament   – manager Kathy Wallace

15/16 June: Advanced Class Tournament   – manager Robert Upton

20/21 July: GC Home Internationals – liaison with Wales (Ian Burridge), Kathy Wallace

10/11 August: Advanced Tournament -manager Marcus Evans

13 August: GC B Level Tournament -manager Andrew Wimshurst 

24-26 August: GC 3rd Eight, Suzanne Jones Memorial-manager tba by Croquet England

14/15 September: Club semi-finals

28/29 September: Club Finals




B Class Advanced Tournament 6/7 July 2019


The Nailsea B Class Advanced tournament had 10 entries, down from its usual number, like so many other AC tournaments this year. The conditions were perfect for croquet with firm hoops and a good lawn speed. Although most of the players were fairly local, we were delighted to welcome Lorna Dewar and Rosemary Saunders-Robertson who had travelled from Edinburgh to take part. Their high level GC background, was immediately evident as they played very positively and quickly and with delightful fluid action. They ran tricky angled hoops from distance and rarely missed roquets.
The tournament was run as a Swiss using Andy Dibbens’ wonderful Swiss management spreadsheet program. We only used its most basic features as this was strictly 5 separate rounds. However, the fact that it produced pairings for the next round with a simple entry of results and the press of a button was fantastic for the manager. The rankings for each round were based on the results so far. After the first round, the only differentiator, after number of wins, was net points. Subsequent rankings were based on numbers of wins , then numbers of wins against players with maximum wins (n), then wins against players with (n-1) wins etc. Pairings for the next round were then produced according to the usual Swiss algorithm. It was all very transparent and logical – infinitely better than the scribblings and mutterings often associated with pencil and paper methods.
After 4 rounds, Geoff Hughes from Nailsea was in the lead, having won all his games. Lorna and Eric Soakell (Bristol CC) had each won 3 games so there was all to play for in the final round. David Hunt (Nailsea) then beat Geoff but Lorna beat Eric. As Geoff had beaten Lorna in an earlier round, the program declared Geoff Hughes the winner by the closest of margins – he had won their game +1T, So, Geoff took home the Margaret Fleming Shield, a bottle of wine, and also a prize for the fastest win. It was a popular win as Geoff is also an attractive player to watch with his positive attacking play. Lorna was runner up and received a bottle of wine. David Hunt won the prize for the biggest upset. As an 8 he had beaten a 2. Robert Upton (Dyffryn) also received a prize for a speedy finish.
The manager thanked all the Nailsea members who had contributed to the success of the tournament. The lawns team and the hospitality team had provided the customary Nailsea levels of excellence in all areas. Lorna thanked everyone for making herself and Rosemary so welcome and promised that they would return to Nailsea. The photograph shows Geoff Hughes, Club President and tournament winner, presenting Lorna Dewar with the prize for being runner-up.

Kathy Wallace, Manager


The Short Croquet Competition was held on a mainly sunny, although quite chilly, early May day. The lawns were full to capacity with 16 players who were divided into 4 blocks, each with a range of handicaps. Debutant John Hancock was in Block 1. He began by using his handicap advantage over David Hunt superbly well to win by a huge margin with half an hour left on the clock. Kathy Wallace, who was his next opponent, had observed this match and decided that the only way to beat John was to introduce surprise elements. She did this and won – also with half an hour to spare. David Hunt, John and Kathy each won two games but John and Kathy proceeded to the quarter finals by virtue of net points. In Block 2, everyone was pleased to see Jim Gregory back playing Association Croquet after a difficult winter, health-wise. In true Gregory fashion, he won all his games and booked a quarter final place, as did Erica Malaiperuman. Doreen Wallace was very unlucky to lose two of her games by 1 point on time. In the third block, Brian McCausland won all his matches and Terry Young won two, one of them in a very fast time. The final block contained Geoff Hughes who was at a big handicap disadvantage but did manage one win. Libby Howard-Blood won all her games and went into the quarter finals, as did Brian Roynon.

Quarter final results:
Kathy beat Erica 14-9
John beat Jim 14-4
Brian Roynon beat Brian McCausland 11-7
Terry faced his wife Libby and won 14-8

The semi-finals will take place in September. The day was enjoyed by all. Croquet brings together people of all abilities and ages and the handicap system creates meaningful games. To encourage speedy, positive play, the manager offered small prizes to the winners of the fastest games. These were won by John Hancock, Terry Young and Kathy Wallace.

Kathy’s Column Feb 2019

Welcome to the 2019 Season. You may have heard that I have agreed to take over the management of Club AC competitions and to organise the entries and Blocks etc for the Buchanan and Sergeant Cup GC competitions. Linda will continue to take the managerial decisions for these GC competitions and to organise the “on the day” GC competitions.

One change this year is that the level play GC competition which has always been played on a specific (half) day will now run through the season. For this reason, it is listed on the 2019 entry form with the other “through the season competitions”. The manager for this competition will be Ryan Cabble. Ryan hasn’t managed an event before but he is an experienced tournament player. Once the entries are in, they will be split between two classes, according to handicap. The class for lower handicaps will compete for the Marshall Midda Shield while the higher handicaps will compete for the Level Play GC Cup. The split will be made at a convenient handicap point, chosen to ensure two good competitions.

The other change for 2019 is the addition of an extra GC competition for players with handicaps of 7 or above – a Club C Class GC competition. This will take place on a specific day and the date will be announced with the other “on the day” dates.

Linda, Ryan and I will liaise when appropriate and we hope that things will run smoothly, much as usual.

I hope the weather will be kind to us and that we will be able to enjoy our matches. Please be careful not to enter too many competitions. This applies particularly to those who play both Association Croquet and Golf Croquet and also play in multiple league teams. Withdrawal always causes inconvenience to others. It leads to lack of parity between Blocks and it reduces the number of matches for other players who have paced themselves more sensibly.

If you need to play matches in the evenings, please play them before the light starts to be a problem towards the end of the season. It’s not fair or respectful to your opponent to try to squeeze a 26 point AC match or a best of three GC match into an hour and a half on a cold September evening with the light failing.

The handicap tracking sheet for AC handicaps has been very useful. An updated one will appear on the Notice Board for the beginning of the 2019 season. Please continue to help managers and the Handicap Committee by keeping it up to date as and when your handicap changes. The GC version has not been well used to date – please try to make this as accurate as the AC chart by filling it in yourself and encouraging others to do so. Handicap cards should be checked and signed by a member of the Handicap Committee as well, whenever an automatic change takes place.

Dates for the “on the day” competitions will be decided shortly when the other dates on the Calendar have been finalised. Entries for these will be invited about 3 weeks beforehand.

If there are enough entries to our qualifying competition, Nailsea will be able to send players to the Area Finals of the All England Competitions. The entry fee in each case is £7, as charged by CA. The details are:

All England Handicap GC Tournament
Nailsea matches to be played by mid-June
Area Finals at Bath CC on Monday 12 August;
National Final at Camerton and Peasedown CC 14/15 September

All England Handicap AC Tournament
Nailsea matches to be played by the end of July
Area Finals at Camerton and Peasedown CC on 24/25 August;
National Final at Hunstanton CC 7/8 September


To download an entry from for the 2019 Club competitions click here: 

2019 NDCC competitions entry form

C Class Advanced Tournament 23/24 June 2018

In the lead up to the tournament, the main issue was whether or not to cancel. The Nailsea lawns had had a major levelling project which began last September and had been thwarted at every turn by the weather. Endless rain including flash floods, two bouts of snow, freezing cold and then hot dry spells had played havoc with germination so the grass, at best was uneven. Some areas had been underwater continuously for months, leading to colonisation by meadow grass instead of the germination of the rye grass seeds. Then the rye grass got stressed by the June drought (like stressed people, it went grey!) and emergency supplies of high nitrogen fertiliser were dispatched by Duncan Hector and another daily irrigation programme was instigated. At last, the lawns looked green. In spite of several major and minor re-seeding efforts, they still had uneven grass coverage but were pronounced playable and the tournament went ahead. The uneven surface made rushing tricky and balls sometimes bounced, particularly for players whose natural style is to hit down on the balls but at least the Nailsea mini-Mendips had disappeared. The euthanised meadow grass clumps were still there but not causing too much extra grief. Nailsea is renowned for its firm hoops but these were set to a generous eighth and the hoop areas were watered to soften the ground a bit. Conditions were still difficult but, ironically, players at neighbouring clubs were having to cope with glass-like conditions as lawns turned brown in the dry heat.
Once the tournament got underway, the focus of attention soon switched to 17 year old James Galpin. Although he is National Junior Champion, this was his first tournament at senior level. In spite of the difficult conditions, James played confidently and fluidly and won his first ever Advanced Rules match with a rover peel and 4 minutes to spare. In the second and third rounds, James got both balls most of the way round quite quickly but then got becalmed and eventually won them both on time.

With 3 blocks of 4, the semi-finals would be between the Block winners and the best runner up. James, David Hunt (Nailsea) and Philip de Glanville (Bath) had won all their block games. The best runner up slot was far from clear with Peter Dyke (Nailsea) and David Marcus (Southwick) having very similar records in all respects. Peter, as the home player, very nobly stood down to give a place to the visitor. However, David Marcus withdrew from the tournament on the Sunday morning and Peter was reinstated and went on to beat Philip de Glanville. In the other semi-final, David Hunt had led James for nearly 3 hours and was 2 hoops ahead when James began his final turn. James showed huge character by producing his best turn of the day and turning the result round. It seemed written in the stars that the Final would be between Peter Dyke, well known for his successful coaching of juniors and his latest protégé. The weather was scorching and the hoops had become more unfriendly in the dry ground so the match was slow with neither player able to sustain breaks. When time was called, Peter was slightly ahead and on the lawn so hit his ball into a corner when he broke down. For the second time in the day, James had to dig deep and pull off some tricky shots, including a 3 or 4 yard take-off to get in front of 3 back. It was perfect and he ran the hoop to clinch the victory. The two CA handicappers present were in no doubt that James should have his handicap reduced from 7 and they decided upon 4 as a suitable number.
Elsewhere on the lawns, the players were hot but cheerful. Philip de Glanville had played well and smiled all weekend and won the 3rd place play-off. Brian McCausland (Nailsea) won the consolation knockout competition and also the prize for the fastest win – he had pegged out with 12 minutes to spare. Margot Soakell (Bristol) was runner-up in this consolation event and her wins gave her a handicap reduction from 7 to 6. Philip de Glanville and James Galpin won prizes for causing the biggest upsets. In both cases, they were 7s and had beaten two different 5s.
The manager thanked the Nailsea members for their usual superb club spirit in preparing the lawns, producing delicious food and generally being excellent hosts. It was heartening to see so many people enjoying taking their AC game on to the next stage, or in some cases, letting it wind down from dizzier heights! Now that the Nailsea lawns are basically flat, we hope that they will provide superb surfaces very soon.

B Class Advanced Tournament 8/9 July 2017 Winner Andrew Wise

After various dropouts and late additions, we had the full complement of 16 players – perfect for four lawns and with 11 different clubs represented. Players travelled from as far afield as Blackpool, Nottingham, Brighton and Sidmouth to take part in this tournament where matches were played level with Advanced Rules.

The conditions were challenging from the start and got worse. The lawns were green but sufficiently fast that most of the players found if quite difficult to get in front of the hoops. However, the firm hoops, although accurately set to a 1/16, were the main problem for most. There was frustration and disbelief as balls bounced back time after time. As the temperature soared towards 30C, the ground dried out even more, the lawns speeded up and the hoops became increasingly unfriendly.  Completed games with peg-outs were fairly infrequent. Some players found the right technique and ran the hoops effortlessly but the majority struggled.

The star of the Blocks was Nathan Baker from the Fylde club (handicap 4) who won all three matches with two peg-outs. He succumbed, -22, to Andrew Wise (Bristol, handicap 1) in the semi-final but must be very pleased with his calm performance. The other Block winners, all with two wins, were Andrew Dutton (Woking, 1,), John Wells (Cheltenham, 4) and Andrew Wise. John Wells played Andrew Dutton in the other semi-final which was slow and low-scoring, John winning +4T. In the Final, Andrew Wise, showed his experience and skill and put enough breaks together to win the match and take the Margaret Fleming Shield.

The runners up in the Blocks were Adam Moliver (Cheltenham, 2.5), Paul Castell (West Sussex,1.5), Sarah Melvin (Dyffryn, 1) and Peter Nelson (Sidmouth, 3.5). In the semi-finals for their consolation event, Peter beat Sarah and Adam beat Paul. Adam then beat Peter in the final to win a bottle of Merlot.

The prize for the fastest win went to Chris O’Byrne (Reigate Priory, 3.5) with a time of 1h 53min. Frances Ransom (Bristol, 4.5) caused the biggest upset by taking 16 index points from Paul Castell.

The local players from the Nailsea club were Geoff Hughes, Pat Long and Erica Malaiperuman. Although she had the highest handicap of the three, Erica was the most successful, claiming 3 wins from 5 games, all against players ranked higher than her.

The manager thanked the players for their fortitude in the heat and unfamiliar conditions. There was a good spirit throughout and many players expressed appreciation of the opportunity to learn how to run firmer hoops than they usually experience. Others might have preferred to be able to play their usual game! The manager also thanked the Nailsea members who had worked hard to make the tournament a success – lawn maintenance, hoop setting and catering had all been done with the usual Nailsea dedication and hospitality.

Beginners’ Competition 2016

After a season of lessons and sessions organised by Linda, four new players were ready to compete in the Beginners’ Competition.  John Hancock won all his games and claimed the Neuralogica Shield. Peter Soothill won two games and received the Millennium Plate.

John Hancock is presented with the Neuralogica Shield by Brigit Clayton

Peter Soothill receives the runners-up prize - the Millennium Plate

Peter Soothill receives the runners-up prize – the Millennium Plate

Joan Timmins and Michael Powell with John and Peter and Kathy Wallace who acted as a time-keeper

Joan Timmins and Michael Powell with John and Peter and Kathy Wallace who acted as a time-keeper

B Class Advanced Weekend Tournament 9/10 July 2016

Many regulars returned this year and one new face made up the complement of 16 players – perfect for a B Class event at a 4-lawn club. Conditions were less tricky than usual due to a healthy sward and to hoops set in moistened ground. This led to 24 peg-outs  in a total of 40 games with 3 hour time limits and all games double-banked.

The games were mainly very inter-active and provided plenty of spectator interest and entertainment . This was particularly true as 13 of the players were from SWF clubs and the other three were also well known in the local tournament scene.

On Saturday, play was in seeded Blocks of four. In Block 1, Clive Goode ( 0,Nottingham) won all his games but  only pegged out once. Block 2 saw Geoff Hughes (2.5, Nailsea) pegging out in all his games, his fastest time being 1h 46min. Jonathan Wolfe (1.5,Taunton) managed 3 wins with a +1T,  a +2T and a peg-out.  The +1T was a cruel loss for Nailsea’s Pat Long (2.5) as she had gambled, giving Jonathan a point quite late in the game by pegging him out. She had won her other two games so that probably cost her a semi-final place. Block 4 was less clear-cut with Robert Moss (1, Bears) and Stephen Custance-Baker (2.5,Taunton) on two wins each. With no time for a play-off, Stephen was declared the Block winner as he had beaten Robert.

For the semi-finals, the Manager wanted to avoid an all Taunton tie and also to reward Geoff for his three peg-outs so pitted Geoff against Stephen and Clive against Jonathan. Geoff and Clive won their games so proceeded to the Final, leaving the Taunton boys to play for third place. Geoff played positively and creatively and won the Margaret Fleming Shield for the second time in three years.  Meanwhile, Stephen had a clear win over Jonathan and took the bottle of Rammycraft ale for third place.

Another knock-out was arranged for those coming second in their Block. Here,  Caroline Denny (2.5, Bears) beat Pat Long and Robert Moss beat Sarah Melvin.  Caroline then beat Robert in an all Bears consolation final.

The prize for the fastest game (1h 36min) went to Peter Thompson (3 ) from Hull but he donated his ale to Chris Donovan  as a reward for running penult from the north boundary and nearly running rover at the same time. The biggest upset led to an exchange of 19 index points when Robert Upton (7, Dyffryn) beat Chris Donovan (0.5, Budleigh).  Robert  and Erica Malaiperuman earn a special mention as the highest handicap players, winning three and two of their 5 games respectively.

There were no red trousers on show but one of the Dyffryn players wore a red polo shirt which the manager assumed was in celebration of the Welsh success in France. As an avid Burnley and Sam Vokes supporter, she appreciated this gesture and shared the pride.

The sprit throughout the weekend was as cheerful as ever with plenty of self-deprecating humour from those not having success on the lawn. The manager thanked the Nailsea members for their invaluable contributions to the success of the tournament.  Lawn preparation requires considerable effort ,  as does the production of excellent food and an endless supply of tea, coffee and water. The lawns were mown down to 4mm both mornings before play and the surface was even and was running at around 11 Plummers. Although not fast by some standards, it was quick enough to allow the Nailsea hills to do their worst on occasions and deny players their roquets or their hoop approaches.