Lucky 23 for Ember at Rother Valley

The Ember Croquet team – Roger Dollimore, Bob Knox, Mike Lambert and Steve Edney – travelled down to Duncton, just south of Petworth in West Sussex for a Croquet B League game against Rother Valley Croquet Club, on 25th June 2019.


A glorious view of the South Downs, as the players “warm up”

Mike (12) and Bob (16), with 8-and-a-half bisques, took on Chrissie (7) and Chris (16), with 6 bisques, in the doubles. Chrissie helped Chris to make good progress while Mike and Bob struggled to get started. Eventually Mike managed to peel Bob through hoop 1 with a hard roll and got both balls almost up to hoop 2. Ember were under way! Chris eventually progressed to Penultimate before the lower handicapped Chrissie tried to get started herself. However,  she had spent too long nursing her partner round and had left too little time for a late charge. By this time Mike and Bob had found their rhythm and as the end of the match neared Bob was on Rover with Mike just a little behind. Ember were now in control and Chrissie could only manage 4 hoops with Chris making no further progress. Bob ended up on the peg and Mike on Rover, with the half bisque unused! The final score was 23-14.

Mike and Bob bide their time, as Chrissie guides Chris
Job done, a justifiably smug doubles pair watch the end of the singles matches

In the first of the singles, Roger (8) played Edward (12), so under the base six rule Roger had 2 bisques 2 and Edward 6. The match got underway very slowly. Only 4 hoops had been run in the first hour while combatants jockeyed for an opening. Then Roger got going with a nine hoop break round to 4 back where he got out of position. Edward meanwhile had used three of his bisques and progressed to 4 and 5. The game then stalled for a while with mistakes from both sides but Roger eventually progressed to penultimate and peg using his last bisque 6 minutes from time to win 23/14 (+9).

Mike watches on admiringly as Roger pulls away

In the final game, a singles match provided the closest contest between Steve and Rother Valley captain Alan, both playing off 14, with 8 bisques apiece.  Steve was off to a great start and moved white round to Penultimate in no time, but, with a few unlucky shots on the rather loose hoops, he squandered a few bisques along the way. Alan made slower progress, only making four hoops in the first hour. Steve got going with the pink ball, but the heat got to him, and the concentration levels waned. Stuck on four back, Steve started to run down the clock but a couple of careless errors let in Alan for a late surge. Steve got a chance to get white on to the peg and pink to penultimate, and Alan ran out of time for a final rally. The score at the bell was 23 – 20 to Steve, phew!

Steve on white, while Alan ponders and Roger pauses

And so in the end a three nil win for Ember. We all managed to get to 23 points, so on this occasion 23 was our lucky number. Thankfully none of lost 26 – 23! Our opponents were a little bit slow in play, which ultimately cost them the opportunity to overtake.

Anyway, after that we rehydrated. Mike did murmur a desire for a glass of wine, but the water was much needed and appreciated. Then we sat down to a fantastic lunch.  I think we were all relieved to stop playing as the heat was rather oppressive, so off we trundled back up the A3, content as victors once again!



B League v Purley Bury (Home)

Thursday 30th May:

Ember 2 – 1 Purley Bury

Pauline, Irmgard, David and Stephen from Purley Bury arrived together nice and early for a prompt start at 10am. We played the two singles matches in the morning, then the doubles in the afternoon. According to new rules this season, all games are to be played with “Base 6” handicap, so Bob, for example, playing off ‘16’ had 10 bisques.

Bob took on David (handicap 11). David shot into a decisive lead, mainly because Bob “could not hit a barn door”. Eventually Bob found some form and edged his way back in, and actually took a narrow lead as they started the return trip. Alas, David pulled away again and pegged out winning 26 -17, with seconds left on the clock (3 hours 15 minutes).

Steve played Irmgard, with a handsome set of 10 bisques each. Irmgard got going first using five bisques to achieve only five hoops. Steve then rapidly consumed five bisques and manoeuvred his pink ball to the peg.  Irmgard ran a few more hoops but used up all but one bisque. Steve proceeded on another long innings, and was on 4 back by the time he had one bisque left. Comfortably ahead, he got the wobbles for a while but the bisque-less Irmgard could not capitalise. Finally Steve got himself together to finish the game and win 26 – 10.

We had a fantastic lunch, supplied by Margaret Dollimore.  Margaret’s cake which was devoured at tea time was absolutely fabulous too. It’s worth playing croquet for the food alone!

Settling in to watch the afternoon match, after a marvellous lunch

In the afternoon, the two Rogers – Roger D playing off 8, and Roger Stearn playing his first external match off 20 – took on Pauline (4) and Stephen (20). The Purley team could not get going, so the first significant push was by Roger S, reproducing his club form, to get his ball round to 4 back, with only a few bisques taken.  After that, Roger D doggedly traded a handful of hoops with Pauline and Stephen, but the clock ran down, leaving Ember comfortable winners on 18 -10.

So, in the end, a conclusive win for the home team. Roger S should be very proud of his first game for the Ember club. Steve needs to slow down and think a bit more at critical moments (he completed his game in half the allotted time). Bob just needs to get that winning mentality back again!

It was a very good day and the Purley Bury players were a pleasure to play against, but WE WON! Hooray!

Purley are in play, but the Rogers are poised.

Photos from our open day

Some photos from our amazing Ember open day today. Thanks to everyone who came down, and to all of our members who helped organise such a great day.

Fingers on buzzers…

Good fun and great fish and chips was had by all at the Ember Quiz night on the 6th Aril! The Drama table headed up by Richard Lyons and Jonathan Clark were this year’s winners – Congratulations!

Get your tickets for the Ember 200 club!

Numbers may now be purchased for Ember’s 2019 “200 Club” which starts on 1st January.  All profits will go to Ember Sports Club and during 2018  I am delighted to report that, thanks to our members’ generosity,  a total of 198 tickets were purchased and we raised over £1,000.  Our most sincere thanks to all those many members who have participated!

For 2019 the basis of the allocation of the prize money will remain the same as for 2018.  There will be three prizes for each draw and draws will be made bi-monthly, the first one being made in February.  The total prize money for 2019 will be paid on the same basis as the present system (50% of the revenue). Thus if 200 numbers were purchased the pay-outs would be as follows (N.B. the prize value would be decreased or increased proportionately if fewer or more numbers are sold):

5 bi-monthly draws (February, April, June, August, & October) with prizes of:

1st    £100   

2nd     £50    

3rd     £20


1 Jackpot draw at Christmas with prizes of:

1st    £200  

2nd   £100

3rd     £50


Do please support the Ember 200 Club –  the cost equates to just £1 per month per number purchased.  If you would like to have a particular number(s) please indicate this on the form.  If this number(s) has already been sold you will be allocated an alternative number(s). The sooner you apply the more likely you are to have your choice of numbers!  And the good news is that there is no limit to how many numbers you can buy!

An application form is attached which please complete and return to me with your payment (either cash or cheque payable to “Ember Sports Club 200 Club” please).  If you have any queries please telephone me on 020 8398 4622 or e-mail me on


Applic form & intro 2019 011218