Ember Croquet played Ealing on 7 September 2019 in a friendly fixture. It would have been an SECF B League match, but Ealing could not field an eligible team. Ember therefore were assured of victory, recorded as a 3-0 win for the official record.
Bob (18 handicap) and Roger S (20) took on Simon (6) and Ruth (18) in the morning doubles. Simon managed to hit in to our joined-up pair on his first shot onto the lawn and after a bit of manoeuvring got his team’s balls set up for his partner at hoop 1. Seizing his chance and using our first bisque Roger ran hoop 1, and then hoop 2 and on to Rover using four bisques in the process. A not unfamiliar start for Roger!! Ruth got round to hoop 3 with the help of a bisque and Bob got started also round to hoop 3. We were then treated to a master class of tactical play from Simon who planned to take his ball all the way round having peeled Roger through Rover with the intention of pegging him out. Fortunately for Ember, the turn broke down at 2-back. Bob bided his time waiting for the opportunity to get the lawn set for a four-ball break. Eventually the moment arrived and using all but two of our bisques he got round to the peg, and tried to set up Roger to run Rover and peg out. Unfortunately, he left his ball just out of position, and we were at the risk of disruption if Ruth had been able to hit in using her side’s last bisques. Luckily, she failed with her attempt and Roger used our last two bisques to run Rover and peg out. A 26-10 win for Ember.
We had lunch outside the Croquet Pavilion as Bowls were holding their finals weekend. Margaret Dollimore provided a delicious chicken dish, accompanied by ham, salad, cheeses, and bread. For dessert, she supplied a glorious fruit flan. Everyone got stuck in and then we remembered we had to play croquet again.
In the first singles, Steve (12) took on David (14). Steve took a bisque to set up a 4-ball break and skipped round with black to peg in no time at all (just one blob on a hoop run, so a second bisque taken). David had a few goes and with a number of bisques, managed a few hoops with both balls but never succeeded in setting up a lasting innings. Soon enough, Steve had another turn, and again with one bisque, the balls were reasonably well setup for another long innings. Not long after the game was over, Steve had won using only four of his six bisques, by 26 points to 6.
Steve timed his game perfectly to leave the lawn as victor to a celebratory tea and fabulous fruitcake (made of course by Margaret). The Ember players were in sparkling form, as was the food! Ealing, although starved of success on the croquet lawn, enjoyed the sustenance.
Roger D (9) took on Colin (6) in the final singles game. Colin started with a standard east boundary layup with Roger opting for a west boundary tice with the first ball. Roger then hit in on Colin’s balls on the east boundary with his second shot, and proceeded via his own ball on the west boundary to run the first hoop, only to stall on the second (as usual). the game then became a bit of cat and mouse until Roger made a break from hoop 2 too 1 back. Colin made a couple of hoops then Roger made the break from 1 back to rover. More jousting and Colin making a few hoops in ones and twos with Roger making rather better progress to 2 back. Colin then missed a long hit in and with Roger on 2 back and Rover with one bisque remaining Colin decided to concede the game. 18 to 14 win to Ember.
This result means Ember won 3-0 and have won all four matches in the competition. With all other teams reporting at least one loss, except Caterham who have won two with two games unreported, Ember might be in the frame to at least draw a victory in the SECF B League. Well done team!