Croquet B League v Surbiton, Monday 10th May

We welcomed Surbiton to our first B League AC match of the season. The rain welcomed itself too, but soon went away, and conditions remained blustery with sunny intervals.

First up was the doubles: Steve Edney (12) and Tom Eddy (16) for Ember versus Steve Parish (12) and Val Hitchens (22). Val is new to AC but quickly showed us she could hit in and run hoops. Tom got some early chances to proceed which he took well, matching Val. Then Steve E got going and breezed in typical fashion round to 3-back before getting unstuck. Ember were well in front by this stage and Steve P had struggled to get into a rhythm. Then with just over thirty minutes to go he managed to use his one-ball skills to string a break together. After a few more short breaks Surbiton inched ahead by one. Steve E was back on and could take the last hoop (he could not peg out, as this was a handicap game and both balls need to be at Rover). As the three hours and a quarter were up, the game went to a golden hoop – first team to run their next hoops wins. Steve E finished his turn giving Surbiton a difficult hit in and Tom a chance of an eight foot roquet near his next hoop. Surbiton narrowly missed so Tom took to the lawn for the match….

Narrow miss! Ember had no bisques but as it was after time could not use them anyway, so up stepped Steve P to wrestle victory away from Ember – Ember 18, Surbiton 19.

The afternoon games matched Roger Stearn (14) for Ember against Alan Grundy (14) of Surbiton; and Simon Charrington (16) versus Elizabeth Kennedy (14). Simon got off to a flying start and got his first ball round most of the way using only three of his ten bisques. Elizabeth could not get going and Simon ran out the winner 26-8. Similarly Alan struggled to set up four ball breaks as opposed to Roger who used his bisques sensibly to breeze through to a 26-7 victory. By the way, if you have read the captions on the photographs, he did manage to get green back through the hoop but it stopped just short of brown.

So Ember came from behind to win the match 2-1. We are looking forward to playing Steve P and co later in the year for the Mike Lambert Annual Memorial Match, if it can be arranged. Interesting fact: Steve P started a new handicap card on the day we played at Surbiton last August. He totted up the number of games recorded, 41, against 29 different opponents. In the same timeframe, I have played just six games against six different opponents, three of which were on that Summer’s day.

Steve Edney 11th May 2021

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