We are delighted to announce that we shall soon receive a grant under the Members’ Community Allowance funding scheme of Surrey County Council, towards the cost of our new security shutters. This has been made possible by the generous sponsorship of Councillors Peter Szanto and Nick Darby.
Over the coming months, following approval by
the recent Management Committee meeting, we shall be implementing this project,
together with new flooring and internal doors, as well as considering what
additional projects we may be able to undertake, including new seating and
As their season was drawing to a close Ember’s bowlers took the opportunity to give Sport England a ‘Thumbs Up Thank You’ for their £3,500 support grant from the Community Emergency Fund (CEF).
Ember were facing a difficult year financially due to the Covid-19 lock-down. The loss of all fixtures, social events and internal competitions meant a shortage of funds needed to cover essential green maintenance and renovation programs. However the CEF grant to cover the operational and maintenance costs incurred during the lock-down period will enable the autumn and winter works to progress, leaving the club in a healthy position as it looks forward to next season.
The autumn renovation work starts this week and any help that members can give to complete the work will be most welcome.
The final was played today (Saturday 19th September) between our two freshest faces, Roger Stearn and Simon Charrington. Roger S had managed to win against Roger Dollimore and Tom Eddy on his way to the final, whilst Simon had squeezed past 2019 champion Steve Edney in his semi.
Roger played red and yellow, and Simon black and blue. Simon got the first hoop but then Roger quickly responded with a tremendous peel using both his balls. Unfortunately Roger could not capitalize and Simon nervously managed to progress to 9-2, before Roger got his next chance at a hoop. He clawed his way back to 5-9, but without finding his usual flow.
A couple more hoops were traded, so it was 12-6 to Simon when he got into his rhythm and pushed the black round nicely a few hoops. He was playing with a swagger but his best innings came to an end with 5 hoops added. Soon it was 17-7 and Roger was still not firing. He got another hoop but decided not to risk another hoop setting up yellow to run hoop 4 with red as its pilot and hoping Simon could not hit in. Of course he can! But hold on, he misses a simple roquet letting Roger back in to get a couple more hoops, 10-17.
Again Roger cannot string too many hoops together so once more sets up hoping Simon cannot repeat a long hit in. This time he cannot, so can Roger get going this time? He runs a hoop but in such a way he cannot hit the pilot so yet again he has to retreat.
Time is running out (both players had agreed to a 3 hour timed game rather than to the death), and the game gets even more tentative. Roger is on 13 and Simon on 19. Looking at how many hoops Roger could run, Simon calculated he needed one more hoop to be safe. He was playing blue and pushed black into the north east corner. Attempting to put blue in the south east corner, he sliced it off into the Tennis ditch giving Roger one last chance (the bell had now sounded). Roger had a tough 12-footer, yellow to blue, but unfortunately missed, so that was it… Simon is the new open champion, winning 20 points to 13.
Here are some statistics about this game:
There were 345 shots played in the match. Simon had 217 shots and Roger 128.
They had just over 30 turns each. Simon averaged 7 shots per turn, with his longest innings (turn) amounting to 38 shots, scoring 5 hoops. Roger averaged 4 shots per turn and his longest innings was only 15 shots.
Both players have regularly been running 11 hoops for fun, but this was a final, so a mix of nerves and cagey tactical play brought this down.
Simon was more successful today at hitting in (roqueting) with a success rate of 83% compared to Roger’s 70%. This proved to be the difference, as Roger had a hoop run percentage of 93%, whereas Simon blobbed a few resulting in a 77% success rate.
Roger had 43 croquet shots, 14 of which were roll shots. Simon chose to roll 23 times out of his 84 croquet shots. This points to Simon finding better positional shots today.
I am sure these two will have many more tussles like this over many years to come. It’s testament to Roger Dollimore’s excellent coaching that we have a couple of fast improvers on our books.
I enjoyed watching it anyway!
Steve “Statto” Edney
19th September 2020
PS. Ooh I said I would include a graph or two… (note Simon ran the same hoop twice because he put the clip on the wrong hoop!)
In a truncated season largely devoid of competitive bowling it was great to see 25 Bowlers, formed into eight teams, competing in a 2-wood triples competition last weekend.
The winning team of Adam Willson, Mary Baker & Aneta Thompson beat Mike Cutts, Enid Gray & Tony Bettsworth in the final. The Plate competition for first round losers was won by Malcolm Baird, Sally Brown & Jim Byrne who beat Tony Baker, Mary Tidmarsh & Anna Hughes.
The competition was played in good weather under Covid-19 playing regulations. As usual the matches were highly competitive.
The day ended splendidly with Pizza slices prepared by Linda Pillman. Well done to everyone involved in the day
The final of the COVID H/C SINGLES was played with in front of a small but enthusiastic group of spectators. The competition followed World Cup formats with a round-robin group stage followed by a final knock-out round: all played under Covid-19 sanitising and social distancing procedures.
The grand final was won by Mike Grimshaw 21 – 11 against Malcolm Studholme, the dark horse who had seen off several lower handicap bowlers on his way to the final. Sadly for Malcolm he came up against Mike on top form.
Both bowlers were presented with a bottle of wine for their efforts and Mike received a Certificate for display in his trophy room.
Roger Stearn had managed to beat stalwart Roger Dollimore on the Saturday, and progresses to the semi-final against last year’s valiant runner-up, Tom Eddy. On Monday, it was the turn of fellow rising star, Simon Charrington, to take on the defending champion, Steve Edney, in the first semi-final.
Steve hit in with his second ball (the yellow) but when taking off over to Simon’s black and blue in the opposite corner of the lawn, the red ball ran and just touched boundary line (bit more levelling required in Autumn!). End of turn. This enabled Simon to build a lead and Steve to continually miss long hit ins. Simon got blue round to 3-back and black to hoop 5, and kindly peeled Steve’s yellow he had blobbed earlier for a solitary point. Simon was sailing and Steve consoled himself with drinking his thermos of coffee, answering a couple of texts and having his turn against his mother at UpWords (you can get so much done during a game of croquet, I find).
However, Simon did eventually fail on a shot and gave Steve a sniff to get started on red, which he duly took, at last finding form, and sped round “Ronnie O’Sullivan-esque” running eleven hoops, and setting up to do likewise on yellow. Simon missed a long hit in, and Steve continued his rich vein of form running yellow round UNTIL… inexplicably, he lost his balance on an easy roll on 3-back. Calamity, but never mind, he could limit the damage by just knocking yellow into the corner, 5 yards from red, at 4-back.
Simon managed a great hit in, black to blue, so he did a take off into the corner. Nicely positioned to rush red to hoop 5. A valiant effort on the roll but not close enough so he joined up with blue. Steve tried to hit yellow, missed, but was safe back in the corner. This was repeated three times until Simon finally ran black through hoop 6, and brilliantly manufactured a couple more after that.
Simon’s turn ended when he could not get position on the next hoop, so Steve had a go with yellow. First attempt, a weak final take off meant he was unable to run the hoop. Simon couldn’t hit in so Steve tried again, this time perfectly in front of the hoop, three feet away. The ball shook against both uprights and doggedly refused to go through. End of turn.
Simon then managed to progress bit by bit until he took the lead. Steve still had chances but could not take them, returning back to his jittery early-game form.
Simon gave Steve one more chance, blobbing blue at the last hoop, with black on the peg. Steve played a take-off with yellow off red on the north boundary trying to get to the south side of blue to push it out. It was too short, but immediately Steve felt he should dislodge blue even if it went through for the chance to rush black to 3-back. He missed the twelve-footer, giving Simon an easy opening to finish the game.
After that, Simon maintained his composure and pegged out as the deserved winner. Well done Simon.
It was a great game, and it could have gone either way. It epitomised Steve’s inconsistent form and it confirmed Simon’s rapid rise this season.
Who will Simon meet in the final? The favourite surely is Roger Stearn, who like Simon, has really come on leaps and bounds this year. However, Tom is certainly no pushover and of course has years’ more experience. Whichever way it goes, there will be a new name on the Ember Croquet Club Open Singles Rose Bowl this year.
From scorching heat to dowsing rain the lawns are in pretty good shape as the close season approaches and we race to get those competition matches played. There is certainly all to play for in the Open Singles, so do get those games arranged with a view to the final being played on or before Sunday 20th September.
The highlight of the month was our friendly match versus Surbiton CC, the inaugural Mike Lambert Memorial Trophy, reported here: https://www.embersportsclub.org.uk/2020/08/18/mike-lambert-memorial-trophy-v-surbiton-17-august-2020/ Well played to All, and thank you to Steve Edney for his excellent portrait of Mike, and also to our magnificent hosts at Surbiton. Our 6 – 3 victory belied the closeness of the match, with two of the nine games going to just a one point difference, in our favour. Mike was surely looking down on us and chuckling.
The committee are in the process of updating the ECC COVID-19 precaution measures in line with updates from the CA. These will be issued shortly. The main changes, all subject to continuing to maintain essential social distancing, are: double-banking is permitted on the main lawn (providing there are no more than six players on the lawn); and a review of the total number of people who can be at the club at any one time.
It would be nice, if we can make it work, to have had at least one third-Sunday-of-the-month social barbeque, or picnic, at the club before the season closes. If it happens, the date would be Sunday 20th September. We’ll keep you posted by email.
We shall soon need to start our late-summer and autumn programme of maintenance tasks. Thank you, in anticipation, to those who are able to help and, indeed, who have helped throughout the summer to keep everything in order.
As a tribute to Mike, and also to get some game time away from Ember, we arranged a match against Mike’s other croquet club, Surbiton, which boasts seven lawns (plus the bowls green, which they get to use for championships).
Our team was Steve Edney (captain), Roger Stearn and Simon Charrington. We each played three open singles (no bisques) against three Surbiton players.
Steve versus Cliff Hunter, won 21-20, coming from 4 behind after the bell had sounded;
Steve v Steve Parish, lost 22-15, never really got going, canny player;
Steve v Elizabeth Kennedy, won 26-13, we were both worn out by then but I was relaxed enough to rely on auto-pilot to get me round.
Roger v Elizabeth, won 26-9, romped home enjoying it immensely;
Roger v Cliff, won 26-10, another romp!
Roger v Steve Parish, lost 26-12, like Steve E, just couldn’t get going against a wily opponent.
Simon v Steve Parish, won 15-13, got Steve P before he’d properly warmed up but well deserved tight win;
Simon v Elizabeth, won 15-14, another squeeze for Mister Chairman;
Simon v Cliff, lost 21-15, run out of steam perhaps, though Cliff certainly improved through the day.
So we managed to win the first, we hope, of many competitions in honour of Mike. Steve had painted a portrait of Mike, in tribute to their other shared hobby, as a temporary trophy (see photos below). It was a most enjoyable day and our hosts were magnificent. Thanks especially to Barry Holland who arranged the event and to Andy Dibben, the Surbiton Chairman, who came and said hello, watched a lot of the games, and invited us to a one-ball next week.
The article appears in the Friday 17th July edition of the paper. The text is shown below:
“EMBER Croquet Club say they can now “look forward in confidence” after being awarded £908 of National Lottery funding from Sport England’s Community Emergency Fund, towards the club’s essential running and maintenance costs during the ongoing Covid19 pandemic. The outbreak of the virus and the consequent shutdown of businesses as of March 23 has left the sport and physical activity sector facing a period of uncertainty. In response, on March 31 Sport England announced a £195 million package to help the sport and physi cal activity sector. Within the package is a $20m Community Emergency Fund, of National Lottery money, to deliver immediate funding to those who have a role in supporting the nation to be active, but are experiencing short-term financial hardship or the ceasing of operations due to the impact of coronavirus. The grant will allow Ember Croquet Club, who are based in Weston Green, Esher, to cover insurance and essential lawn care and mainte nance costs over the spring and summer months. This will make a big difference to this small club, meaning that with their otherwise much reduced income this season they shall never theless be able to maintain the health of their lawns, without signifi cant setback, which is crucial for playing. Chairman of Ember Croquet Club Simon Charrington said: “The support from Sport England Community Emergency Fund is very gratefully received here at Ember Croquet Club in these exceptional times. “We are pleased that our budget for essential lawn care, maintenance and other costs is now covered for the early summer months and we can look forward with confidence with all in good order. “The club lawns, toilets and bar facilities have progressively opened in line with government guidance; and an increasing number of members are now playing as lockdown has eased. We enjoy introducing less experienced players to the finer arts of this fascinating game and wel come prospective new members.” Tim Hollingsworth, Sport England’s chief executive, said: “As the body responsible for the growth of sport and physical activity participa tion, we want the vital grass-roots organisations that make sport and physical activity happen in this country to not just to come through this crisis but to be in a position to thrive again in the future. “The £20m Community Emergency fund, made possible by National Lottery players, is part of a multi-million pound package of support we are providing to ease the pressure on a huge number of the organisations who are central to the nation’s health and well-being. “We are proud to be able to provide vital funding to Ember Croquet Club to help it through these extremely challenging times.” For more information about joining the club, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 07917 017 453.”
Following the relaxation of guidance Monday’s Club Nights are back from tonight. Although Social Distancing is still the order of the day the Clubhouse and Bar will be open and tables and chairs will be available for a drink and a chat. And there will be the usual roll-up. Come and join us.