AC Association Croquet

Friendly Since 2003, each season the Club has arranged a 5-day tour of the South West region with matches against different clubs in the region each day, and with 4 nights staying at Butcombe Farm, a local B&B.

Tour organiser: Mark Homan.

The 2006 tour started as usual at Swindon, where this year the hosts had combined forces with the neighbouring club at Kington Langley. Watford had never won at Swindon in previous tours, and after going down 1-3 in the morning the prospects of changing that record did not look very bright. But in the end four close games in the afternoon all went Watford's way, and Watford emerged with their first match win.

Bristol and Nailsea both fielded teams which matched the Watford teams quite closely on handicaps, so several of the games at both venues were played Level Advanced rather than Handicap. Both clubs had fast lawns after a long dry summer, the lawns at Bristol being especially fast making it difficult to control hoop approaches and shots near the boundaries. As a result all the games at Bristol and nearly all at Nailsea went to time, with both matches being closely contested at 4-6 and 6-4 respectively. Simon Hathrell had a particularly tense finish against Pat Long at Nailsea, where he was 6 hoops down when time was called. Having hit a long roquet he then managed to make 6 hoops on a 3-ball break, falling just short on a long approach to the 7th hoop and so leaving his ball in the jaws instead for a sudden-death finish. Pat then twice made twenty-yard roquets in the rain to extract victory from - literally - the jaws of defeat, nearly thirty minutes after time had been called.

At Taunton Deane the morning went Watford's way, with Simon Hathrell managing a shaky double peel, and two other games going to Watford +1 on time. In the afternoon, however, the fortunes were reversed somewhat with the opponents managing to make better use of their bisques than in the morning, and two other close finishes on time both went Taunton Deane's way leaving Watford once again with a close 6-4 match victory.

At Dyffryn the lawns were still delightfully green and evenly paced. Simon Hathrell and Mark Homan played a doubles game against Sue Mackay and Chris Williams, giving away half a bisque in spite of Chris Williams's formidable -1½ handicap. After starting well and getting one ball round to 4-back, they laid down the challenge to Chris Williams to demonstrate a tpo which he duly rose to (in spite of a false start in which he wasted the half bisque on a missed roquet). In the afternoon Ian Parkinson then captured a notable +26 victory in the singles against Chris Williams without using any of his 4 bisques, a win which turned out to be the only one of the day for Watford who struggled against in-form opponents using their bisques to good effect when they had them.

In addition to the enjoyable croquet games (and the enjoyable Croquet aperitif served at lunchtime at each venue), the tourists continued to use the evenings to develop their encyclopaedic knowledge of the best pubs in the vicinity of Butcombe Farm, and a great time was had by all.

Tour photos by year:
Tour results by year:

Date Opponents Venue Results (Watford names first)
Thu 27 Jul
Swinton Langley
A combined team from the Swindon and Kington Langley clubs

WON 5-3

(Net index points: +20)
Simon Hathrell (3) &
John Bee (8)
lost to Eric Bevan (9) &
Peter Bailey (14)
-5 H
Ian Parkinson (2½) lost to John Airey (8) -25 H
Mark Homan (6) lost to Cliff Cardis (9) -20 H
Bill Gillott (14) beat Jane Hull (10) +5 H
Ian Parkinson (2½) &
John Bee (8)
beat Jane Hull (10) &
Chris Marjason (16)
+3T H
Simon Hathrell (3) beat Cliff Cardis (9) +3 H
Bill Gillott (14) beat Eric Bevan (9) +4T H
Mark Homan (6) beat Peter Bailey (14) +3 H
Fri 28 Jul Bristol Away

LOST 4-6

(Net index points: -19)
Ian Parkinson (2½) lost to Margaret Peña (4½) -2T H
Simon Hathrell (3) beat Frances Ransom (3½) +9T =
Mark Homan (6) lost to Hamish Hall (4) -1T =
John Bee (8) lost to Deirdre Duggan (11) -1T H
Bill Gillott (14) lost to Lisa Jones (6) -7T H
Ian Parkinson (2½) beat Frances Ransom (3½) +2T =
Simon Hathrell (3) beat Hamish Hall (4) +13T =
Mark Homan (6) lost to Margaret Peña (4) -4T =
John Bee (8) lost to Lisa Jones (6) -2T H
Bill Gillott (14) beat Deirdre Duggan (11) +9T H

Handicap change: Simon Hathrell 3 to 2½
Sat 29 Jul Nailsea Away

WON 6-4

(Net index points: +17)
Ian Parkinson (2½) beat Pat Long (4½) +1T H
Simon Hathrell (2½) beat Peter Dyke (6) +3T H
Mark Homan (6) beat Greta Stringer (3½) +19 H
John Bee (8) lost to David Hunt (14) -21 H
Bill Gillott (14) lost to Geoff Hughes (5) -1T H
Ian Parkinson (2½) beat Greta Stringer (3½) +3T =
Simon Hathrell (2½) lost to Pat Long (4½) -1T =
Mark Homan (6) beat Geoff Hughes (5) +2T =
John Bee (8) lost to Peter Dyke (6) -19T =
Bill Gillott (14) beat David Hunt (14) +1T =
Sun 30 Jul Taunton Deane Away

WON 6-4

(Net index points: +20)
Ian Parkinson (2½) lost to Roger Howe (7) -21 H
Simon Hathrell (2½) beat Roger Buckley (12) +26 H
Mark Homan (6) beat Basil Mann (12) +9 H
John Bee (8) beat David Gross (14) +1T H
Bill Gillott (14) beat Paul Bunch (16) +1T H
Ian Parkinson (2½) beat Derek Beard (5) +24 H
Simon Hathrell (2½) lost to Paul Bunch (16) -13 H
Mark Homan (6) lost to Roger Buckley (12) -2T H
John Bee (8) beat Basil Mann (12) +8T H
Bill Gillott (14) lost to David Gross (14) -1T H
Mon 31 Jul Dyffryn Away

LOST 1-7

(Net index points: -40)
Simon Hathrell (2½) &
Mark Homan (6)
lost to Chris Williams (-1½) &
Sue Mackay (11)
-11tpo H
Ian Parkinson (2½) lost to David Scott (4) -3T H
John Bee (8) lost to Jim Clancy (12) -9 H
Bill Gillott (14) lost to Marian Clancy (16) -16 H
John Bee (8) &
Bill Gillott (14)
lost to David Scott (4) &
Marian Clancy (16)
-19 H
Ian Parkinson (2½) beat Chris Williams (-1½) +26 H
Simon Hathrell (2½) lost to Sue Mackay (11) -26 H
Mark Homan (6) lost to Jim Clancy (12) -22 H

Statistics (Watford players)
Name Singles
Ian Parkinson5-41-06-4
Bill Gillott5-40-15-5
Simon Hathrell5-30-25-5
Mark Homan4-50-14-6
John Bee2-51-23-7
H Handicap
= Level Advanced