It is four months since the last Newsletter. Either I am getting lazy or there hasn't been much to comment on. Or a bit of both. But it has been a tunny sort of winter so far - some fine days, quite a bit of rain and more really cold days with our bird-bath completely iced up than I can remember in my thirteen years in Cornwall up to now. A hardy bunch of enthusiasts, with Margaret, her wrist back in effective action, giving her version of Eskimo Nell, has frequently been seen playing on Lawn 2 and Colin has been in regular attendance. His supervision and checks on the state of the buildings and lawns has been of great benefit to us all.
The Winter Ladder has provided excuses (reasons?) for a number of games - well worth the trouble that Malcolm has taken with the publishing of the rules, construction of the ladder and provision of the name tags for those who have wished to participate.
Our membership at the end of the '05 season stood at 44 of whom 35 were regular playing members. Not bad going for our first full season, with thanks to all who have helped with recruiting, coaching, encouraging and socialising, i.e. just about every one of us - a fine, team effort! Now we hope that everyone has signed on or will sign on again this year. Have YOU paid your subscription yet?
The Handicap Committee will be meeting before the season starts to discuss the handicaps of all those from 18 to 24 inclusive. Would those of you who are affected please forward your Handicap Cards to me as soon as convenient but anyway not later than 1st March. If you fall within this bracket but do not have a card, please let me know by the same date. Golf handicaps will be allocated at the same time for hi-bisquers. For the others, conversion tables will be published.
The St Austell Town Manager together with Polkyth Leisure Centre organised a Saturday Sports Fair in Aylmer Square for 12 January.
This was to consist of a number of stalls set up by various sports clubs who were keen to proselytise. We found ourselves positioned between the St Austell Bay Archery Club and St Austell Rugby. There was a certain amount of interest and perhaps two or three serious enquiries, certainly enough to make the effort worthwhile. An unexpected outcome was a suggestion from the Archers that we should have an evening's exchange in each direction on convenient days in the summer. This could be an interesting exercise.
The Cornish Guardian caught up with us eventually and published a photograph which might be sub-titled "Beauty and the Beast"! (Note: Pictures not available for website - sorry folks!)
This is scheduled for Sunday, 26 March, at 3 p.m. Venue still to be decided*. (* Polgooth Village Hall)
Please do turn up for this if you possibly can. It is important that everyone has a chance to state their view on the various matters in the Agenda. If you have anything in particular to bring up, ensure it is down as an agenda item by informing the Secretary in time for it to be included. The formal notice of the meeting will be sent to all members in due course.
If you can't come, please let the Secretary have your apologies so we know where we are.
These will be broadly similar to those of last year except that:
o Low Bisquers will be replaced by the Plymouth Cup, played for throughout the summer and open to all though the maximum allowed handicap will be 20 (those with higher handicaps may, of course, play but at 20).
o The President's Cup, a new competition, will be for Level Play.
o There will be a ladder and a block competition for Golf Croquet.
We have entered this year for three competitions run in the South West; the Federation for handicaps below 16, the B League for handicaps 16 and upwards and a new Golf League. These are all supposed to be fun and intended so that players can travel to see other clubs, meet other people of similar standards and enjoy themselves.
We need Team Managers for the latter two. This is not an arduous job, nor does the Team Manager necessarily play in any particular match nor captain the team. He or she merely has to liaise with the other club's team manager and find available players. Volunteers please have a word with me.
The dates of matches are available (except for Golf so far) and will be posted on the Notice Board and included in the Fixture List.
We are entering the Longman Cup again. This is a national, knock-out team competition in which we reached the second round last year.
This does what it says on the tin. Anyone can enter, maximum handicap 20. If we have enough entries, we can run our own preliminary, entering one or two straight into the Area Final. Names to me, please.
Note: It is normally won by a bandit with a handicap of around 12 or 14!
Entry forms for the competitions plus the full 2006 Fixture List will be sent out to all members with the formal notice of the A.G.M. early in March.
The Croquet Association
As you all will know, this is the parent association for croquet throughout England. It co-ordinates and runs competitions, arranges appropriate courses, represents us on international committees, gives grants itself and advises on applications from Sport England and publishes the two-monthly Croquet Gazette. It deserves support from anyone who is interested in the game outside their own backyard. Membership at the top level (currently £28 p.a.) entitles one to enter any sponsored competition at any club.
I strongly recommend membership. Forms are available in the pavilion.
You will probably have realised that my wife gave me a digital camera for Christmas and you are now having to suffer the consequences. I might point out that pictures usually look (even) better printed on shiny paper! (Note: Pictures not available for website - sorry folks!)
Also I apologise for formatting in this document. I have been fighting my computer's desire to change the positions of the photographs and play around with the headers and footers. I have completely mislaid the header for page 1. Anyone finding it, please return it to me.
Tony Backhouse 23 January, 2006.