Eleven Association Croquet players gathered on Saturday 15th April for our traditional curtain-raiser handicap competition at the start of the season, the Applewood Bowl. It was a cloudy start but the lawns were looking in good shape. The remaining small pits just outside the lawns, which were open pending testing of the recently installed irrigation system, were all well-marked and easily avoided by everyone.
The competition started with two rounds of one-ball, which were keenly contested, at the end of which 2 players were on two wins; Hilary Bird and John Bryson with 6 others each on one win. This was followed by the first 14-point AC game played to advanced rules with lifts after hoops 3 and 4. The sun put in an appearance from mid-morning, leading to the shedding of one or two layers. By lunch the only player on 3 wins was Hilary, who had used her 10 bisques carefully to eke out a win over John Gosden and Mike Huxley playing alternate strokes by +3 on time.
In the final round of 14-point AC Hilary played John B, a player on two wins who she had not already met in a previous round. With no bisques to help either player, Hilary prevailed 14-10 to win the Applewood Bowl. 2 players ended in second place with 3 wins; Bernie Phillips and Stephen Stuart-Matthews. This was a very enjoyable day, for which thanks are due to Arthur Lindley, the manager, and we all now look forward to the coming season with enthusiasm.