Woodhall Spa Croquet Club makes most of venue switch

Doubles winners Mike and Richard Billton receiving the Lincoln Cup from Woodhall Spa CC chairman Bob Potter.
Doubles winners Mike and Richard Billton receiving the Lincoln Cup from Woodhall Spa CC chairman Bob Potter.

Woodhall Spa Croquet Club have been enjoying a very busy period.

Despite having only three half-size lawns in Jubilee Park, the club held their two-day Lincoln Cup event and hosted other clubs within the East Midlands Federation.

The tournament’s original venue was the magnificent surroundings of Lincoln Castle and was organised there by WSCC for a number of years, until it became a casualty of the advent of change within the castle.

However, due to the popularity of the event and not wanting it to die off, Woodhall Spa CC moved the venue to their home grounds where there are only three half-size lawns instead of the six at Lincoln Castle; this move turned out to be a worthwhile change.

After moving away from a central location at Lincoln, it was thought that many of the EMFCC clubs would not attend further competitions, but the popularity shone through and, although the numbers have halved, they are within the capabilities of the available lawns at Woodhall.

The Lincoln Cup tournament has been held three times now at Jubilee Park and has become an established event in the calendar, so much so that in 2016 the entry will have to be limited to 12 teams instead of the 16 who entered this year.

The 2015 event took place in some very pleasant weather and on lawns which were looking and playing well.

Although the park lawns will never be flat, they are a challenge to all the competitors, possibly more so than the opponents themselves.

The format for the Saturday event was six matches to be played by each doubles team, with the winners of each round being the first to run seven hoops.

From the large field of 16 teams, this year’s winners came from Richmond Park CC in Gainsborough, the father and son team of Mike and Richard Billton.

Runners-up were Roy and Pauline Donner from Woodhall Spa CC.

On the following day, the competitive spirit was again put to the test with the singles tournament, in which there were 22 entries.

This was again a challenge to accommodate all those who wanted to enter.

The format for this event was level play golf croquet, best of 13 hoops, with each member playing six rounds.

After the six rounds, there was a tie for first place in the men’s section, even counting hoops against and a countback, so there had to be a play-off between Roy Donner from WSCC and Mike Billton from Richmond Park CC. The winner was eventually decided by nearest the pin with two balls, with Mike emerging triumphant.

The ladies’ competition was also very closely run with the winner, by two hoops, being Pauline Donner from Woodhall Spa. Runner-up was Mary Timms from Branston CC.

Teams taking part were from Branston, Torksey, Richmond Park, Gainsborough and Woodhall Spa.