Wednesday, 16 October 2019

Phyllis Court gearing up for final showdown

PREPARATIONS are well under way for the biggest match of the season, and possibly ever, for Phyllis Court Croquet, who host the National Inter-Club Championship final in eight days’ time on Saturday, September 28.

If the weather holds, the club expects to break their own UK record for spectators at a club match to see the strongest set of croquet players ever to assemble in the town.

The hosts and visitors Nottingham will field four current international players between them plus two others who also featured in the recent World Championships with the action starting at 10am with an afternoon session at approximately 2pm.

Meanwhile tomorrow’s final of the Southern Croquet Federation (SCF) Handicap League will take palce between Phyllis Court B and Bransgore from the New Forest.

In any other season, this would have been a fitting final match of the year and so should not be understated in importance, bringing together as it does, the title winning teams from the northern and southern divisional leagues.

Phyllis Court B will be at full strength for this pinnacle of their season, fielding Mike Fensome, Robin Coates, Dianne Browne and captain Raymond Wood as they attempt to win the SCF crown for the first time since 2013 — although Phyllis Court C did win in 2014.

This season’s attempt has the added prize that the winners of tomorrow’s match will represent the SCF in the 2020 Federations Shield which is a national competition for all regional handicap champions.

The past week has seen action at home and away with Russel Robinson to the fore in winning the club’s internal 7+ season-long competition with a 7-3, 7-4 victory against another improver Madeleine Probert on Thursday of last week to claim the Suzanne Roberts Quaich.

Robinson backed up that victory with another solid showing for the Phyllis Court Development team in their 4-3 win over visitors Roehampton the following day, a performance they earned him an unprecedented fifth handicap reduction in just six months.

This weekend Robinson plays in the C-Level series national final at Cheltenham.

On the road in the past week were Chris Roberts and Raouf Allim, who played to their seedings having qualified for the national singles championship at Hurlingham, Roger Goldring who played in the national doubles, and both Helena Fensome and Dianne Brown, who did likewise at the All England handicap at Camerton in Somerset.

Together with previous outings at the national grass roots final and Robinson’s C-Level attempt this weekend, Phyllis Court have had players qualified for all six national finals right across the skills range, which is a first for any club in the country.

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