Previously unknown Sussex trophy revealed

Sussex County Croquet Club has some old, historic even, trophies; the oldest currently in the club’s possession is the Moore Cup which started out as the Bryan Challenge Cup in 1904. We now have news of an older trophy dating to 1901. We were alerted to its existence by the gentleman in whose possession it is, asking for information about its background and history.

photos courtesy of the owner

This trophy, hallmarked 1901 in sterling silver, was presented by one William Henry Pugh. William Pugh was born in Waterford Ireland in 1843 and became an Inland Revenue officer working in various parts of the country before settling in Stamford Avenue Brighton with his family. His connection to croquet is completely unknown; his name does not appear in any of the tournaments of the period. We can only guess at his reasons for making this donation.

photos courtesy of the owner

In any case, the trophy was won by Mrs G W N Rogers (nee Florence Crichton Jenkins, 1855 - 1929) who was the wife of Col. George Williams Nesbitt Rogers (1847 – 1921) at a competition dated August 1901.

Her husband Col Rogers was in the Royal Irish Regiment and rose through the officer ranks whilst serving in India and Ireland, becoming Lt Colonel after taking an active part in the Egyptian Campaign in 1882. On his return to Britain he married Florence in 1883 and took a command at Aldershot before returning with Florence to India where he remained until 1893. They finished their service in Ireland where he was appointed full colonel as 2nd in command of the regiment. By 1900 they had returned to Sussex and finally settled in Albany Villas, Hove. They had (as far as we can find) no children.

Col and Mrs Rogers were very early members of the Club and of the Croquet Association and were clearly very involved in its development. Col Rogers held a debenture in the club for the purchase of the land and was on the organising committee of several of the early open tournaments. He was Club Chairman and Treasurer from 1911 – 1920.

Probably they learnt to play croquet in Ireland as Mrs Rogers was already a tournament player in 1900 when she played in West Worthing in June 1900, reaching the 4th round of the Ladies Singles and was noted in the Field report that she was “one of two new players of merit”. In any case, Mrs Rogers seems to have been much more the player than her husband. We find him playing in the doubles events in early tournaments but she features in the singles both at Sussex County and at tournaments held along the south coast in Worthing and Eastbourne, both of which held large open events. She seems to have been a reasonably successful player for, although never winning any of the published events, she was often found in the later round.

The most important Sussex County tournament in 1901 was the Autumn Tournament which ran from Sept 9th to 14th. Both played in this event, with the Colonel on the organising committee. He played in the B class singles (handicap 7 bisques reaching the 5th round; the Field magazine (a magazine of largely country pursuits, founded in 1853 and still published today) noted in its report on the event the he was “showing promise for the future”). Mrs Rogers (playing off 5 bisques) played in the Ladies Singles, where she reached the third round, and the Open Handicap Singles, reaching the 4th round. They played together in the Doubles Handicap but were beaten in the 2nd round.

As we can see, the Autumn Tournament was not the competition in which Mrs Rogers won this trophy, for that was in September and this cup is engraved August, and she does not appear in the published list of winners. What competition was it then? Sadly we don’t know. It seems most likely this was a monthly club competition, which the club had said they would run earlier the same year, rather than an open tournament and we no longer have records of these. It cannot have been intended as one (or the start) of a regular series as Mrs Rogers won the trophy outright. It remained with her as the only holder, which is unique among the trophies we have results of, but may of course have been common in the early years.

Mrs Rogers continued to play competitive croquet for a number of years. With a handicap of around 5 bisques.

As indicated earlier, Col and Mrs Rogers had no children; the present owner of the trophy believes the Rogers were friends of his family. However that may be, we can be happy the trophy remains something of interest nearly a century and a quarter later.

The 4 last news

Curry Lunch at the Club, 18th February 2024

A very enjoyable Curry Lunch and Raffle was held today at the Club, with profits going towards the building fund. The curries were excellent (your writer went back for more!). Thanks to our wonderful team of catering volunteers for and excellet job. 

A lot of prizes had been donated so we were given plenty of time for the first course to go down before tackling the pud. Thanks to the raffle organisers for their hard work.

Some pictures of the event.



Winter GC Doubles

The grey and drizzly start to the day didn’t dampen the enthusiasm of the 36 players gathered for the first GC Doubles tournament of 2024 and it was good to see familiar faces from other SECF clubs for the first time this year.

By the end of the first round the drizzle had cleared and play continued at pace with all 3 blocks finishing their first three games in good time for a welcome lunch of burgers, fries and salad provided by Rachel and Richard Pointon.

LizFarrowJonathanIsaacsBlockAWinners.jpgTwo more rounds after lunch resulted in an outright win for Liz Farrow and Jonathan Isaacs who won all 5 of their games in Block A. Richard Brooks and David King won 3 games as did Robyn and Bob Clark. They were level on +1 hoop but Richard and David took second place as they had beaten Robyn and Bob.

DavidDickinsPaulBrownBlockBWinners.jpgDavid Dickins and Paul Brown won Block B with 4 wins. Bridget Goodman and Jane Powell took second place with 3 wins and + 3 hoops, closely followed by Sue and Tony Nicholas who also had 3 wins but -1 hoop.

HilaryBirdPeterAdamsBlockCWinners.jpgHilary Bird and Peter Adams took Block C with 4 wins. Jim Mander and Sheona McArthur came second with 3 wins and +9 net hoops. Joanne Crosby and Nira Scutt took third place with 3 wins and 0 net hoops. Rosemary and Pete Wyld were hot on their heels as they also had 3 wins but finished with -2 net hoops.

Report by Linda Gavigan

Thanks to Linda Gavigan for managing the event.

Full results

Block A RB&DK LF&JI BB&RC VL&SA TJ&LD TJ&FP Wins Position
Richard Brooks & David King 5 7 4 7 7 3 2
Liz Farrow & Jonathan Isaacs 7 7 7 7 7 5 1
Bob & Robyn Clark 3 4 7 7 7 3 3
Vincent L'Estrange & Simon Ancell 7 2 4 5 2 1 6
Tony James & Liz Drury 6 5 5 6 7 2 4
Tony Jolly & Fiona Phillips 6 4 4 7 3 1 5
Block B DD&PB S&TN RF&MD BG&JP FA&PG FB&GT Wins Position
David Dickins & Paul Brown 7 7 7 6 7 4 1
Sue & Tony Nicholas 4 1 7 6 7 3 3
Rosemary Faulkner & Martin Daniels 5 7 6 7 3 2 4
Bridget Goodman & Jane Powell 6 4 7 7 7 3 2
Francis Ainley & Paul Green 7 4 4 4 5 1 6
Fran Box & Graham Tucker 5 4 7 4 7 2 5
Block C PA&HB JM&SM GO&KM R&PW PC&DL JC&NS Wins Position
Peter Adams & Hilary Bird 7 7 6 7 7 4 1
Jim Mander & Sheona McArthur 6 7 7 7 5 3 2
Gerald O'Brien & Kathy McColgan 6 5 5 6 7 1 5
Rosemary & Peter Wyld 7 2 7 7 6 3 4
Peter Cave & David Larkin 3 2 7 6 3 1 6
Joanne Crosby & Nira Scutt 3 7 4 7 7 3 3

Opportunity to take part in the Annual AC Charity On-Ball Competition.

This event is in aid of the British Heart Foundation.

Sussex County is hosting a local heat of this national charity competition.
It is open to all players, both from the club and from neighbouring clubs which do not run their own heats.

Date: Friday 19th April, play starting promptly at 10am

Last year 40 heats were arranged around the country and over £7000 was raised was the sponsored charity of the year.

GC players - you can play as well. Your handicap for the event will be calculated from your GC handicap so you don't need a separate AC handicap.

Come along, it's good fun. Wear something red!

Entry on-line on club website Fee: £10

Queries to Robin Wootton

GC Singles Competition 2nd February 2024

Four divisions took part. Division A was won by Tony Jolly; Division B by Chrissie Merrington; Division C by Paul Green and Division D by Rosemary Faulkner. Congratulations to them all.

Division B winner Chrissie Merrington
Division D winner Rosemary Faulkner
Division A winner Tony Jolly
Division C winner Paul Green

Thanks to Rachel Pointon for the lunch and to Linda for managing so expertly (and providing cake!)

Full results

Division A MC PD RB TJ BA LF Wins Position
Morgan Case 5 5 2 4 7 1 6
Peter Dowd 7 2 7 2 7 3 3
Richard Brooks 7 7 6 6 6 2 4
Tony Jolly 7 1 7 7 7 4 1
Brian Aikens 7 7 7 3 5 3 2
Liz Farrow 4 4 7 6 7 2 5
Division B JI MD AS JL DK CM Wins Position
Jonathan Isaacs 3 7 7 7 4 3 2
Martin Daniels 7 4 7 6 1 2 4
Andrew Stewart 4 7 5 6 3 1 6
John Low 3 5 7 7 6 2 3
David King 3 7 7 4 2 2 5
Chrissie Merrington 7 7 7 7 7 5 1
Division C PG TJ GO VL DD GT Wins Position
Paul Green 7 3 7 7 5 4 1
Tony James 4 7 5 5 7 2 4
Gerald O'Brien 7 4 7 7 6 3 3
Vincent L'Estrange 3 7 6 7 7 3 2
David Dickins 3 7 4 4 7 2 5
Graham Tucker 4 4 7 2 4 1 6
Division D JM PC JC RF KM FA Wins Position
Jim Mander 5 7 7 7 3 3 3
Peter Cave 6 4 3 5 4 2 5
Joanne Crosby 3 7 4 5 7 2 4
Rosemary Faulkner 6 5 5 7 7 4 1
Kathy McColgan 3 4 5 4 5 0 6
Francis Ainley 7 7 5 6 6 3 2