Monday, February 28, 2011

The Final Prize Lists: 1956 - 1971

Returning once more to what seem to have been quite remarkable years of Advanced croquet, the Croquet Association's amazing Chris Williams weighs in again with what will be the final installment of the Prize Lists of George, Agnes, and Violet Mills.

It's obvious that Agnes (born 11 June 1895), George (born 1 October 1896), and Violet (born 17 November 1902) were in what could be described delicately as their Golden Years. The lists below begin when Agnes [pictured, left, to the right of Barbara Chittenden], George, and Violet were 59-60, 59, and 53 years of age respectively.

The tournament appearances conclude in 1970 for George at 73 (he'd soon turn 74), and in 1971 with Agnes at 76 and Violet at 68 (soon to be 69).

I'm not exactly certain what those meant in England in the mid-20th century, but here in the vast retirement mecca that is Florida today, not many folks of that age is still doing much of anything at an Advanced level—although here it seems to be primarily bocce ball, golf, and a little tennis that keep retirees active.

Agnes and Violet always seem to have been athletic (we'll take a look at some of their earlier athletic accomplishments soon), as well as having a fondness for the outdoors (we know they "were keen on the Girl Guides.") They apparently kept their proclivity for physical activity going throughout their lives.

In George's case, however, we know that Mills was extremely interested in sport as evidenced by his children's books, which always feature some combination of cricket, football (soccer, to Americans), and track. If we are reading between the proverbial lines accurately, Mills even played a role in coaching preparatory school boys in these sports during his time as a schoolmaster between 1925 and 1937.

What we cannot be sure of at this point is how much George [seen, right, in a higher resolution 1957 image courtesy of Ken Cooper and the Bowden Croquet Club] played sports when he was a boy and as a young man. We may, however, gain more insight as we take a look into files remaining from his active duty in the First World War.

Meanwhile, here's the rest of the Prize Lists of the Mills siblings, 1956-1971, courtesy of Mr. Williams, Croquet Gazette, and The Croquet Association:

"I have now transcribed the remaining post war prize lists.

Looking in the 1970 Gazettes I can see that George played in the July week tournament at Cheltenham (13-18 July). He lost to Isobel Roe and Christine Bagnall in the first rounds of the B Class event. It was played as a draw and process which everyone gets two chances to progress in the event. He lost his first game in the handicap knockout to FW Meredith (0), playing off a handicap of 4 and lost in the first game in the handicap doubles playing with RN Bateson, who I think it still playing croquet nowadays.

Agnes [1.5] Sidmouth, HD, 2; Brighton (May), HS, 3; Budleigh Salterton, HD, 1; Hurlingham, OSB, 3,Parkstone, OSB, 2, HS, 3; Eastbourne, HSEx, 3, RHS, 3
Violet [2], Brighton (May), HD, 1; Parkstone (June), HD, 2; Exmouth, OS, 2; Budleigh Salterton, OSB,1

Agnes [1.5] Brighton (May), HS, 3, HD, 2; Gilbey Cup, Block "B", 2; Parkstone (Sept), OS, Deshon Cup, 2;Eastbourne, RHD, 3
Violet [1.5] Parkstone (June), OS, Evans Trophy, 1, HSX,3
George [12] Budleigh Salterton (*July), HD, 1

(Most lower handicaps were increased by 2 at the start of the season)
Agnes [3.5] Brighton, HS,3; All England Handicap, 2; Budleigh Salterton, HD, Le Mesurier Challenge Cups, 3; Challenge Cups, Council Cup, Div 2, 2; Eastbourne, Devonshire Park, OS, 3
George [10] Cheltenham, HSB, 2; Budleigh Salterton, HSC, 3

Agnes [2.5] Ladies Field Cup, 4; Brighton (non-official), HD, 1; Eastbourne, OSB, 2
George [10] Budleigh Salterton(July), HS, 2

Agnes [2.5] Budleigh Salterton(July), LSB, 2; Gilbey Cup, 2, "B"; Brighton (non-official), HS, 2, HSY, 3 [2]
Violet [3.5] Budleigh Salterton(July), LSB, 3; Parkstone (Sept), LSB, 2
George [8] Parkstone (Sept), HSC, 2, HS, 3; Eastbourne, LSC, 3, HD, 2

Agnes [2] Mixed Doubles Championship, 1; Ladies Field Cup, 5; Budleigh Salterton (July), HD, 3;Gilbey Cup, 1 [1.5]
George [7] Budleigh Salterton(May), HS, 2, HD, 3; Budleigh Salterton(July), LSB, 2, HD, 1; Cheltenham, HD, 3 [5]

Agnes [1.5] Ladies Field Cup, equal 4; Budleigh Salterton(July), HD, 1
Violet [2] Budleigh Salterton(May) (non-official), HS, 2; Brighton (September) (non-official), HS, 1 [1.5]
George [5] Compton, HSX, 3

Agnes [1.5] Ladies Field Cup, equal 3; Eastbourne HD, 2
Violet [1.5] Budleigh Salterton(May) (non-official) HS, 3, HD, 1 [1]
George [5] Budleigh Salterton(May) (non-official) HD, 1

Agnes [1.5] Budleigh Salterton(July), HS, 3; Ladies Field Cup, equal 6
Violet [1] Budleigh Salterton(July), HD, 3

Agnes [1.5] Eastbourne HSY, 3
George [4.5] Eastbourne RHS 1 [4]

Agnes [2] Budleigh Salterton HS 2 [1.5]
Violet [2] Budleigh Salterton LSB 3 [1.5]
George [4] Eastbourne HSY 1


Agnes [3.5] Eastbourne HD 2


Agnes [3.5] Parkstone HSY 2
Violet [2] Parkstone HD 3
George [4] Parkstone HD 3

...Agnes [withdrew] from the first round of the level singles at Budleigh in 1971 whilst Violet lost in the second round to Prof ASC Ross. Neither seems to have played in the handicap singles or doubles [after that]."

Note: As previously posted, here's how to read the above:

OS = Open Singles
HS = Handicap Singles
HSC = Handicap Singles C Class
OSB = Open Singles B Class
HD = Handicap Doubles
L = Ladies

The number after the event means position, so 1 = winner, 2 = runner up,3 = semi finalist. Number in [ ] is handicap.

Thank you again, Chris, very much! Your yeoman efforts are greatly appreciated...

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