By John Williams

A NOVICE grower pipped rivals after graduating from the wooden spoon award to beat all comers with the heaviest berry at Goostrey Gooseberry Society show.

After one of the worst growing seasons for years, Martin de Kretser tipped the scales with a Blackden Gem berry weighing 23 pennyweights 19 grains.

Martin came last in the competition at The Crown Inn at his first attempt only four years ago, but the enthusiastic newcomer was not downhearted in defeat and on Saturday proved determination wins.

His premier berry, a tiddler compared with years when entries are heavier, beat longtime growers, including reigning champion Terry Price who came fourth.

Terry’s Blackden Firs berry of 21 pennyweights 20 grains was also beaten by Emma Williams, the show secretary, with a Millenium variety of 23 pennyweights 13 grains, missing the premier spot by a whisker to come second. Veteran grower Doug Carter was unable to muster a berry heavier than an Ann Archer of 22 pennyweights 21 grains to gain third place.

Martin said: “I still have a lot to learn, but the key seems to start off with a very good soil, good trees and keeping them constantly cool and moist and protecting them from the variability of our climate. The weather has certainly been challenging through the ripening stages with changes in temperature and rainfall. It seems to be just a question of being vigilant and trying to keep growing conditions uniform as possible.”

Another relatively new grower, Griselda Garner, surprised members when she walked away with four silver trophies, including the Frank Carter Cup for most points in the show from various classes. Her premier Edith Cavell berry of 20 pennyweights five grains placed seventh.

She put her success down to the quality of soil tilled for 4,000 years at her Blackden home, where the late legendary Goostrey grower Frank Carter raised award-winning gooseberries.

Weights in surrounding villages fared much better than Goostrey with world champion Kelvin Archer defeated at Lower Withington by John Porter with an entry of 34 pennyweights eight grains. Ironically the show stopping berry named Ann Archer was from a variety originally raised by Kelvin and named after his wife.

Eight-year-old Joe Banks Williams won the junior place for the second year for the Dave Garrett Memorial Cup, beating entries from two other youngsters, Grady Alderdice and Cori Lee.

Show president Terry’s hope of retaining the silver trophy for the premier place was thwarted when a berry of more than 30 pennyweights burst a little more than a week before the event.

The show itself was well up to its usual enjoyable, competitive spirit and anyone living in Goostrey and neighbouring parishes is invited to join and help to retain the village pastime.


Goostrey Gooseberry 
Premier Berry    1st        Martin de Kretser    Blackden Gem    23.19    
    2nd        Emma Williams    Millenium    23.13     
    3rd        Doug Carter    Ann Archer    22.21     
    4th         Terry Price    Blackden Firs    21.20     
    5th         Cath Heath    Edith Cavell    21.11     
    6th         Chris Jones    Edith Cavell    20.13     
    7th         Griselda Garner    Edith Cavell    20.05     
    8th         Derek Hardacre    Belmarsh    20.01     
    9th         Stewart Smallwood    Prince Charles    19.10     
    10th         Bob Groves    Blackden Gem    17.10     
    11th         Gareth Buckley    Mr Chairman    16.22     
    12th         Richard Cunliffe    Blackden Gem    16.09     
    13th         Nick Hassall    Millenium    15.20     
    14th         Graham Lenihan    Just Betty    7.23     
Twins    1st        Griselda Garner    Just Betty    33.02    
    2nd        Emma Williams    Belmarsh    28.17     
    3rd        Nick Hassall    Just Betty    26.15     
    4th         Doug Carter    Montrose    25.17     
    5th         Gareth Buckley    Christine    21.16     
    6th         Martin de Kretser    Fascination    20.12     
    7th         Richard Cunliffe    Blackden Gem    17.20     
    8th         Bob Groves    Jodrell Bank    17.16     
    9th         Graham Lenihan    Edith Cavell    10.09     
Red    1st        Terry Price    Christine    20.09    
    2nd        Griselda Garner    Blackden Gem    20.01     
    3rd        Griselda Garner    Just Betty    19.20     
    4th         Terry Price    Blackden Gem    18.16     
    5th         Martin de Kretser    Blackden Gem    17.07     
    6th         Martin de Kretser    Blackden Gem    17.01     
    7th         Bob Groves    Blackden Gem    17.00     
    8th         Doug Carter    Blackden Gem    15.22     
    9th         Doug Carter    Blackden Gem    14.22     
    10th         Derek Hardacre    Christine    14.14     
Yellow    1st        Terry Price    Millenium    21.20     
    2nd        Terry Price    Millenium    21.15     
    3rd        Chris Jones    Edith Cavell    20.11     
    4th         Emma Williams    Millenium    20.09     
    5th         Emma Williams    Millenium    20.05     
    6th         Cath Heath    Edith Cavell    19.10     
    7th         Griselda Garner    Edith Cavell    19.03     
    8th         Griselda Garner    Edith Cavell    19.02     
    9th         Cath Heath    Edith Cavell    18.15     
    10th         Doug Carter    Montrose    18.11     
Green    1st        Griselda Garner    Woodside    19.14    
    2nd        Griselda Garner    Woodside    19.09     
    3rd        Chris Jones    Bank View    18.11     
    4th         Doug Carter    Bank View    18.01     
    5th         Derek Hardacre    Bank View    16.21     
    6th         Doug Carter    Bank View    14.14     
    7th         Richard Cunliffe    Seedling    14.04     
    8th         Chris Jones    Bank View    14.02     
    9th         Richard Cunliffe    Seedling    13.07     
    10th         Emma Williams    Admiral Beatty    8.18     
White    1st        Emma Williams    Belmarsh    21.08     
    2nd        Emma Williams    Belmarsh    20.08     
    3rd        Griselda Garner    Crystal    18.12     
    4th         Martin de Kretser    Jodrell White    17.21     
    5th         Martin de Kretser    Jodrell White    17.19     
    6th         Doug Carter    Newton Wonder    17.14     
    7th         Griselda Garner    Crystal    17.08     
    8th         Doug Carter    Newton Wonder    16.20     
    9th         Gareth Buckley    Newton Wonder    15.00     
    10th         Gareth Buckley    Newton Wonder    13.19     
Championship Show Plate    1st        Emma Williams    Millenium