Snooker on Grass! Lymington Croquet Club has a new home at Woodside
- and it's looking for new members!
Lymington Croquet Club is delighted to announce that it will shortly be playing on a newly levelled and re-seeded lawn at Woodside Recreation Ground thanks to substantial investment by the Town Council. So the Club is keen to welcome new members for the 2105 season, which starts in late April. For the beginner, free tuition is available, and you can use club mallets until you find out what weight and length suit you best. All you need are flat-soled shoes.
Experienced players will find challenging opponents, while those seeking a more social game will enjoy our ‘turn up and play’ sessions twice a week. Croquet is suitable for all ages, as it does not require great fitness and strength, and the Club presently boasts several members in their 90s. We have use of our lawn throughout the week, and people who work and are able to play only in the evenings and at weekends will be very welcome.
The origins of croquet are obscure. It was introduced to England from Ireland in the 1830s. From the late 19th century it grew very rapidly in popularity, being an agreeable pastime for the upper classes, while being played on equal terms by men and women, the old and the young. At the height of its popularity croquet spread throughout the Empire. But when lawn tennis took off, croquet declined in popularity and many courts were turned over to the new game. Indeed, the dimension of a tennis court owes itself to two fitting snugly within the area of one croquet lawn.
Croquet is sometimes described as 'snooker on grass', requiring a similar range of skills and tactics, plus good hand-eye co-ordination. One theory suggests that in the rainy season in India, when croquet could not be played, an indoor version was devised based on the established game of billiards.
There are two main versions of the game played in the UK: Golf Croquet and Association Croquet. At Lymington Croquet Club we play both versions. In Golf Croquet the objective of each player is to get his ball though each hoop first. When the first hoop is scored, all players move on to the second hoop, and so on. Each turn comprises only one stroke. Golf Croquet is the simpler game, and an analogy between it and Association Croquet is like that between draughts and chess.
In Association Croquet a number of different strokes are used to achieve various aims. It has much in common with snooker in terms of estimating angles and devising breaks, but you don’t wear the waistcoat! A good player may take a ball through several hoops in one turn.