Development Reports

Our Development Officer has been writing annual reports about the development of our clubs:

2020201920182017

2016

Guildford and Godalming, with their new four-lawn facility, successfully hosted the third tier tournament of the World GC Team Championship in May. They constructed their new pavilion on the site of the old bowling club shack in June and hope to conclude an eventful year by completing the instillation of water and sewerage links. The club will have to raise around £15,000 to install electricity. The transformation of this club into a first class croquet location has been achieved in a very short period of time due to good and energetic leadership and dedicated self help from its members.

The last 4 of Sussex County’s 11 courts planned for refurbishment were completed in August and the grass on them had taken well. The next major project might be a new clubhouse but that is probably far in the future.

Cobdown Sports Ground, the home of Medway, is now owned by Marpaul Sports and is now called ‘K Sports Cobdown’. The change of ownership has resulted in a great improvement in the maintenance of the lawns. The irrigation system had been repaired and the club has bought itself an expensive and excellent mower. The new owners have a vision of all the various sports mixing together in the bar and playing each others’ sports.

A revised application by Lodsworth for a CA grant for a slightly more modest and cheaper pavilion has been submitted to the CA Development Committee. With financial support from the CA and the Federation, the pavilion should be in place for the start of the 2017 season

Worthing’s two courts have been moved at Field Place to a location within this well used recreational area which is much more conspicuous to the passing public. Funds were raised to build a modest club house adjacent to the new and well maintained
courts. This was officially opened in June.

West Worthing have applied for a CA grant for a new pavilion to replace the old shed given by Woking to the club 5 years ago. The project will be partly funded by a loan from the main club to be repaid by a levy of £20 on croquet membership annual subscriptions until the loan is paid off.

Canterbury have been given three completely new courts protected by a rabbit proof fencing, costing about £20,000, These were paid for by the parent club. The croquet club is submitting, to the CA, an application for a grant to erect a modest wooden
pavilion which, together with a rented “portaloo”, will complete a vastly improved playing facility.

Compton are submitting an application for a CA grant to help to refurbish its old and dilapidated clubhouse.

Finchley Victoria have added a croquet section to the bowling club. One of the greens will be for the exclusive use of the croquet players. A well attended grand opening took place in August with valuable support from members from Watford, Ealing and Hampstead Heath. The facilities available are outstanding.

They include a recently constructed brick pavilion and extensive outbuildings. The initial ground work has been carried out expertly by Barry Bargroff, the bowling club’s Publicity and Marketing Officer. However, there are issues which may hinder the
development of this croquet section. Michael Hague is usually able to find an experienced croquet player to provide the necessary leadership but no one has yet surfaced in Finchley. The second problem is that the council charge £120 per member for the use of the facility and its maintenance. The section is hoping for a degree of flexibility in order to be able to offer reduced initial fees to new croquet members.

The Federation will be making grants, of £500 each, to ComptonCanterbury, West Worthing and Lodsworth towards the cost of their pavilions; (all subject to the approval by the CA of the applications already made to them for grants). A practice has developed of making Federation grants to supplement grants made by the CA, in addition to other direct ones not supplementing CA grants.

2015

All four of the new courts at Guildford and Godalming came into play in 2015. With the agreement of the Rugby Club, the Club constructed a 250 yard rabbit-proof fence on its open flanks. This helped to identify the club as a separate entity within the
sports complex. The next project is to build a modest clubhouse on the footprint of the old bowling club pavilion for which planning permission has already been granted. The clubhouse will include a toilet and cost about £12,000, including the concrete base. It has been agreed with the Rugby Club that the site will be rent free for the next two years during which time the croquet club will increase its membership to 100 to enable it to pay rent thereafter.

After a long period of uncertainty, Canterbury decided to remain with its parent sports club at Polo Farm. Three new lawns are under construction, paid for by the Sports Club. The Club requested the SECF Lawns Officer, George Noble to have a look at what appeared to be a drainage problem on the site.

Courts 1, 2 and 3 at Sussex County were refurbished in phase 1 of the club’s three year programme, and brought into use. Courts 4, 5, 6 and 9 were re-surfaced and re-seeded in September 2015 and will be brought back into use early next season. The
remaining four courts will be done in the autumn next year. The SECF provided a modest grant to help finance the work.

The two new courts at Caterham were brought into use in the second half of the season and one will be played on during this winter. The local Council had promised landscaping around them but procrastinated in the face of objections from local residents. The Club was not even allowed to position wooden ball stops along the boundaries of the courts as they could be trip hazards. Since the courts are encircled by a wide pathway along which pedestrians and the occasional car pass, there was concern. However, the extremely co-operative Council green keeper allowed a
strip of high grass to grow on the sides of the lawns which proved to be a fairly effective ball stop.

The building company Marples recently purchased the land on which the Cobdown Sports and Social Club stands. Medway Croquet Club is a part of this Club. The croquet club has to negotiate with the new owners to define its future. The land is designated as a recreational area and there is thus hope that it will remain so.

A lot of work has been put in by Preston club members and local Council staff to refurbish the lawn adjacent to the Council-owned manor house. Three tons of top dressing were applied. The results were encouraging and the court was used for
promotional events and will be played on during this winter. The last stage of the project will be finished in the spring, in time for the 2016 season with the application of a further two tons of top dressing. The SECF has promised £150 towards the cost. 2

After only its second season, Lodsworth is busy raising funds to build a well equipped pavilion adjacent to its court for the start of next season. The CA granted £1,000 and the SECF Committee agreed to contribute £250 towards the total cost of
£32,000 – £35,000.

The two courts at Worthing have been moved within the bowls complex at Field Place to a location in this well-used recreational area which is much more conspicuous to the passing public. Funds are being raised to build a modest club house adjacent to the new courts. The SECF has agreed provide a grant of £250.

The Crawley Club was reduced to 16 members but recovered to 22 by the end of the 2015 season. The £4m restoration of Worth Park, in which the club is situated, is complete. There is a faint hope that there may be some funds remaining which could pay for improvements to the croquet courts. However, the Council has removed the device to prevent vandals riding motorbikes on them (for “health and safety reasons”).

Having just about raised the necessary funds to add two courts in the adjacent Rugby Club (a £39,000 project), Reigate Priory discovered, when it came to formalising the arrangement, that the £5,000 annual rent expected by the landowner was unsustainable. The project has been shelved.

An irrigation system at Cheam has been installed using funds raised by the Club.

2014

Good progress was made on a number of improvements to croquet
facilities in the SECF. These included the fast tracking of two
major projects, the completion of a third and the successful
launching of a new club.

A grant of £10,000 to Sussex County (to be spread over
three years) was approved by the CA Development Committee and then
by the Management Committee just in time to allow phase 1 to be
tackled before the season end. Work started on phase 1 on 15
September following consultation with drainage experts. Lawns 1, 2
and 3 had been stripped, verti-drained, harrowed, laser levelled
and seeded. Work was completed on Friday 26 September. A large
blanket was laid on the three lawns (to aid, it is said,
germination of the grass seeds).

Another CA development grant was awarded to Guildford and
Godalming
for the creation of two new croquet lawns. These
were needed as a result of a decision by the board of their parent
club to allocate to “mini-rugby” activity some of the land
formerly laid out as croquet lawns. The two new lawns were to
comprise approximately 500 square metes of established lawn and
1,500 square metes of un-used, rough grassland. The process of new
lawn construction began during the first two weeks of August when
a team of Croquet Club members, bringing their own mowers, cut and
removed as much vegetation as possible from the rough grass area.
The last croquet fixture needing all four of the old lawns was on
20 August 2014 and at 6 a.m. on the very next day the chosen
contractor sprayed the entire area to further reduce spoil volume.
Then, a week later, they returned to undertake the task of
turf-stripping, levelling and seeding the 2,000 square met re
area. Everything went smoothly so that the work was completed on
the same day – the contractors having worked from 7 a.m. until
after 8 p.m. The ensuing spell of very hot weather caused
additional work for members, who had regularly to sprinkle water
over the four lawns adequately to ensure germination. There are no
reports that a blanket was needed or used for any purpose.

Caterham managed to overcome obstacles surrounding their
application for a long lease and fund raising and completed the
installation of a new toilet. This was in use for the last few
weeks of the season. It did not improve the croquet but it made
everybody feel a little more relaxed when playing. Work on two new
lawns was also completed. They were fenced off to keep them free
from damage until the grass was properly established. This made
them look like a prison yard. The completion of the two projects
has enhanced the club’s facilities significantly.

The new club at Lodsworth got off to a flying start in
their first season. The new lawn lived up to expectations and 70
members were signed up, of whom about 45 were active playing
members. 22 couples participated in a doubles knockout tournament
and the club came 5th out of 10 teams at the Littlehampton
Centenary Challenge Cup event in July. The Club also played
against Rother Valley and West Chiltington and won. They will be
fund raising this winter in order to build a dedicated club house
next year.

Preston (Brighton) has a long term project to add a third
lawn by reviving an old croquet lawn in the atmospheric grounds of
the adjacent, council-owned manor house. John Mundy, the Chairman
of the club, is the driving force behind the project and is in the
early stages of fund raising.

The land on which Canterbury currently plays is going to
be sold in the near future (2014/early 2015) by the parent sports
club. Polo Farm is prepared in principle to offer an alternative
site which will accommodate 3 lawns. This land has been prepared
with spoil from building operations on the site and the topsoil
replaced. Unfortunately, the site will not be fit for play in the
2015 season but Polo Farm will allow the croquet club use of other
areas (cricket outfield but subject to limited availability).
Cheam has a plan to install automatic watering at a cost of
£10,000. They have a CA grant of £1,000 and will raise the
required balance. They will be looking for a supplement from the
SECF in due course. That is their right as a member of the
Federation. Hundreds of pounds may be available. The SECF pool of
equipment remains out of hoops and balls. The Development Officer
again appeals to clubs for any equipment which becomes surplus,
including such minor items as clips and corner flags. They will be
gratefully received by Development Officer, Michael Hague and made
available to new and/or expanding clubs as required.

2013

Some clubs are in financial difficulties: Angmering where
croquet members have to pay to be social members of the Ham Manor
Golf Club which has doubled its fee and takes it beyond what is
likely to be affordable by the croquet element. Another is Purley

Bury where for the first eight years of its existence the
club has paid a nominal annual fee to the owners of £800 and is
now increased to £2,000 for its 35 croquet membership to pay.

Crawley began the formal applications in June for a
lease for its courts which were due for relaying as part of the
renovation of Worth Park but was told that Crawley BC was
re-considering its strategy for the lawns.

In August the club was told that the park is to be as inclusive
as possible attracting a fully representative cross-section of the
community. The Head of Amenity Services e-mailed – “Whilst we
fully support the croquet club and wish it to thrive, it is
essential that non-members can also enjoy the lawns and freely
participate in croquet. This is our strategy for the lawns. It has
recently been discussed by the Worth Park Steering Group and
agreed by the council’s lead member for Leisure and Culture”.

On 30th September a meeting was held between representatives
from the BC and the club. The club was told that it would not be
permitted to build a new pavilion and that it might not have a
licence for exclusive use of the lawns. If things go well (from
the council’s point of view) the BC may erect a new pavilion and
the club would be given (?) part of it in which to keep its
equipment. The long meeting revealed that the BC had not thought
through how it would organise loaning of equipment to members of
the public, care of the lawns, etc. It seemed very possible that
the improvement to the lawns would not take place – the project is
running out of money as some repair/reconstruction jobs are
costing far more than expected. The BC is happy for the club to
continue using its old pavilion (just a wooden hut with no
facilities and on its last legs) until it has set up some system
for the public to play. The club has no indication as yet of the
annual per capita fee it will have to pay for the new lease and is
fearful it will be beyond the means of its aging membership.

The bowling club
adjacent to the Guildford and Godalming Croquet Club has
also given up the ghost. The main user of the sports club, the
rugby club, wants croquet to use the single bowls green and give
up its 4 courts to them. The issue is complicated by the fact that
the ground involved stretches across two district boundaries.

They are putting
together a project to build a clubhouse on the existing footprint
of the former bowling club building and to reseed the area given
to it for four courts. It is hoped to start the project in the
coming season which will make a significant enhancement of the
facilities and the attraction of the club to new members.

Medway Croquet Club is hoping to move to a new venue in
2015, which is fractionally less than a mile from its present home
and is indeed in the same parish, about 4 miles west of Maidstone.
The site is in the grounds of Bradbourne House, which was
originally Tudor-built, but much restored in the 18th century. It
is set in 20 acres of private parkland. The house is used for
wedding receptions and concerts etc and is also the headquarters
of the East Malling Trust (the landlords). It is part of a field
that is not used but has been gang-mown regularly. One end of the
field abuts an old walled garden and the East Malling Research
Station, (which the Trust runs) is planting some fruit trees at
that end of the field. The field is in the shape of an elongated
triangle with the parkland on one side and trees hiding a housing
estate on the other. Planning permission for the whole project
including 4 courts, club house and car park has just been
approved.

The request for a 20 year lease for Caterham has
suffered delays as the newly formed Queen Elizabeth Fields in
Trust, a charity to perpetuate the use of land for sports fields,
now controls the leases of users but the local council still have
to give its approval. Thus the bureaucratic process is lengthened.
Plans to improve the small clubhouse and to re-locate the two
courts to a better site have been put on hold until the lease is
approved. But costs for the project are already rising. The Trust
is insisting that a valuation of the club house costing £1000 must
be completed and that the Council should carry out the work
instead of private contractors arranged by the club which would
have cost several thousand pounds less.

However the club has continued to raise a thousand pounds here
and there and is optimistic. A recent meeting of members raised an
impressive £20,000 of pledges.

Work progressed slowly at the new club at Lodsworth, the
weather being a primary factor in the early part of the year. Two
coaching days were held at Rother Valley, the first one attended
by 15 people and the second by 20! However the club now has a
beautiful lawn of its own and boasts 42 signed up members. It will
be holding its first AGM in November.

The club has now met the conditions laid down by the committee
for the £1000 grant applied for and is anxious to receive the
grant to help fund the maintenance work required on and around the
new lawn over the winter.

At the end of its first season the membership of Cheam
Croquet and Bowling Club
(formed at a defunct bowling club)
was 88 with about 70 preferring to play croquet and the remainder
with a preference for bowls. The waiting list had reached 39.
Almost all the members are retired and a few are in their
eighties. Less than 10 had played croquet seriously before.
Several have said that joining the club has changed their lives!
25 members did not re-new their membership for the start of the
2013 season but 16 new members were taken on from the waiting
list.

Since the start of the year 11 more new members were signed on,
most as a result of the public coaching course the club is obliged
to run under the agreement with Sutton Council. 10 people attended
the course and all of them joined so membership is now 90.

Cheam entered a team in the SECF’s Golf Handicap League this
season and also played at the Golf Teams Day. In addition Cheam
has played 5 friendly matches – 4 golf and 1 association. 4
members played in the C level competition at Hamptworth. The bowls
element has elected to play its own croquet competition over the
winter months! In all an outstanding beginning for a new club
thanks to the quality of its leadership.

2012

The 2012 season was a tough one for many clubs. The wet weather
ruined the first half of the season. With numbers of entrants down
for tournaments, income from them was reduced still further by
cancellations due to the flooding of courts and the resultant
losses of the normal profit from lunch and bar sales. However, all
the grants awarded by the CA for the past season produced
excellent results, as has been reported by the clubs concerned in
the Gazette.

West Worthing CC made a good start – doubling its
membership in its first season. It now enjoys the use of four
courts, sharing two of them with the tennis section. It was given
a loan from the CA to buy Dawson balls for its competitive
activities and was able to take part in some of the SECF leagues
in its first year of existence.

Both West Wittering CC and Ember CC made good use
of their CA grants which allowed the clubs to complete their
irrigation projects after fundraising and, in the case of Ember,
much self help. These were investments for drier times.

Crawley CC received confirmation from the Borough Council
that the Heritage Lottery Fund was going ahead with its £40K
project to restore the park to its former Victorian glory,
embracing the re-laying of the two and a half croquet courts and
the installation of irrigation. The Fund was precluded from
assisting with the replacement of the dilapidated wooden hut
presently used by the club. The club raised £13,000 including a
£2,000 grant from the CA towards acquiring a “log effect”, chalet
style and vandal proof pavilion which would fit into the character
of the site, with a project estimate of £25,000. However, the
project came to a halt when the Council suddenly demanded a
licence and a lease which would cost annually more than the club
could possibly afford. The new club chairman went back to the
Council and found that a change of officials had resulted in a
more amenable attitude. There is now a possibility that water and
electricity will be provided for the pavilion by linking with the
services installed for the irrigation. Connection to a sewer is
being investigated and so the club may be able to install a
toilet. They are also investigating the possibility of
installation of a septic tank. The Council did not raise again the
requirement for a more costly lease and licence. The club has
decided to re-start fundraising and at the same time to look for a
cheaper option for the pavilion. The timescale is now for work to
be started on the pavilion in October 2013.

A £275 grant from the CA and the SECF for publicity allowed Jean
Cobbold to advertise for the new club at Cheam and to
recruit 75 paid up members. The one-court club will be entering
SECF GC leagues in its second year and is also training up some
Association players. The Federation provided coaching courses for
the membership in 2012 – essential support for any new club to get
it off to a flying start. Unfortunately, the wet weather deterred
a number of players from attending regularly and there might be a
drop in numbers for the 2013 season.

A new club at Lodsworth in West Sussex asked the CA for a
£1,000 grant towards the construction of its first court. However,
the grant was turned down because of the financial risk if the new
club failed. A loan was offered in lieu. The club, which joined
the CA in May of this year, appealed against the ruling and the
application will be reviewed by the CA Development Committee. The
new Club has good prospects. A SECF grant of £250 will be made to
assist Lodsworth if they receive support from the CA.

2011

West Worthing Croquet Club took advantage of an offer
from Woking Croquet Club to collect from them their 1982 croquet
hut, which was surplus to their requirements and was found to be
capable of dismantling. There was a problem when a door was left
behind but that was overcome.

Last year the Federation agreed to make a grant of £250 to the
Worthing Croquet Club
towards the cost of their proposed new
storage hut. Worthing have now acquired and erected their new
shed.

Ember Croquet Club (part of the Ember Sports Club in
Esher) have sunk a bore hole for water to irrigate their one and a
half courts as the first phase of a project to improve its playing
facilities and re-vitalise the section. The CA has made a grant of
£2,500 towards the cost of the second phase and the Federation has
added a grant of £200 further to assist the Club with the project.

West Wittering Croquet Club now has a 21 year guarantee
of tenure from their local Parish Council and the Club is moving
swiftly to establish good facilities. It has already carried out
the first phase and has re-laid two good, irrigated courts at a
cost of £36,000. The CA has made a grant of £1,500 and a loan of
£1,000 towards completing the project. The Federation has made a
grant of £200 further to assist the Club.

Towards the end of the 2011 season an opportunity arose to take
over a defunct bowls club in a park in Cheam. The London
Borough of Sutton has offered the bowling green with its
clubhouse, changing rooms and toilets for a peppercorn rent of £10
per annum with a 21 year guarantee of tenure. The proposed new
croquet club will be obliged to maintain the lawn but the Borough
will continue to look after the surrounding trees and flower beds.
The lawn will accommodate one full size or two three quarter size
croquet courts. Three local Associate Members of the CA (John
Timberlake and Jean and Ian Cobbold) are enthusiastic about the
project and have volunteered to take up the challenge of forming a
new club. A recruiting drive is being planned for March 2012 and,
if that is successful, the new club will be seeking court
equipment from the CA and the SECF. The CA has provided a grant of
£200 towards the cost of launching the new club and the Federation
has made a modest grant of £75 towards the cost of advertising the
Cheam launch.

2010

Two new Federation clubs have been established during the past
year. Croquet players in the multi-sports Epsom Sports Club
were provided with two sets of equipment by the Federation, one
with the same conditions attached as for equipment provided from
the CA New Club Fund and a second on shorter loan.

Club East in Bethnal Green created a flurry of activity
in March 2010. A group of young people led by Miranda Garrett
started playing croquet in a local park. The Club has joined the
CA and the Federation. They have been rewarded with one set of
equipment from the CA and another from the Federation, including a
ball of string for the boundaries. David Collins from Dulwich
(a.k.a “the Silver Fox”) provided much appreciated coaching
support in the summer and the club now has a core of thirty
players with other occasional participants. Ms Garrett has “big
plans for next season” and has produced a refreshing article for
the Croquet Gazette.

Surbiton Croquet Club completed the installation of an irrigation system and four flag poles in time for the MacRobertson. Both of these projects received grants from the CA and the Federation. The Federation Development Officer has reported that the impression given at Surbiton is of a well run and thriving club well worthy of hosting Federation, national and international events.

The Federation has agreed to make a grant of £250 to the Worthing Croquet Club towards the cost of their proposed new storage hut, subject to the CA committee approving the grant requested from them.

Hurstpierpoint College in West Sussex (motto: Beati Mundo Corde) has started a croquet club with coaching assistance from Daphne Gaitley and a SECF set of equipment re-deployed from Hampstead Heath (which continues to enjoy the set provided by the CA New Club Fund). Members of the school staff are organising the school’s Croquet Club.

2009

New Clubs

A challenge arose when word had it that the multi-sport Epsom
Sports Club
might be interested in reviving the croquet
element of its Social and Croquet Section.Nine local branches of
the U3A were contacted. Four half day introductory coaching
sessions were arranged for September attracting over 40 people in
total, almost all of whom are now signed on for next season. The
club is now running monthly winter croquet sessions to keep the
pot boiling, the first of which took place in October with 20
players taking part.

It provides two courts marked out on the edges of the cricket
field by a very supportive groundsman and another court is being
sited using the two least used of the five grass tennis courts.
The club has joined the SECF and is in the process of joining the
CA.

Twelve members of the croquet section of the Shepperton
Bowling Club
paid a visit to Woking to see how the game
should be played.

Grants

Of a number of grant applications outstanding at the end of last
season, that from Cheyney was withdrawn, funds having been
found from elsewhere while both Sydenham and Angmering
published photographs of the successful conclusion of their new
hut projects.

Surbiton has submitted a grant application to the CA
Development Committee for the installation of a long planned
irrigation system in time for the MacRobertson Shield Test matches
next season. SECF has awarded a grant of £500 towards this project
subject to the CA approving a grant and £150 towards the
installation of four flag poles at Surbiton for use during their
international tournaments.

Schools

Hurstpierpoint School in West Sussex has started a croquet club with coaching assistance from Daphne Gaitley and a SECF set of equipment re-deployed from Hampstead Heath which continues to enjoy the set provided by the CA New Club Fund.

The offer from the headmaster of Eton to fund the construction of a croquet court, provides a glimmer of hope for the future.

2008

Croquet Academy

Suffice to say here that in its first year of existence it has proved a success and has lead to a co-ordinated broad range of courses available to players of a wide range of handicaps and to potential officials. The Academy should now be officially adopted by the CA with delegation of overall policy delegated to the Coaching Committee although there may be aspects from time to time where the Development Committee might wish to contribute.

New Clubs

The seeds have been sown for new clubs to develop in a number of areas. Angmering is a break away from the old Worthing club which has found itself a new home in Worthing with reduced playing facilities. Both clubs seem to have survived the trauma of the split and re-location. Richard Hilditch played a significant role in getting Hampstead Heath off the ground and Donald Beck in assisting the introduction of croquet into the Shepperton Bowling Club. Hassocks joined the CA this season and Lewes U3A the SECF.

The New Club Fund continues to provide a vital incentive for new
clubs to join the CA. All the new clubs reported above have
benefited from the fund and /or equipment loaned by SECF.

Grants

Dulwich has completed the upgrading of its three lawns.
Preston LTCC has postponed indefinitely plans for a new
club house.

Schools

Schools remain an area of development which has frustrated
attempts to penetrate it successfully.

Qualified Officials

We have had two Association Grade 1 and three GC coaches
assessed during courses at the Academy and all have received their
badges! In addition a team went from the Academy to run a Coaches
Training Course at Nottingham.

I am not aware of any AC referees being qualified but I can
report on three candidates who passed the GC Referees Examination.
They completed a day’s course of instruction and a week later
underwent a mock exam followed by the actual examination a week
after that. It was admittedly time consuming but the high marks
achieved were proof of the value of the thorough preparation and
in particular of the mock exam without which none of the
participants would have passed.

Finally I am delighted to report that for the second year
running, a member of Sussex CCC, namely Bryan Teague, has received
the Lifetime Coaching Award. As explained in my report last year,
the CA and the SECF owe so much to Bryan for the incredible amount
of work, time and effort he has put into his club and devoted to
the sport, especially as lead coach and bringing along both
hundreds of players and many coaches over at least the past two
decades.

2007

New Club Fund

Of the three new clubs in the SECF which have benefited from the
fund, Dogmersfield has flourished under a good team of
enthusiasts and is quietly looking for an alternative site to
provide better facilities for its full capacity membership. It
received an injection of funds from SECF when the equipment
belonging to the host hotel was unexpectedly withdrawn. One of its
members, Roger Barnacle, was runner up in the final of the Centre
Stage GC Competition held at Edgbaston.

Ringmer has already moved to a better location and is
now renamed the Cheyney Croquet Club. RMA Sandhurst
has continued as an affiliated member of the CA but with the rapid
turnover of cadets and their intensive training program, one
cannot hope for much more than that some seeds are being sown for
the future.

Sadly Worthing has finally been forced out of the Hill
Barn Golf Club by a rapacious developer. There are lingering hopes
of assistance from the local authority to form a replacement club
in Worthing, albeit with reduced facilities. However several
Worthing members have already joined nearby Sussex CCC.

Development of Existing Clubs

Royal Tunbridge Wells started the season well by winning
the Apps/Heley Award, followed by a successful season enjoying
their vastly improved facilities.

Rother Valley received a £1000 grant from the
Development Committee and £500 from SECF to construct a half court
to add to their refurbished two full sized courts, thereby
completing their present plans for development. The club ran a
much enjoyed weekend short croquet tournament in September and was
able to invite four local clubs to compete with the hosts on their
five half lawns. Recruitment is also progressing steadily in this
rejuvinated club.

Woking at full capacity for its regular two courts with
over 70 croquet playing members has received a £5000 development
grant to help to install irrigation over the winter for all four
of its courts used for CA tournaments. Like Woking, Dulwich
Croquet Club
is a section of a larger sports club and is
hoping to receive grants from the CA and the SECF in order to
carry out Phase 2 of the resurfacing of its three courts this
winter. A resurgence of recruiting backed by an active coaching
program has brought new vigour into this club.

Sydenham has for the moment abandoned plans for a second
lawn but has already carried out work on improving its one lawn,
sadly sabotaged by torrential rain after seeding. It hopes for a
grant to finish it off and add a hut.

Coaching Courses 2007

The popular Silver and Bronze Courses run by Bryan Teague and
his team of Grade 1 and 2 coaches at Southwick were once more well
attended as was the Summer School lead by Daphne Gaitley. Overseas
attendance on these courses continues. Bryan Teague is taking a
back seat next season and is giving up acting as lead coach. The
CA and the SECF owe so much to Bryan for the incredible amount of
work, time and effort he has put into his club and devoted to the
sport, especially regarding coaching and bringing along both
hundreds of players and many coaches over at least the past two
decades.

A number of clubs took advantage of one day golf and association
courses, tailor made to their requirements by usually teams of two
Grade 1 coaches from nearby clubs. These courses are self funding
in that the club is asked to pay the coaches their travelling
expenses and provide them with refreshments, their coaching being
otherwise free. Innovations this season were an over subscribed
SECF GC Advance Tactics Course for middle bisquers held at
Surbiton and a supper and GC Laws quiz at Dogmersfield. Both
seemed to hit the mark.

Schools

An encouraging development at Eton is a new master in charge of
croquet who will, I believe, play a much more active part in the
games played there.

Qualified Officials

A GC Training for Coaches was held at Southwick early in the season for nine students, also an Association Laws Course at Surbiton and Golf Croquet Laws Courses at Woking and Hurlingham. The conversion rate from student to qualification was low for the referee courses, partly because the standards for both AC and GC are set high and do not cater for the need for more referees in ordinary clubs and at Federation events (rather than for
prestigious CA tournaments), who could improve with experience if qualified but at a lower (Grade B?) standard.

This is an appropriate moment to congratulate the very first recipient of the Lifetime Coaching Award, Don Mears of Sussex CCC, for his long history of coaching both in his own and local clubs and on the CA Silver and the SECF Bronze, Improvers courses and Summer School over many years.

2006

New Clubs

We are following up one possible new club at Kings Langley,
Herts (strictly speaking out of the SECF geographical area but
taken on with the agreement of the E Anglian Development Officer).

RMA Sandhurst has not joined the CA for its second year.
The problem with such institutions as this (cf St Thomas’s
Hospital) is that once the contact graduates/qualifies /is
commissioned, there is often no proper handover and the link is
lost.

Development of Existing Clubs

Three clubs, Southwick (for lawn 8), Sydenham
and Littlehampton have put on hold projects to improve
their court facilities where existing funds available or projected
income did not measure up to the cost of the projects.

However the 2006 season saw the completion of the ambitious
development schemes at two clubs, Royal Tunbridge Wells
and Rother Valley, which together constitute a marked
improvement to the playing facilities in the Federation. Tunbridge
Wells now has three level courts with an excellent state of the
arc irrigation system and improved buildings. The appeal of the CA
tournaments run by the club will be much enhanced by the quality
of the refurbished courts in 2007. All concerned in the enormous
amount of dedicated work required for such an ambitious project,
are to be congratulated for its successful outcome.

Rother Valley took advantage of a one-off opportunity
for a grant from the Petworth Leisure Fund to finance the
refurbishment of both their lawns, install irrigation and
construct a new club house (moving the old one to be used for
storage). This was achieved without recourse to financial aid from
the CA and the SECF apart from six month bridging loans of £1000
from each. The club intends now to run some open tournaments and
its beautiful rural setting will make a very pleasant playing
experience for any of its visitors. The final phase of development
is the construction at low cost of an additional half lawn to
allow for more flexibility for the club’s growing membership.

There is one more project on the horizon – a new club house at Preston

LTCC, Brighton.

Coaching Courses

The popular Silver and Bronze Courses run by Bryan Teague and
his team of Grade 1 coaches at Southwick were once more well
attended as was the Summer School lead by Daphne Gaitley. European
attendance on these courses continues with players from both
Germany and Austria taking advantage of the high standard of
instruction provided by experienced and qualified coaches.

A number of clubs took advantage of one day golf and association
courses, tailor made to their requirements by usually teams of two
Grade 1 coaches from nearby clubs. These courses are self funding
in that the club is asked to pay the coaches their travelling
expenses and provide them with refreshments, their coaching being
otherwise free.

Schools

A special effort was made this year to get more coaching contact
with schools. I am very grateful to Watford for having visited
Harrow and made initial contact there and to Mike Huxley of
Guildford and Godalming who has taken over the link with
Charterhouse. For the record, other schools I have heard of who
seem to have some croquet activity going are Winchester, Wycombe
Abbey (Girls), Sevenoaks, Churcher’s College at Petersfield and
Merchant Taylors, the last at least having croquet as a curriculum
sport.

Qualified Officials

A CQC was held at Surbiton early in the season for eleven
students, six of whom were first club Surbiton members who
subsequently did a great job coaching a batch of new recruits.
Later Chris Patmore was successfully assessed as a Grade 2 coach
subject to qualifying as an Assistant Referee (a reversal of the
“Good knowledge of the Laws” qualification introduced four years
ago to encourage more to go for the grade). Alan Cottle at
Southwick has qualified as a Golf Croquet Coach.

2005

New Clubs

  • West Wittering Cricket and Croquet Club is well
    established but reports a low level of activity, mainly
    confined to Golf Croquet.
  • Ringmer Village CC found the conditions placed on the
    use of the Ringmer College facilities too restricting. The
    club has now an improved location at the village cricket club
    and it is hoped that it will be able to operate more
    positively there. Don Mears of Southwick has given the club
    coaching support in its new home.
  • The SECF equipment loaned to Coolhurst Lawn Tennis and
    Squash Rackets Club for winter croquet has been withdrawn and
    re-loaned to the Temple Bowls Club to try out croquet
    on one of their two lawns. David Collins has been working
    closely with the new venture. The club has joined the SECF and
    its 15 croquet members are reported as being enthusiastic and
    ready to buy some new equipment.
  • The interest in croquet amongst the Livery Companies
    is growing with eight companies expected to compete in the
    Inter-Livery Company Tournament next year. The Clerk of the
    Founders’ Livery Company is looking at two sites, one on top
    of Hambros Bank and the other more hopeful one at the HAC
    centre, with a view to forming a club in the city! This could
    be of benefit to Imperial College and to St Thomas’, both of
    whom have struggled on but without success in finding suitable
    playing facilities.
  • Sadly the initiative to form a club at Hatchlands
    came to an abrupt end when after lengthy negotiations, the
    National Trust declined to allow the proposed lawn to be cut
    to an acceptable height of grass for a croquet court.
  • Nigel Graves has been helping the South Croydon Bowling
    Club
    to introduce croquet to its members with the loan
    of SECF equipment.
  • RMA Sandhurst has been active and enthusiastic with
    the coaching support of Woking LTCC. However the consumption
    of Pimms sometimes exceeds the amount of croquet played!
  • Daphne Gaitley again with a loan of SECF equipment, has
    coached at the Ham Manor Golf Club but few members
    have stuck with it. We are carrying on for another season to
    see if we can get an improved response.
  • There is an embryo of interest in croquet at the Rye
    Tennis Club
    , which will be top of the list for following
    up early next season.
  • Finally Dogmersfield Croquet Club is up and going
    with a 35 strong membership and a waiting list. It is a bit of
    a case study on starting up a new club where everything fell
    into place. Firstly an opportunity arose to get in with the
    Four Seasons Hotel as it was being developed. The management
    was receptive to establishing links with the local villagers.
    Brief notices in the parish magazine, the parish council
    newsletter and the local newspaper with some handbill
    advertising got the word around the neighbouring villages and
    led to a well attended public meeting in May. A Woking LTCC
    member living in the area, Martin Mander, was persuaded to be
    the first club chairman and was rewarded by being the winner
    of the of the club’s first season long Golf Croquet knockout
    competition. Next season Association Croquet is being
    introduced.

Support to Existing Clubs

The season has seen coaching support provided on request to
one or two clubs such as Crawley, Rochester and Purley Bury.
Requests to the CA and SECF for grants for facility development
have been processed in respect of Southwick and Sydenham while
Tunbridge Wells has already had a generous grant approved by the
CA and is well advanced in refurbishing its three lawns in time
for the 2006 season.

Coaching Courses

The Improvers and Bronze Courses were again held over one
weekend at Southwick in April and were well attended. The Silver
course also held at Southwick, which has not been well supported
in the recent past, was actually over subscribed this season.
Once again our thanks go to Lead Coach, Bryan Teague and his
team of coaches for their achievements as they do to Daphne
Gaitley and her team who ran another successful Summer School in
July although for the first time numbers were well down. The
students included four from Austria, which reflects the
encouragement, support and advice that Austrian croquet contacts
have received from the SECF over the past few years. The first
croquet club is now well established in the suburbs of Vienna
and a second is due to start next season at Salzburg giving good
croquet holiday opportunities to British players.

Schools

A request for coaching support for next season has been
received from the Headmaster of Harrow via our Eton College
contacts. A new young teacher at Charterhouse has undertaken to
look into putting the croquet activities at his school onto a
more formal basis and taking advantage of the coaching support
on offer and of a possible link up with Guildford and Godalming
though the new Guildford Chairman, Michael Huxley.

Coaches Qualification

Daphne Gaitley and Frances Low were both appointed as Grade 2
Coaches while there was only one candidate for Grade1 who
unfortunately did not pass the assessment. 16 candidates
attended the Coaches Qualification Course at Compton in April,
the majority receiving their club coach badge for Association
Croquet and five for Golf Croquet. Jeff Dawson ran another fully
subscribed Association Croquet Laws Course at the beginning of
the season.

2004

New Clubs

  • West Wittering Cricket and Croquet Club is now well
    established having purchased £2000 of equipment and returned
    that loaned by the SECF. They are now looking to improve their
    courts on the edge of the cricket field. Daphne Gaitley and Alan
    Cottle assisted in a two day coaching course for 24 members in
    May.
  • Ringmer Village CC has taken over some of the
    equipment released by West Wittering to start a small croquet
    club at Ringmer College. Don Mears of Southwick gave his support
    to this initiative.
  • Normandy Parish Council (near Aldershot) has
    earmarked a land to be developed as a bowls and croquet club.
    The site has been vetted by SECF and found to be most suitable.
    However there is a lot of fundraising to be done and at present
    this can be no more than a long-term possibility.
  • The Secretary of the SECF, Richard Hilditch, acted on a
    request for assistance from members of the Coolhurst Lawn
    Tennis and Squash Rackets Club
    to play croquet on their
    grass tennis courts during the months of October to May. They
    have been loaned equipment by the SECF and Richard and David
    Collins have provided coaching support.
  • St Thomas’ Hospital has given up trying to establish
    a club at Cobham as being too far out from London. They continue
    to search for a venue in London but playing opportunities have
    been few.
  • Members of Imperial College have shown an interest in
    croquet and had an introductory coaching session with Susan
    Davies at Parsons Green. Eugene Chang just out of Eton and
    already qualified as a Grade 1 coach after attending the CQC at
    Hurlingham is hoping to establish a club at Imperial College in
    April next season. Susan Davis who also attended the CQC at
    Hurlingham and qualified later this year as a Grade 1 coach is
    actively pursuing contacts in both Imperial College and St
    Thomas’s with offers to try out the sport at Parsons Green.
  • The completion of the Four Seasons Hotel at Dogmersfield
    has been delayed to February 2005. The plan to form a village
    Croquet Club using the hotel’s facilities will then be put into
    effect.
  • SECF responded to a cry for help from the Waldron Village
    Croquet Club
    , Heathfield for a letter of support for their
    development plan for a bid to Sport England for part of the
    funding for a new multi-sport pavilion. The outcome is not yet
    known.
  • The Bookham U3A is now well established at Polesden
    Lacey with active links with Woking WTCC.
  • Hatchlands is due to take off at another National
    Trust Property next season assisted by Geoffrey Cuttle. The SECF
    will be represented at its first AGM in November 2004 to assess
    what support is needed.

Support to Existing Clubs

The season has seen coaching support provided on request to one
or two clubs such as Crawley. Requests to the CA and SECF for
grants for facility development have been processed in respect of
Southwick, Ramsgate, Rother Valley and Surbiton with one in the
pipeline from Tunbridge Wells. Chichester and Fishbourne received
a small grant from SECF for a set of new balls. Purley Bury is to
be congratulated for completing their construction of a new toilet
facility without having to call on the CA and SECF grants which
had been previously approved.

Coaching Courses

The Improvers and Bronze Courses were again held over one
weekend at Southwick in April and were well attended. The Silver
course held at Southwick in May had four applicants only but at
least it took place after last year’s cancellation due to lack of
support. Our thanks go to Lead Coach, Bryan Teague and his team of
coaches for their achievements as they do to Daphne Gaitley and
her team who ran another successful and well attended Summer
School in July. The students included three from Germany.

Schools

Efforts to get a foothold into Wellington College have failed so
far. Eton College has extended its croquet fixtures to Harrow and
Oxford University in addition to Charterhouse. But the lack of a
reasonable playing surface continues to frustrate more
satisfactory growth for the Eton Croquet Club.

Livery Companies

The Inter-Livery Company Croquet Tournament is now an
established event on the Livery Company Sporting Calendar. The
second tournament had six companies competing and the third
tournament is schedules for next June at Surbiton.

Coaches Qualification

The CA has lowered the course fee for those participating in the
Coaches Qualification Course (CQC) to £10, a welcome measure.
There were three CQCs held in England in 2004. For the SE,
Hurlingham hosted a course for 18 students with David Collins,
Daphne Gaitley and Keith Collins forming the Directing Staff.
Three club coaches from the CQC were assessed as Grade 1 Coaches
during the Summer School and one at the Grade 2 level. The
youngest student ever to be qualified as a Club Coach (again at
the CQC at Hurlingham) was assessed at the Grade 1 level on the
Bronze Course at Bath.

2003

New Clubs

  • West Wittering Cricket and Croquet Club is now well established having purchased £2000 of equipment and returned that loaned by the SECF. They are now looking to improve their courts on the edge of the cricket field. Daphne Gaitley and Alan Cottle assisted in a two day coaching course for 24 members in
    May.
  • Ringmer Village CC has taken over some of the equipment released by West Wittering to start a small croquet club at Ringmer College. Don Mears of Southwick gave his support to this initiative.
  • Normandy Parish Council (near Aldershot) has earmarked a land to be developed as a bowls and croquet club. The site has been vetted by SECF and found to be most suitable. However there is a lot of fundraising to be done and at present this can be no more than a long-term possibility. The Secretary of the SECF, Richard Hilditch, acted on a request for assistance from members of the Coolhurst Lawn Tennis and Squash Rackets Club to play croquet on their
    grass tennis courts during the months of October to May. They have been loaned equipment by the SECF and Richard and David Collins have provided coaching support.
  • St Thomas’ Hospital has given up trying to establish a club at Cobham as being too far out from London. They continue to search for a venue in London but playing opportunities have been few.
  • Members of Imperial College have shown an interest in croquet and had an introductory coaching session with Susan Davies at Parsons Green. Eugene Chang just out of Eton and already qualified as a Grade 1 coach after attending the CQC at Hurlingham is hoping to establish a club at Imperial College in
    April next season. Susan Davis who also attended the CQC at Hurlingham and qualified later this year as a Grade 1 coach is actively pursuing contacts in both Imperial College and St Thomas’s with offers to try out the sport at Parsons Green.
  • The completion of the Four Seasons Hotel at Dogmersfield has been delayed to February 2005. The plan to form a village Croquet Club using the hotel’s facilities will then be put into effect.
  • SECF responded to a cry for help from the Waldron Village Croquet Club, Heathfield for a letter of support for their development plan for a bid to Sport England for part of the funding for a new multi-sport pavilion. The outcome is not yet known.
  • The Bookham U3A is now well established at Polesden Lacey with active links with Woking WTCC. Hatchlands is due to take off at another National Trust Property next season assisted by Geoffrey Cuttle. The SECF will be represented at its first AGM in November 2004 to assess what support is needed.

Support to Existing Clubs

The season has seen coaching support provided on request to one or two clubs such as Crawley. Requests to the CA and SECF for grants for facility development have been processed in respect of Southwick, Ramsgate, Rother Valley and Surbiton with one in the pipeline from Tunbridge Wells. Chichester and Fishbourne received
a small grant from SECF for a set of new balls. Purley Bury is to be congratulated for completing their construction of a new toilet facility without having to call on the CA and SECF grants which had been previously approved.

Coaching Courses

The Improvers and Bronze Courses were again held over one weekend at Southwick in April and were well attended. The Silver course held at Southwick in May had four applicants only but at least it took place after last year’s cancellation due to lack of
support. Our thanks go to Lead Coach, Bryan Teague and his team of coaches for their achievements as they do to Daphne Gaitley and her team who ran another successful and well attended Summer School in July. The students included three from Germany.

Schools

Efforts to get a foothold into Wellington College have failed so far. Eton College has extended its croquet fixtures to Harrow and Oxford University in addition to Charterhouse. But the lack of a reasonable playing surface continues to frustrate more
satisfactory growth for the Eton Croquet Club.

Livery Companies

The Inter-Livery Company Croquet Tournament is now an established event on the Livery Company Sporting Calendar. The second tournament had six companies competing and the third tournament is schedules for next June at Surbiton.

Coaches Qualification

The CA has lowered the course fee for those participating in the Coaches Qualification Course (CQC) to £10, a welcome measure. There were three CQCs held in England in 2004. For the SE, Hurlingham hosted a course for 18 students with David Collins,
Daphne Gaitley and Keith Collins forming the Directing Staff. Three club coaches from the CQC were assessed as Grade 1 Coaches during the Summer School and one at the Grade 2 level. The youngest student ever to be qualified as a Club Coach (again at the CQC at Hurlingham) was assessed at the Grade 1 level on the
Bronze Course at Bath.

1998 Development Plan