Pinchbeck Croquet Club are looking for new members
A South Holland croquet club is hoping a surge in the popularity of the sport will help attract new members.
Pinchbeck Croquet Club, which is based in Bear Lane, was formed about four years ago by enthusiast and UK-ranked player Mike Bowser.
Croquet has hit the national headlines recently with the sale of sets rocketing due to the spell of warm weather and the fact that it is one of the few outdoor sports that can now be played while keeping a safe distance due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
The Pinchbeck club boasts one of the best kept croquet lawns in the country and, those who wish to, can compete in events up and down and country.
Gordon Mills – one of the members of the Pinchbeck club – feels that it is a sport which can appeal to all.
He explained: “Croquet is played by a wide range of people.
“The reason for this is that it is a game of pure skill and tactics. A powerfully built player has no advantage over one less so and croquet does not make any undue demands on stamina.
“The excellent handicap system enables beginners to play against much better players.
“Croquet requires the touch of a bowls player and the skill of a snooker player in controlling the path of two balls and building up a good break but with the advantage of being played outside.
“There’s a great feeling of sportsmanship and camaraderie is enjoyed by players which is far removed from the common concept of croquet as a vicious game.
“For many years I have enjoyed croquet on our lumpy lawn at home and at friends’ houses.
“The aim at these social occasions was to knock your opponent’s ball as far out the way as possible and great fun if you could get their ball in the flower bed or better still the pond.
“Once I joined Pinchbeck Croquet Club, I soon discovered that proper croquet is not quite like that, but just as much fun and more interesting with carefully thought through tactics and a huge variety of skills needed to succeed at higher-level play.”
The coronavirus pandemic had curtailed the start of the croquet season which usually runs from April to October.
However, with the restrictions now lifted, club members are starting to enjoy playing once again and are looking for newcomers to bolster their ranks.
Gordon added: “Our chairman Mike Bowser has gathered a friendly crowd of enthusiastic players to the club. Some go along just for fun and some enjoy it immensely but are very competitive.
“Mike looks after the full-size croquet lawn which is in an idyllic setting, surrounded by trees and bushes, with a nearby patio area from which you can keep an eye on the game.
“The club is looking for new members who will be made most welcome and given excellent free coaching.
“We are a small, friendly club of enthusiastic croquet players and the lawn is looking good. The restrictions due to coronavirus have now been lifted, subject to keeping a safe distance from each other and observing various hygiene recommendations.
“The dress code is very casual at practice games, but whites are worn for tournaments. The club also has spare mallets and equipment for newcomers to the game.”
Anyone interested in joining the club can visit their website – www.croquet-websites.org.uk/pinchbeck/ – for more information or call Mike on 07930 865932 or Gordon on 07962 783294.
There are two types of croquet played known as Association Croquet and Golf Croquet.
Both types of game are played at Pinchbeck and at most clubs.
Association Croquet is much more complicated than Golf Croquet and has complex rules and tactics.
Good Association Croquet players can have a turn or break, as it is called, where they can get through most of the hoops in one go.
It is similar to watching a good snooker player make a big break but, of course, out in the fresh air and sunshine.
The rules for Golf Croquet are much simpler and it is a very popular version of the game. All four players are on the lawn together and have just one shot each turn. Once a hoop has been run, the quartet all head for the next hoop and is a quick action sociable game.