We decided to open the club for the 2021 season earlier than usual, on 29th March - the earliest date allowed for sports venues - and members seem delighted, especially as it's unseasonably warm and sunny. We are limited to just lawn 1 for the first two days (due to work on the oaks off the north boundaries of lawns 2-5 making the lawns unusable) and it is divided into half lawns. We expect to have 5 lawns in use by Wednesday with them all usable as half lawns or full lawns, and - all being well - 9 by late Summer.
The council have scheduled some arboricultural work on the oaks which overhang the northern parts of the east lawns, and which in late Summer and Autumn drop acorns and debris causing considerable nuisance for players and extra work for Charlie. The oaks have also become in our view potentially dangerous so we very much welcome this work, hoping and trusting it will resolve these problems.
Contractors will be working on the trees from 25th - 30th March, and during the work lawns 2-5 will be unavailable. Charlie will be catching up on postponed mowing and lawn work on 31st. Therefore our early start for the season will involve only lawn 1 until 3pm Wed 31st. We'd request only half-lawn bookings until the other lawns are available, to allow as many members as possible to get an early start, because we know some of your are raring to go.
Please see lawn booking page for detail.
The government's roadmap out of lockdown allows outdoor sports venues to reopen from March 29th this year. We sense our members are missing their croquet, and since the lawns are ready and the weather forecast is good, we will start our 2021 season early, with lawns 1-5 and the east pavilion available from 9:00 a.m. on March 29th. We still have to observe hygiene and social distancing measures to keep everything we do within the letter and spirit of the law and as COVID-safe as possible. New COVID-19 rules will be shared soon, based on the guidance from the Croquet Association. (The main changes from the 3rd edition will concern the number of people allowed on a lawn, limitations on the use of indoor spaces (pavilions), and allowing members and visitors on site without prior booking with some provisos). For the first week or so, building work will still be taking place in the west pavilion so we will have access only to the east pavilion.
There are some changes to the lawn booking system and to the guidance for lawn use (appearing soon on the lawn booking page) including greater use of 28-yard (half) lawns for less formal play, to help us accommodate all our expected activity on the east lawns for the first part of the season. We hope and trust that we will soon have use of the new west lawns too. Grass growth is looking very promising but we must not jeopardise the long term quality of the fine turf by using them before they are robust enough for regular foot traffic, and creating a mudbath! The Spring growing season will be crucial.
This website has been considerably updated, with the intention of making it more enticing to newcomers, more accessible, more visual and better organised. It has a similar look and feel, but with the content updated, reworded (to be less formal) and better illustrated, and a new menu structure. The old “Navigation” menu is replaced by two menus: the “Journey” menu, which entices us from first discovering croquet towards visiting, learning, joining, enjoying and supporting the club, and a more factual “Information” menu. Most material for members (such as lawn booking) is under “Enjoy” in the Journey menu.
When you log on as “Member” (the password is in your Members’ Handbook) you will also see a third menu of information restricted to members only – e.g. minutes of meetings, club finances, strategy etc.
We have added a new section called “Advice” where we will be providing a curated collection of (we hope) useful documents. To start with it covers a few areas such as double banking etiquette, entering your first tournament etc. We plan to write or commission more articles, so please ask if you’d like something covered. If anyone with more knowledge of GC than me would like to suggest new articles or changes to existing ones, that would be very welcome.
If you have any feedback or critique or thoughts for further improvements, please contact me and I’ll do what I can. (It may not always be possible to please everyone – one person’s meat is another’s poison – but we’ll try our best). Many thanks to those who have already provided extensive input and feedback.
Finally the site will have to be completely reorganised next winter, when its technical foundation (“Drupal 7”) goes out of support. We may also move it to new servers. If anyone with relevant technical expertise may be willing to help, do please speak to me or Ian Vincent, or Nicky Newbery our volunteer coordinator.
Rob Edlin-White (Communications Officer)