In 2017 the Croquet Group will play from Monday 3 April to Monday 30 October. Our Club tournament will be held on Monday 2 October.
We play at Branston Recreation Ground, Moor Lane, Branston (LN4 1LE). Moor Lane is on the corner just before the de-restricted sign as you leave Branston on the B1188 from Lincoln. The Recreation Ground is about 150 yards along Moor Lane on the right. We have three lawns of 20 x 25 yards (five-sevenths the size of a full-size croquet lawn). We play each Monday afternoon from 1.30pm to 4.30pm with a break for coffee/tea and biscuits in the Pavilion. There is also the opportunity to play private games on other afternoons during the week.
We play mostly Golf Croquet, but do play Association Croquet if members are interested. We have our own hoops, pegs and primary and secondary colour balls so that 24 people can play two matches of doubles on each lawn at the same time. Many members have their own mallets, but we also have our own mallets for 13 people so new members do not need any equipment. We are members of the Federation of East Midlands Croquet Clubs and we take part in the East Midlands league matches - see links at side. We play two teams: an A team in Division 2 and a B team in Division 3. We also play friendly matches with nearby clubs and take part in local tournaments.
Most members start with no knowledge of the game, so we give tuition. We often have training sessions for the first half hour followed by games – either singles or doubles depending on numbers. So if you have never picked up a croquet mallet before, do not feel that you cannot join the Group. Croquet is a good combination of the mental and the physical. Strategy is equally as important as skill in hitting the ball where you want it to go. As the Croquet Association says: “Croquet is a challenging and intriguing sport requiring tactical ability, judgement and skill rather than strength and fast reflexes”. Just the thing for U3A members! It is also one of the few sports that men and women can play on equal terms. No special kit is required, but please wear flat shoes to protect the lawn.
The Lincolnshire Handicap 2017:
On the last Wednesday in July, 12 players from 5 clubs competed for the Lincolnshire Handicap tournament run by Branston & District U3A’s croquet group. Players’ handicaps ranged from 4 to 12 so there was a wide range of abilities and experience. Six rounds were played throughout the day. The weather was cloudy with heavy showers in the middle of the day with windy gusts. Les Vogel (Branston) was the winner, winning 41 hoop points and 5 games, beating Roy Donner (Woodhall Spa) into second place on 38 points and 5 games. Stuart Worsnop (Branston) came third with 37 points and 4 games just beating Tony Fisher with 36 points and 4 games. See photos on right.
The Lincolnshire Handicap will be held again next year on Wednesday 25 July 2018.
On Monday 3 October on a sunny day, 20 of us played in our 2016 Club Tournament. After six general rounds and two play-off rounds on the following Monday, Tony Hunt was declared the winner, having beaten Stuart Worsnop 7-5 in the final game. A promising new player this year, Stuart did very well, but even with the benefit of handicap play and five extra turns he was unable to overcome Tony’s extra skill and experience. Marcus Stead was third and Bernard Johnson fourth. The photo shows all four players with cups.