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Cheltenham Croquet Club want more people to take part in ‘enjoyable and rewarding’ sport

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Author: Roger Jackson, Posted: Friday, 8th February 2019, 12:00

Cheltenham Croquet Club are hosting taster days in April and May Cheltenham Croquet Club are hosting taster days in April and May

There aren’t too many sports where you can start as a complete beginner and within three years find yourself playing for your country.

But that is certainly possible in the world of croquet.

“Croquet is enjoyable and rewarding at all skill levels from beginner to advanced, and can be played to a high standard even by those not as agile as they were,” said Adam Moliver, chairman of Cheltenham Croquet Club.

“Croquet clubs host local and national tournaments from April through to October, with international competitions held regularly.

“It has been known for complete beginners to represent their country within three years of picking up the game.”

Cheltenham Croquet Club are one of the biggest clubs in the country, of course, and they are holding a couple of taster days over the next few months in the hope of introducing even more people to the sport.

Croquet has been played in Cheltenham from the 1860s. J H Hale, who lived at Lansdown Villas, was a major figure in developing the game, as was Walter Jones Whitmore of Chastleton, near Stow-on-the-Wold.

The Reverend Law, Curate of St Philip and St. James, Leckhampton, played in the first ‘Open’, as did Arthur Lillee, also of Cheltenham.

There was a tournament in Cheltenham in 1869 and the first reference to a club is in 1870.

The current club were founded in 1909 and have been on their current site in Old Bath Road since 1920.

“Croquet is a game of strategy and skill where men and women play on equal terms,” added Moliver.

“Croquet’s handicap system allows players of all abilities to compete against each other.”

Interestingly, there are two types of croquet played at World Championship level.

Association Croquet and Golf Croquet are the main codes, each with their own demands, tactics and skills.

Association Croquet includes a variety of shots and break-building tactics to encourage scoring multiple hoops in a turn, while Golf Croquet interactively contests each hoop, often with spectacular hoop shots and distant ball clearances.

“It’s an outdoor sport that keeps you physically and mentally fit, providing a social yet competitive environment,” said Moliver.

Cheltenham will be holding a taster day on 7th April (10am-3pm) and to celebrate National Croquet Day a further day will be held on Sunday 12th May.

Email croquetcheltenham@gmail.com to book an hour’s slot to give the sport a try. Tuition and equipment is provided. Players are asked to wear flat-soled shoes.

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