u3a - Croquet

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Just to clarify the situation about restarting croquet following the recent government guidance.

The U3A insurance requires every activity group and each participant to have completed a risk assessment/checklist to ensure the activity is safe for members to participate in. This is the case whether or not the group plays at a croquet club affiliated to the Croquet Association or elsewhere. If it is a U3A registered club then it comes under the auspices of the U3A and their insurance and guidelines.

Until the risk assessment/checklist has been completed and any actions arising have been taken, it will not be deemed safe to restart the activity.

The risk assessment form is available from the chair or secretary of each U3A and the process will be explained by them.

Croquet is one of the sports that can be played safely, like golf and tennis, but please follow any local guidelines that your own U3A may have issued, and at the very least follow the comprehensive CA guidelines on their website. Every person must take responsibility for their own health and wellbeing and that of those around them, and if you have any doubt at all then safety must of course be paramount. 

Take care.

Lockdown Croquet - video


Are you looking for an outdoor sport that keeps you mentally and physically fit, providing a competitive and sociable environment?

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Croquet is essentially just 6 hoops, 4 balls, 2 mallets, 1 peg and a patch of grass. But it is also a game of skill and strategy, and one that offers friendship, fun and competition. Moreover, it doesn’t need strength or much stamina, so men and women of any age play on an equal footing, and the handicap system allows people to successfully play at all levels.

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There are two main forms of croquet, and groups in the U3A play both types, it really depends which you prefer.
Golf croquet is a sequence game played as singles or doubles. The object of the game is to make either of your balls pass through the hoops in a set order before your opponent does. A hoop point is scored for the side whose ball runs a hoop in order first. The winner is the side which scores the most hoop points. The balls are played with one stroke in each turn in a set sequence. All players are on the lawn at the same time. A golf croquet game usually takes about 45 minutes.

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Association is more like snooker on grass. It can also be played as singles or doubles. The object of the game is to make both balls of your side pass through all the hoops in order and then hit the peg before your opponent. Unlike golf croquet though, only one player is on the lawn at any one time trying to build up a series of strokes by earning extra strokes, and using the other balls on the lawns to run more than one hoop at a time. Once the player breaks down, then the other player comes on the lawn and has their turn. A game of association croquet can take up to three hours.

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My name is Sally Slater. I live in the beautiful Roman city of Chester in North West England and I am a member of Chester U3A. I play table tennis at our U3A group which is great fun, as well as attend talks and visits.

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We live close to a park and if it’s a nice evening it has been our habit since we moved here 16 years ago to have a stroll around the park. Our walk takes us past 4 beautiful green croquet lawns and we often stopped and watched people playing croquet. They always seemed to be laughing and having fun, and it looked such a good game, so we decided that when we retired we would have a go. We didn’t wait that long in fact, but once we started we were hooked and I have loved the game ever since. I would love more people to ‘have a go’. It’s such a great sport. Fresh air, fun, competition, friends, sociable – what’s not to like?!

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When I first started playing croquet I was still working, and began by playing golf croquet which seemed at first quicker and easier to learn. When I retired I took a course in association croquet at my croquet club and began to enter competitions on short lawn, then full lawn. Last year I won my first national competition at Cheltenham playing full lawn association croquet.

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Croquet in the U3A takes many forms. Some U3A’s have a croquet group that uses the equipment and facilities at their local croquet club and they have a slot there each week or every two weeks during the season. They usually pay an agreed ‘green fee’ to the club.

Some U3A’s develop their own croquet club, usually with help from the national Croquet Association’s development officer.

Some individual U3A members prefer to join their local croquet club under their own auspices or with a friend and develop their croquet that way.

As subject adviser I can help you in whatever way I can. I would like as many people as possible to play croquet and to discover what a great sport it is. My best resource is access to the national Croquet Association and its resources, and if I cannot answer any question myself then I know a person who can!

Take a look at the video on the Croquet Association website ‘what is croquet all about – and why should you give it a try’. www.croquet.org.uk

Please feel free to get in touch and ask me anything you like.