Croquet was something of a lifeline to some of our members earlier in 2020 when other activities were impossible, so we are doing our best to provide opportunity for off season play when it is safe and legal to do so and subject to constraints imposed by weather, lawn maintenance activities and necessity to minimise wear and damage outside the grass growing season.
From 5/1/2021 the country is in national lockdown and no indoor or outdoor sports clubs are permitted to open. Therefore the club premises are closed and all slots on the lawn booking system are blocked out. We do not as yet know how long these restrictions will remain in place.
General conditions for club play during COVID-19 pandemic
The club has adopted some temporary rules which can be found here: Rules during COVID-19 Epidemic. These rules must be observed for the safety, health and reassurance of all our members, to comply with the law and to avoid any kind of reputational damage. The rules refer to the lawn booking system which must be used to book lawns in advance. The system can be found here: Croquet Lawn Booking System. It can be used from desktop or laptop computers or tablets or any device which supports a web browser and has a screen large enough for you to see the content. Guidance notes have been circulated and can be downloaded here: Lawn booking system user guide.
Additional off season playing arrangements – until 9/4/2021
The committee recognises that some of our hardier members enjoy playing croquet during the closed season, and - now this is legally allowed - are making provisions, subject to considerations of the long term condition of the lawns. All off season play is to some extent detrimental to turf quality for a variety of reasons: greater compaction of soil due to it being wetter and softer on average; extra wear particularly around hoops; grass more prone to fungal infestations due to less hours of sunlight and more hours of dew and damp; lower soil temperatures inhibit turf growth which in summer repairs routine wear and tear.
(Historically there was no play out of season to allow the turf to recover, and in more recent years it was limited to one or two of the already rough former bowling greens. We have never had off season play on lawns 1 to 5, and these will be our only usable lawns for at least the first part of next season so - in consultation with Charlie who maintains these lawns - we will adopt a cautious approach and provide some access while trying to minimise damage to the lawns, and affording them some opportunity to recover from the heavy use they have had in the 2020 playing season.)
For these reasons, during our out of season play:
- We will use half lawns to reduce the wear around full-lawn hoop positions;
- We will have a limited number of lawns available on any one day, in a rotation, to minimise wear and to maximise recovery time and to accommodate any maintenance needs;
- We must have a maximum of 6 people on a half lawn but recommend double banking is avoided for space reasons;
- We won't play in the mornings when lawns are still wet with dew, nor after dusk. We have allocated 4 hours from noon to 4 pm (*), and suggest 2 hour bookings;
- Players who are able are encouraged to "swish" the lawns before use if they are damp, to speed up drying and reduce fungal growth
- No play is permitted when there is visible frost, snow or standing water on lawns;
- The groundsman is empowered to close lawns for maintenance work, weather reasons or turf recovery, and will give notice where possible.
(*) The opening hours have now been extended to start at 11:30 for the remainder of December and January, as the light can be failing by 4 pm.
Please always check this page of the club website and the lawn booking system before making a journey, even if you have made a booking. Rather than send emails whenever there is a change to availability, we will endeavour to announce it here and/or on the lawn booking system. Off season bookings are never guaranteed as we are not permitted to play in certain weather conditions.
FINALLY PLEASE REMEMBER:
You must remain 2m apart at all times ; particular care must be taken when playing GC not to congregate around the hoop.
If you have been to the club and then become sick, have a positive covid test positive or have to self-isolate because someone in your household is unwell, then you must inform the club secretary Ellen Gee immediately.