Sidmouth Croquet Club players so happy to be back on the lawns – and in superb conditions too!

PUBLISHED: 17:51 28 May 2020 | UPDATED: 17:51 28 May 2020

Chistine Bowler and Jane Morrish, who were the last people to play before the Coronavirus pandemic lockdown, prepare to be the first to return to the lawns for action after the easing of lockdown restrictions. Picture: PHILIP HARRIS

Chistine Bowler and Jane Morrish, who were the last people to play before the Coronavirus pandemic lockdown, prepare to be the first to return to the lawns for action after the easing of lockdown restrictions. Picture: PHILIP HARRIS

Archant

Sidmouth Croquet Club reopened last week and it was very much the case that it was to the delight of the members, writes Philip Harris.

Chistine Bowler and Jane Morrish, who were the last people to play before the Coronavirus pandemic lockdown, prepare to be the first to return to the lawns for action after the easing of lockdown restrictions. Picture: PHILIP HARRISChistine Bowler and Jane Morrish, who were the last people to play before the Coronavirus pandemic lockdown, prepare to be the first to return to the lawns for action after the easing of lockdown restrictions. Picture: PHILIP HARRIS

After nine weeks of the club being closed owing to the Coronavirus pandemic lockdown restrictions, there was a rush of members booking lawns to play again.

Indeed, such was the immediate demand that the lawns were almost fully booked for the whole of the first week ahead!

Of course, all sessions were conducted observing the strict rules the club imposed to comply with Government and Croquet Association guidelines. These include regular sanitising of hands and washing the croquet balls between games.

What’s more, currently only two lawns are open and only two players are allowed per lawn to ensure compliance with social distancing requirements (a good guide for this is that the social distancing represents two mallet lengths). It is also important that players do not touch croquet balls with their hand during a game. The clubhouse and croquet huts remain closed.

Ed Dolphin and Duncan Hasell enjoying a match on lawn four at Sidmouth Croquet Club. Picture: PHILIP HARRISEd Dolphin and Duncan Hasell enjoying a match on lawn four at Sidmouth Croquet Club. Picture: PHILIP HARRIS

Christine Bowler and Jane Morrish were the last two members to play on march 22 before the lockdown came into effect.

Therefore the pair were very keen to be the first to play when play restarted, together with Ed Dolphin and Duncan Hasell, who both did a lot of the preparation work prior to reopening.

There are many forms of the game of croquet which easily allow social distancing.

These are golf croquet, ricochet croquet, short croquet and association croquet with each requiring different skills and techniques.

Chistine Bowler and Jane Morrish play a match out on lawn two at Sidmouth Croquet Club. Picture; PHILIP HARRISChistine Bowler and Jane Morrish play a match out on lawn two at Sidmouth Croquet Club. Picture; PHILIP HARRIS

Sales of croquet sets have increased during lockdown as people are playing in their back gardens.

The club, which currently had 76 paid-up members, is currently not accepting new members, but there will be Open Days staged as and when circumstances improve and there is more relaxing of restrictions.


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