We’re re-opening!!!!

Following the changes to HM Government’s Guidance in relation to Covid-19 we are now able to open our season starting opening tomorrow, Wednesday, for a limited amount of play. Sadly, we’re not able to have the usual opening events, but nevertheless we’re opening!!

Please read the following guidelines, based on the Croquet Association advice as to what is allowed and not allowed for the next phase of the Lockdown easing.

  • The Clubhouse is open only to the extent required to access equipment, toilet and hand washing facilities.

  • We have provide hand sanitiser for players, but it’s safer to wash your hands with soap and water.

  • We’re not having any regular (social) sessions. Only pre-arranged singles games or individual practice are permitted, but you can double-bank games.

  • No extra-curricular or social activity is permitted.

  • No guests or visitors are permitted. Spectators must remain outside our fencing.

  • To avoid sharing mallets, members can borrow a club mallet for a while. Personal mallets should not be stored in the clubhouse or equipment store

  • Corner markers and clips have been removed from the trolleys, as they shouldn’t be used


  • Do not go to the club if you are experiencing any symptoms of a cold or flu, in particular a cough or high temperature. Use the NHS helpline and seek advice. For your own protection, follow the advice about self-isolation if you are, or are living with, someone in one of the vulnerable groups.

  • You should only play with people from your own household or by yourself or, as long as you stay 2 metres apart, with one other person from outside your household. Groups of more than two people must all be from the same household. This means you cannot have two or three people from one household plus one person from outside the household playing together. But two people, from two different households, can play together as long as they stay 2 metres apart.

  • To arrange a game please ask for a game or let others know that you’ve organised one via our WhatsApp Group, otherwise you may have to wait (walk around the park)

  • If all 3 lawns are being played on and someone else arrives could the people who’ve been playing longest, or just practising, give way as soon as possible

  • Any activity should be in line with the Government’s social distancing measures at all times, including when going to or from a lawn. Consequently, do not shake hands before or after a game.

  • Wash your hands and clean any equipment you use, such as hoops, balls and club mallets, before and after you play with the wipes (make sure you put the lid of these back on after use please)

  • When setting out and taking in a court, only one person should handle the hoops and the peg

  • Clean padlocks, keys and door handles before and after use

  • Avoid using toilets wherever possible and clean after use

  • If possible, dress appropriately prior to travelling to the club, rather than changing there

  • Bring any food or drink you might need and do not use the club crockery, glasses etc.

  • Players should agree the score at the end of each scoring turn. Personal counters should be used to keep count of bisques/extra turns

  • Avoid using movable chairs as far as possible, otherwise clean them before and after use

  • Use your feet, rather than hands, to position balls where you can do so with sufficient precision

  • If it rains and you need to shelter you can wind out the awnings (but please not to their maximum extent and definitely not if it’s windy)


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£450 for Macmillan Cancer Support

Despite our CA Charity One Ball heat not taking place, given the current crisis for charities, we decided to make it a special fund raiser for the nominated charity.

So we managed to raise £450 plus Gift Aid, which is approximately four times the sum we normally raise.

Hopefully we’ll be able to run our heat later this year…

Thanks to everyone who contributed!

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End-March update

On this lovely sunny, if somewhat cold day, we’d like to play croquet, but obviously our club is closed and will be so for the duration.

Following HM Government and Croquet Association guidelines, our groundsman is continuing to look after the lawns. He managed to white-line them once, but probably won’t be doing that again for a while…

As I said in my email we’re trying to raise more money for charity in these straitened times for them. Our chosen one is that of the CA One Ball Charity event – Macmillan Cancer Support.

I’m glad to see the generosity of those who’ve contributed and am pleased to say that we’ve already raised more than we normally do for this event. Please continue to send me your pledges.

Your committee has been thinking about the future, but thankfully we’re in a strong financial position, so unlike some other clubs we don’t have to worry about money. I suspect some clubs may have to close.

We haven’t discussed what we’re going to do when we re-open, since what kind of events we can hold depends on the date of re-opening and what the South East Federation decides about its leagues and events, which are currently all cancelled. So when we have a better idea about re-opening we’ll put our thinking caps on and let you know.

With best wishes

Jon Diamond

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Covid-19 emergency arrangements

In the light of the current crisis the Committee has decided that we can continue to play croquet by making it essentially a non-social activity by small numbers of people playing simultaneously, keeping at least 1-2 metres apart. 

So we have decided to keep the club open, but we have cancelled Opening Day, all local tournaments, courses and social events until at least the end of April and probably much longer, and we are advising you to use your own judgement about coming to the club.

However to help you we’ve created a set of Guidelines which we hope you will observe:
Rule 1: wash hands when arriving at club and also when leaving.
Rule 2: try not to use toilets.
Rule 3: don’t use cutlery/crockery/glasses
Rule 4: preferably only use your own mallets (if you don’t have a mallet please label one of ours as yours)
Rule 5: avoid touching balls – use feet to move/position them as much as possible
Rule 6: minimise interaction in the clubhouse and keep 1-2 metres apart
Rule 7: please help others by cleaning the surfaces you may have touched with a dilute bleach solution (NHS recommendation) before you leave

But obviously observe the current NHS recommendations about movement etc., as these may change from day to day, and don’t come if you have a serious long-term health condition.

Lawns 1 and 2 are open and playable with hoop holes, but there are no white lines.

Take care, keep safe and enjoy playing croquet.

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2020 AGM minutes

2020 AGM minutes

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Richard Clark and John Hobbs awarded Honorary Life Membership and AGM report

John Hobbs and Richard Clark presented with their long-service awards

Richard Clark and John Hobbs were awarded Honorary Life Membership and presented with glass awards because of their long-term contributions to the club as past-Chairman, Coaches and many other things at our AGM, held in Frant on Saturday 22nd February.

The main items covered were:

  • with 22 new members in 2019 our club membership increased to a record of 73 (including one corporate member)
  • we ran 4 Introductory Course with 30 participants
  • 34 people came for National Croquet Day
  • our part of the Simon Carter Golf Croquet World Championship ran well, giving us a financial surplus rather than the budgeted loss, many due to our local sponsors AV Trinity, Thomson Snell & Passmore and Wells Associates plus a grant from Royal Tunbridge Wells Together. As part of this we managed to refurbish our lawn furniture and gain some new flags.
  • We should draw a veil over our participation in SECF events
  • congratulations to Barney Lewis on reaching the final of the Croquet Association’s  All England Handicap competition.
  • we had a surplus of about £2,000 and a number of suggestions for using this were discussed, including redecorating the clubhouse and possibly acquiring a defribilator
  • badgers were attacking the lawns, and were being repelled, but with difficulty
  • the lawns would likely shut for autumn maintenance during the week of 14th September (for up to 8 weeks?)
  • we would be running some new AC 14-point tournaments and a trial GC Mixed Doubles in addition to our regular ones
  • subscriptions remain the same, but green fees were increased
  • Nigel Barton retired from the Committee, following his move to Seaford, but Chris Barham had been co-opted in his place. All the Committee were re-elected.

Competition Winners with John and Richard

Award Citations

Richard Clark was club chairman in 2005-6 and the main driver behind the lawn relaying and Equipment Store building projects, raising some £40,000 including £26,000 in grants. This was recognised by the club being awarded the CA’s Aps Heley award for the second time. He followed this by renegotiating our lease, giving us a safe home until 2028. In addition he provided much coaching over a long period of time. He was awarded the Croquet Association Diploma in 2007.

John Hobbs was club chairman from 2001-2004, being a member of the committee for 16 years. He’s been well known as a mallet maker for many years, but sadly has had to retire from this. He’s provided many mallets to members and the club at very favourable rates. He’s used his wood-working skills on the Equipment Store (there’s a photo on our website) and also provided much coaching to the club over a long time. He was awarded the Croquet Association Diploma in 2006.

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Our 2019 AC doubles completed!

We’re happy to say that the Miriam Reader Handicap Doubles has just been completed, with Jolyon Creasey & Jane Smith winning by 7 hoops (not even on time!).

The lawns are apparently playing excellently, so why don’t you have a go at our One Ball on Sunday from 11am (no experience necessary)?

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Frank Gunstone dies

We’re sad to have to report that Frank died in his sleep at home earlier this week.

Richard Clark writes: “With the passing of Frank at the age of 86 this November, the Croquet Club has lost not just a valued longstanding member but a great friend, stalwart champion and ambassador.

As a young man Frank embarked on a successful career in aeronautical engineering, proudly working his way through the ranks learning on the job.  The Space Age promise of the 1950’s and 60’s brought fresh excitement to the aviation world while Concorde lifted its horizons and ambitions.  Frank was involved with the development of  and application of relays and their supply to the industry.   Sadly the excitement abated, Frank’s firm was bought out by an American company and later closed, leaving him to start a second career.

He and Carolyn moved to Crowborough and purchased Warren Drive which they developed and ran as a Care Home with a fine reputation which owed everything to their commitment and enlightened approach.   Carolyn’s nursing experience supplemented by Frank’s natural sociability and sense of humour ensured success. They were renowned for the touches such as their residents’  bar designed to help give a homely, but active backdrop to the declining years of their residents; at the time still a somewhat  pioneering approach.

Frank’s first love was sailing.  From his Club on the Thames He became a very proficient exponent of the art, making it to Olympic Trials.  His love of sea, sail and surf never left him and in more recent years, in addition to a sailing excursion to the Isle of Wight with some other members  he revelled in the luxury of tall-masted sea cruising in the Adriatic and Caribbean.

Like many of us, he came to Croquet late.  Introduced to the Club in about 2002 he was a stalwart supporter through a major phase of development.  Never a lover of Committees, he was a practical pair of hands in support.  He championed the cause of Golf Croquet at a time when it was undervalued by those skilled at Association and he will be particularly remembered for the charm with which he coordinated Wednesday Club afternoons, skilfully balancing playing groups and joining them to gently steer them to improvement.  No lingering spectator at the gate was safe from Frank’s explanations of the game and invitation to sample.  A mean player himself, his hoop running was spectacular at times, and he brought a keen competitiveness to the lawn.  He loved nothing more than a keenly fought match.  He lit up our social occasions where his conviviality and love of life came to the fore.

As a friend and as a RTWCC fellow member he will be missed.”

Our thoughts are with Carolyn and his family at this time.

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Lawns re-open for the Winter!

You’ll be glad to know that Chris and Alex have just drilled the hoops on lawns 1 and 2, so we’re open for business again! Ray will paint the lines in due course.

Lawn 3 has not been drilled yet, since it’s so wet, but will no doubt be sometime.

Please note our Winter Rules:

1. Flat soled shoes are required – no heels at all.

2. Use lawns in the following order – 3, 2 and 1, but

3. Look at the Notice Board to see if any particular lawn is closed (red sign).

4. Don’t play if it’s very damp or the ground is very soft.

5. Jump shots and hammer shots are totally prohibited, as any damage caused (cuts or deep indentations) won’t recover over the winter, as it’s too cold. Also be careful in shots around hoops.

6. If there’s dew on the ground please use the brush in the clubhouse to clear it before you play; this will minimise fungal growth.

7. The internal water system will be turned off sometime before the temperature gets below freezing again, with the taps left open, to avoid frozen/burst pipes; so please be aware of the signs. If they’re up this means that the toilets will not be in use and you’ll be unable to make tea/coffee and wash up crockery.

Enjoy: Our next scheduled sessions are the One Ball/GC on Sunday 1st December!

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Escape to the Perfect Town

Filming of this BBC1 programme about a property hunt in Tunbridge Wells took place in July. The programme aired on Monday 14th October and features quite a good four minute segment about croquet at our club (starting at about 37 minutes in).

They also managed to include some views of the backs of players in the GC Worlds too, including the new World Champion!

The programme is available on the BBC iPlayer for the next 30 days and we hope to get a copy of this programme for our own use in due course.

Thanks to Natalya for starring in our bit.

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