Access to clubhouse

Discussions are continuing with Cheshire West and Chester Council about re-opening the clubhouse and access to the toilets and hand washing facilities. They remain closed for the time being. However, the public toilets in the central café block in Westminster Park have re-opened. If lack of facilities has deterred members from coming to enjoy games of croquet, that constraint is now removed.

If members who haven’t played since the lawns were re-opened on 24 May would now like to enjoy some summer games, please remember that it is currently necessary to book a lawn in advance. It is also recommended that members bring their own hand sanitisers or cleaning tissues, any refreshments they may wish to have, and their own mallets and seats if they have them. Check here for more information.


International fame

On Friday, 12 June, a Reuters photographer, Molly Darlington from Cheshire, visited the club to take some photographs of croquet being played during the current coronavirus lockdown.  A few days later the following photograph of a well known  Chester player appeared  in the Ottawa Citizen newspaper under a headline about the local weather forecast. International fame at last!

Jayne Taylor photographed by Molly Darlington of Reuters

See more of the photographs here.

Socially distanced croquet

Chester’s John Dawson being interviewed about socially distanced croquet by socially distanced ITV Granada at Bowdon on Tuesday, 2 June. David Walters and Liz Taylor Webb of Bowdon were also interviewed.

The interviews were broadcast on regional ITV news yesterday evening, Tuesday, 9 June, and can be viewed here.

Latest guidance

Government and Croquet Association guidelines from Monday, 1 June, now allow up to six people from different households to meet outdoors, still subject to social distancing of 2 metres. This means that doubles games and double banking are now permitted.

Previous guidelines still apply about minimising contact with shared items of equipment and cleaning after use.

Any members who wish to borrow a Club mallet and keep it at home for the rest of the year may contact Tom Grievson who will make the necessary arrangements.

Also, remember to move opponents’ or partners’ balls with your feet rather than hands.

The clubhouse continues to remain closed until further notice.

Latest guidance from 1 June 2020:
Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport
Croquet Association

… and some practical tips

Please note short lawns have so far been set out only on Lawn 1, ie Lawns 1A and 1B.

When making lawn bookings, please keep to 1½ hour time slots starting at 10.00 am, 11.30 am. 1.00 pm, 2.30 pm, 4.00 pm, 5.30 pm and 7.00 pm in order avoid overlapping two 1½ hour time slots or inadvertently creating shorter time slots of just ½ hour or 1 hour for other players. A 1½ hour time slot covers three rows on the lawn booking chart.

And remember to record the type of game being booked, ie Association Croquet (green), Golf Croquet (yellow) or Short Croquet (turquoise).

* * * * *

Here are some earlier comments and practical tips arising from the first few days of play:

  1. Full lawns 1 to 4 and short lawns 1A and 1B have been set out and are available for play.
  2. A bottle of hand sanitiser is on the shelf on the left inside the storeroom door. Detergents and disinfectants are on the bottom shelf of the cupboard on the right hand side.
  3. To help with cleaning items after use, a 10 litre water container has been placed in the storeroom. It is easy to clean the balls by washing them in the bucket provided with a little water and some detergent. Rags are provided to wipe the balls, hoops and wheelie bins. Used sparingly the water should last for a few days. If the container is empty or nearly empty, please take it home, fill it up and bring it back.
  4. It is possible to open and close the storeroom door using one’s own long shank lock key and Allen key without needing to touch the door handle.
  5. The good news is that the Covid-19 virus survives only a few minutes outdoors exposed to sunshine and UV light. So relax and enjoy the sunshine.

Let us know if you have any further tips or experience which will help us to enjoy croquet in the new situation without access to the main clubhouse.

Croquet restarting!

I am delighted to report that we now have approval to restart some limited games of croquet during the latest phase of the Covid-19 lockdown. It is vitally important for the health and safety of ourselves and the community generally that we all abide by Government guidelines and the requirements of our local Council. To do this, we have drawn up a set of conditions incorporating national guidance from the Croquet Association.

Two of the requirements of our local Council are that the clubhouse and access to toilet and handwashing facilities remain closed and that the lawns are not available for play on Mondays. In order to minimise unplanned gatherings of people, overlapping attendance and speculative journeys, we are also having to introduce a lawn booking system. The measures are described more fully in the following notes and there are links to the new lawn booking system in the Members only area and under the Quick Links menu on our website. I urge you all to read the notes carefully and to adhere to them when we start playing again. All team games, matches and competitions remain cancelled until further notice.

I appreciate that the new restrictions and lawn booking system result in loss of facilities in the clubhouse and the flexibilities in arranging games and group activities we have all enjoyed in the past but they are necessary to enable us to enjoy safely some limited forms of croquet during the next phase of the coronavirus epidemic. I hope you all manage to enjoy some games during the remainder of the season.

I look forward to seeing you on the lawns again soon – at a distance, of course!

Jayne Taylor


Read more

Arrangements for restarting croquet

Lawn booking system

Tribute to NHS

This tribute to the NHS was created by Cheshire West and Chester groundstaff by mowing the letters in the longer grass next to the cricket square and football pitches in Westminster Park. The photograph was taken from a drone operated by Russell Geomatics Ltd of Chester early in the morning of Thursday, 16 April. In addition to the NHS lettering, the colours of the spring foliage are particularly attractive.

More surreptitious practice

Earlier reports of surreptitious practice taking place somewhere in deepest Cheshire have been verified by newly obtained video evidence.

Despite strict social distancing, this form of practice seems to be highly contagious. Following initial reports from mid Cheshire, there are now reports that the practice has spread spontaneously to south Cheshire and over the border to the Principality. Mutations are also evident with a one-hoop variety in one location, a multi-hoop variety in another location and a one-handed variety in yet another location.

All the evidence is here:

In the current regime of tracking and tracing all outbreaks, we shall be pleased to receive reports of similar instances elsewhere in the vicinity.

Despite intensive research and debate, there is still no agreement among experts whether the various forms of practice now being observed will be beneficial. The pressing but still unanswerable question is when there can be a return, or even a partial return, to normality.

PS:  Latest intelligence has revealed another outbreak of surreptitious practice, this time only a stone’s throw from Westminster Park.