Driffield News

Anyone for croquet? The sport returns to Driffield for first time in 80 years

Croquet is going to be played in Driffield for the first time since the start of World War Two, with one of the town’s oldest sports clubs reviving the tactical and skilful game in the Capital of the Wolds.

Croquet lawns, full of players hitting wooden balls through hoops with a mallet, were once a regular feature at Driffield Lawn Tennis & Croquet Club, on Manorfield Road, shortly after its formation in 1883.

However, when war broke out in 1939, the number of croquet players dwindled and the sport never made a return.

A game of skills, strategy and guile, all genders playing at equal status, it is overall a good competitive sport played in the fresh air.

chris atkinson

Since 1945, tennis has been the mainstay at the club, but in recent years, membership has started to fall.

With fewer tennis courts required, the club’s president, Chris Atkinson, had the idea to use the empty grassed areas to play croquet, with the aim of recruiting players from Driffield and the Wolds.

After a soft launch in September 2021, a proposal to reintroduce croquet was passed as the club looks to boost its membership numbers.

Chris, who has been a member of a club in York for several years, told the Wolds Weekly that croquet is a sport suitable for people of all ages, and particularly anyone who is now unable to play golf or tennis.

With the right coaching, and plenty of practice, players can soon reach a competent level of croquet.

“Croquet really is a game for everyone, but particularly those who have now retired from other sports, in particular those involving the striking of balls, such as tennis, cricket, golf and hockey,” said Chris.

“A game of skills, strategy and guile, all genders playing at equal status, it is overall a good competitive sport played in the fresh air.

“A handicap system working at both club and national level allows players of all abilities and experience to compete on equal terms.”

Croquet is not a sport that can be picked up in just a couple of hours; therefore, Driffield Lawn Tennis & Croquet Club is offering coaching in the form of five, two-hour lessons, spread over five weeks, as part of the annual membership fee of £100.

The course can also be taken in its own right, with the option of joining the club at a later date.

“There seems to be a high level of interest in people wishing to play croquet and if you are interested in getting started in croquet, and at a club where everyone is starting at the same level, please contact the club by email now.

“The time is right!”

To contact the club, email driffieldcroquet@gmail.com.

Driffield Lawn Tennis & Croquet Club is a member of the Croquet Association and the Yorkshire Croquet Federation.

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