Cornwall Croquet Club
Newsletter No 29 - June 2005
It seems quite a time since my last newsletter and we are past the longest day already. So much has happened and so much is still to come. The last few months seem to have been so busy, so much to do and so many decisions to be made that it is now quite difficult to remember much of what has happened and when. So let's look back to me two major occasions and then think about the future.
The Formal Opening
The Formal Opening Day was unfortunately a day of good Cornish mizzle combined with a brisk south-westerly breeze. The result was that only those invited came, the general public being conspicuous by its absence. Nevertheless we all gathered cheerfully in our bright, new pavilion, the caterers did their stuff and there was enough wine to go round. The speeches were short and to the point, the Mayor of Restormel was charming and adaptive to our informality, Patricia Duke-Cox duly cut the tapes provided in croquet colours by Rosemary and men the weather moderated sufficiently for the demonstration game between Cliff Jones and Mike Hoggett to proceed. It was a good day, thanks to everyone there pitching in and making it so.
The Open Day
Our next big occasion was the Open Day on 30 May and what a surprise. Half an hour before the start, I warned those members who were able to turn up to help that nobody might come. But luckily there were about ten on hand as the public appeared in formidable numbers. By the end of the day we had 50 names and addresses listed and we were all exhausted. Tea and coffee had been dispensed by the gallon, we had run out of mallets and balls and the lawns would have made a convincing crowd scene. Well done, everyone!
Coaching continued the following Wednesday with a big increase in numbers and these have since been running at between 12 and 20 each week - hard work for two coaches, particularly when one realises that each session must be at least enjoyable enough for its subjects to want to come back and finally to join.
The Longman Cup
This is a national knock-out competition run at first on regional lines. Our first match was at home on 11 June against Kington Langley. This small club has achieved results in the last couple of years that are the envy of those four times their size. However on mis occasion they had to produce a team with two press-ganged players. The result was a whitewash with a score of 7 - 0 for our team consisting of Malcolm Hooper, Nigel Grant, Tony Jennings and me. Our next match is against Dyffiyn from Cardiff. Generously they have agreed to a compromise venue and the match will be played at Budleigh Salterton on 6 July.
The B League
This is now underway and the second match, away against Exeter, is being played as I write. The results obtained by our changing teams for this league are a long way secondary to its main object, to encourage beginners to play both at home and away against different people, thereby giving them the confidence to develop their game and increasing the enjoyment and pleasure they get from it.
P.S. The result at Exeter was loss at 2 - 3, a gallant rearguard action being fought by Tony Jennings who eventually lost in a completed game by a single point.
As time goes past, we forget how much has been achieved so far this season. The pavilion has been provided by our President, weather-proofed and partly furnished and used and much appreciated by us all in just a few weeks. The lavatory has been constructed and will be functional, we hope, within the next fortnight. The development of the social programme, the provision of meals by selfless volunteers (usually the same people each time; we all know who), the enjoyment we obtain from these get-togethers and the way our knowledge of each other increases; these all help us to become a gathering of friends rather than a disparate collection of oddballs with one common interest. Very rewarding!
As many of you know, Howard Rosevear has sold the Golf Club, including the Driving Range, and his letting cottages. He is retaining his own house and occupied cottages, the agricultural land and the Croquet Club. This is effective from 1st August.
John Vickery will continue to work for the Golf Club for the next two years or so before his retirement But he will, thank goodness, continue to maintain our lawns as before but as a contractor, the new owner billing Howard monthly for the work carried out. Our first aim therefore must be to ensure as soon as we can that our periodic payments at least cover the maintenance bills and, preferably, provide some interest on his capital expenditure in the establishment of the club. This will make a substantial item for our next Committee Meeting and, possibly, AGM.
I don't know whether we will still be able to use the golf clubhouse. I hope that the increase in custom provided by our growing membership will be an effective reason for it to be permitted.
The World Championships
These are taking place at the beginning of August, based mainly on Cheltenham but with the initial rounds spread over other clubs in the area. We are therefore organising a club visit to Nailsea on Monday, 8 August, to watch some of the early games. Anyone wishing to join Nigel and me on this expedition should add their name to the list on the notice board in the pavilion.
We are fortunate in having generous members some of whom have presented or are about to present us with trophies. The committee has allocated these as follows:
President's Cup (by our President, Howard Rosevear) for a Level Play Competition (not scheduled for 2005.
The Plymouth Cup (by the Plymouth Croquet Club) for the Club Handicap
The Wilson Salvers (by Jan Wilson) for the Club Doubles Competition.
It is, of course, a truism to state mat the good health of the Club depends upon the membership and its growth. This in turn relies on the recruitment, coaching, encouragement and, critically, the enjoyment of its new members. I see every sign that we are all aware of this. Clique-ism is my new horror. Some clubs suffer from a fractious division between those who play Association Croquet and those who prefer Golf Croquet, the former tending to look down on the latter. I hope mis never materialises in our club. I have been much encouraged by the warm welcome that we all extend to new members.
One way of bringing them into the body of the club is to encourage them to come to club afternoons, ensure that they are mixed in with those more experienced and helped and coached through their first games.
We seem always to be asking for volunteers for various jobs, from weather-proofing the pavilion as yesterday to stewards for our various buildings. Now three more. We need a volunteer for each of the following responsible positions:
Treasurer: to take over from Tim Grainger-Allen the day-to-day keeping of the books, the control of our bank account, the spreadsheet mat keeps track of the expenditure against the annual budget and the regular reports to the Committee. This is not a big deal - I have done it before for my first club and did not find it arduous.
I hope that Tim will continue to do the annual oversight and preparation for the AGM.
Safety Officer: to be responsible for Health & Safety within the club, keep an eye on relevant legislation, supervise the maintenance of the Accident Book, the appropriate Notice Board section, first aid kits, fire extinguishers, etc.
Equipment Hut Steward to look after the hut and its contents.
Volunteers, however tentative or willing, to me, please.
New members in particular may not be aware of the various club competitions and tournaments. However they will be added automatically on to the bottom of the Ladder. This gives one a useful excuse for a game by challenging someone above.
The Hi-Bisquers Tournament is on 6/7 August and is an ideal starting point for anyone lacking is self-confidence or knowledge of croquet etiquette. Entries do not close until 16 July and should be made to Malcolm Hooper. (01326 850344)
For improvers, handicaps around 16 or lower, the Low(er) Bisquers Tournament on 3/4 September could do with more entries.
I am sure I speak for all in extending our sympathy to Margaret Read who broke her left arm yesterday. We look forward, Margaret, to seeing you back on the lawn very soon.