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Cornwall Croquet Club
Newsletter 36 - Sep 14 2006
Introduction: We have now achieved just under 60 members and this, of course, poses its own problems. One of these is the patchy use of the lawns, which are sometimes over-crowded on Club afternoons but used only sparsely on days in between. This is most noticeable on Thursdays for Golf Croquet. Much of the time at our committee meeting on Wednesday evening (13 th) was given to this subject.

Club Afternoons: The rapid expansion of our 2-year old club has been astonishingly gratifying for those in at the beginning, most of all, perhaps, to our President who took the gamble in his substantial capital investment in constructing the lawns and donating the pavilion. One of the most significant results is the bias in the distribution of handicaps within the club, over three-quarters being at 18 or higher. This places a load on the coaches and other low bisquers at club sessions as well as for the formal coaching periods. The only solution is the long-term one of improving the handicaps by continuous encouragement and coaching and, in particular, the playing of matches against outside opposition; hence the importance of the B League and outside tournaments.

But having adequate club afternoons or days is another factor in achieving a steady improve-ment in the standard of play. Therefore a new programme is being devised for the 2007 playing season and different arrangements from last year will hold for the coming winter.

Winter Season 2006/07: This will start on Saturday, 30 September. Lawn maintenance will have absolute priority. There will be a programme of hollow-tyning, top dressing, weed killing and fertilising. When necessary, signs will be erected on whichever lawn may not be used. There may be no notice given as much will depend on the weather and this must be accepted in the interests of achieving improved lawn standards for next year.

Apart from that, each Saturday will be a Club Day with sessions starting at 10.30 and 2.00 o/c. It is probable that only one lawn will be available, most likely Court One and this may be divided into two short lawns depending on the numbers attending. Equal importance will be given to Golf and Association.

Officers of the Club: It is always a problem to find volunteers to fill the various posts which are necessary for the smooth and efficient operation of any club. We are singularly fortunate in having Paul Lewis who has taken a firm grip on our finances (the Gordon Brown of Porthpean?) and Lyn Everett who is establishing herself as a thoroughly competent Secretary (the Mo Mowlem of mid-Cornwall?). However resignations have been coming in thick and fast and the following comments are intended to stir a few consciences and to inform all members.

Ian Wilson, as previously announced, is with-drawing from all administrative responsibility, including being Vice Chairman and Head Coach. A volunteer for the latter post in particular will be desperately needed.

Jacquie and Penny are resigning (after the End-of-Season Party) from the joint post of Social Secretary. We reckon to divide this responsibility into two, one person to look after supplies in the pavilion and generally act as housekeeper for day-to-day   responsibility, the other to think up and organise suitable social occasions throughout the year to keep us talking to each other and avoid our developing blinkered vision, solely focussed on croquet. More volunteers needed.

At the previous meeting, I announced my intention of resigning as Chairman from Christmas. Various attempts, in the absence of anyone coming forward, have been made to cajole, persuade or bully members who have been deemed to be suitable but without success. I have therefore reluctantly agreed to continue for a further year subject, of course, to being approved at the forthcoming Annual General Meeting.

Booking Lawns: This will continue as usual over the winter period and a Winter Ladder will be organised. However there have been disputes when a match without time limit has continued over into a following period. Please note that established lawn bookings have priority, i.e. prior bookings made and entered on the forms in the Equipment Hut. Matches started in an earlier period must be timed to finish in that period unless there is no further booking. For this purpose, the period timings are deemed to be as follows:

             Morning            10.00 to 1.00

            Afternoon          1.30 to 4.30

            Evening             5.00 to 8.00

Handicap Cards: Will all those members whose handicaps are 18 or higher please either leave their cards in the box in the pavilion or forward them to me by the end of this month. This is important as there must be some standardisation of new members who have completed the coaching courses with those more experienced. Arbitrary decisions may be made on those from whom no card is forthcoming.

End-of-Season Party: Thank you, Jacqui and Penny, for a splendid party. I am sure that all of you who attended enjoyed it as much as I did.

Congratulations: to Nigel Grant who came second in the All England Handicap Championship at Nailsea last weekend, a fantastic achievement (especially considering that he only failed to win on the golden hoop scored against him by the winner) and marvellous publicity within the croquet world for our club.

Tony Backhouse
14 September, 2006 .