Arguably the most memorable illustration of croquet (pronounced ‘crow-kay’), was depicted by Lewis Carroll in ‘Alice in Wonderland’.
The self-indulgent Queen of Hearts chose to use hapless flamingoes as mallets for striking dubiously honoured ball-shaped hedgehogs through wickets formed by back-arching playing cards.
Real croquet, however, is nowhere near as melodramatic as that but it is just as much fun, quite challenging and playable by all ages.
There are different forms of the game, however, the easiest one for beginners to play is called ‘Golf Croquet’ which can be played in one’s own back yard or at one of the East London sports clubs that offer it as a sport.
Though countrywide participation is substantial enough to have national events, membership from the city has yet to reach its potential.
To grow the sport locally, Rob and Linda Penhall have recently started offering free training sessions.
The sessions take place at the Cambridge Bowls and Croquet Club which is located on the same grounds as Cambridge Sports Club in Wembley Drive.
Both Penhall’s have a number of years’ worth of experience under their belts, having played in various croquet tournaments.
So why play this sport that has its roots from around the 14th Century? From personal experience, I find it to be accessible, fun for the whole family, requires no special skills at the start and it satisfies the fascination and curiosity I’ve had with the game when, as a child, I read Carroll’s story of Alice’ escapades.
Practice sessions are Saturdays from 11am to 1pm, free of charge with sports equipment available for use on the day.
For more information, contact Rob on 083-329-9065 or Linda on 083-579-4085.
BY: Wendy Kretschmann