New Members' Pack
This information pack has been written to provide all new members with an introduction to the club and how it operates. Do visit the website for more information and up-to-date details on tournaments and events.
We try to be accessible, which means that we keep our subscriptions at an affordable level and do not have lots of silly rules. We are passionate about the game and trying to play it well and proud of our excellent facilities and what we achieve.
A very warm welcome and we hope that you will enjoy your croquet with us.
Table of Contents
- An Introduction to SCC
- The Club’s Aims
- Club Access
- Club Membership
- Visitors & Guests
- Club Committees
- Club Tournaments
- Croquet Handicaps
- Booking Lawns
- The Year’s Calendar
- Summer Croquet
- Winter Croquet (and Bridge)
- How to Lay out a Lawn
- Lawn Cutting Schedule
- How Catering Works
- SCC Clothing
- The Croquet Association
- Inter-Club Tournaments
- Health & Safety
- Good Food Guide
- Etiquette & Customs
- Club Officers
- Qualified Coaches
- Laying out Lawns
- Inter-club Organisers
- Recruitment Poster
- Membership Application Form etc
An Introduction to SCC
The present croquet club in Surbiton, based on land leased from the Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames in Alexandra Drive, is not the first croquet club in Surbiton. The first record of a croquet club in Surbiton appeared in 1897, on what is now Surbiton Tennis Club in Berrylands Road. The croquet club did not survive the war and was compulsorily purchased to become the site of Christ Church C of E Primary School. Until recently, it was possible to make out the outline of the old lawns on the school playing field. Further information about croquet in Surbiton up until 1945 is available on the archive page within the club's web site.
In 1985, the late Derek Caporn worked with the late Lionel Wharrad, then Chairman of the Croquet Association and later president of Surbiton Croquet Club, to establish SCC in its present form and location. The club was developed on the former site of public grass tennis courts, and the small brick building next to the hard tennis courts (yes, it once was a public toilet) became our first “clubhouse” and storeroom, largely through the efforts of Stephen Mulliner
Facilities improved quickly when Derek Caporn sponsored the purchase of our first on-site clubhouse which is now the equipment hut. Loans from the Croquet Association and from Fuller, Smith & Turner plc, together with a grant from the Sports Council, helped finance the present clubhouse which was formally opened in 1988 by the then Chairman of the Sports Council, the late Sir Peter Yarranton. The kitchen was recently extended with the help of a grant from the Croquet Association (topped up by the South East Croquet Federation).
Converting tennis courts into croquet lawns involved a great deal of work and money. Each lawn has been laser-levelled; some have been levelled twice. We were fortunate to receive a Lottery grant to help meet the cost of those works.
In 2010 we installed an irrigation system, a huge undertaking which was paid for from club funds and with the help of club members and the Croquet Association.
The Club’s Aims
Surbiton Croquet Club aims to be a centre of excellence for British croquet:
- providing first class, affordable and accessible facilities in south west London for the playing of croquet for people of all ages and skills;
- forming a focus for regional networking;
- contributing to the development and furtherance of the game nationally.
Each new member should contact a Committee member to receive instructions about how to access the club’s grounds and facilities. With the exception of a very limited number of days when the club is booked for tournaments or corporate events, members may use the club whenever they wish. The last person to leave the club should ensure that all lights and taps are off and that the club and grounds are secured properly. In 2011 new electric shutters replaced the old wooden ones: it is essential that the windows are closed before lowering them. The new shutters lock in position when fully lowered.
There are approximately 160 members and a list of all those members and their contact information is maintained and sent by email to all members. A paper copy is kept in the clubhouse by the telephone and updated copies can be requested from the Secretary.
Visitors & Guests
Our bar licence requires that all visitors sign the guest book. A number of members enrol their partners as social members as a simple and inexpensive way to obtain continual access to the club for social events.
There is a visitor’s fee for croquet-playing guests; payment of the fee shown in the guest book should be placed in an envelope, marked ‘visitors’ fees’, addressed to the Treasurer and left in the club.
Please be aware that minors should be accompanied by an adult at all times while within the club’s boundaries.
Your club has four elected officials: President, Club Secretary, Treasurer and Auditor. The Club Secretary and Treasurer are joined on the Committee by a further eight elected members. The Committee elects from its members the Chair and Membership Secretary and allocates responsibilities across the following sub-committees: Catering; Bar; Grounds; Premises & Equipment; Coaching & Recruitment; Publicity; Clothing.
The current Committee members and sub-committee responsibilities are listed in attachment 1.
There is a full programme of club tournaments beginning at the start of each season. This year’s tournament details are displayed in the clubhouse and on the website. Sometimes it is possible for members to join the block tournaments mid-way through the year; contact the Club Internal Tournament Organiser ( attachment 1)
to discuss the possibility of late entry to any tournament.
Croquet handicaps are maintained by players using handicap cards to record points gained or lost during official singles matches, i.e. club and CA tournaments, inter-club competitions and matches versus other clubs. Members are encouraged to keep a handicap card for Association and Golf Croquet. The cards are provided by the CA and are also available in the club’s stationery store (under the TV). Initial handicaps and subsequent changes should be initialled by an official handicapper; see attachment 1
for the names of the club’s handicappers.
Members may book lawns using the website.
The Year’s Calendar
The year’s calendar is maintained and displayed on the website.
Please note that the lawns are closed for approximately 7 weeks annual maintenance from the middle of October.
The club has a number of CA accredited coaches who are listed in attachment 2. Please ask any of these for any help you require outside of formal coaching courses.
Members are not charged for the club’s coaching courses. Association and Golf Croquet courses are held regularly to help members improve their play
A full programme of coaching courses is available at the CA Croquet Academy which operates at Sussex County Croquet Club, Southwick. The current programme is on the club’s notice board.
The summer season starts on the day of the club’s AGM in early April. Club days are Tuesday and Wednesday from 10 am, and on many weekends. These days provide an ideal opportunity to meet and play other members. On club days we organise coaching sessions for members and specific events to help with the tactical side of the game, e.g. an informal doubles tournament to pair high and low handicap players.
Winter Croquet (and Bridge)
Up to four lawns are available for winter croquet from the time of their re-opening in December. There is a programme of monthly one-ball tournaments played on Sundays and sometimes followed by a friendly bridge session. Also, there are organised club days on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays; play on Tuesdays and Thursdays is aimed at members with lower handicaps. Information about these sessions and the names of organisers are made available before the lawns are closed in October.
How to Lay out a Lawn
Lawns are numbered 1 to 7, starting from the car park. In the equipment hut you will find a trolley numbered to identify the associated lawn. Each holds a peg, hoops, balls, flags and corner markers for the designated lawn. All hoops are marked and should always be placed in the ground according to the instructions in Attachment 3.
Lawn Cutting Schedule
Lawns are cut usually on Tuesday and Friday mornings.
How Catering Works
Our catering is the envy of most clubs and consequently is hugely appreciated both by those enjoying the end-products, and by the Treasurer who values the contribution to the club’s finances. The Catering Committee organises food for all official club catering (e.g. tournaments and social events) and are always grateful for any assistance in the form of extra hands or contributions to a menu. Tea and coffee is available at all times to members for a small charge. Again, an honesty and self-service arrangement.
We stock a range of clothing bearing with the club’s badge. The stock is held in the cupboard nearest the changing rooms and operates on the principles of honesty and self-service. Please remove the tiny white price ticket which is attached to each item and put it in the wooden box with your payment.
The Croquet Association
The following description is extracted from the Association’s website www.croquet.org.uk. The CA is the national governing body for the sport of Croquet (including both Association Croquet and Golf Croquet) in England, Wales, Northern Ireland, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man, and is responsible for promoting and regulating the game in those areas. The CA is a non-profit-making organisation, funded through club levies, individual subscriptions, and donations.
Surbiton CC maintains full club membership of the CA and has benefited from that membership in a number of ways, including direct financial support during the club’s start-up, access to beneficial insurance arrangements and entry into national inter-club tournaments. All club members are encouraged to become tournament members of the CA so they may participate fully in the Association’s activities; these include those Surbiton tournaments that are listed in the CA Fixtures calendar, and further details are available from the External Tournaments Secretary (attachment 1).
SCC is also a member of the South East Croquet Federation (SECF) which is an association of croquet clubs, in the geographical area covered by the Federation: London and the counties of Kent, Surrey and Sussex. The Federation’s primary activities are to assist clubs by providing coaching support to and to organise leagues and tournaments in the South East of England.
The club enters teams in the following club tournaments:
CA Inter-Club Championship (won by Surbiton CC in 2011), open play.
CA Mary Rose Inter-Club Trophy (won by Surbiton CC in 2008), open play for handicaps 0 and above. Teams must have a combined handicap of at least 4.
CA Longman Club Team Cup, handicap play for handicaps between 3.5 and 20.
Teams must have a combined handicap of at least 24.
SECF “A” League, four open play matches against other SECF clubs.
SECF “B” League, four handicap play matches against other SECF clubs; each team is required
to have a minimum total handicap of 48.
SECF “U” League, four handicap play matches against other SECF clubs; unrestricted handicaps.
CA Inter-Club (won by Surbiton CC in 2008), open play for handicaps 0 and above.
SECF Level League, open play.
SECF Handicap League.
Members interested in these tournaments should contact the organiser listed in Attachment 4.
Health & Safety
The casual observer may be surprised to find this section, but we are pleased to share a few warnings to help avoid painful lessons.
The club’s first aid box is located in the kitchen. The nearest A&E department is at Kingston Hospital, opposite Norbiton railway station.
Mallet Injuries – mallets weigh approximately 3 pounds (or 1.4 kg.)
- Hitting an ankle is an immediate reminder that force = mass x acceleration
- Less immediate but just as painful are injuries to wrists, elbows and shouldersresulting from errors of technique.
Hoops do not move
- Tripping over hoops may look funny from a distance but can be very dangerous; remember that all that furniture on the lawn that is forever getting in the way of your
shots is equally unforgiving to legs. Never walk backwards without being absolutely sure there isn’t a hoop waiting to trip you up.
- Lifting hoops takes real strength and that’s why each equipment trolley includes a levered device to save our backs!
Equipment trolleys are very useful but very heavy
Be very careful when wheeling a trolley and take extra care to ensure it is evenly balanced. If the trolley is about to fall, let it fall and get out of the way quickly!
Good Food Guide
A guide to local eating houses has been compiled by club members, is maintained on the club’s website and displayed in the clubhouse. Please feel free to add to the list by contacting the editor (as named on the list). The star rating is a complex reflection of value for money. The price is for an average meal including drinks and service.
Etiquette & Customs
A few points are listed here to help avoid embarrassment for those new to croquet:
A more complete list can be found in the CA’s Clubs’ Handbook (stored on the bookshelf below the TV).
- Dress: always wear flat soled shoes on the lawn; whites are not required at Surbiton except for official tournaments. Other clubs may have other rules so best check if visiting.
- Respect for games in progress: be aware of games in progress and avoid interfering in any way.
- Before games: the player with the lower handicap tosses the coin and sets up any bisques.
- During games: play as quickly as possible; do not distract your opponent’s play; always call for a referee or for your opponent to watch whenever you are about to play a shot that may result in a fault.
- Double-banking: ask the other game before lifting and marking their balls, and inform the player when the balls have been replaced; agree with the other player on the lawn who should go first when you are both playing in or towards the same parts of the lawn.
- After games: convention is that the winner retrieves clips and buys the drinks!
We are very keen to recruit new members and believe we have plenty of space to accept many more. Experience shows that members are our best channel to potential recruits and we encourage all members to introduce friends and acquaintances. A poster that may be helpful is attached together with a Membership Application Form that lists the current
subscription rates. Note that new members joining partway through the season qualify for a
reduced subscription and full details are available via the membership page of the website