Hunstanton Croquet Club is looking for younger members

Published:
06:15 September 22, 2021



David Thirtle-Watts slows his breathing. In, out, in, out, he swings his hammer back and ‘knock…!’ – the black ball rises over the red ball and flies cleanly through the ring with a fraction of an inch left on either side.

Players call it Hunstanton’s best kept secret. Established in 1911, the town’s croquet club has five lovingly maintained world-class greens surrounding the clubhouse, tucked away off the A149.




Janet Kendal (center, front) with members of Hunstanton Croquet Club
– Credit: Chris Bishop

Those who lace up their flat-soled shoes to fight it often become addicted to a game whose quirks can make it addictive.

“It’s a challenge,” says retired contract manager Mr. Thirtle-Watts, 72. “There are different levels of croquet, there’s the level that’s club play, then there’s track play. I really enjoy track play, you can join all over the country.”


Hunstanton Croquet Club

John Thirtle-Watts plays a perfect trick shot at Hunstanton Croquet Club, sending the cue ball over the red and through the narrow hoop
– Credit: Chris Bishop

Mr Thirtle-Watts has hammered his hammer as far as Nottingham, Devon and Sussex.

Over the weekend, the Hunstanton Croquet Club played host to one of the sport’s most prestigious events, the 2021 Croquet Association Ascot Cup Final.


Hunstanton Croquet Club

Hunstanton Croquet Club has five world-class lawns
– Credit: Chris Bishop

Sixteen of the country’s best players came together on Hunny for two days of fierce competition.

Teenager Jack Good fought his way to the final where he was defeated by legendary England player Stephen Mulliner.


Hunstanton Croquet Club

Janet Kendall aims for Hunstanton Croquet Club
– Credit: Chis Bishop

HCC Chair Janet Kendal said: “Five out of 16 were young people, which was really nice to watch. It’s seen as an older person’s sport.

“We want to encourage more younger members, but a lot of people don’t even know we’re here.”


Hunstanton Croquet Club

Hunstanton Croquet Club dates back to 1911. The sport’s origins date back to 13th-century France
– Credit: Chris Bishop

The club, whose logo depicts a sun setting through a croquet ring under St Edmund’s crown, has about 80 members.

Retired florist Mrs. Kendal, 73, estimated that the average age was 60, with the oldest member still knocking balls around the lawns after turning 90.


Hunstanton Croquet Club

John Thirtle-Watts clears the blue ball through the hoop at Hunstanton Croquet Club
– Credit: Chris Bishop

She said the club welcomed anyone who wanted to try the sport, and new members could borrow a hammer to try it.

“All we ask people to do if they want to try it is wear flat-soled shoes,” she said.


Hunstanton Croquet Club

Anyone who wants to try croquet can borrow the equipment from the Hunstanton Croquet Club
– Credit: Chris Bishop

You can contact the club through its website http://hunstantoncroquetclub.co.uk.


Hunstanton Croquet Club

Croquet players say the sport is challenging and addictive
– Credit: Chris Bishop

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