Croquet is OK! Sport proves a hit with teenagers and students during the Covid pandemic
- Croquet clubs across the country have seen many new members signing up
- The new players include teenagers, students, Brownie groups and more
- Chiefs at the Croquet Association believe it is the perfect pandemic sport
The game of croquet is making a remarkable comeback as an ideal sport for the pandemic.
Clubs across the country have seen the number of new members signing up for beginners courses double.
And these devotees are a long way from the Jeeves and Wooster types who might have enjoyed cucumber sandwiches and Pimm’s on the lawn.
For while traditionally most players are over 50, these recruits include Brownie groups, teenagers and students, while both men and women are competing on an equal footing.
The game of croquet is making a remarkable comeback as an ideal sport for the pandemic (stock image)
Fans include Pippa Middleton, who wrote a short guide to the game, and in the past celebrities from Snoop Dogg to George Clooney and Brad Pitt have been seen wielding mallets.
And chiefs at governing body The Croquet Association argue it is the perfect pandemic sport.
Spokesman Eugene Chang, one of Britain’s elite players, said: ‘It’s accessible to all ages, and it’s extremely easy to social distance.
‘A number of our clubs have reported over double the number of usual sign-ups for beginners’ courses and taster sessions, which are typically held in April.’ Mr Chang added: ‘The pandemic has improved our sport in many ways. Our clubs adopted online booking systems as part of our Covid-19 safety protocols which has significantly increased court usage.
Clubs across the country have seen the number of new members signing up for beginners courses double. And these devotees are a long way from the Jeeves and Wooster types who might have enjoyed cucumber sandwiches and Pimm’s on the lawn (stock image)
‘A mix of ages and genders have contacted our clubs, which reflects the nature of croquet as a static ball sport accessible to everyone.
‘Many clubs reported enquiries from younger people including working age, students, and notably couples looking for a physical sport they can play together. Many mainstream sports separate by gender very quickly and croquet is one of the few where physical strength is less important than touch, accuracy, and tactics.’
John Lewis has also reported sales of its family six-mallet croquet sets are up by 280 per cent on a year ago. While croquet is seen as quintessentially English, it is thought to originate from northern France with influence from crookey, a game played in Ireland.
Game of kings (and Prescott)
- Pall Mall in London is named after an early form of the game – paille-maille – played there by Charles II
- Croquet has been played on ice in Antarctica by fans at a US observatory station
- The world’s most famous tennis club, Wimbledon, began as the All England Croquet Club in 1868. It became the All England Croquet and Lawn Tennis Club in 1877
- Rapper P Diddy held a croquet party to celebrate his Hollywood Walk of Fame star
- After deputy prime minister John Prescott played croquet at Chequers in 2006 while supposedly running the country, Asda saw a 300 per cent rise in croquet set sales