Swanage Croquet Club up sticks from cricket ground to new home

After an innings of 18 years, Swanage Croquet Club has formed a new partnership with Swanage Primary School, moving away from the cricket club ground in Day’s Park where it was founded in 2005.

Its new location is now Swanage Primary School’s sports field in West Durlston, a short distance up the road from the school, formerly known as Mount Scar.

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Swanage Croquet Club held an open afternoon on Tuesday 6th June 2023 to attract new members

Winning streak

Swanage Croquet Club is on a winning streak with one team having won the South of England championships at Bath in 2022, and another topping its league.

With Swanage Cricket Club also going from strength to strength and the growth in youth sides and women’s cricket, it has meant that the croquet club has had less opportunity to expand its own club events.

Greg Vaughn receiving the winners shield
Swanage Croquet Club

Chair of Swanage Croquet Club Greg Vaughn receiving the South of England winners shield at Bath in 2022

Improving the ground for the school club and the club

Chair of Swanage Croquet Club Greg Vaughn said:

“Moving to the new sports ground in Bon Accord Road means we can play mornings, after school and during the school holidays – really whenever the school isn’t using it, which is much more flexible for us.

“It’s early days – we only moved here in May – so we’re still finding our feet but already we’ve been able to improve the ground for the school and the club, with a new fence and additional grass maintenance.

“We’re taking it easy, in agreement with the school, but hope the relationship will flourish. There’s even the possibility to offer croquet lessons to the children!”

Playing croquet
Simon Parvin

The croquet club previously played at the Swanage Cricket Club ground

Swanage Croquet Club’s new home is the Swanage Primary School’s sports field in Bon Accord Road in West Durlston

Founded in 2005 at Swanage Cricket Club

Swanage Croquet Club was established in 2005 by the late Roy Smith, a keen cricketer who realised, after seeing croquet played next to Sidmouth’s cricket ground in Devon, that the idea could work in Swanage too.

At the time, Swanage’s outfield was not in use on most weekdays, so equipment was purchased and two croquet lawns were created by the then cricket volunteer groundsman Tom Yeates.

By the end of 2005 there were 27 members and the club has since grown from there. There are curently more than 60 members.

The new home of the croquet club was formerly the cricket pitch for a private school Durlston Court, which was opened in 1903 but moved to Somerset at the outbreak of World War Two and then to Barton on Sea in Dorset, where it still exists today.

The cricket field in Swanage was sold off along with the school in Park Road. The school buildings were eventully demolished and are now Durlston Court flats and the sports ground, having avoided development, is now owned by Swanage Primary School.

Gentle exercise and mental stimulation, including tactical jumpshots!

Greg Vaughn has been playing croquet for five years and is encouraging more people to come along and find out if it is for them too

“70 percent fun, 30 percent competitive!

Swanage Croquet Club plays golf croquet which means players or strikers take it in turns to play and there’s a handicap system which allows the more competent to play beginners.

It plays in two main leagues – a high handicap league and a low handicap league – to give everyone a chance to play competitively if they wish.

Greg, who was formerly commodore of Swanage Sailing Club added:

“It’s 70 percent fun, 30 percent competitive! We’re a very sociable club, while giving the opportunity for gentle exercise and mental stimulation, and it’s reasonably priced to join.

“It’s really just like a group of friends with the opportunity for competitive play, which can offer the chance to travel to matches around the South West. However that’s not for everyone and with the handicap system we can all play each other.

“We welcome new members and would like to hear from anyone who is interested in coming and giving croquet a go!”

All equipment can be provided by the club for members

Further information

  • Annual membership is £65 with a turn up and try session priced at £3. If after several trial sessions a person decides to join, the £3 fees are refunded.
  • Free coaching is available and all equipment can be provided
  • Caters for all ages and abilities
  • Regular socials, fun days and competitions
  • More about joining and how to get in contact is on the Swanage Croquet Club website

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