Forget The Power-Play – It’s All About Finesse!

At Broadwas Croquet Club, we’re all aware of the exhilaration experienced by Friday rollup players when they attain the ultimate Golf Croquet accolade – a Chris Croft Champagne Moment.  But the results of some spectacular croquet strokes often occur without an audience.

Take a recent blocks game between club chairman Fran Wall and former chairman Stuart Smith – a titanic clash of Golf Croquet giants if ever there was one.

Fran, playing off a three handicap  and Stuart, playing off zero, were both competing in the top-level (October) Blue Block and on Tuesday 10th met in a tense two-hour-long battle on lawn five.

After the first two games, Fran and Stuart were level and in the deciding game, the score went to six points each following Fran’s scoring of the 12th hoop, meaning the two were about to battle the much feared 13th hoop.

Stuart sent his first ball down with a brilliant shot, passing through the back of hoop 13 and stopping just through the hoop, in a very strong position for his next shot which was in an ideal position to win the final hoop of the match.

Fran’s first shot was blocked by Stuart’s other ball leading to a poor position, but Fran’s next ball which was by hoop 12, shot across the lawn following the path of Stuart’s through the back of hoop 13 dislodging Stuart’s perfectly positioned ball and replacing it with his own!

Fran subsequently won hoop 13, and therefore the match, 4-7, 7-5, 7-6.

Stuart was heard to say this was the only time he had lost a block match this 2023 season.

As Stuart himself told Midlands Today in 2010 shortly after Broadwas Croquet Club were crowned national champions, “Croquet is a game of skill and strategy. It doesn’t need strength, it doesn’t need superhuman muscles or speed. “

Stuart concluded, as his recent game demonstrated, “It’s all about finesse.”