Broadwas Green for Go!

It’s that time of year again here at Broadwas ! New grass to be cut, lawns to be rolled and marked up, mallets to be repaired and re-waxed and hoops re-painted – all set for the opening of the 2021 croquet season, hopefully in just a few weeks’ time. We want to be ready to roll as soon as the Government gives us the green light – and the weather becomes a bit warmer.

There’s lots to look forward to this season. As well as our normal games of singles and doubles and our internal tournaments, we very much hope to begin playing league matches against other Clubs again. And we still plan to support the Club’s social activities which are always popular, so we hope the easing of lockdown will enable us to restart our weekly Roll-ups and Fun Days. Be assured that we will be socially distancing, hand sanitising and keeping Covid procedures in place until we are officially allowed to reduce them.

Broadwas is a great Club for folk who like to play competitive sport with lots of fresh air and in idyllic surroundings. In fact, a common admission among new members bitten by the croquet bug, is that they spend rather more time up at the Sports Ground than they can really afford. Why? Because they love the Club’s friendly, join-in atmosphere and the idea of playing a game that can be as infuriating as it is compelling!

Our season runs from April to October, so if you’d like some more information about this year’s programme of events for members, or you’ve thought of booking the ground over an evening or weekend for a special event, please get in touch with our Club Captain and Secretary, John Guy on 01905 748192 for further details.

Spring Update

As we move into February there are a few signs of Spring coming which began to turn our thoughts and hopes towards the coming croquet season.

It’s still too early to say when the club might be able to restart play but we will be wanting to do some pre-season ground work beforehand. John Steel has begun to recruit volunteers for the work and already has some names on his list. With all the recent rain and snow the ground is completely saturated so it will be some time before work can begin. John did manage to get the hedge cutting completed before the deluge.

Of course Covid 19 will have an impact on any club activity but it does seem likely that we could have the same rules as we ended 2020 season with.

In the hope that external matches will be possible we will set up our league fixtures in the South-West and West Midlands federations with the same teams that we normally operate – SWF GC handicap, GC High handicap and AC Federation, WM AC and GC level. Any fixtures will depend on decisions made by the two federations.

We hope to be able to have an AGM at some point but again it is too early to say if it will be possible. A virtual AGM might be possible but not all members would be able to attend and it could be rather unwieldy.
Stuart Smith (Chairman) John Guy (Secretary)

Upbeat at Broadwas

This year a dry Spring followed a very wet Winter which made lawn preparation difficult, though not half as difficult as the ensuing Covid 19 pandemic. We could have caved in; put up the shutters and stood back until things settled down, but like other Clubs, that’s not the Broadwas way, so we persevered with getting the lawns ready using our own skills and the expertise of a local contractor. Following excellent advice and guidance from the Croquet Association we found ourselves back in business by mid May with an exhaustive sanitisation regime but without the use of our pavilion and toilets and all competitions, both internal and external, cancelled.

The new lawn booking system, managed by our eagle eyed Club Captain & Secretary John Guy, has ensured control of lawn usage and recorded when each member was playing. An unexpected benefit of this system is that our members are now spreading their use of the lawns over a greater proportion of each week.

In January we had embarked on an ambitious membership development programme mainly through local newsletters and Parish magazines. This generated plenty of interest but then the pandemic struck. Rather than disappoint prospective joiners we kept all their contact details and promised to re-connect when things improved. The moment isolation was lifted we honoured our promise, whereupon we welcomed 38 visitors from whom 28 prospective members emerged. They all attended taster sessions and in the end 18 of them actually joined as full Club members. To introduce these new members to the Club and make them feel welcome, we appointed a New Members Secretary, Mary Dryden. Our sincere thanks to Mary for carrying out this important role in such difficult circumstances.

Earlier this year, our President, John Steel and our Chairman, Stuart Smith, made formal approaches to Sport England for funding to create and kit out a new fifth lawn. Sport England provided us with a generous grant and we thank them for the grant itself and for their support throughout what turned out to be a pretty rigorous application process. The new lawn has provided very welcome extra playing space that has helped to accommodate both new and existing members within the playing limits imposed by Covid19 safety requirements.

In all, life in the Broadwas Croquet bubble has been very different, but we’re more than managing. In fact, one of our Club Coaches, Jeff Faulkner, has instigated and run a very well organized and successful internal Golf Croquet league competition for the benefit of new and existing members that has brought out the best competitive instincts in everyone.

So what next for Broadwas Croquet Club? If we can, we aim to play right through the Autumn – elements and pandemic permitting. But, most important, we plan to keep in close touch with each other over the Winter by enjoying our monthly Croquet Club Breakfasts that proved so popular last year – taking all the requisite precautions, of course.

So don’t be surprised to receive another upbeat report from us here at Broadwas next Spring when hopefully we’ll be looking back on Covid19 and looking forward to a new season of Croquet and to playing the game that offers so much fun and fellowship to us all.

Broadwas Croquet and the Covid effect

Since the 14th May our members have been able to resume play but with strict safety rules in place. These include a booking system to manage the number of players at any one time, no access to the club pavilion and no social gatherings after play, as well as adherence to social distancing at all times. Even with these rules the lawns are very busy.

At the end of last year we succeeded in getting regular contributors slots in many of the local parish newsletters. It seems likely that the national news media reporting the ease of social distancing when playing croquet not only sent the sales of home croquet sets soaring, but has combined with our regular updates about our own club’s activities to encourage people to try croquet. As a result we have had a significant number visit the club and it seems very likely that many will become members. So whilst Covid has many devastating effects it may have been the catalyst to some people discovering the pleasures of our sport.

In fact so many new members have needed to be integrated into our club activities, for the time being we are asking any future applicants to join a waiting list by contacting our Club Secretary, John Guy on 01905 748192.

Lawns Management Update 21st June 2020

The combination of a very wet winter and Covid 19 limiting our ability to mow during the dry spring had left our lawns needing some serious attention.
So the elite player group, the Broadwas City Rollers, set about rolling all five lawns on the morning of Saturday 20th.  Barry, Chris and John (Steel) with 243 years between them, flitted agilely between markers and hoops whilst Snr. Engineer, Howard Freeman expertly drove one of his old motorized rollers over the lawns.
Subsequent mallet-on-ball testing proved it to be a worthwhile exercise with good all-round lawn improvement, all greatly helped by the welcome rain over the previous 48 hours.   More rain is forecast tonight so with any luck, after a good trim on Monday morning, the lawns should be in much better shape for next week. 
Whether the BC Rollers will be making a second appearance (gig in modern parlance!) will depend on sustained energy levels, weather conditions and lawn quality, in that order!!   Many thanks to the BCR who worked very well as a team, all from a safe distance, possibly with more regard to Howards driving than the dreaded virus.

Lawns Update

Is it really only a few months since we were worrying about our water-logged lawns and wondering when we’d be able to start dealing with the moss and preparing the lawns for the new Croquet Season? Then suddenly, out of the blue, we had to apply the brakes, lock up the pavilion, close the lawns and ride out the ensuing storm.

Could we find a way to keep our furloughed lawns in reasonable shape whilst making sure we took a safety-first approach to lockdown? With invaluable financial support from two generous local Parish Councils, we were able to identify and fund a specialist gardening contractor, Martin Warefield of Lower Broadheath who agreed to cut our lawns and the outfield under the watchful eye of our lawns guru, John Steel.

This has paid huge dividends in that we’ve wasted no time over the past few weeks in preparing our lawns for play as soon as the Ministry for Sport and our own Governing Body, the Croquet Association deemed it safe to do so.

Members are now entitled to play both singles and doubles, but with strict rules in place including proper distancing and copious hand-sanitizing points located around the ground. We’re beginning to feel the Club coming alive again though league games and internal competitions remain on hold for the time being.

So, if you were thinking of coming up to the ground, don’t worry. It won’t be long before we’ve knocked the lawns into shape, particularly with a bit more rain, so we can smooth out any winter lumps and bumps. Then we can get back to winning tournaments and extending a warm welcome to prospective new members to join us in playing what is, arguably, the happiest, healthiest and certainly one of the most enjoyable sports in the country.

We’ll bring you news of when we can invite new members to join the Club just as soon as possible as well as the reduced cost of subscriptions for the remainder of the season. Meanwhile, thanks again to the two local Parish Councils for their timely and generous contributions: we couldn’t have done it without you.

If you’d like some preliminary information, please contact our Club Secretary, John Guy on 01905 748192 and he’ll be happy to explain where we stand currently on membership and playing facilities.

Club Status as of 7th May 2020

Broadwas club has been affected like all other sports by the Covid-19 restrictions. This item is a round up of the current position of the club.

None of the club facilities are in use but we do have a local contractor keeping the grass cut to a manageable level. That will enable us to get the lawns open as quickly as possible when restrictions allow. We have had a tree surgeon remove the overhanging branches of the oak tree behind the pavilion. Those branches were a threat to the integrity of the pavilion roof. The door of the ladies toilet has been adjusted to open properly after the ravages of the wet winter.

At the moment all internal and external competitions are on hold, again changes in government restrictions may change this situation.

The planned visit from the local Guides group will have to be moved to a safer time.

Although not being able to play is a relatively minor issue in these worrying times, it is a little ironic that the best spring we have had for several years should find us confined to home.

I hope you are all well. Stay safe .

Grass Maintenance

As you may guess croquet at Broadwas is unlikely to take place as we had hoped this spring. However we have managed to arrange for a local contractor to cut the grass on a weekly basis so that when the current national situation eases it won’t be too difficult to reinstate the lawns. He will be using our mowing equipment and will cut the outfield as well as the playing areas. The picture below shows the result of his first cut earlier this week. We hope to see you all at the club in the not too distant future. Stay safe.

First Cut March 2020

Jeremy Pardoe

It is with the greatest of sadness that we have to report that Jeremy Pardoe, our friend and fellow croquet player, passed away on the 29th February. He had been unwell for several weeks and was in Worcester Hospital for treatment when he suddenly took a turn for the worse with breathing difficulties and was put on oxygen but to no avail.

Jeremy was a good friend to so many members at the club, a gentle patient man and a really good , cool headed croquet player. He contributed so much to the club through his captaincy, professional photography and PR reporting. His extremely reliable play resulted in him winning several competitions in his quiet understated way. He will be so sadly missed. Our thoughts are with his wife Maureen and the other members of his family.—real-gent-great-photographer/

Local Guides Group to Visit Broadwas

The 1st Clifton on Teme guides have just booked for an evening’s experience of croquet at Broadwas. We look forward to teaching them the basics of the game and hope this will encourage some of them to take up our sport on a regular basis.