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Croquet at Rowley. Painting by Chris Score

"Croquet at Rowley" Painting by Chris Score, Summer 2020
Derek wearing a mask

A season like no other! Not a hoop was run till June, at least, not in this country. Some grabbed their mallets and escaped to the Algarve, though they had to self-isolate when they got back.

But what do croquet players do when they can't play croquet? Some re-discovered old hobbies, notably Chris, who created this magnificent painting of croquet on the bottom lawn at Rowley. Other crafty creations are shown off below.

Eventually croquet was played, tentatively by some, whole-heartedly by others. Others still, for reasons of health or understandable caution, were, regrettably, not able to join in.

The images below attempt to convey a flavour of the most unusual croquet season any of us can remember.

For an extended slide show of 26 photos, click here.

If you have a large screen, you may like to download a hi-res PDF of Chris's painting to see it in all its glory.

  • Corona season photo

  • Corona season photo

  • Corona season photo

  • Corona season photo

  • Corona season photo

  • Corona season photo

  • Corona season photo

Croquet at the Pink Flamingo Club

Another notable happening last year was a visit to Portugal by seven of our members for a week of eating, drinking, socialising and - yes - croquet playing in the Algarve.

Chris Score wrote this report.

U3A members enjoy a game of golf croquet

Six of us, in the end, stepped down from our taxi at Pedras da Rainha in the eastern Algarve on the afternoon of Monday 9th March : Derek, Ian, Graham, Helen, Bruce and Chris. The sun shone, the large pool was a (deceptively) inviting blue and our individual apartments were clean, well-equipped and comfortable (though some found the beds a little hard).

Wasting no time we headed for the lawns… Sloping..., undulating... and springy..., they also needed a trim. But we managed a game of singles and a game of doubles accompanied by a certain amount of cursing and more than enough hilarity.

U3A members enjoy a game of golf croquet

The next morning was hot and the full-size lawn of the local ‘Pink Flamingo Croquet and Social Club’ appeared to offer better prospects … until we got close and found that a third of it had been until recently a pétanque court.

U3A members enjoy a game of golf croquet

Croquet apart, we enjoyed good food – especially the fish – in the local eateries, where a meal for six, including wine, beer and soft drinks according to taste, cost between 104 and 126 euros. We boarded the local train to Tavira, which we explored on foot, and expended many hours in cheery chat, not too much dominated by the C word. Nearly everybody swam.

We played each morning and part of most afternoons, largely all-play-all tournaments of Golf and One-ball. Helen wishes it to be known that she beat Derek on two occasions! And we got better at judging the vagaries of the lawns. On Friday morning we joined the gentlemen of the local club. They were very welcoming and we quickly understood the importance of the “and Social” in their name.

U3A members enjoy a game of golf croquet

Sunday was their big club day with twelve nationalities represented for a morning and afternoon of Golf croquet. The Beverley members generally acquitted themselves well and all appreciated the tasty lunch in the restaurant of the complex and the convivial atmosphere.

The club – which has about 70 members, all playing Golf - hope to be able to improve their main lawn at least in the next 12 months...

U3A members enjoy a game of golf croquet

It was a week of good weather, good food, good company and good fun, overshadowed for each one to some extent by unfolding events… But our plane home flew on time and we arrived back safe and sound.