LODSWORTH has now added a croquet lawn to its impressive range of sports facilities and has marked the occasion with a grand opening ceremony.
The afternoon was not without its drama when, half an hour before the start, a violent gust of wind wiped out one of the refreshment tents.
But the wind died down in time for a welcome by the club chairman, Alistair Proctor.
Alistair explained the idea was born while he was walking, a couple of years ago in the gardens of nearby Woolbeding House with its own beautiful croquet lawn.
“From there the idea has taken form despite many challenges over the ensuing years to present us with the green sward now laid before us,” he said.
None of this, he was keen to point out, could possibly have been realised without the substantial financial assistance of West Sussex County and Chichester District Councils as well as from the Croquet Association itself, all of whom were represented.
Much gratitude was extended also to committees in the village and for the most generous contributions made by individual members.
In response, Karen Brooks-Fisher recorded thanks for all the work carried out by members of the Croquet Club committee, exhibiting ‘the typical spirit of Lodsworth’.
Alistair then introduced a true luminary of the sport, Stephen Mulliner, who has won countless trophies at national and international level and who only last year was elected as secretary general of the World Croquet Federation.
He said the Lodsworth club had already been very lucky to have had Stephen’s overall guidance and advice as well as help from the River Valley CC at Duncton.
Stephen then congratulated Lodsworth on its achievement in launching its own club.
The new club’s president, the Rev Derek Welsman, then offered an appropriate prayer and declared the lawn open by cutting a ribbon and striking the first drive.
Stephen Mulliner ended the official opening by giving an intriguing and practical introduction to the lines and play of association croquet.
Armed with this information, members were encouraged to set up a couple of games just as the rain returned for the evening.