Croquet club’s opening party

Members of the club playing. (S)
Members of the club playing. (S)

Bishop Monkton Croquet Club has celebrated the completion of its £17,500 ground improvement project with the unveiling of a wrought iron croquet-themed weather vane.

Almost 60 members and guests gathered at the club for the opening ceremony and to marvel at the weather vane created by Ripon blacksmith Chris Clarke.

The weather vane was placed above the clubhouse roof and, in his opening speech, club chairman Richard Field said the day was another milestone in the club’s history.

Mr Field also mentioned the club’s blackest year of 2012 when, due to unprecedented summer rainfall, the lawns were regularly under water, causing the grass to die and ominous hollows to appear in the ground.

Richard said: “We believed that other clubs might be slightly concerned if their players disappeared without trace down a sink hole while visiting us.”

Plans to undertake a major ground improvement scheme involved laying 420 yards of piped land drains, importing 320 tons of new top soil, levelling the area with up to eight lasers and then seeding.

The opening ceremony showed the results of the 
pristine new lawns which provided level play for the first time.

Richard said: “Our only regret, of course, is that we have now lost our previous home advantage of knowing where we needed to aim off by a few feet to go through a hoop.”

The money was raised as a result of the generosity of outside donors and the club’s own members, who contributed in almost equal proportions.