From the Archives

Notable events at Roehampton Club 100 years ago – Croquet

Each sport connected with Roehampton Club 100 years ago faced different challenges in resurrecting the interest of their respective participants following the aftermath of the First World War. From the beginnings of croquet played at Roehampton Club and the first meeting of the Croquet Section in 1905, well before the war, the sport was riding a wave of popularity and interest accompanied by a significant improvement in the skills of the growing number of players both male and female. The status of the Club was highlighted at this time in its role as the Headquarters of the Croquet Association with several of our Members holding dual responsibilities for both the organisation of the sport and the management of the game at Roehampton Club.

The most notable characters in this regard were Lord Doneraile, who was a committee member for the Croquet Association and spent many years on the Croquet Committee at Roehampton Club. Another committee member at the Club worthy of note was Jarvis Kendrick who also found time to take on the role of Honorary Secretary of the All England Club in Wimbledon.

In the first meeting of the Croquet Section in February 1905, the decision was made to confirm the fixtures for the competition events in May, June and September with the May fixture to be an Open event in three classes. 1st Class to be handicapped at 4 Bisques, 2nd Class handicapped at 5,6 or 7 Bisques and 3rd Class at 8 Bisques or more. The formats agreed for these events would be Handicap Singles and Handicap Mixed Doubles to be played with Excelite Balls, refereed by Col CE Miller with Handicappers Lord Doneraile and Mr Du Cane. The events for the June fixtures would incorporate the Club Championships for Gentlemen and Ladies, Open Mixed Doubles, Handicap Singles and Handicap Mixed Doubles. Details of the September fixture were left for a future meeting except that ‘the thick hoops should be used’.

In the Croquet Gold Medals Meeting at Roehampton Club in July 1921, the Illustrated Sporting and Dramatic News carried a report which included a number of photographs featuring the following players involved in the event – Mr Trevor Williams, Winner of the Mens Medal, Mr CF Barry, Runner-Up in the Men’s medal and Miss NS Gilchrist, Winner of the Ladies Medal. The Champion Croquet Tournament at Roehampton Club in August was also well covered by the same publication with a display of the lawns at Roehampton Club including insets of Mr C Barry – Winner of the Gentlemen’s Champion Cup and Miss NSL Gilchrist – Winner of the Ladies Champion Cup.

Steve Riedlinger | Club Archivist