Sirmoor Club Croquet 2023

The Sirmoor Croquet Season opened on 28th July – just a few days after Robert Fulford of England had won the Association Croquet (AC)World Championship at Hurlingham – surely a harbinger of excellence to come as the Sirmoor Malleteers took to the hallowed lawns.

Peter and Annie Duffell, Christopher and Griselda Lavender, Mark Pettigrew, Bruce Jackman, David Santa-Olalla and David Kemmis Betty made up the eight players, with Carol Jackman and Jo Santa-Olalla joining us for lunch and tea, and adding their support. The Hurlingham Club offered its traditional splendid hospitality, and despite a modest attempt at drizzle after lunch on the terrace, the weather improved and the sun emerged as we took to the lawns.




The First Hoop

We played three rounds of Golf Croquet – a socially more enjoyable format than AC as each player played in succession with no roquets or croquets. With 12 hoops to ‘run’, once a pair had made 7 hoops the game was over. The pairings, which remained throughout the afternoon, pitted David KB / Peter Duffell v Griselda / Mark and Bruce/ David SA v Annie / Christopher. There was some whispering about the keen eyed ‘Cricketeers’ (Bruce and David SA) being paired together – but once positions were taken – combat ensued!

The Duffells started well with both Annie and Peter running the first hoop for their pair. Peter carried on as he started, and with David KB’s deft play vanquished Griselda and Mark by 7 hoops to 6. However, Annie despite a late come back, could not emulate this result and she and Christopher succumbed by 7 hoops to 4 to David SA and Bruce. The spectacular shots of this round were Annie’s hit from the boundary to push David SA’s ball out of the jaws of the second hoop, followed by David’s unerringly accurate 20 yard hit to run the 8th hoop.

Annie ‘on strike’


‘Go left young man.’

The second round saw Griselda/Mark prevail over Annie /Christopher by 7 hoops to 3 and Bruce and David SA prevail over David KB/Peter by 7 hoops to 5. The highlights of this round were Griselda hitting Annie’s ball away from the hoop and so deflecting her own ball to run the hoop. This was followed by Annie running the second hoop from 10 yards. No gender inequalities or discrimination in Sirmoor Croquet!


Sirmoor logistics

The third round saw Griselda/ Mark take on Bruce/ David SA in what would decide the winning pair, and Annie / Christopher attempt to secure a lone victory against David KB/ Peter.  Needless to say no quarter was given as the sun beat down and the noisy aviation activity overhead (flights in and out of LHR and considerable ‘rotary’ activity) interrupted our light hearted Sirmoor banter!

There was no doubt of the highlights of this finale – with first Peter running the sixth hoop from the fifth and then Bruce doing exactly the same – looking to all like a ‘Centurion’ at the Oval (where England were labouring in the fourth Ashes Test) – with Mallet raised to the crowd!


The victors – Mark and Griselda – at play….

….and thinking what to do next!  (PRD’s comment on this photo: ‘Is this a picture from an Edwardian garden party circa 1910 of two elegant socialites enjoying an afternoon game?  I think it must be.)

Thus it was that Griselda and Mark triumphed over Bruce and David SA by 7 hoops to 5 (having run 20 hoops through the afternoon against Bruce and David’s 19). Annie and Christopher meanwhile prevailed by a similar score and so avoided a whitewash!

Sirmoor ‘Kaida’!

The afternoon came to a very pleasant end with well-earned scones and jam on the Terrace.  Jai Sirmoor!

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