Coronavirus – Club Statement

Consistent with current government and LTA guidance (20/03/20), the clubhouse at Ember Sports Club is closed from today until further notice.  This includes visiting the washrooms and changing rooms.

Our tennis courts, remain open for play, while plans for the activities on the Bowling Green and the Croquet Lawn will be continually reviewed by the section committees.  This may change at short notice.

Guidelines on playing tennis will be emailed to all members and posted on the tennis section of the website.

Tennis members may bring visitors to play, but they must ensure these visitors respect the social distancing guidelines and wash their hands.  Please ask them to pay the visitors fee to you, and please transfer via BACS and using the reference Guest fee.

Non-members, unaccompanied by a member, wishing to play tennis are requested to contact for further details.If any member of Ember Sports club does get infected, please inform us at

Croquet Update March 2020

Extracted from the Club’s March Newsletter:


Diary dates

Indoor croquet:  Tuesday 3rd March at 7.30pm – do come along – & All ESC members welcome.

Pre-season social:  Friday 27th March 7.30pm in the clubhouse – bring a dish, Geraldine will be in touch to co-ordinate.  All being well, season starts Sunday 30 March at 2pm for first AC rollup.

Monthly Barbeques – Sundays:  17th May, 14th June; 19th July; 16th August; and 20th September.  In the usual way we’ll be looking for volunteers to run these.

Croquet open sessions: the committee is working on details of dates, format, marketing and publicity.  Further information will follow in due course.

The autumn Ember Players’ production at Walton Playhouse is scheduled for 10th (and possibly 9th) to 12thDecember (and matinee on the Saturday).  We will need volunteers to run the bar for the performances so do, please, mark the dates in your diaries.


SECF AC ‘B’ League (handicap):  entry made, dates to be arranged and advised in due course

SECF AC Tournament at Southwick:  entry made, 9th / 10th May.  We have received confirmations of availability from four members but need one more for the Sunday plus reserves in case of unforeseen circumstances, and competition to put our best foot forward!  While the SECF encourage clubs to draft in players from other clubs should they find themselves short of a full team for the day, it would be far preferable to field a team fully from within ECC.

AELTC GC friendly:  6th June  (home)


Rain, rain go away!   Winter mowing has been monthly rather than weekly.  Periodic swooshing has continued and the new drains at the south east corner have been installed: huge thanks to Steve, Roger S and Roger D for their sterling work on these.  

The soil samples have been taken and the results are back.  These show that the soil is in pretty good condition.  The advice, looking forward, is that we should consider aerating (tine/slit) to a regular programme, use an alternative moss treatment with less iron content and more effective application and coverage, and reduce the sand content by encouraging natural organic processes and no longer applying annual top dressing.   Cost-wise this involves pluses and minuses which we’ll be working through and making decisions. Ultimately, we have to fit the recommendations to our circumstances of little money, existing stock, but plenty of willingness to do right by the lawn.

Pre-season working parties for lawn, grounds and buildings maintenance:  please keep an eye on your emails for appeals for help in the next few weeks, which may, necessarily, have to be at shortish notice.

Meanwhile, the small lawn is operational, on dry days, with holes set for the hoops, and almost visible boundary lines.   Please use the correct hoops and the Barlow balls.  One-ball is a good format to try, and is good for developing and honing skills in positioning in front of hoops, long hit-ins and long hoop running.

South East Croquet Federation – AGM

Steve and I attended the AGM and proudly received the SECF B League trophy for 2019.

In getting our hands on this trophy we were able to check for sure that this is, indeed, the second time we have won it.  Sure enough!  There we are, engraved ‘2009 Ember CC’, so exactly ten years ago! Must be cause for a celebration.

The meeting itself went through the due processes.  We found it informative as regards the formal croquet structures, organisation and governance, and the relationship of the SEFC with the CA.   The Motions in the Agenda were debated and mostly either rejected or withdrawn.

The lunch afterwards provided a good opportunity for networking with members from other clubs and we made new croquet contacts and friends, and we shared experience.  The possibility of some mutual coaching days was mooted, i.e. predominantly GC clubs wanting AC coaching from us, and we wanting GC coaching from them. 

All in all, it was a good event.

COVID-19 (The Corona Virus)

Some information from EIBA which is relevant to all members

Croquet B League 2019 Trophy Presentation

Simon Charrington and Steve Edney represented Ember Croquet Club at the South East Croquet Federation (SECF) AGM today (23rd Feb 2020) at Surbiton Croquet Club.

The highlight of the meeting was undoubtedly the presentation of the B League Trophy for the 2019 season to Ember. The picture above shows Steve accepting the trophy from Bill Arliss, chairman of the SECF.

After the meeting, Surbiton supplied a very nice lunch of venison stew and a potato and cheese bake, followed by lemon mousse or cheese. We have made some contacts with other clubs, which may result in some more friendly games in the future.

Croquet lawn maintenance

Taking advantage of the dry sunny weather of the past week, the intrepid trio of Simon Charrington, Roger Stearn and Steve Edney, under the expert tutelage of Roger Dollimore, has installed two land drains under the lawn.

Trench one: ready to lay the flexible coil (left); and turf returned (right)

The first trench was dug on the south boundary on a line just to the right of the pavilion, near Hoops 4 and 5. The second trench is moreorless in line with the first Tennis lamp post, from the east boundary towards Hoop 4.

Hopefully this will go a long way to solving the drainage problem we have been experiencing after periods of heavy rain.

Trench two: waiting for the turf to thaw out after a heavy frost!

We will work tirelessly (tee hee) to make sure the lawn recovers, so Bob can still have success with his epic roll shots to Hoop 1 from that corner, when the new season starts at the end of March!

In the meantime, a couple of us having been honing our skills on the small lawn…

Small lawn: in action early February

Croquet – Newsletter Extract Feb 2020

We are starting to prepare for the new season already. The lawn is rather soggy given all that rain we had before Christmas. Thanks to Mike Cutts, from Bowls, we have managed to aerate the lawn, and hope to repeat the tining process a couple of times before the end of March. The south east corner is still waterlogged so we will be digging some new drains in the next week or two. Hopefully that will help! The moss is taking hold too so, again through Mike C, we will take soil samples and get some professional advice

Good Tines Ahead?

Here are some dates for your diary:

Pre-season social in the clubhouse on Friday 27th March. Bring a dish but not cheese and pineapple on a stick (Bob), or sausages on a stick (Steve), or jam tarts (Hugh). Apologies to the well-loved contributions from others but I particularly like those aforementioned delicacies!

Barbecues are usually on the third Sunday of each month:

May 17th

June 14th (as 21st is Father’s Day)

July 19th

August 16th

September 20th

The GC match on 6th June HOME against All England Club (Wimbledon) is confirmed, so we are going to give GC a real go this year in preparation for that at least!

We also want to see if there is sufficient demand this year to put a team in for the SECF AC tournament at Southwick, taking place on 9th and 10th May. Please let David know if you are interested as soon as possible, as we have to register sometime in February. David will also confirm our entry into the B League, so we can defend our title.

The presentation of the B League trophy will take place at Surbiton during the SECF AGM on 23 February. Photo to be included in the next instalment, as well as one from the Casa Mia meal (this Friday 31st January), at which we raised a tidy sum for the refurbishment fund.

There are still two more indoor croquet evenings:

February 11th

March 3rd.

Finally, we hope to get the small lawn operational ahead of the official start of the season, potentially from February 3rd onwards. Please make sure you use the correct hoops and the Barlow balls please.

Take care until then!

Croquet AGM – Trophies and a Big Thank You

Last night we held our AGM in the clubhouse. The committee member reports all went smoothly and apart from a bit of moss, and some temperamental lawn mowers, I am pleased to say we are doing all right, thank you very much!

Here are some photos from the evening:

In the internal competitions this year, Steve Edney won his first open trophy, narrowly beating Tom Eddy in the final, after impressive wins against stalwarts Mike Lambert and Hugh Stephenson.

Roger Stearn swept through to the Handicap Knockout Cup, beating David Cooke in the final. Roger has only been with us two seasons and he has two victories in this competition already!

Roger Stearn teamed up with Bob Knox to win the Doubles Knockout, beating Steve Edney and Simon Charrington, in a closely fought final.

Steve Edney managed to cling on to the League, although Roger Stearn ended up on the same number of points AND hoops run. Steve took the title because he managed to win his two games against Roger.

Steve Edney also won the Golf Knockout, coming from behind to beat Hugh Stephenson in the final.

Most improved player was most certainly Roger Stearn, who also performed valiantly for us in our external league games. The player to watch, though, is new boy Simon Charrington (he has a “How to Play Croquet” book).

Roger Dollimore, our chairman for the past 12 years, is going to take a well deserved rest from all the things he does for our club (he does everything). In recognition, Geraldine presented Roger with the Club Member of the Year. Mike Lambert proposed that – reminiscent of Brazil and the Jules Rimet Cup in 1970 – Roger should be allowed to keep the cup. Everyone else seconded that emotion. Bob, the Acting Treasurer, also opened up the coffers and presented Roger with some bottles of fine wine too.

A new committee was sworn into office, and will meet in the coming weeks to figure it all out. Thankfully Roger will still be around to give advice and help where he can.

And finally… we won the South East Counties Federation (SECF) B League for the first time in our 30 year history! Things are certainly looking up for Croquet!




Croquet win South East Counties B League (confirmed)

Ember has won the 2019 SECF B League for the first time. The table below shows all clubs. Each club plays four games, and our opponents this year are highlighted in green.

Congratulations to everyone who took part this year:

Roger Dollimore

Mike Lambert

Bob Knox

Roger Stearn

Steve Edney

Golf Croquet Final 2019

Hugh Stephenson and Steve Edney competed for the Golf Croquet Trophy this year. Best of three games.

Steve won the toss, so played Blue and Black. Hugh won the first hoop, Steve the second, and both players took it in turns to win the next hoop until Hugh won three in a row to win 7-4.

In the second game, again Hugh took the first hoop, and again Steve the second, and again taking it in turns until Steve broke away 5-3, and this time won the game 7-4.

In the third, deciding, game, the first hoop took a few shots to be won, again by Hugh. Steve took the next two, then Hugh levelled, and then Hugh took a 3-2 lead, and then Steve equalized. Hugh went to 4-3, but back came Steve on the next hoop, 4-all. Yet again, Hugh went 5-4 up, only for Steve to level 5-5. Guess who won the next hoop? Yes, it was Hugh, but Steve levelled once more to make it 6-all.

Golden hoop. All or nothing, Steve played Black nicely into a shooting position, 6 feet from the hoop, a bit to the right. Hugh knocked Yellow a long way past but also a potential for a hoop-run. Steve’s Blue crept in close to the hoop but under hit and on the wrong side. Hugh managed to get Red into a closer position, straighter than Steve’s Black. So what should Steve do?  Having missed a couple of similar shots earlier, there was initial doubt, but given the position of the Red, Steve went for it. Straight through for the win!

So the final score was Steve 2 – 1 Hugh. 4-7, 7-4, 7-6 (golden hoop).



Ember starve Ealing of croquet opportunities

Ember Croquet played Ealing on 7 September 2019 in a friendly fixture. It would have been an SECF B League match, but Ealing could not field an eligible team. Ember therefore were assured of victory, recorded as a 3-0 win for the official record.

Bob (18 handicap) and Roger S (20) took on Simon (6)  and Ruth (18) in the morning doubles. Simon managed to hit in to our joined-up pair on his first shot onto the lawn and after a bit of manoeuvring got his team’s balls set up for his partner at hoop 1. Seizing his chance and using our first bisque Roger ran hoop 1, and then hoop 2 and on to Rover using four bisques in the process. A not unfamiliar start for Roger!! Ruth got round to hoop 3 with the help of a bisque and Bob got started also round to hoop 3. We were then treated to a master class of tactical play from Simon who planned to take his ball all the way round having peeled Roger through Rover with the intention of pegging him out. Fortunately for Ember, the turn broke down at 2-back. Bob bided his time waiting for the opportunity to get the lawn set for a four-ball break. Eventually the moment arrived and using all but two of our bisques he got round to the peg, and tried to set up Roger to run Rover and peg out. Unfortunately, he left his ball just out of position, and we were at the risk of disruption if Ruth had been able to hit in using her side’s last bisques. Luckily, she failed with her attempt and Roger used our last two bisques to run Rover and peg out. A 26-10 win for Ember.

We had lunch outside the Croquet Pavilion as Bowls were holding their finals weekend. Margaret Dollimore provided a delicious chicken dish, accompanied by ham, salad, cheeses, and bread. For dessert, she supplied a glorious fruit flan. Everyone got stuck in and then we remembered we had to play croquet again.

In the first singles, Steve (12) took on David (14). Steve took a bisque to set up a 4-ball break and skipped round with black to peg in no time at all (just one blob on a hoop run, so a second bisque taken). David had a few goes and with a number of bisques, managed a few hoops with both balls but never succeeded in setting up a lasting innings. Soon enough, Steve had another turn, and again with one bisque, the balls were reasonably well setup for another long innings. Not long after the game was over, Steve had won using only four of his six bisques, by 26 points to 6.

Steve timed his game perfectly to leave the lawn as victor to a celebratory tea and fabulous fruitcake (made of course by Margaret). The Ember players were in sparkling form, as was the food! Ealing, although starved of success on the croquet lawn, enjoyed the sustenance.


Roger D (9) took on Colin (6) in the final singles game. Colin started with a standard east boundary layup with Roger opting for a west boundary tice with the first ball. Roger then hit in on Colin’s balls on the east boundary with his second shot, and proceeded via his own ball on the west boundary to run the first hoop, only to stall on the second (as usual). the game then became a bit of cat and mouse until Roger made a break from hoop 2 too 1 back. Colin made a couple of hoops then Roger made the break from 1 back to rover. More jousting and Colin making a few hoops in ones and twos with Roger making rather better progress to 2 back. Colin then missed a long hit in and with Roger on 2 back and Rover with one bisque remaining Colin decided to concede the game. 18 to 14 win to Ember.


This result means Ember won 3-0 and have won all four matches in the competition. With all other teams reporting at least one loss, except Caterham who have won two with two games unreported, Ember might be in the frame to at least draw a victory in the SECF B League. Well done team!