Downham Croquet Club plays in the peaceful grounds of Stow Hall at Stow Bardolph. This must be one of the most beautiful and appropriate settings in which to play the game.
Stow Hall (no longer standing), with its gracious grounds and enormous spreading trees, provides a marvellous backdrop.
Croquet epitomises all that is good about English sport - and excludes most that is bad. People sometimes refer to it as ‘that vicious game’. Not that players hit each other over the head with the mallets you understand but maybe the moves might appear a little devious to the unwitting observer.
Watching the balls being redistributed around the lawn is baffling until one appreciates the concept of setting up the series of stepping stones known as a four ball break.
There’s no better way to spend an idyllic summer’s afternoon than playing croquet. It is extremely relaxing, gentle exercise and it is easy to imagine, especially in the grounds of Stow Hall, that time has stopped and you are back in the 19th century, when the game came to England
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The beautiful setting in which we play is kindly provided by the Hare family who farm the surrounding estate. The Club has been here for over 20 years and welcomes new members, young or old. Croquet is a sport that appeals to all ages and abilities. You do not have to be in the peak of fitness.
There are two main versions - Golf and Association. The former is a single shot game of which most people will pick up the basics in about 15 minutes. The latter is more challenging, involving the creation of breaks, as in snooker, by using all four balls on the lawn.