Swindon Croquet Club is looking for new members to come and try out the sport.

The club used to be based in front of Lydiard House but has had its headquarters at Moredon Playing Fields in Cheney Manor for a number of years.

Club chairman John Small said: “They were granted a lawn outside of the house and they had that for about 10 or 15 years and then the council offered us this site.

“We started with one-and-a-half lawns and over the years we’ve started to progress and we have three full lawns now thanks to various grants from the lottery.”

The facility at Moredon is open seven days a week – and you don’t have to be an experienced player of the sport, which has existed since the 1850s, to join in.

John added: “Most people who start come along on a Tuesday afternoon and play golf croquet, which is the lesser of two games.

“Croquet has, probably three or four different areas of expertise. So you start with golf croquet, then you play association croquet, then there are others like no-rules croquet.

“There are about four different forms of the game but we play the main two – golf croquet and association croquet.

“An association game takes three hours but a golf game only takes 40 minutes, so you can see why people start with the lesser of the two.”

With golf croquet being the more popular of the two versions, the whole of Tuesday is taken up with the game. Association croquet is played on Wednesday afternoons from 2pm.

And if you have doubts about wanting to try the sport, then John has some encouraging words.

He said: “ I always thought this sport was played by a certain type of people – you know, a bit odd.

“All the old records used to show croquet with people playing in their nice long dresses in front of big houses. Well the sport is nothing like that.

“It’s a sport that accepts everybody with whatever they have. The only way you really find out about any sport is to come along and have a go.

“We’re always open towards anybody, no matter their disability or anything else.”

Clubmark accreditation

The Swindon Croquet Club have been presented with the Clubmark award by Sport England.

The award means the club has been recognised for higher standards of welfare, coaching and management in community sports clubs.

John Hawkins, the accreditation manager for the croquet club, said: “An accredited club is recognised as a safe, rewarding and fulfilling place for participants of all ages.”

In order to receive the award, John had to answer 63 online questions and the club received a visit from Helen Weeks from Swim England, who represented Britain at three Olympic Games.

North Swindon MP Justin Tomlinson was invited to the club to celebrate.

He said: “I’m actually thrilled for the club and all of the volunteers.

"Over the years they’ve put in a huge amount of effort to develop this club and their membership has trebled. It’s brilliant to see them doing so well and to be recognised.”