Besides what I had read in Alice in Wonderland, I knew nothing of croquet. As I entered the Cabbage Patch last Friday, the sound of tapping mallets, victorious exclamations, and the ladling of PIMMS creeped over the garden’s dense walls as I walked towards the swinging gate. On entering, I found a crowd milling about by a drinks table while others swung mallets on the croquet field. Although taken aback by the lack of flamingos, animated playing cards, and smiling Cheshire Cats, I realised that such expectations might have been a bit otherworldly. Thus, I soon found myself picking up a mallet and giving it a go.
The Cabbage Patch provided a great setting for a round of croquet: the grass being well kept, and the field flat and absent of major bumps and holes. Not knowing the first thing about croquet, I was soon under the guidance of Croquet Team Committee member Griffin Godsick. I found most of the rules fairly straightforward, rather it was the technique that provided the challenge. Games ran all throughout the three hour event, and I – not willing to be deterred by an initial few hits that sent the ball a measly foot in the wrong direction – was able to play two rounds, despite the large crowd of forty odd people who filtered in and out of the garden. Over the course of these games, I felt myself improve greatly as team members came and gave their advice and strategies.
Not only did the give it a go session prove to be an entertaining and exciting evening, but the Croquet Team offered a fair five pound deal for a stockpile of PIMMS. Though tempted to partake in this genuine deal, my runny nose and evening lecture advised me against it. That being said, others made use of the bargain and were observably having a swell time.
The Give It A Go and PIMMS Garden Party was the first event put on by the Croquet Team this semester, and marks a reentry of the Croquet Team into the St Andrews community after what they described as ‘a few lackluster years’. I found the event lived up to its branding as a relaxed afternoon of croquet and drinks with a ‘touch of debauchery’. Overall, the event was successful, with a good mix of first through fourth year students. Once and for all, it proved that croquet is not just for the aged and arthritic, it is making a comeback.