What kit to get and from where
This page contains information about suitable equipment to buy for ordinary college and personal use, based on OUACC's experience of using similar equipment. For information about how to learn the basics of the game, where to go to see the OUACC demonstration match and how to receive free OUACC coaching, please follow this link.
If you are considering buying kit, and would like to try out similar items before you buy or would like some further advice, then do not hesitate to get in touch with the OUACC Committee.
Where to buy equipment
Croquet kit can be bought 'ready boxed', but this is rarely the
best way of buying kit, nor the cheapest. The most economic way of buying equipment is to buy the best value pieces of kit separately.
Separate pieces (and sets) are available from various shops, but for many items the Croquet Association Shop offers better prices than the high-street. Contact the CA shop on 01242 242318 or email email@example.com. If you are buying a club-standard mallet from the Croquet Association, note that being a student member of the Croquet Association (£8/£15) gives you a 10% discount on a George Wood mallet (£170-260). Hence it it cheaper to join and buy a mallet than buy a mallet on its own. All you have to do is persuade your college/JCR to buy into the idea! Do check that the sum remains correct!
If you need to get a set, mallet or ball in an absolute rush then Elmer Cotton on Turl St. have an extensive range of Jacques' croquet equipment. They offer a 10% discount to students showing a valid student card.
Croquet Association (CA) Membership
Student membership of the CA is only £8/£15* (available to all students on first degree or under 21). Joining the CA entitles you to play in the dozens of tournaments that are held at clubs all around the country. For more details the CA by telephone 0207 736 3148 (during office hours) or email firstname.lastname@example.org
* £15 if you receive paper copies of the fixtures book and magazine.
Suitable Equipment for College Use
The sections below contain details of items suitable for college use, and which are commonly used at OUACC. For other information about buying kit see http://www.oxfordcroquet.com/equip.htm. The prices in the sections below are only given for guidance: for up-to-date prices), please contact the supplier.
There are currently 2 types of CA approved balls you can purchase:
- Sunshiny Tournament
£235 for a set of four, available from the Croquet Association Shop. These are more suitable for college purchases given their lower price. As with the Dawson's, these are of the approved by the CA and match tournament ball specifications.
- Dawson International
Priced at around
£380 (!) for a set of four balls, and available from the Croquet Association Shop. These are generally regarded as being the best balls and are a favourite amongst tournament organisers. However, these are quite expensive for colleges to be able to afford. On the other hand they are very durable and should last for many years.
Many other balls do not meet the CA specifications. If you have to economise ensure that the balls weigh 16 oz.
When buying mallets there are several factors to consider, as well as price:
- Handle length
The most common length is 36", but if you are buying several for a college, it may be useful to include one that is slightly longer, for example 38", which may be more comfortable for taller players. Conversely, a shorter one can be useful, although this is less critical since players can always hold their hands slightly lower down.
- Handle material
Although mallets with wooden shafts are sometimes cheaper than other types, for general use in a college it is often worth spending a little extra to buy a mallet with a carbon fibre or metal shaft which will not break as easily, if it receives rough treatment from inexperienced players. Having replacement shafts fitted is expensive.
The typical weight is approximately 3lb, since this often provides the best compromise for the demands of different strokes.
- Head length
Basic mallets often have approximately 9" long heads. However, where a longer head-length is an available option, it is well worth considering since longer heads are more 'stable' and more accurate to play with. For this reason the mallets used by the top players all tend to be about 12" long. Bear in mind also that longer length heads are easier to catch on the ground as the mallet is swung - for this reason for college use it is not advisable to buy a mallet with a head that is longer than 11".
- Head width
Narrower heads enable some shots to be played that might be hampered by a wider head, and most more expensive mallets tend to be quite narrow. However, for inexperienced players, such as for general college use, it is advisable to have a mallet with a relatively wide head to reduce the likelihood of miss-hitting.
The following is a selection of mallets that are widely used at OUACC and at some colleges:
- Manor House's "2000" (~£200) carbon fibre shaft, mallet wooden heads. Longer heads are available. Supplied by the manufacturer "Dave Trimmer". As well as owning many of the standard (approx 9") head-length mallets, OUACC has recently purchased some with longer heads. For more details on his range of available mallets see this page.
- John Hobbs Mallets. See the Hobbs website for details.
- M.C. Percival Mallets - www.croquetmallets.co.uk
- George Wood - available from the CA Shop (Note 10% discount for Croquet Association members on a single mallet).
Don't forget that there are also charges for postage. If you buy a number of mallets, where applicable, postage is charged at bulk rates.
The ones made by Jaques are not fully CA recommended as they have X cross-section carrots (the part that pokes into the ground): solid carrots are recommended.
- Aldridge" (£260/set) steel hoops made with round solid carrots are best. Available from the CA Shop
Lighter weight hoops can be used if the budget will not stretch. For further information see the CA Shop's webpage: www.croquetassociationshop.org.uk
For more casual play, such as garden croquet, equipment can be found at http://www.croquetonline.com. They also supply John Hobbs Mallets, however it must be noted that OUACC has no experience with ordering from this particular website.
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