Croquet takes off in the Algarve

By CHRIS WRIGHT [email protected]

Linda and Chester Watson, from the Isle of Wight and members of the Ryde Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, have won the inaugural tournament at the Bela Romão Croquet and Country Club.

The retired couple are resident in Tavira during the winter months and were delighted when Lita Gale and Sarah Byrne established the new croquet facility near Fuseta last year.

Club founder Lita Gale said: “We are delighted that Linda and Chester have won our first competitive tournament. After all, it was Catherine de Braganza who did more than refine the custom of tea drinking in England. After marrying King Charles II and upon his return from Exile in France, they enjoyed the game of ‘Palle Malle’, a precursor to croquet. During her visits to Portugal, she enlightened her ranks of nobility how to play croquet … and so we have completed the circle!”

Croquet coach David Denman, who has done much to encourage the sport locally, organised the tournament and finished second with his wife Ann.

A competition to guess the number of chocolates in a jar was won by Ron Irwin and the proceeds are being donated to the RIAS Wild Animals Research and Recovery Centre at the Ria Formosa National Park, Olhão.

These are exciting times at the Bela Romao Croquet and Country Club with a special Valentine’s Day event being organised on Thursday February 14. With personalised Cupid cameras, tarot card reading, a trivia love quiz and prizes for the best dressed Cupid Couple, the evening should appeal to all romantics.

An outdoor bar surrounded by open wood fires and an aphrodisiac menu will tempt even the most discerning palate.

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