TENERIFE

CLUB DE CROQUET

The practice of croquet on the islands has a very old tradition. Its origins go back to the beginning of the last century, linked to the important British presence in the islands, mainly in Gran Canaria and Tenerife.

Sport in general was an activity that was popularized in these two islands thanks to the English, who founded a series of sports clubs. Thus they could practice their favorite hobbies, and alleviate the boredom and monotony of life far from the metropolis. In this way, Canary Islands becomes the place where the first national clubs of golf, cricket, tennis, croquet, etc. appear.

English and Canaries became involved in the practice of these sports, intermingling regardless of nationalities, as evidenced by the local press of the time, where as of 1907 it seemed as if the enthusiasms had been awakened by all kinds of sports.

 

HISTORy of CROQUET iN TENERIFE

Initially, the public life of the British community developed mainly in the gardens, whether public such as the church or hotel, or belonging to private residences, where it was possible to relate and at the same time be in contact with nature. It was also thanks to the development of tourism coupled with this British influence and the large number of travelers from that country, that Croquet fields were in the luxurious hotels of the time, where it was customary for local and foreign customers to practice the sport. Hotels such as the Gran Hotel Taoro in Puerto de La Cruz, the Buen Retiro Hotel in Güímar or the Hotel Pino de Oro in Santa Cruz had Croquet fields.

 

[...] In 1902, the year that British troops put an end to the Boer War in South Africa, the idea of ​​a sports club began to take shape. Meanwhile, residents such as Captain Hamilton Boyle, the Reverend Humphreys, Dr. Lisham, or gentlemen like Wooley or Osbert Ward, met to play some games at Casa San Antonio, of the Boreham family. There was a cement tennis court and a lawn for croquet, a game of high society that many confuse with cricket, another game invented by the English, completely different, and very difficult to explain on paper. The same gentlemen met again at El Robado, the magnificent mansion of Colonel Wethered, with the vice-consul Thomas Reid and Mr. Gregory. The gardens of this house, which for some reason today is an abominable ruin, were extensive. They also played croquet and the old bowling game in a highly scientific way with civilized intermediates for tea and to enjoy their picnics. [...]

 

John Reid and Nicolás Lemus

English Club, Puerto de La Cruz

Advertisements of the Gran Hotel Taoro and the Hotel Pino de Oro, offering Croquet as part of its activities

Gran Hotel Taoro croquet lawns, Puerto de La Cruz. Años 20

In 1906 the English Club was created with the name of "Orotava Bowling and Recreation Club", where croquet, bowling and tennis were the preferred sports. The club was legalized in 1908 when registering as a national society. Therefore, it can be said that it was the first Croquet club in Spain.

The mansion and gardens of El Robado, Puerto de La Cruz

English Club, Puerto de La Cruz

Garden Croquet, Tacoronte, 1979

These early origins resulted in Croquet being a relatively common sport or game in Tenerife. Commonly practiced in many gardens of the island in its mode of pastime, and enjoying a great roots in the island. The long history of this sport in our land has led to certain peculiarities in its game, which make some speak of Canarian croquet as a different croquet modality.

His practice has generally been recreational and not so sporty, linked to private gardens. This circumstance together with the difficult orography of Tenerife implies that we are always facing relatively small croquet fields. There are many private gardens on the island with croquet fields, or simply gardens where hoops are occasionally nailed to enjoy an afternoon of sports.

A beautiful example is the croquet lawn of Sitio Litre. Considered the oldest garden in Tenerife, it is a space where nature and history merge into a wonderful mansion and 18th-century garden. This space was associated with the figure of Archibald Little, who acquired the house from a Dutch wine export company established by the Pasley family. Multiple were the travelers who found rest among their dependencies, like the famous botanist, explorer and German discoverer Alexander von Humboldt or Agatha Christie. Who knows if the latter played in his croquet field during his stay.

Croquet Lawn, Sitio Litre, Puerto de La Cruz