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The Croquet Academy Lead Coaches

Richard Carline - Academy Director


Richard discovered croquet in 2013 and is a product of the Croquet Academy. He became a GC Referee in 2016 and a grade 1 GC Coach the following year. 2018/19 was a busy time as part of the team preparing for the World GC Championships, Richard passed another test to become a GC Championship Referee and was privileged to have refereed the final. His past handling of thoroughbreds in Newmarket and Lambourn is, in his opinion closely related to coaching and bringing on croquet players.

GC Grade 1 Coach
GC Championship Referee

Jonathan Isaacs

picture of Jonathan Isaacs Jonathan started playing Association Croquet in 1986. In 2000 he was appointed Chairman of the CA Marketing Committee and has subsequently been Chairman of the CA’s Management & Development Committees & Chairman of Council.

He was also a member of the CA Coaching Committee and identified the need to create centres for Coaching excellence. He launched the Croquet Academy at Southwick in 2007.

He is currently a Vice President of the CA as well as a member of the South East Croquet Federation Management Committee and President of Sussex County Croquet Club.

GC Grade 2 Senior Coach
AC Grade 2 Coach
AC Examining Coach

AC Assistant Referee

Janet Hoptroff

picture of Janet Hoptroff Janet plays GC and AC and started playing Croquet in 2008. An influx of new members at her local club, Littlehampton, meant coaching was needed, so she became a Club Coach, and later a GC Coach.

Moving to Sussex County Croquet Club to improve and find more competitive play, Janet’s enthusiasm for coaching increased and she took on the role of Head of Coaching at Sussex County, as well as being a valued Coach at the Academy.

In 2013 Janet was invited to take over the administration of the Academy, as Academy Secretary. Janet’s biggest achievement has been her selfless commitment to the growth of the organization. Her eye for detail has been a major contribution in the success of The Croquet Academy, helping to create a professionally run organization which is a true ‘Centre of Excellence’ for croquet coaching. This is reflected in the fact that during her tenure course attendance has doubled.

In 2014 Janet received the CA ‘Coach of the Year’ award.

GC Grade 2 Senior Coach
GC Referee
AC Grade 1 Coach

Cliff Jones

picture of Cliff Jones Cliff Jones started playing AC in 1989 and within a year was down to a handicap of 3.  This through natural ability but also by the disciplined approach of a professional coach; he was formerly both a cycling and rugby qualified coach.

Since then he has gone on to win many events and/or manage them at all levels, national and international; he triple peels as a 'matter of course'. His contribution to coaching croquet, both AC and GC, is without parallel.  

Cliff’s methods are straight forward and his mantra is 'I coach what works - do as I coach and you will improve your game'. 

His course notes, in the form of beautifully illustrated progressive diagrams, have been crafted over hundreds of hours and are valued by all who have access to them.

Cliff greatly helped in the creation of The Croquet Academy and has been its lead AC Coach from its inaugural year in 2007 as well as being the Academy Coaches’ Coach and mentor!

AC Grade 3 Coach
AC & GC Examining Coach

GC Grade 2 Senior Coach
AC & GC Examining Referee
GC Championship Referee
CA AC & GC Handicapper
Author of The Croquet Academy Manuals

Daphne Gaitley

picture of Daphne Gaitley Daphne started playing croquet in 1992.  She ran the Summer School at SCCC at Southwick together with her husband for 10 years. She has served on both the SECF Coaching and CA Coaching committees. Daphne was part of the forming team of the Croquet Academy &, since its launch in 2007, has coached on numerous courses for the Academy, many as Lead Coach.

Daphne was awarded CA Coach of the Year in 2003 & received the prestigious CA Lifetime Coaching award in 2013.

GC Examining Coach
GC Grade 2 Senior Coach
AC Grade 2 Coach
Club Handicapper AC and GC
AC Assistant Referee
GC Examining Referee
GC Referee

Frances Low

picture of Frances Low Frances started playing croquet at Rottingdean in 1992 and then only learned association croquet. Frances & her husband John both loved the game and decided to join Southwick the following year to improve their play and to gain more competition. They played on the AC circuit for a number of years and Frances won a number of prestigious cups including Singles Trophies at the Seniors, Challenge and Gilbey and the Peels. Frances was a Maths teacher for 36 years so had a good background for coaching!

She was an inaugural member of the Croquet Academy team and has led many courses for the Academy.

In 2012 she received the CA Coach of the Year award. She has now added Golf Croquet to her repertoire and has been enjoying the new challenge.

AC Grade 2 Coach
AC Examining Coach
GC Grade 1 Coach
AC Referee

Clive Hayton

picture of Clive Hayton Clive Hayton started playing croquet at Southwick in 2010 having dabbled in garden croquet for some years. When the opportunity arose in 2012 to spend a lot more time on the lawns, Clive volunteered to help out at the club and was appointed club secretary that year, becoming chairman in 2015. Family commitments restrict his tournament entries but he has managed to bring his GC handicap down to 1 and AC to 4.5.

Clive greatly enjoys introducing new players to the game and has led the club’s very successful “Four Free Lessons” initiative to bring in new members.

Clive showed a natural talent for coaching, took his first coaching qualifications in 2014 and has coached and led on Academy AC courses on a regular basis.

AC Grade 1 Coach
AC Referee
GC Grade 1 Coach

GC Referee

Chris Coull

picture of Chris Coull

Chris Coull started playing in 2015 and quickly developed a passion for playing and coaching croquet. As an ex-school teacher, I always look to instruct and learn new skills with a practical, fun and hands on approach. I'm a minus player in Association Croquet and a lesser player in the other format of the game! On my journey so far I have been lucky enough to play for club, county and country and won a few bits of silverware along the way, including the CA Apps bowl for most improved player of 2017. Since qualifying as a coach I've helped on various courses as well as run a successful winter workshop where we have tackled everything from the basics of shooting and stroke play to the dizzy heights of the sacred triple peel.

AC Grade 1 Coach

Chrissie Merrington

picture of Chrissie Merrington

Chrissie started playing croquet at her local club Littlehampton in the winter of 2010. She joinied Sussex Countycroquet club for more competitive play in 2011, and soon became a club coach in 2013 and handicapper for Littlehampton.

In 2014 Chrissie became a CA coach supporting the Academy coaching at Sussex County and other local clubs, and in 2016 she qualified as a GC Ref.

Now in 2019 has a new interest in playing AC alongside GC.

Grade 1 GC Coach
GC Referee

Morgan Case

picture of Morgan Case

Morgan has been playing croquet since 2014 when he joined Preston Park croquet club in Brighton. With the capable guidance of more experienced players, he progressed to a GC handicap of 4 and AC handicap of 14 within 2 years.

He moved to Sussex County Croquet Club in 2017 seeking more competitive play. He attended many Croquet Academy courses, which helped him to reach the final of the GC B series of tournaments in Bath in 2018 and achieve his first A level GC open tournament win in 2019.

Morgan is a member of the 2020 GC International Performance Development Squad.

Croquet dominates Morgan's free time, but he tries to squeeze in some photography and writing now and then and spending time with his two cats.

AC Grade 1 Coach
GC Grade 1 Coach

Creation date : 17/11/2016 @ 18:23
Last update : 30/11/2019 @ 17:03
Category : - Courses
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