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Jonathan Isaacs - Academy Director

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
Federation Coaching Officer

Chairman CA Coaching Committee

Janet Hoptroff – Academy Secretary/Administrator

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

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

Lionel Tibble

picture of Lionel Tibble

Lionel began playing AC around 1990 when he wanted to take up a new interest which would be completely new and of which he had no prior knowledge. He saw an advertisement in the local evening newspaper about a 'come and try it' event at the local croquet club. After one session he became hooked. Rapidly progressing under the tutelage of a couple of very competent players he was soon competing in handicap AC tournaments with some degree of success and his handicap rapidly fell.

In 2011, unable to get his usual early start to the tournament season, Lionel entered his first GC competition as a stop gap, only aware of the ball colour order to be played, and won. Hoping to push the boundaries a bit, he applied for a place in the London 2011 WCF GC Worlds and won the very last place available in the qualifying tournament prior to the actual event, and then went on to reach the first round of the knock out.

Lionel is currently semi-retired and has worked for the last 12 years as an energy consultant. He is a member of the CA Coaching and GC & AC Selection Committees and a member of Council.

AC Referee
AC & GC Handicapper

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 HaytonClive 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
GC Referee

Martin French

picture of Martin French

Martin started playing in 1981 at age 27 and soon won the Apps Bowl as the Most Improved Male Player of the Year, and was very impressed to be presented it by the legendary John Solomon himself. In the late 80s/early 90s he reached his first peak, playing in the Solomon Trophy and Presidents Cup. He won the Association Plate at the first ever World Championship in '89, the Du Pre plate in the Mens’ Championship, and the Spencer Ell Trophy too. He was active in revamping Ipswich Croquet Club and became a member of CA Council. Martin was involved in the creation of the AC Automatic Handicap System - the first handicap cards (not very different from the current ones) were produced on a primitive PC in his lunchbreak.

Martin then stopped play completely from '92 to late 2004, for family reasons.

On resuming play, he soon had his AC handicap back to its previous level (-1.5).

Martin took up GC in 2011 and was soon well-placed in several events, winning some Ascot Qualifiers, getting to the KO in the 2013 GC World Championships in Cairo and to the Semi-Finals in the 2014 British Opens and 2016 Europeans. From 2015, he has played only GC and has a handicap of -3. He is once again on CA Council, this time interested in GC Rules, GC Selection, and Handicapping. Martin retired in August 2010 and soon after took on the role of Secretary-General of the World Croquet Federation. He relinquished the role in August 2013 but in July 2016 took on the role of WCF Treasurer.

Examining Referee & Championship Referee in both AC and GC


Creation date : 17/11/2016 @ 18:23
Last update : 30/05/2017 @ 07:46
Category : - Courses
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