Original sketch plan of the lawn (circa 2006). As the development proceeded changes
were made to this plan; notably the location of the clubhouse which now lies directly
to the East of the lawn.
It was on a Sunday afternoon in May 2006 that work finally began on the construction
of the lawn. Jamie’s father, Douglas (who went on to become the club’s first captain
in 2009), was at first reluctant to see the boys attempt the impossible. After all,
the area they had chosen had been used as a midden for the last few decades and wasn’t
exactly flat as a result.
Using his father’s old JCB, Jamie managed to level off the plot as best he could.
The next step was to get the top soil broken down into a fine tilth – fine enough
to create a smooth playing surface. Weeks and weeks went by with the boys, together
with their new members, working all hours to prepare the ground for seeding. Even
those who had initially ridiculed the concept seemed to be lending a hand.
Thousands of stones and boulders were picked from the soil by hand and it was raked
over and over again until a level surface appeared. Eventually it was deemed good
enough to sow.
After months of hard graft, the boys finally threw down some grass seed and prayed
for rain. Unfortunately July brought a heat wave with temperatures soaring to 30
degrees. Every day the boys went up to the lawn and watered the entire site by hand
to encourage the grass to grow. As the next few weeks passed by the grass eventually
came through and on 15 August Ronnie cut the lawn for the first time.
With the lawn now growing well the boys left it to develop and came back to the project
the following year. During the spring months of 2007 the boys continued their efforts
up at their new lawn. To finish off their plans they wanted a fence around the lawn,
a patio area, petanque rink, barbeque and clubhouse.
As word spread of the success of the initial lawn construction, many people within
and around the village were keen to lend a hand and donated what they could to the
club. Hundreds of redundant paving slabs were collected from homes around the village
and laid adjacent to the new lawn forming a huge area where people now stand to watch
the action. A small fence was erected around the lawn - built from the remains of
a storm-damaged fence from the Old Castle Bar.
The clubhouse was kindly donated by George Imrie of Grangefield and came in the form
of an old fibre-glass radar cabin from Glasgow Airport - this was ideal for storing
equipment and keeping the rain off spectators. The cabin was given a coat of ‘Forest
Green’ paint, fitted with double glazed windows and refurbished internally.
Having produced a line of ‘Season 2007’ shirts another batch of new members signed
up to join and the funds raised were put back into the club. All in all, it is estimated
that the construction of the lawn and all the surrounding infrastructure cost only
£133.88, with the vast majority of materials procured by way of donations. With the
money they had left the club decided to buy a new croquet set as the antique set
that they had been using for the past few years was on its last legs.
And so after nearly a year of hard work the club finally had their very own croquet
lawn to play on together with an extensive patio area and clubhouse to accommodate
their members and guests. All that remained was to host a launch party to reward
all those who had contributed to the development of the club and promote the cause.