I would like to start a fun and friendly discussion of “Aunt Emma.” So, who is this legendary character?

Anyone who has been playing croquet for a while has met her. If you suspect you might be an Aunt Emma, please do not take offence at any of the quotes here. We all know she can win games.

Aunt Emma has been described as: “boring,” “frustrating,” “haunting,” “using cowardly tactics,” “silly” and “excruciatingly dull and can often paralyze the opponent into ineffectiveness resulting in her victory by anaesthesia.” As one coach said “if you apply some of his principles, Aunt Emma will finally be laid to rest.” Another coach, not so fondly said, “She must be stamped out.”

I’m hoping members of this site will share some fond or not so fond memories playing with an Aunt Emma.

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She’s at it again, our Aunt Emma. He roquets his opponents ball, picking up his ball bouncing it in his hand while he looks around, clearly think what to do. His opponent’s balls are too close together, should he split them up. . .. all the while continuing to bounce his ball in his hand. He then realizes he has a chance to make his wicket with a split shot. He puts his ball in contact with the roqueted ball. He looks around. No this is too risky. He picks up his ball again and looks around thinking what is his opponent going to do on his next turn. He puts his ball down and with a foot shot sends the opponents ball across court and out of bounds. His turn is over. With due respect, he is 83.

I found some more about an Aunt Emma on the web

Aunt Emma is my Pal

by Garth Eliassen
Aunt Emma is usually the two-word fiend referred to as being unadventuresome in Association croquet

Aunt Emma is my Pal

Article Date : November 01, 1998

Aunt Emma is usually the two-word fiend referred to as being unadventuresome in Association croquet. In American croquet, however - where there is penalty for too aggressive play and where deadness carries over - Aunt Emma is king. There are many gambits in American croquet specifically designed to entice the opponent to deadness, particularly partner deadness, after which Aunt Emma will proudly and cautiously work her way around the court, hoop by hoop, while the opponents helplessly look on in ineffective anguish. Aunt Emma often plays with me, and our games together are the most fun and fascinating I experience; a score of 26-6 might show prowess and shotmaking ability, but a score of 7-6 (with skilled players) shows a game of pure tactics and fascinating plays. Aunt Emma is my pal. -Garth Eliassen

If I kept looking, I knew I’d find that mysterious character, we all call Aunt Emma. Check out her 24 options and I’d invite her on our court anytime.


Aunt Emma revisited

            Just returned from a 9-wicket tournament and that classic Aunt Emma player was defeated in the finals. It was a pleasure to watch him get defeated and outwitted for his silly antics. Who was the original Aunt Emma? 

            James Hawkins, in his book Complete Croquet says— “Nobody knows who the original Aunt Emma was, or indeed, whether there was ever such a person. This technique of unadventurous and destructive play has certainly been around for more than a century, however.

            Arthur Lillie referred to Aunt Emma in his book, Croquet up to Date, published in 1900 under the chapter titled, ‘Cowardly Tactics’. Since then, every writer who has had something to say on the matter has been overwhelmingly negative about the strategy indeed, nothing produces a more splenetic response among the game’s commentators; their descriptions include phrases such as ‘silly’ ‘excruciating dull’ and ‘selfish and generally boring’. (This writers opinion too)

            One theory suggests that it refer’s to Emma Clutton-Bock, the aging aunt of Walter Jones Whitmore. Her dreadful croquet and addiction to port certainly made her unpopular with the Jones Whitmore clan, although there is little evidence to prove that “Aunt Emma’ was more than a generic Victorian archetype of lackluster, unenthusiastic players everywhere”.



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