Highlights from the CNSW Newsletter, March 2006


President’s Column
Croquet NSW regains some space in the Concordia Club
The First World Women’s Golf Croquet Championship
Nowra - Farewell Claire, and Acquiring New Courts
Sawtell - Farewell their President and Captain
Milton Ulladulla - "Sod Turning Day"
Maitland - Visit by Governor of NSW
Port Macquarie - Biggest club in NSW!
Muswellbrook - Club News
Wagga Wagga - Ninety Not Out - Effie and Kath

President’s Column

With summer’s heat abating, we can look forward to returning to the croquet lawns. Looking back on 2005, some of the highlights for me included:

Best wishes for 2006. Enjoy your croquet - the queen of games.

Neil Hartley

Croquet NSW regains some space in the Concordia Club

After many requests we have at last been allowed to make use of the area adjacent to what was previously the second womens’ toilet . This area had no direct access so Harry Taylor and I set about creating a doorway and other necessary renovation. This proved to be somewhat of a challenge to us, even though we both had prior experience of building, in that the wall through which we had to create a doorway was badly attacked by a previous white-ant infestation. In fact, on removing the inside lining, it was soon discovered that the timber studs crumbled, and all that was left of the wall was essentially the heavy fibro cement outer shell and fortunately the steel primary structure for the roof.

However where there is a will there is a way and we can now report that we no longer have a need to hire a site office or a toilet from Coates Hire. We also appreciate the valued assistance of Neil Hartley and John Eddes in other work on this project.

A composite image of Harry (left) and John (right) and the doorway they created after first building an internal framework. The door was then hung and the architraves installed.

John Hanscomb

The First World Women’s Golf Croquet Championship

What a privilege it was to be able to compete in the First World Women’s Golf Croquet Championship held in Egypt in Nov 2005. Valerie Lefel from Victoria and I represented Australia at the event.

The Championship was held at the Gezira Sports Club on Zamalack Island in the heart of Cairo. The club has two croquet centres, Federation and Gezira, each club has 3 floodlit courts and stylish surrounds.

Despite breaking both my hands when I fell off my electric bike four weeks before I left I managed to take out eighth position in the field of 50 women from Egypt, Palestine, Italy, England, Ireland, America, South Africa, Germany, and New Zealand.

The Egyptians were excellent hosts and informed onlookers. Most games had a spectator crowd of about fifty, more if an Egyptian was playing, they would clap and praise each good shot and always congratulate you at the end of the game. An uniformed official umpire was in charge and two ball boys collected each ball that went out and placed it on the spot it was to be played from before you arrived to play it, and as a hoop was scored the number was places on the large score board by an official scorer, all very different to Golf Croquet in Australia.

The Egyptian ladies who definitely outplayed the field took out the first 6 places. Their play was very aggressive. If they cleared the ball from the hoop it always went out over the boundary furthest away. They would always go for the hoop if in any position in front of it even from the boundary. They could hit the ball very accurately and hard. They were amazing to watch. Most games were the best of three and the final the best of five with no time limit. Once I was playing at 10.30 at night under lights because games during the day were so long.

I met some wonderful people both players and spectators and look forward to the next Women’s Championship. Thank you to all those who wished me well before I left.

Thank you all who supported the National Park Newcastle Croquet Clubs Raffle to assist me with expenses to attend the First WCF World Croquet Championship for Ladies. The raffle for the R.P.M. mallet will be drawn at our clubs annual meeting on the 10th Sept.

The Championship is being held at the Gezira Sports Club on Zamalek Iland in Cairo for 9 days in November. ZamaIek Island is 3.5 km by 1km and located on the Nile in the heart of Cairo.

I have been to Egypt before and watched croquet at the club when Tony Hall was playing Golf Croquet in the Open World Championships. Then the Croquet was televised live to its audience and watch by club members sitting in plus red velvet cushioned caned chairs. When a player, mainly a local Egyptian, played a strong stoke or score a hoop they raised a hand and shouted "Bravo". They had specially dressed very distinguished gentlemen to referee and ball boys who marked the balls in when they went out and ran to record each hoop as it was scored on a special score board. It had not rained in Cairo for 8 years so there were many dust bare patches on the lawns and hills at every hoop. There was only about a foot a space between the side line and the fence. The Egyptian men hit the ball so hard if the fence had not been there the balls would probably end up in the Nile.

There will be 2 Australians going - myself and Valerie Lefel from Victoria. The other entrants are 13 Egyptians - one being the most promising junior croquet player - 11 from England, 3 from Germany, 3 from Ireland, 1 Italian, 2 New Zealanders, 4 Palestinians, 5 South Africans and 4 Americans. I am really looking forward to going and am asking myself. How do they play the game in these countries? Are their tactics different to ours? What do they wear? All will be revealed as I report to you after the event when I return.

In the pages of regulations for the event it lists that the games will be best of three. No mobile phones are allowed during a match and within 5m of the lawns. To add, no betting is allowed.

Thanking everyone again.

Christine Pont
National Park Newcastle Croquet Club

Nowra - Farewell Claire, and Acquiring New Courts

Nowra CC has been in a celebratory mood of late looking forward to the day our new lawns are underway. Unhappily this joy has been diluted knowing that after 8 years our lovely, loyal friend Claire Wilson leaves us to return to her home city Adelaide. How lucky is some club there going to be! This enormous loss to our club is also one to CNSW as Claire has been a successful and keen competitor in many events and has become known to players from all over the state.

Claire became interested in competition soon after her introduction to Croquet despite those most basic lessons. In fact it was playing in the Canberra Regional that first opened her eyes to how the game was really meant to be played. She returned from that event, winner of her block. She quickly established herself as a talented player within the club and soon became our club champion.

Over the years, injuries have caused worries for her but never lessened her love of the sport. She has represented us in Pennants play being part of several winning teams, has won the Makara in 1999 and the Silver Brooch in 2005. She has also been invited and played in both Eva Short and Win Dickinson events. Those of you around the state possibly know even more as Claire has always been modest in her successes and efforts.

As a club member she has served on committee as Secretary and Captain and has been always prepared to help in any way. We probably, are where we are today with the prospect of additional lawns, due a great deal to Claire’s efforts.

As a coach she has given hugely of herself and has never been selfish in passing on new knowledge. She was instrumental in getting our school programme underway and has made it a big success.

The club as a whole, functions so much better now, with the benefit of Claire’s ideas and advice. During her time we have redone our constitution and she has helped write policies that will soon go to members for ratification.

We are a healthy club with both AC and GC players which seems to create a very nice atmosphere for those able to attend our social occasions.

As secretary I’m thinking we’ll need around 10 new members with various skills to replace her.!!!!!!

So lucky Adelaide and no doubt Croquet SA. We miss her hugely already but wish her long and happy, healthy years croqueting to her heart’s content.

There’s probably all sorts of ways clubs have of obtaining the sites that become Croquet lawns. One could dream of having a benefactor handing over such a place or of another giving the money to buy land. Without that happening, some of us have to rely on the auspices of our councils to provide the necessary location. That is the case at the Nowra Club which has been on the present site within the Showground with just one, not quite a true full size lawn since 1938.

It became quite obvious years ago that there could be no real expansion of the membership as the lawn was in nearly continuous use by the present members. There was even some opposition to us having a school programme as that would take up more lawn time. Happily the majority, realising that those who truly love the sport need to take it to the young, agreed we must take the challenge and we do have a programme with 3 schools.

A lot of work has been done with council and we convinced them of our needs but then came the problem of site. The one area closest to the present lawn seemed ideal to us but was found to be lacking in width because of a row of various Fig trees which have some historic significance as Empire Day memorials. (Well that’s the latest theory!)

Another site further away, but still within the Showground has now been nominated and approval given for 3 lawns. That approval came after a long struggle, as some "Greenies" had especially been made aware there would be some necessary tree removal. Their objections had to be answered by the loyal members who wish to be part of a progressive club offering such a fine sport (in all its forms) to people from all walks of life. Compromises were made that finally convinced the councillors acting for the objectors, of our greater need.

We now have to work with council and those who will do the construction hopefully of 2 new lawns and finally a third when money is available. We are fortunate to have members with enough energy and enthusiasm to see this project completed. The site is quite difficult, as it is not level but the end result should be great.

We will be hoping as many clubs as possible will send representatives to our official opening when that great day comes. After that we want to be part of the tourist trails and look forward to hosting tournaments of various types for all players..

Sawtell - Farewell their President and Captain

Sawtell Croquet Club said farewell to Ross & Jenny Williams, our respective President and Captain who have relocated to Forster (Oct. 05) It is Forsters gain and our loss.

During their time at Sawtell, a new Clubhouse was built, membership grew and many new innovations were started.

Ross was presented with a Life Membership of our Club by Iris Frazer, also a Life Member. Jenny was presented with a collage of happy times.

Milton Ulladulla - "Sod Turning Day"

11th January 2006 was a very special day for the Milton Ulladulla Croquet Club as the long-awaited sod-turning ceremony at the Milton Showground took place.

The croquet club has an interesting history and the records make great reading. It commenced with the building of the quarter-sized court at Sarah Claydon Retirement Village and the dedicated coaching of Margaret Murray in 1993. Many well-known names of the district appear in those records as efforts were made to secure more land and facilities and many people took the opportunity to learn to play the addictive game.

All sorts of support and fund-raising were undertaken and approaches to Council and sporting bodies meant lots of hard work before the Club’s formation occurred on May 10, 1999, and the Official Grand Opening was held on October 29, 1999, at the half-sized ground which was made available by the Milton Ulladulla Bowling Club.

Members have played in many home and away tournaments with plenty of successes, considering the limited croquet facilities at the Milton Ulladulla Bowling Club.

Due to renovations at the Club and the requirements of Council for a parking area, it was necessary for the Croquet Club to find a new home. Several sites were investigated and hopes were built up and then dashed over the next twelve months. As the time to leave grew closer with still no site available, Milton Showground Committees heard of our plight and offered us some land in the showground.

Shoalhaven City Council totally supported the Croquet Club and gave every assistance possible to make the Showground site become a croquet lawn. Initially, a small area was allocated for a temporary lawn at which the members worked very hard to provide a suitable playing surface.

The work done behind the scenes by members of the Croquet Club which included many fund-raising events is to be commended. Their hard work will be rewarded with the opening of the new lawn and club house in March, 2006.

Over the next few years we look forward to many visitors from other croquet clubs who may be holidaying on the South Coast playing on our great new lawn. We will make them very welcome.

Peg Light, Publicity Officer 4455 4825
Milton Ulladulla Croquet Club

L.to R: Roy Bryant, MUCC President,; Shelley Hancock, South Coast M.P.; Josi Young, Patron and Councillor; Greg Watson, Shoalhaven City Council Mayor, and members of the Croquet Club

Maitland - Visit by Governor of NSW

This year our club has had two very successful tournaments - one for Golf Croquet over the Australia Day holiday and the other for Association Croquet held in conjunction with the "Maitland Steamfest". These tournaments will be held again next year and many participants this year have already indicated that they will return, and have voted Maitland Club as one of the friendliest visited.

Earlier this year we were privileged by our visit of the Patron of CNSW, Professor Marie Bashir AC, Governor of NSW. Our president Robyn Wallace is a friend of her Excellency dating from their days in Womens College at Sydney University.

Another of our members Val Linegar went through medical school with her. It was quite a reunion and Her Excellency, her husband Sir Nicholas Shehadie and entourage had morning tea with our members and representatives of twelve other clubs in the region. The atmosphere was very relaxed and the Governor was welcomed most enthusiastically, leaving with many fans (particularly those whose mallets and hats were autographed!). The Governor commented in our Visitors Book, "A wonderful jewel of Australian history and a most happy club."

Port Macquarie - Biggest club in NSW!

Port Macquarie Croquet Club now has the largest membership in the state. In 1999 we had 45 members and in 2000, 70 members. The latest figure is 117, squeezed onto 2 ½ lawns.

Of those 70 members in 2000, only 26 are still members, with several more likely to quit soon. Of the new members since then, only 3 players have moved here from other clubs, despite Port being a major growth area.

How we did it:

A weekly report is sent to the local newspaper with results and news. There is also media coverage for our annual carnival. This generates some interest but this alone would not have kept up player numbers.

We ran 4 Adult Education classes: although we tried to limit numbers, the demand was such that we stretched the numbers beyond what we had set as a limit, but still had to turn away some applicants. This was a pity because some of them seemed keen but did not reapply for the next course. From those who finished the classes, a varying number became members. We gave out application forms during the class rather than wait until the end - we found that some people who need to be encouraged to join end up being solid members.

It is worth noting that we had very few join from one of the classes: if this had been our first try, we might have been discouraged and given up! When we first mooted the idea of adult ed. classes there were some old members who were very skeptical, saying they had tried it before but it didn’t work. Adult ed or community college classes do work if members support them with enthusiasm. This has been proven here and with Marj Clarke’s very successful program at Nowra.

Golf croquet players were largely recruited from Probus club days and by word of mouth. We now have so many GC players that active recruitment is far from necessary. We have recently started a ricochet session and have approval for some funding for lights to accommodate all these members on our existing lawns.

Lessons to be learnt:

1. Without actively looking for new players and having easily accessible begginer classes, player numbers will fade away.

2. Even if few beginner students go on to become members, don’t be discouraged: the next time you run a class, half the students might join up. When 1 or 2 join, it is often a stimulus for the other students to consider joining and learning together.

I hope every club that does not have new player recruiting and training think about how many of their members will still be playing in a few years and what will be left of their club. Let’s keep the snowball rolling.

Larry Bryant

Muswellbrook - Club News

Last May through to August 2005 our club participated for the first time in the golf croquet pennants (Hunter Region) competition. All players thoroughly enjoyed the experience.

I would like to take this opportunity on behalf of our club to congratulate the winners - the Toronto Tigers. Congratulations also goes to runners up - the Maitland Magpies & third place getters - the Maitland Butcher Birds. To all players from the other clubs thank you for your participation.

Also special thanks to the Maitland club for putting on a great final day. Carolyn Williams did a tremendous job as always with the lawns. Well done to all the Maitland members who gave their support on the 16th-18th September 2005. Our club held it’s first 3 day golf croquet carnival. A total of 32 players from Scone, Miller Park, Maitland, Orange, Wollongong & Muswellbrook participated in the event. It was a great social event for all players from various clubs to come together & enjoy the game. Beginning at 9am each day each doubles pair played (10) 7 point games over 3 days all of the games were keenly contested. Some of the results went down to the last games played. Division One winners were Lo & Beryl Hearne (Scone). Runners up were Ray Farrell & Bev Duncan (Orange). Division Two winners were Gwen Alford (Scone) & Madge Neate (Muswellbrook). Runners up were Kath Farrell & Janet McKay (Orange). Division Three were winners George & Daisy Budden (Muswellbrook), runners up were Adolphe & Suzy Parfait (Muswellbrook). Congratulations to the winners & runners up!

The club is very grateful for the the support & positive feedback given by the visiting players & visiting referees - Margot Johnson, Jo McGrath, Robyn Wallace & Carol Hayes. Very sincere thanks & appreciation goes to the members from our club for their help & support in making the carnival a great success.

Currently the club has 50 members with playing days; mondays, wednesdays, thursdays & saturdays. In the last 12 months we have gained 18 new members. "Word of mouth" has assisted us to attract new members. The majority of our new members throughly enjoy playing golf croquet. There is no pressure apon new members as to which games they play. If they wish to play golf croquet - it is that they enjoy playing that counts. However I do ensure that our new members are aware of Association Croquet and encourage them to let me know if and when they wish to learn.

Both Golf Croquet & Association are great games in their own right & I am a firm believer that it’s what the player enjoys playing not what others want them to play. Best wishes to all croquet players.

Glenda Downs (Court Captain)

Wagga Wagga - Ninety Not Out - Effie and Kath

Wagga Wagga Croquet Club now has two playing nonagenarians. Kath Black (the tall one) turned ninety in October (she’s a week older than the aviatrix Nancy Bird Walton), and Effie Bickley in January. Kath has been playing croquet for twenty years, but Effie took it up only five years ago when eighteen holes of golf became a bit too difficult. At the same time she decided to learn to play bridge!

Both of them love their two hour croquet games on the half court, but Effie can play only one day as the Club’s other playing day clashes with her day working in the Op Shop. Effie retired from her job as a monitor of telephone switchboard operators twenty-five years ago, and it was reported in the Wagga Daily Advertiser at the time that she had ridden her pushbike to work daily for the previous 35 years. After all those years in telephone exchanges, Effie doesn’t own a mobile phone. "If anybody wants me they can ring me at home - if they can catch me", she said recently.

Kath began her birthday with an hour’s ride around Wagga on the back of a Harley Davidson; Effie finished hers with an hour’s ride around Wagga in a limousine. Kath still enjoys old time dancing, School for Seniors, writing poetry, painting, crossword puzzles and life in general. Apart from croquet and the Op Shop, Effie enjoys playing cards, driving her car wherever she wants to go, and being with people. When the Card Party season is in full swing, Effie is out just about every day - canasta, solo or bridge.

May they have many more years of croquet.

Nola Scott
Wagga Wagga Croquet Club

Wagga Wagga’s Nonagenarians

Who said that croquet’s difficult
To learn and then to play?
Our Effie learned at eighty five
And she’d play every day.

But she’s too busy playing cards,
Or doing Op Shop time,
Or chauffeuring her friends around,
Or keeping her home prime.

Now Kath’s been playing twenty years -
Aged seventy she learned,
And with her warmth and friendliness
The love of all she’s earned.

Not wearing glasses she can roquet
A distant ball with ease,
Or run a hoop, or roll the balls,
Or peg out, if you please.

We love our two old young-at-hearts,
Their wit, their smiles, their grace.
Without these two our Club would be
A far, far lesser place.