It is great to see the NSW State Handicap (Beryl Chambers) Championship in full swing at the moment involving competitors and Clubs across the State. There were over 80 entrants this year with more than 60 coming from country areas. Narooma Club alone had 19 entrants. We look forward to meeting finalists in Sydney in June.
Congratulations to our Eire Cup team. Our team Captain, Peter Landrebe, is the Australian Men’s Champion and Chloe Aberley the Women’s Champion; a great achievement from two of our outstanding young players. In the team event, NSW came fourth this year; perhaps a little disappointing after coming second last year.
The AGM of Croquet NSW Inc will be held in September. There are many positions available as listed in the Yearbook. Do look at this list. I would be very happy to discuss with anyone the nature and responsibilities of any of these positions. We need your assistance as we are almost entirely a volunteer-organised sport.
On another subject, after 3 years as President of the ACA, Creina Dawson stepped down making way for Gary Fox. Gary, now a Tasmanian resident will be well known to many in NSW as a former member of Chatswood Club and a NSW State representative.
What an honour it was to be able to represent Australia at the above event. All the big names in the croquet world were there. Mulliner, Bamford, Clarke, Fulford, Nasr, McInerney Hassan, players I had read about but never had the chance to meet let alone play.
My first game in my block was against Mohamed Nasr, (Egypt) brother of the No 1 ranked player and who eventually won the event. I left the court "shell shocked" by his aggressive play. I was hit from one end of the court to the other and when sitting in front of the hoop watched him run it from the base line time and time again. What a learning experience.
My next game was against Reg Bamford (South Africa) who was a precision player, with very accurate hoop approaches, controlled shoots and precise hoop running. The two extremes of the game in two matches. I predicted then that the aggressive play of the Egyptians would be the winning style.
I found out during the event that the Egyptian had been practicing for 6 to 7 hours a day for 4 weeks before the championship. WOW
The games opened with a march past of all the players. It was great to meet all the new young players from Europe who have taken Golf Croquet on and are doing extremely well. They had left their courts covered with snow and had not hit a ball for a few months. It did not take them long to find form. They spend the European summer travelling from country to country playing in events and promoting the game. Anton from Sweden had learnt most of his game from books. Leopold pioneered croquet in Austria. Michael form Germany only played on a small private lawn.
We played in 8 blocks for the first four days and split into two fields, the Main event and the Plate event. This was a bit disappointing as each event was held a separate location. As I qualified for the plate event which was held in Napier I was unable to see the top players compete as they played in Hastings. As no schedule was drawn up we had to be at the venues by 8.30 and in one case I did not play till 1.30 p.m., a wasted morning. One of my fellow teammate had to wait around all day till 4.30 to play because most of the Egyptians withdrew when they had to play in the plate.
I managed to win my way to the final of the Plate. It was played very late in the afternoon with only the loyal club members and the "lawn takeuperers" there to watch as most had left to try and see the semi finals of the "big boys" which was disappointing. I lost the 19 point game to Leopold who played really well. He is a very tall young man and standing beside him and David Openshaw, who is also tall, at the presentation I came up to their armpits.
I did not like playing 19 point games (in Egypt it was the best of 3 x 13 point games) as it did not give you a break to asses you tactics and try different ones. At top level it was also apparent that some of the rules of the game need to be re-considered. Playing on before a ball is marked in, caused many problems when some players are used to ball boys collecting the balls and marking them in. Touching the ball when not making a stroke seemed irrelevant, just to name a couple.
Our New Zealand hosts were marvellous, providing lunches and morning and afternoon teas and as we were in the middle of the apple growing area and it was harvest time, lots of apples.
It was a marvellous experience and I hope at some point in the future I will meet some of the players who took part again.
Christine Pont - National Park Croquet Club Newcastle N.S.W.
Picture velvet green lawns under a sunny blue Napier sky, spectators crowding the lawn verges or strolling from court to court eating ice-creams - or the free apples supplied by the local orchards - 64 players, courtesy buses connecting the three venues, a full complement of referees & scorers for every match, frighteningly brilliant golf croquet, the pretty little Art Deco town of Napier to explore in between times, and you have a recipe for golf croquet heaven.
The countries represented were: Canada, Austria, Belgium, Egypt, England, France, Finland, Germany, Ireland, Isle of Man, Italy, New Zealand, Palestine, Scotland, South Africa, Sweden, Switzerland (the Swiss player has to cross to France to find enough flat land to play on), USA (Mike Mehas wore bright red knee-length socks and a baseball-style outfit entirely contructed of stars and stripes, which caused no dress problems), Wales, 7 players from Australia including Christine Pont, Max Wiltshire and Tony Hall from NSW & ACT, and of course the amazing 8-strong Egyptian contingent, including Saheer Ezz, Junior Champion of Egypt, and a very genial bodyguard who doubled as team supporter and chauffeur.
All games in the blocks were 19 pointers with no time limits, some matches finishing in half an hour and some lasting up to 2&1/2 hours. The knockout finals were all best-of-three 13 point games, again with no time limits.
A feature that made spectating enjoyable and informed was the use of double-sided bowls scoreboards on every lawn, with red or black flipcards for instant recognition of the state of play. Referees also held up a red or a black plastic tab whilst calling out a hoop scored.
A further feature that made spectatoring exciting was the puffs of dust that whoofed out of the hoop holes when a ball ran a long-distance hoop at considerable speed and often from an unbelievable angle. There was much hammering in of hoops before and after each shot (especially as requested by the Egyptian players) which became a source of friendly jokes between players, refs and spectators. Refs learned very fast to carry rubber mallets with them at all times. The courts were also all completely surrounded by four-by-two baffle boards (4X2's loaned by a local timber company) which were raised two high for the final.
It must be admitted that the speed at which balls were hit does have a cost. The Egyptians (undisputed champs!) all play with what Association players would recognise as the Irish grip. Very little back swing, but a lot of forward accuracy and power.
The two finalists, Mohamed Nasr (winner) & Salah Hassan, have both suffered wrist injuries as a result of their Irish grip, with Mahamed needing pain-killing injections on a daily basis. Nevertheless, I don't think I have ever seen such talented, scary or brilliant golf croquet play in my entire life. Why this game (at this level) is not instantly televisual I will never understand. (In Egypt it has its own TV channel and also hits the news channels.)
The level of courtesy of players should also be noted. To wit, if you whack someone else's ball off the court - in the absence of ballboys or friendly spectators - you run over, retrieve the ball, and put it back on the line. At all points in time it was the owner of the ball concerned (not the referee or the opponent) who always had the final judgement as to the exact placement of the outball. One or two players did not do the decent thing, and were thereafter thoroughly disliked as grizzlers and cheats, especially when they attempted to call a fault against their opponent for hitting another ball (in order) before the outball was replaced. What can you say? Some folk are just bad sports.
One very impressive feature of the Egyptian's play was the ability to walk up to a ball with no fuss, no endless casting, stop-shot the opponent's ball off the court, and also cut rush/slide off the target ball to gain position in front of a hoop, and slide in and off to run a hoop. That is also a Gateball technique. (The sliding stuff.) Waah! Huge interesting inter-code learning curve for Judy. The Aussie team did well, but not well enough. Christine Pont (NSW, quarter-finalist in The World Women's GC Championships 2005, Cairo) & Leopold Walderdorff (Austria - ranked 87 in the World GC Champs) both came last in their respective blocks, but thanks to count backs, ended up playing against each other for the final of The Plate.
A gallery of 36 folk watched the match between Christine and Leopold at the Te Mata Venue in Napier. Christine played well but by hoop 6 Leopold led 4/2. Christine fought back fiercely, but then Leopold ran hoop 9 with his ball coming to rest nearly in the jaws of hoop 10, score 7/3, with a certain hoop after that. It didn't happen. He whacked and blobbed the hoop. After hoop 12 the score was 7/5. Then Leopold ran a very long-distance hoop bringing the score to 8/5. It was nail-biting stuff. The final score was 10/6 in Leopold's favour. Jeepers, if one thinks Golf Croquet is not a game worth playing or watching at top level, I have to feel sorry for them.
Judy Cleine - Games Captain, Ref, Coach, Mosman Croquet Club
Following an invitation from Alan Caldow, the organiser of the above event, Wall and I, assisted on the Thursday by Dorothy and John Barker and Margaret Sayers, all from Nowra Croquet Club, took croquet to the Primary School children of Goulburn and the surrounding district
Besides croquet there were some 54 presenters which included canoeing, hockey tennis, table tennis, netball, soft ball, soccer, touch football, dance, chess, cycling, the fire brigade, police, ambulance and St Johns ambulance.
There were 17 schools involved, coming from as far as Five Mile Tree, Windellima, Tarago, Crookwell, Breadalbane, Gunning, Marulan and the Primary Schools of Goulburn. Goulburn High School students gave voluntary service to all the presenters as well as to the school groups.
On the Thursday, Wall. and John, had great difficulty in getting the hoops into the ground, Goulburn is in a drought zone, however,on the Friday, 2 men from the council brought over sledge hammers and successfully banged in the hoops for us.
2,500 children took part in the activities. We had 6 groups of year 1 to year 3 on the Thursday (approximately 20+ each session) and 5 groups of year 4 to year 6 on the Friday (25 to 28 in each session). The children were well behaved and enjoyed themselves running hoops on ground that was mainly tussocks of grass and bear ground. I was able to hand out leaflets to the teachers with the NSW web site on the back. The result would seem that there are schools in Goulburn that want to purchase the equipment and have croquet in their schools. Goulburn High School already have a croquet set and if Tom, one of the lads, who assisted us, can get his way, croquet will be introduced to the High School.
This was a very successful venture and the children all enjoyed themselves. A special thank you to Nowra Club for their support. Dorothy, we have been invited back next year.
Mary and Wall Fernance
Three of us from Nowra helped Mary and Wal Fernance yesterday with the primary school kids from the Goulburn district. The bearded one is my husband John and the other member in red is Margaret Sawers who is now our captain. The ground was wonderful (!!!) Our backs are bad after the event. Don't know how the Fernances do it. They need your greatest medal.
The tragedy as I see it is that there is no club to carry on. The kids loved it and so did the high school kids also helping. Several displayed an interest but where can they play?. A friend who lives there tells us the bowling clubs are suffering but who is there who could take up the challenge of getting something going?
At its January meeting, the Committee agreed to send $160 raised in the Christmas Raffle to Sir David Martin Foundation, for Triple Care Farm, Robertson, which works for the rehabilitation of youth.
In March, the decision to prune back foliage on the large trees on the Rugby side of the lawn was ratified and this work has now been done. We were pleased that the trees did not have to be cut down as was mooted at the end of last year - their shade is so welcome, not to mention their beauty. The committee also decided to move the boundary of the lawns one yard closer to the Club House, to avoid having to use the bad areas on the west side.
Did you enjoy seeing the "pulsing heart" on the Harbour Bridge following New Year’s Eve fireworks? Shirley Walton’s eldest grandson, Paul, who is in 3rd year of a NIDA Technical Course, was one of those who worked on this. Paul was also involved in Sydney Festival’s night features in Hyde Park (faces in trees etc) and was in Melbourne to work on lighting for the Commonwealth Games.
Lola Harding-Irmer was Guest Speaker at the Celebration Dinner during the National Conference of the Australian National Council of Orff School Work in January, for which she received a standing ovation. Lola is a former student, co-teacher and friend of Carl Orff who developed a teaching method of Music, Speech and Movement that is now being widely used in NSW schools as well as many overseas. The tune used by the Sydney Olympic Council for advertising the 2000 Sydney Games was an excerpt from Orff’s opera, Carmina Burana.
|Ingrid makes a presentation to President, Fay Stove|
|Some of the beauties who attended President’s Day|
|All good things come to an end - the party is over|
On Wednesday, 29 March, members gathered to celebrate President’s Day. The day began with Association games being played before a good number of members came together for lunch, followed by Golf Croquet games. Dorothy Marshall and Margeri Mather made a variety of delicious sandwiches to tempt us, and others contributed cakes and fresh fruit. It was a very happy day and thanks are offered to all those who contributed. Ingrid Cohen thanked our President, Fay Stove, for her contribution to the Club and presented her with a small gift.
An overdue presentation was made to Evelyn White for winning the Woollahra Golf Club Handicap Trophy in 2005. Congratulations, Evelyn.
As this Newsletter was being finalised, we heard that the mother of Rhonda Nadas had died, aged 88. Sympathy is offered to Rhonda, her father and other family members.
CNSW Gala Day: On 3rd February, five members were present at CNSW’s Gala Day at Tempe. Sydney Club was paired with Holroyd Club to run the Dolls Competition. The winner was Vic Aberley, from Bathurst Club. Vic is the grandfather of Chloe, a former member of Sydney Club. Chloe has just completed her HSC and is now starting her university studies. Chloe has just become the National Women’s Champion for 2006.
GC Workshop at Nelson Bay: During February, Ruth Wine and Ingrid Cohen played golf croquet at Nelson Bay Croquet Club and were fortunate enough to be invited to join a workshop run by Owen Edwards, the Australian golf croquet champion. Both Ruth and Ingrid will be happy to share their newly learnt knowledge!
Information Morning for Seniors: On Monday 10th April Wendy Fothergill and Ingrid Cohen represented SCC at the Seniors Information Day organised by Waverley Council, held at the Waverley Community and Seniors Centre in Bondi Junction. Many clubs and organizations were represented. Whilst not many of the general public came to find out about croquet, those that did were given the opportunity to hold a mallet and the balls, and were given a very brief outline of how the game is played. Wendy and Ingrid certainly made a number of connections with other local groups and our Club flyers will be hung on lots of notice boards and discussed in some committee meetings. We hope that SCC’s representation succeeded in making some of the community aware of the club’s existence.
Wendy Fothergill - Secretary, Sydney Croquet Club
The Orange City Bowling Club decided in January 2005 they no longer wanted a croquet club operating at their Bowling Club. After 14 years of a mutually acceptable arrangement, the Orange City Croquet Club was forced to find new grounds and start again from scratch. The Orange City Council was supportive and now the first sod has been turned on two new courts.
The Bowling Club’s original decision was devastating. It meant that we had to start extra work to raise funds for a new clubhouse, new lawns to establish and no immediate grounds to move to.
After the anger and disappointment settled down we all spent time investigating possible new grounds. First we looked to the existing golf clubs and bowling clubs for a possible association. We even tried two of the rugby clubs but there was no satisfactory result. Then we spoke with the Council staff about possible public sporting grounds, spare land, and other parks. We lobbied the councilors, interviewed the mayor, spoke with the politicians and continued our own investigations.
We were very grateful for the kind support given to our club by the players who came to the 2005 Carnival. Very kind letters of support were sent to and published in the local press. The local member also received correspondence from players and this gave us extra support when we applied for our grant.
At last we found an area used by junior cricketers with a run-down change room. There was room at one end to fit two croquet lawns and the plan was to move the cricket pitch and give us use of the change rooms. The location was closer to the centre of town. The change rooms were suitable if the electricity was connected, sewerage connected and the roof lined. Other improvements included; new windows, improved security, some storage cupboards and a sink. The Council agreed. Fortunately the Bowling Club gave us twelve months to be re-established and this was extended for a further three months. After all they had no use for the greens because the number of bowlers was declining.
An application was successfully made to the Department of Sport and Recreation for money to improve the clubhouse. Work will commence as soon as the lease is signed. The Council has leveled the area and installed an irrigation system, spread and leveled topsoil. Further work is required to establish the lawn and fence the area to hinder/stop pedestrian and vehicular traffic.
It is hoped that the Orange City Croquet Club Inc. will be re-established in Hill Street, Orange in a position to be more exposed to the public by May this year. Our next task will be to increase our membership. Members of any Club in NSW are very welcome to come to Orange and we’ll give them a game.
John Read - President - 7 March 2006
Recently, on 23rd March, Toronto Association players were hosts to croquet friends from Maitland and EDSAAC Croquet Clubs. We organised play in the Egyptian format with shortened 14 point games. Between 0930hrs and 1500hrs we managed to play four or five games each. The competition was tough, and the friendship was heart-warming. After a tie for points between Robyn Abrams and Alan Pearson, we had a peg -out to settle the matter. The winner was Alan from Maitland, and Robyn was pipped at the post. Everyone had so much fun that we plan to have another friendship day in July, inviting Association players from National Park and Miller Park Croquet Clubs.
A wonderful Golf Croquet Gala day was held at Toronto on 3rd March. Forty-eight players from regional clubs came along to do battle. Play was organised in doubles, and players enjoyed tough, friendly competition. By 1500hrs a winner and runner-up had emerged: Roert Thurston from Macquarie City, followed closely by Lorraine Craig, also from Macquarie City. Another Gala day will be Held on Friday 23rd June. Would you like to come? Ring John McColl on 02 4975 4835.
On Monday 8th May, Cowra Croquet Club hosted its twice yearly Friendship Day. It was a beautiful day and as you can see from the picture, the courts were in tip top condition. The council do a wonderful job with our courts particularly in this very dry weather and had freshly painted the outside store room and toilet in readiness for the day. Visitors came from Bathurst, Orange, Young, Bribbaree and Forbes. We all enjoyed ourselves playing Association and Golf croquet and filling in time with skills games. The day finished with a delicious afternoon tea supplied by the Cowra Croquet Club cooks. It was voted a great success all round. Shown in the picture are members of Cowra club in the foreground Jenny Hayes and Rita Wade, and on the other court, Helen Bryant from Cowra, Eric and June from Bathurst (white slacks) and Robyn Suttor from Orange.
This photo includes locals from around Cowra and Orange. This group are in the care of Penny Todman from a Health Care Group in Orange, who fills a small bus and takes her charges for a day's outing around the area. About twice a year, a group such as this spends an hour or so at our Croquet Club with a few of the croquet ladies, hitting balls around the court and through hoops. They play a semi- organised game of Aussie croquet and have a wonderful time. To finish off they are taken to the Cowra Hospital for lunch at the day care centre, then home.
Each Wednesday for the first school term, a bus load of up to 16 students arrived to learn something about croquet. We all had great fun together. They spent the first few weeks learning and getting very adept at Golf Croquet. We then changed to Ricochet, which meant they had to think a bit more about their partner than in golf. A four of boys had a wonderful time once they got used to the strategies of the game and eventually decided they'd like a try at croquet. The other three groups, mostly girls, also worked well at partnerships and enjoyed themselves equally well. By the end of the term, all students said they had had a wonderful time and would put croquet first on their choice of sports for the fourth term. Their teacher, Glen, decided that association croquet was an interesting game to learn and has since become a member of our club.
Photo shows Cowra High school students with Croquet Club President Rita Wade in front and other club members behind.
Chris Palazzi, Cowra Croquet Club
EDSACC was the venue for a two-day carnival which catered to both Association and Golf Croquet players. On Wednesday 10 May the Association players took to the courts for some hotly contested Egyptian events. Numbers were restricted to 12 players as the competition had to be completed by the end of the day. Two courts were used with six sessions on each court. Participants chose when they wanted to play, but as they had to complete four games to be eligible for any prizes, there were full courts for every game, with players waiting in the wings. Games were 14-point modified handicap games and some pegouts were achieved in the 1-hour allocated for each game. The day was a really happy one - the weather was perfect, the courts were in fine condition, there were referees for every game and the players certainly entered into the spirit of the day. Two EDSACC players were responsible for the allocation of points at the end of each round using the scoring method for Egyptian events and a tense battle surfaced as the sessions neared the end. It was only after the final scores were assessed at the end of the last round that a winner emerged - Dennis Shipp (Individual Member) with Eileen Dodds (EDSACC) as Runner-up after she and Jack Smith (Hunters Hill) had a penalty shootout.
Thursday 11th May saw the arrival of 24 golf croquet players. EDSACC organizers were determined to ensure that everyone enjoyed their day, so after a random draw for the first game, the draws were such that every player had a different partner for each game, and as far as possible different opposition for each game. Doubles were played for 1-hour, stop on the bell and to ensure that a clear winner would emerge, scores were averaged against the number of games played. It was decided that scoring (up to any partnership scoring 19 hoops) would continue until the bell signaled end of game, and there were some really fierce battles fought as partners determined to score as many hoops as possible whilst denying the opposition any chance of scoring. Again, referees were in attendance for all games, and it was interesting to note the number of different interpretations of the laws which are apparently practiced at different clubs!
The winner was Betty Siegman (EDSACC) with Robyn Wallace (Maitland) and Margaret Sears (Boolaroo) having a shootout for runner-up. Robyn was declared runner-up and Margaret was awarded a special prize for her efforts.
These two days brought together both association and golf croquet players and provided both social interaction and some fast and furious play. Some association players also entered into the golf croquet day. As an incentive we offered players a small discount if they committed to play on both days. Both days had waiting lists for players we were unable to fit in, which possibly indicates that shorter events have a certain appeal, particularly when players can play several games in a limited time. EDSACC circularized clubs within driving distance of the Central Coast to ensure we reached players who could drive, play and then drive home if they wished. The success of these two days gives the club the incentive to try either the same format or a slightly different one at a later date to accommodate all players who wish to attend.
In late February, Team members flew into the picturesque Far North Coast for a weekend of training, coaching and preparation for the Eire Cup in Adelaide.
Lismore Club hosted the Team on the Saturday and Monday and it was the perfect venue - beautiful lawns, including lights for evening play, and great hospitality from Club members.
Accommodation was at Byron Bay on the beach and Captain Pete allowed some time for swims, walks and dining out amongst a very full programme.
Saturday morning was allocated to Team practice, but after lunch there was an open coaching session for all interested players from the Ballina/Lismore areas. Pete Landrebe and Rosie Graham ran this highly successful training and Far North Coast players were thrilled to have the opportunity to not only watch their State Team in action but also have individual instruction from them.
On Sunday the Team practiced on the Byron Bay lawns, once again with lunch provided by the Club and some excellent media coverage - played on local TV that evening.
Monday morning it was back to Lismore's faster lawns for a session and then out to the airport after lunch created by chef Rosie. Lismore was thrilled to have had the opportunity to host the State Team. The weekend was successful for everyone - the Team, the Club and the local players. Thanks to all those people who made it possible - particularly Lismore Council and Dick Smith for beautiful lawns and to Lismore and Byron Club members for their outstanding hospitality. Here's hoping that this combination of Team Practice and Coaching Session will be a regular event in Lismore.
Nelson Bay Croquet Club celebrated their 10th birthday on Tues 28th March 2006. We were blessed with a brilliant sunny day, visitors from Maitland, National Park, and Port Macquarie croquet clubs joined us. We greeted each other over jam and cream scones with coffee and tea, followed by a morning of fun and skill games on the courts.
Lunch time found us all enjoying a delicious bar-b-que and birthday cake. with special guests Councillors John Nell and Sally Dover attending.
For those who were able to get up from their chairs. the afternoon was spent playing golf croquet, lots of laughter going on.
All agreed it was a happy and successful day.
Margaret Thompson - Games Captain, Nelson Bay Croquet Club
|Sawtell Croquet Club, with some help from Sport & Recreation have had this new shed built by Bert Willis, 83 years of age and our Club Champion, and his band of nine willing volunteers. It houses our mowers & pumping system and other sundry items.|
The photo: President June Stack, Bert Willis, & Captain, Coralie Kidd
|Sawtell recently installed plastic baulk lines on both courts, thanks to Vic Zanone and Rob Hardcastle (pictured). It has proved to be very successful so far, saving time and effort, and should soon recoup the cost.|
Jane Anderson - Sawtell
For once the weather was kind to Mosman and we had a beautiful day.
Mary Gibson - Secretary