Highlights from the CNSW Newsletter, December 2006


President’s Column
Competition at Rich River
Canberra Hosts Third NSW Gateball Championships
Cammeray gets Lights
Dubbo for a long life
Hazelbrook Croquet Club 1938-2006
Kyogle is alive and well!
Mosman marches with mallets at their Festival
Sawtell hosts Respite and Recreation group
Sawtell plays Woolgoolga in their Inter-Club
Southern Highlands in its Fifteenth Year
Sutherland's 25 Years of Fun and Friendship

articles elsewhere on this site:

Croquet at Sydney Girls High

and more articles in the Country Croquet NSW news and results pages:

Jamberoo - Down on the Farm!
Miller Park does its Lawn Maintenance
Bundanoon celebrates John Hope at 103
Milton-Ulladulla opens new Lawn and Clubhouse
Port Macquarie’s Inaugural Golf Croquet Carnival
Bundanoon and Jamberoo contest the Morton Park Shield

President’s Column

Since being elected last September life has been hectic. My first priority was to ensure that the organisation was in hand for the Australian championships that are to be held in Sydney from the 4th to the 12th November inclusive. Thanks are due to the members of Chatswood, Mosman, Killara, Cammeray, Eastwood and Sutherland clubs for the use of their lawns, to the referees and venue managers and to John Eddes, Geof McDonald and Tim Murphy for the assistance received. I do hope that NSW players avail themselves of the opportunity to see some top class croquet .

On the 17th October I attended the grand opening of the new lawn at the Milton-Ulladulla club and was most impressed with the new facilities. It is obvious that the enormous effort put in by the members over the years has now paid a huge dividend. I also visited Nowra, Queenbeyan and Canberra clubs and was made most welcome.

I have been asked on numerous occasions about my vision for croquet in NSW. I feel that all members of croquet in NSW are equally important whether they play Association or Golf croquet either socially or competitively. I would like to encourage all players to improve their skills and thus enhance their enjoyment of their chosen sport. Junior players could well be the future of croquet and it will be interesting to see how many young players enter the Schools Competition at the end of November.

One of the main complaints levelled at the executive of Croquet NSW has been the lack of communication and a perceived bias towards the metropolitan area but in my view this is a two way street Recently a questionnaire was sent to all clubs requesting their views on pennants competitions. It is most disappointing that to date only 22 out of the 67 clubs have bothered to reply (4 metropolitan and 18 country). A very disappointing response!

It is my intention where possible to be inclusive of all croquet in NSW and this means that there will have to be give and take from both city and country members when changes are made. I trust that this can be done. I wish you all a very merry Christmas and a successful 2007.

Jacky McDonald


When Wendy Fothergill, at our AGM in September, agreed to assist in the production of the Newsletter, we gave a lot of thought as to how this could be best put into practice. I am pleased to say that Wendy has essentially produced this December issue herself and I think you will agree that this is a splendid effort. We now look forward to the March issue for which we require copy no later than the last week of January so please keep a record of your Xmas activities and take some photos as there will be relatively little in the way of tournaments to report upon and this is therefore your chance to tell us more about your club and what your hopes are for its development.

The Records Officer (i.e me) reports that our membership has been growing strongly. The net increase is about 100 and Port Macquarie is our star club with a membership of 116. Golf Croquet continues to flourish with some 800 members listing this only, in the handicaps column of membership details, and several more listing Golf as well as Association. We have no listing for Ricochet (hope I have spelt it right), but it would be interesting to know how many are active in that sport so perhaps someone would write us an article for the March Newsletter - maybe there are some interclub competitions?

We thank all those who have contributed to this Newsletter. At first we think we are going to be short of copy but thankfully it then floods in. A Merry Xmas and Happy New Year to all.

Wendy Fothergill and John Hanscomb
Joint Editors

Competition at Rich River

This week brought home to me the outstanding difference of the standards between Victoria and New South Wales players who competed at Rich River. The new players in Victoria handicapped 16+ were extremely capable. It was not unusual to observe your adversary from behind a palisade of bisque sticks making breaks of 8 or 10 hoops without using bisques. Indeed it was thrilling to see the progress each player made during the week. Players from SA, NSW, Vic, and also Basil Ladyman from WA who had never played in competition before, learned how to make breaks and how to use their bisques during the week.

There were four new players from Victoria, one of whom was my partner in the doubles - Wendy Dickson, who not only won gold in the doubles but also the individual gold medal. She and her friend Ann Quinn are under the guidance of coach Kevin Beard who should be proud of their performance. Another younger player who reached the final was Paul Worsnop - his standard of play and tactics were also of a very high standard. His home club Ringwood should be very proud of him.

A special word of thanks is due to the Tournament Secretary Ann Crow, who not only did all the Admin work but also played during the week. The Rich River courts were excellent despite the severe drought that has meant a large reduction to the irrigation regime the ground staff has had to deal with. One lasting picture of the week, which will stay with me for quite some time, was Robert Bartholemeus behind his palisade of 19 bisque sticks hiding in Fort Apache.

Some thoughts about the format - I believe the present format will not encourage low handicappers to return as giving so many bisques in 2hrs and 20min games makes it extremely difficult to have time to get into the game.

Although one low handicapper Tony Hall remarked that he enjoys the challenge and does not agree with my personal viewpoint. I agree that the high handicappers do need a tournament where they can meet different challenges and different adversaries to improve their skill levels - and perhaps that could be addressed in the future.

Finally I believe our state has to find another method of introducing new young blood into our ranks. It should be noted that the Brunswick club in Vic has introduced twilight play with coaching under lights as a way of bringing members of the work force into our ranks.

Happy Hooping!

Bill Blaike

Canberra Hosts Third NSW Gateball Championships

The third NSW Gateball Championships was hosted by the Canberra Croquet Club on the weekend of 2-3 September. Seven teams, comprising 40 participants, competed in the teams event on Saturday with gateballers from NSW, Victoria, Queensland and the ACT in attendance. 11 pairs backed up for the Sunday pairs competition. Perfect gateball weather, sunshine and warm temperatures, greeted the players on Saturday. The seven teams competed in a block draw that resulted in each team winning at least two matches and many close results. At the conclusion of the block draw, Canberra Two, Epping from NSW (with special guests from Rockhampton, QLD) and the Burden Park Bilbies from Victoria were tied with 4 wins. Canberra Two and Epping made the final due to their superior points differential. Canberra Two won the final series 2- nil and claimed their first NSW title.

Team Finalists: Runners-up Epping (left) and the eventual
winners Canberra Two (right) line up before their match.

On Sunday, gateballers were confronted with less favorable weather conditions, with storms and squally winds making playing conditions difficult. Sunday’s pairs event was also a very even competition with all pairs competing strongly. It was a testament to the closeness of competition that both finalists won their groups on points differential. Page 7

The final was played between Alex Park and Kimberlee Trent from Canberra and Neil Maclachlan and Clare Hopkins from Kew, Victoria. The final was a very tight and tense affair with a gripping conclusion. Kimberlee required a pass through gate three and a peg on her final turn to win the match. After passing through gate three Kimberlee was able to ‘rush’ off a nearby ball and hit the peg to win the match 11-10.

Winning Pair: Alex Park and Kimberlee Trent with their trophy.

Elizabeth News, Director of Gateball NSW, made the presentations to the first and second placed pairs and teams to wrap up a successful weekend of competition.

Thanks goes to Peter Tavender and those who assisted him in organizing the championships, including for the BBQ lunches.

Thanks also to all participants especially those participating in their first gateball tournament.

Strong turn-outs at this years’ Victorian, Queensland and New South Wales Gateball Championships reaffirms the continued development in the skills and popularity of gateball in Australia.

Two Australian teams, including many participants from the NSW championships, will be competing at this year’s World Gateball Championships on Jeju Island, South Korea from 20-22 October 2006.

It is also worth noting that another team of Canberra gateballers (comprising gateball only players from the Club) was successful in the Queensland State Championship held in August, and CCC is proudly displaying the pennant received. The Lola White Memorial Trophy was not permitted to physically leave Queensland.

Cammeray gets Lights

For the last year Cammeray Croquet Club has been working to install lights at the club so they can play at night. By the time this is published, they should be operating. We plan to hold evening tournaments, and make the club available to those who want to practice at night. There are six lights providing 100 lux of illumination - enough for a very clear view of the game.

An impression of the lighting system

Anyone who is interested in playing in our evening tournaments or practising at Cammeray, should contact Neil Hardie on nhardie@ozemail.com.au. We will welcome visitors. We have also had our lawns top-dressed recently, so they are in good condition now.

Digging the holes for the lighting poles

We raised $35,000 from grants - the main one being from the Department of Tourism Sport and Recreation - donations (mainly from club members), raffles, and from the revenue from an increased membership. North Sydney Council is paying for the upgrade of the electricity supply.

Making trenches for the cables

Dubbo for a long life

Dubbo City Croquet Club held a Gala Day on the 19th October inviting along fellow players from nearby Wellington Club. A great day was had by all in attendance which included our three oldest members Dix Spotswood 86, Mary Smart 93 and Millie Phillips 89 shown sitting in the front row of the photo, reading from left to right (ages totaling 268 years).

Others in the photo are Jean Martin (sitting on the right), Fay Williams and Eva Dalrymple standing from left. Total age of all 6 members is a grand 500 years.!

Janet Beasley

This photo is of our oldest member
Mary Smart (93) and still going strong

Hazelbrook Croquet Club 1938-2006

In June, 1938, a small group met with the intention of forming a croquet club on the Blue Mountains. The committee approached Blue Mountains Council for help in making a disused bowling green in Lawson into croquet lawns. Play commenced there in November, followed by the Official Opening on 9th December, 1938. Over the years many Metropolitan Clubs came to enjoy friendly games with the mountains club.

War interrupted play for some years but resumed again in 1947. In 1972 the club relocated to Hazelbrook Bowling Club where it has continued to play twice weekly to the present day. Our 42 members play both Association and Golf croquet on Tuesdays and Thursdays and we are anticipating our 68th Anniversary Celebration in December. Currently we are pursuing a land allocation on the lower Blue Mountains to build two purpose-built croquet lawns. This would allow play on 7 days, increase our membership and allow for greater competition and friendly games with other clubs and the local schools. May we soon see the reality of our dreams!

Players were delighted to take part in a "Rules Day" on June 15. Coaches Wal and Mary Furnance travelled from Sutherland to give instruction in ball skills and in rules for playing golf croquet effectively. Members were pleased to have strategic moves to running hoops demonstrated. Various errors which result in penalties were explained efficiently and clearly. Wal and Mary’s dedication to the game was evident in their willingness to travel such a long distance and in their patient explanations when helping all players. Don Smithers prepared a lunch time barbecue which club members enjoyed. The club thanked Don for his culinary skills and willingness to serve.

On 26th September, we held a Gala Day which was our first in a long while. Croquet enthusiasts from Blackheath and Northmead attended. After President Shirley Hogg had welcomed players, morning tea was enjoyed. Association Captain, Don Smithers, organized players into seven challenges which were set up to test the skill with mallet and ball. The ladder game, clock-work hoop, split-shot to hoop, hoop to hoop, four hoop golf, four hoop association, and nearest to the jack, were entered into with great seriousness and fun.

The morning commenced with a chill wind but perseverance and goodwill paid off and made lunch a popular break. Greg Nash cooked the barbecue which was greatly appreciated. After lunch the games continued in pleasant, sunny conditions. At the end of the day a small trophy was presented to the person with the highest score in each challenge. Seven proud recipients, as shown in photograph, received their trophies which had been skilfully crafted by Don Smithers. This presentation, and a group photograph, capped off a very happy day of laughter, learning and longing for more games amongst the magnificent waratahs and diosma surrounding the greens at Hazelbrook.

Gala Day 2006 - Trophy Winners

Rosalie Padgett
H.C.C. Publicity Officer

Kyogle is alive and well!

Kyogle Croquet Club is situated at the picturesque northern end of town beside the Summerland Way. Adjacent is Alcorn Park and the Caravan Park with Tennis Courts, Recreation Ground, Botanical Garden nearby, and Apex Park and children’s playground across the road. These parks host a variety of beautiful trees providing welcome summer shade and seasonal beauty. The bird life ranges from wrens and willy wagtails to magpies which only swoop on passing cyclists, never on the croquet players! They do, on occasion, however, courageously dig for tasty morsels in our lawn, deftly dodging speeding balls. (I can visualise some readers shaking their heads in horror, but this is treasured country life.)

After an initial "lawn" in the park when the Kyogle Croquet Club was first formed in 1938 (membership fee £1-1-0 & nomination fee 10/6d) the croquet players were offered the two Bowling Greens. The Bowlers moved to their present location beside the Richmond River in 1950. In 1967 a new high set brick building was erected with living quarters upstairs for the Caravan Park Manager, and downstairs incorporating designated Croquet Club rooms and a verandah.

We are members of Croquet NSW Inc. and the Northern Rivers Croquet Association Inc. and currently have 12 members and a small group trying out Club Croquet. Members competed successfully this year in the Northern Rivers Red Pennants winning by defeating Lismore, Casino, Alstonville and Ballina. President Wendy Walsh won the N.R. Golf Croquet Singles and Club Captain Bev. Birmingham teamed with Wendy to be runners-up in the N.R. Golf Croquet Doubles. Their badges and all other clubs’ trophies won in this year’s N.R. Championship Singles and Handicap Doubles were presented at the Annual Presentation Day, which is attended by all N.R. clubs, hosting this day in turn.

Our 2006 Presentation Day was hosted by relatively new club Alstonville, which has a lawn but as yet, no club house. In a wonderful day of co-operation they used our facilities with food preparation and tasks shared or allocated between us. Among our members we’ve had farmer’s wives, office workers, ex tennis players and organists and I’ll dodge the label "housewife", as that comes in second to the variety of Office Bearers, volunteering duties, organising and caring in the numerous organisations that we’re all involved in.

This story would be incomplete if our treasured former member, Sadie Drinkwater, who passed on to a heavenly croquet lawn recently aged almost 101 years, wasn’t remembered. An enthusiastic and talented player and ex captain, Sadie often played until after dark, guided by the street lights! On the cover of her funeral service sheet was a delightful photo of "young" Sadie, at 94 years, enjoying a swing.

With daylight saving here, we’ve ceased afternoon play for names in at 8.15 am, Wednesdays and Saturdays.

Family commitments will restrict our playing numbers over Christmas and New Year, and each lawn in turn is about to be top dressed. Nevertheless, visitors will be welcome at other times.

Contact numbers are:
Bev. Birmingham (Captain) Ph 66322521,
Judy Moore (Secretary) Ph 66362164,
Yvonne Morris (Publicity) Ph 66322016
Dawn McBride

This is just a contribution from Kyogle Club to show we’re alive and well.

Yvonne Morris
Publicity Officer

Mosman marches with mallets at their Festival

The Mosman Croquet Club entered into the spirit of the Festival of Mosman held this year from 17 to 24 September 2006. Sunday 17th saw over 25 members of the Club (along with other sporting bodies and organisations) marching down the main street of Mosman with mallets slung over their right shoulder. Every 10 metres or so Rob Robson led the cheer with mallets being raised in the air.

Junior members carried the club flag (designed by Mal Russell) and Mal carried a sign (also designed by him) with the words "Croquet the Best, Forget the Rest". We all marched past the Mayor at the Town Hall where the master of ceremonies announced each club, giving a brief history over a loudspeaker. A photo taken by Victoria Nelson is attached. We all retired to the Clubhouse and had a super lunch with appropriate beverages followed by croquet games that afternoon. The weather was perfect and a great time was had by all.

The following Wednesday saw the club holding the finals of the Mayor’s Trophy. The Mayor of Mosman, Denise Wilton attended to present the prize to the winner Martyn Prinz, with Lindsay Thompson as runner-up losing by only one point.

Needless to say this was followed by another great lunch and games in the afternoon. The club’s participation in the Festival was greatly appreciated by Council organisers.

Mary Gibson

Sawtell hosts Respite and Recreation group

On the last Friday in September Sawtell Croquet Club played host to 16 people with varying degrees of disability. The Respite and Recreation group with 3 carers enjoyed some Golf Croquet morning tea and a sausage sizzle lunch. Seventeen club members came along to meet the players and to help them enjoy the morning.

Jennie Arnold
Regional Editor

Sawtell plays Woolgoolga in their Inter-Club

Members from Sawtell and Woolgoolga clubs pictured ready to play their Interclub match recently. Three clubs, Urunga, Sawtell and Woolgoolga each play each other twice during the six months from April to September, both singles and doubles are played in the Advanced Handicap format. This year with 3 wins the trophy will sit proudly in the Sawtell clubhouse.

Jennie Arnold
Regional Editor

Southern Highlands in its Fifteenth Year

Now in its fifteenth year, this club continues to grow and develop.

It is of interest to note that two of the founding members of this club are still playing games of both association and golf croquet.

As part of its strategy to encourage an understanding of the game, Southern Highlands Croquet Club is in the middle of a seven-week block of teaching 15 members of the local U3A organisation how to play Golf Croquet.

We are hoping that by introducing new players to golf croquet we will allow them to develop the basic skills necessary for later playing association croquet and, by so doing, eventually increase the numbers playing this form of the game within the club.

In the last three months, SHCC has had a busy time socially, with visits to both Nowra and Sutherland Croquet Clubs; an enjoyable day at Exeter in early September when Mary and Wal Fernance gave invaluable coaching on the rules and techniques for Golf Croquet; and then a return visit by the Nowra club in late September for a day of Golf Croquet.

The photo below shows members of U3A being instructed by some members of the Southern Highlands Croquet Club on their courts at Exeter.

Sutherland's 25 Years of Fun and Friendship

In 1980 Sutherland Croquet Club started from very humble beginnings on an "overgrown cow paddock", with weeds 2 ft tall and no lawns whatsoever. The possibility of using this as a croquet lawn was discussed with the Sutherland bowling Club President. Materials were purchased, and with the assistance of a wood turner 15 mallets were made. A foundry was visited to discuss the making of hoops In July 1980 advice was sought on how to go about having lawn returfed, and in September 1980 work on the lawn was commenced.

In February 1981 hoops were set out on the new lawn, and, soon after, coaching and play commenced. Over many months letterbox drops of pamphlets promoting opening of the club were distributed by enthusiastic volunteers. The Official Opening on 3 May 1981 was a great day attended by over 100 people. Games such as ‘ski jump’, ‘duck shooting’, ‘ten pin bowling’, ‘jump bagatel’, ‘bowls’ and ‘circle to circle’ were played and by the end of the day the club had raised a profit of $800.

In July 1981 the first official meeting was held, attended by Marjorie Blackley, Marion Bourne, Betty Greentree, Colin & Thea Hunt, Ron Jones, Peter Olsen and Carol Roche. Peter Olsen became the first official coach and the club membership grew to 28. Over the years the Sutherland Croquet Club has had many winners of NSW Croquet tournaments. Kath Coull won the Australian Golf Croquet Championship in 2000. Foundation member Peter Olsen and long time member John Eddes have both won the Australian Championship. Pictured below Peter Olsen, John Eddes & Pat Roach, all Sutherland croquet club members, were NSW state team members.

Peter Olsen, John Eddes, & Pat Roach

Another club member and state team representative was Jean Nichols. In 1998 our club was NSW Club of the Year.

As well as playing croquet, in past years the club also raised donations for local charities under the organization of Shirley Parkyns and her many helpers who ran a number of bus trips. Sutherland croquet club is also involved in promoting the sport by coaching school children through their local school and adults through the local community college.

On the 20 August 2006, we had a day of celebration for our 25th anniversary. Our club was fortunate in having beautiful weather and the friendship of representatives of many clubs, Jamberoo, Wollongong, Blue Mountains, Lismore, Coogee, Hurstville, Port Hacking & Mosman. Many past members of our club also came to help us celebrate this event, in all we had in excess of 90 people attending and playing various fun games, as well as shortened games of pirates, golf croquet and jet croquet.

One Happy Group of Croquet Players
at the Sutherland CC Gala Day
(photographer - John Verge)

After a very enjoyable barbeque lunch, guests were able to view an exhibition of our visual history and then we all adjourned either to continue playing and/or watching an exhibition match between Peter Olsen, a founding member of the club, and John Eddes who has been a member of the club for 20 years.

All the spectators were appreciative that Peter came out of retirement to demonstrate his skills. The match was a highlight of the day as both John and Peter are past Australian Champions and NSW team members.

In conclusion we would like to quote an extract from Tony Wicken's article to Croquet NSW in 2003:

"with an active membership around fifty, Sutherland is open for play every day of the week, whether it be association croquet or golf croquet. The club continues to be competitive both internally and with other clubs .

"There is hardly a NSW competition that does not see participation, with varying success, by Sutherland members. We also contribute regularly to management and refereeing of such competitions".

Come along and join us for some fun & friendship!