The Australian Golf Croquet Championships will be held from 8 - 16 September in the Hunter Region and the clubs concerned are working to ensure their lawns are in the best possible condition. My sincere thanks go to the members of National Park, Maitland, Macquarie City and Toronto for their hard work and dedication. The Open Singles championship of Australia will be held from the 8th - 16th and the inaugural Interstate Shield from the 12th - 16th. I would encourage you to take the opportunity to watch some high standard Golf Croquet.
The CNSW Annual Meeting will be held on Saturday 1st September. In the accompanying mail you will see that nominations have not been received for all positions. If you are interested in filling any of the vacancies please contact the secretary, Lorraine Le Blang prior to the meeting. We need the continued interest and involvement of more of our members at all levels of administration. We must aim for many volunteers each doing a little and not, as so often happens, with a few each doing a lot.
In the same vein I am concerned that so few members are involved with the management and refereeing of tournaments conducted by CNSW. Later in the year I intend to conduct information sessions for any members who would be interested in knowing more about the organisation and management of tournaments both at NSW and club level.
I would like to conduct these in both metropolitan and country areas. If your club would be prepared to host one of these information sessions please contact me on 49300733 or by .
Finally on behalf of Croquet NSW I would like to wish the NSW State Golf Croquet team every success in the inaugural interstate teams competition.
A common theme to many of the articles in this Newsletter is that of rain, rain and more rain. Quite a change from our days of drought. Perhaps the heading of the last Newsletter, namely, "the drought has broken", was somewhat prophetic!
We are not alone in having experienced unusual downpours - here is an extract from England's Croquet Association, as well as photos from New Zealand. We are still mindful of many in the country areas of NSW where the rain has not been so plentiful and hope that soon their drought will indeed be over.
An "Item of Interest" from our neighbours at Croquet Queensland has been included in this Newsletter. Marj Kersey, author of this article from Murwillumbah Club, used to write regularly for our newsletter.
Wendy Fothergill and John Hanscomb
When Ian Baggie visited Manly Croquet Club recently for a social game with a group of friends, no one was more surprised than the 58- year-old rookie when he won the game on handicap. "Ian does have good hand-eye coordination," said his wife Annette, by way of explaining how her husband, playing his maiden game of croquet sitting in a wheelchair and using a shortened mallet, still managed to come out on top.
He spent six weeks in intensive care, during which time he suffered several transitory strokes, which affected both sides of his body, rendering him unable to walk, talk, eat or drink.
"There was no question of him returning to work - it was retirement, virtually overnight, at age53, MrsBaggie said"
When her husband came out of hospital he was in a wheelchair, and because his stroke had affected his swallowing reflex, received liquid feed directly into his stomach via a peg tube for the first 12 months. His ability to swallow gradually improved and he has been eating normally for the past two years, and a few months ago began taking liquid, including the occasional drop of wine, by mouth. The peg tube remains in place, however, for most of his liquid intake.
With the help of a broad rehabilitation program and his own determination, Mr Baggie has made steady progress since then. He attends two three-hour rehab sessions each week at Lady Davidson Hospital North Turramurra, where he has speech, exercise and diversional therapy. Mrs Baggie said her husband's speech was now at "about 90 per cent", and had improved a lot in the past six months.
To get around, he uses both wheelchair and walking frame. For recreation, he reads and does sudoku and cryptic crossword puzzles. He also serves on the board of the Royal Rehabilitation Hospital at Ryde, and helps with accounting work for the board of MS Research Australia.
Once a keen golfer and tennis player, Mr Baggie has now turned his hand to lawn bowls, which he took up two years ago, and more recently, croquet.
"We've both had a lot of adjustment to do, but do you know what, I've never once seen him give way to self-pity", Annette Baggie said.
Feature Article by Marj Belessis
Published in the Manly Daily
10 January 2007
Mark Callan - winner of the Irish Green Cup (Div 2 H'cap 3.5-7 championship); and
William Gilchrist - winner of the Silver Salver (Div 3 h'cap 8-13).
These players belong to both Mosman and Sydney Clubs.
The Irish must have been a tad upset at Australians walking away with both tropies - perhaps they were green with envy!
Royal Sydney Croquet Club
This is what Coring the Lawns in Southland looks like. Four Winsome Winton ladies in gardening gear, a young lad on work experience, two lovely blokes from our neighbouring bowls club (cracking jokes and working like trojans) the coring machine loaned and operated by Karl Plunkett of our local Golf Club, all organised by Paul McKay, our Greens Man.
Here are pics of the amazing and lovely folk in Southland.
Judy Cleine sent the above photos of Croquet in the wet - something many Clubs may be familiar with from recent times.
From the Croquet Gazette, June 2007 - Croquet Association, England - Submitted by John Hanscomb
The Ripon club welcomes Khaled Younis - three times world golf croquet champion
"So for four days in June, Khaled Younis, three times World Champion, and Amir Ramsis, President of the Egyptian Croquet Federation and Committee member of the WCF, provided Golf Croquet Coaching at Ripon for levels ranging from absolute beginner to those players who regularly play competitively.
"The first two days provided some of the worst June weather ever in North Yorkshire, with rivers bursting their banks. roads blocked and even a landslide! Proving croquet stops for nothing short of an earthquake in England, the players played on undaunted.
"The Egyptians, who had left Cairo in temperatures of 35C, borrowed umbrellas and were on court most of the day providing advice, guidance and training to players of varying abilities. Despite the weather, the players felt they had made real progress."
The Front Page of the English journal
"The Croquet Gazette"
Issue 309, June 2007
Extracts from an article by reporter Bill Coles in the International Express, UK, on Tuesday 17 July, 2007
The genteel sport of croquet conjures up many images but none will stay quite so vividly in the public's imagination as the picture of John Prescott flashing a mallet at his country seat. In itself, there was nothing so remarkable about the erstwhile Deputy Prime Minister surveying Dorneywood's croquet lawn with all the easy nonchalance of a peer of the realm. But for this Old Labour dinosaur, the act of being caught playing croquet at this grace-and-favour mansion was so shameful that it eclipsed even his affair with his diary secretary. Prescott's embarrassment is perhaps understandable because croquet does have something of a reputation as an upper-crust pursuit. Scratch beneath the surface and you will find the fame has evolved light years from its image of tea and cucumber sandwiches on the vicarage lawn. If any proof were needed of the game's transformation, you have only to visit one of the dozens of croquet clubs in Cairo, where hundreds of Egyptians fete their champions and howl with all the verve of football fans.
In Britain, it is estimated that more than 70,000 people play croquet regularly; and of these, the cream of the crop compete annually in the British Open. Like our major championships in tennis and golf, this summer tournament is steeped in a century's worth of history and is played at the Mecca of the fame, the Hurlingham Club in West London. There the similarities end, for while the world's top golfers and tennis stars earn millions a year from sponsorship and prize money, leading croquet players compete for little more than the love of the game. This year's Open, for instance, is being sponsored for a bargain £4,000, of which £1,000 will be doled out in prize money. Compare this with the £10,000 for the first-round losers at Wimbledon. To Reg Bamford, world champion opening his defence of his title at Hurlingham last week, the peanut prize money is just one of the many reasons he adores the game. Reg, 39, hails from South Africa but now lives in Putney, West London. He first picked up a mallet when he was 7 and had become his country's No 1 by age 15. He has won the British Open six times, as well as two world championships. "It really adds to the game that it is still for amateurs", he said. He added, "in the summer I might spend three or four hours a week on it but it is very civilised. Compare that with a game like darts, which has so much money in it now that the top players have no option but to practise and practise."
If croquet is ever going to make it on TV, it will be the golf variety that wins viewers. The rules and tactics are easier to understand and play is more exciting. The biggest surprise about golf croquet is that most of the top players are from Egypt. The British played in country clubs around Cairo and after they left in the Fifties, the Egyptians took over. After 50 years, Egyptian croquet has turned into the most extraordinary hybrid. There are around 30 croquet clubs in Cairo and Alexandria, and they are the world champions at golf croquet. In Cairo the stands will be packed with people cheering and shouting, and they hit the ball so hard they need three-foot fences around the edges to protect the spectators. Reg Bamford mentioned, "A few years ago a number of Europeans were asked to hit the ball as hard as they could. The most we could manage was about 20mph. Then an Egyptian clocked up 32mph, and he said there were plenty of people who hit the ball even harder. They believe that the harder you hit a ball the straighter it goes". He added, "I'm number three in the world at golf croquet behind two Egyptian brothers. I think they spend their entire time playing each other. It's a style of croquet that you have never seen over here. The brothers have both just got married and I am praying they start having kids soon. That might give the rest of us a chance!"...
Perhaps all the game needs is a few more John Prescott-style incidents - the former Deputy Prime Minister's dalliance with croquet seared the game into the national consciousness. There was a huge number of extra hits on the club's website and a few new members signed up...
Editor's comment: This article is from a newspaper received by Madeline Goodman of the Sydney Croquet Club. Which of our politicians could be targeted to give Croquet NSW (even Croquet Australia) a fillip, resulting in many new members and possibly some sponsorship and competition funding? Election year might be the perfect opportunity - after all, some of the current incumbents may find they have more time on their hands shortly.
For the 2007 Birthday Tournament at Cammeray, the first held also at night under lights, we enjoyed great croquet, good companionship and wonderful weather. Of the 28 games played in total, there were 18 peg outs, with many close matches.
Possibly the best hoop of the match was by Alan Walsh, who went straight through his 4-back hoop from the border near Hoop 4, when attempting to roquet his opponent's balls near the hoop!
The overall winner of the tournament was Alan Walsh, with Neil Hardie the runner up.
In mid July, the Cowra Croquet Club had a celebration to mark a special occasion. Immediate Past President, Rita Wade recently attained her 80th birthday and many of the club members helped to celebrate the occasion by taking her to lunch at "La Vita" Restaurant in Cowra.
The photo shows Rita surrounded by the group of croquet friends following a lovely lunch which included, of course, a very scrumptious birthday cake. Rita is a long standing member of the Cowra Club and we thank her for all her involvement in so many ways over the years. Many happy returns Rita!
Development of a New Clubhouse
The big news for the month is that Kiama Council has given us Development Consent for the construction of the Clubhouse. There are a number of conditions attached. For example we can only use the Clubhouse between 8 a.m. and 8:30 p.m. on weekdays and 9 am to 9 p.m. at weekends and we are not allowed to use an external Public Address system. But the conditions are generally not onerous and we should be able to comply with them OK.
Surprisingly, the Development Consent documents did not mention the possible flooding problem and, as approved, we could build the clubhouse on a concrete slab on the ground with the floor level just 300mm (1 foot) higher than the surrounding ground level. While there are any number of anecdotes about previous flooding of the area we don't seem to be able to get a handle on the depth of any flooding. Perhaps we might have to accept that the Clubhouse will get flooded every 10 years or so!
The next step is to prepare and submit the application for a grant from the Department of Sport and Recreation. This year the grant period will commence on 4th June and applications will close on 20th July. We have been starting to prepare the documents necessary for this grant application and have received letters of support from the State Member for Kiama (Matt Brown, who is also the State Minister for Tourism) and from Croquet NSW. The Jamberoo Combined Sporting Association has also said that they will support our application and we are hopeful of also getting support from the Mayor of Kiama. Although we now have enough money to start construction of the Clubhouse (indeed we have enough to get it to lock-up stage at least) a condition of the grant process is that we cannot start construction until we hear whether the grant application is successful.
Development of a Third Lawn
An assessment of the area where we want to construct the 3rd lawn has shown the terrain to be fairly rough with hills and valleys which would make playing croquet quite a challenge. We decided to check out the costs of levelling and re-grassing the area and, though one of the quotes was reasonable, some of our members were worried that the area would be damaged by general usage by members of the public and by 'hoons' driving cars on it.
We first got the idea of sharing the area with the junior cricket club after some of us played in a tournament in Toronto. The Toronto croquet club has its three lawns laid in the outfield of a cricket oval and so we asked them whether their lawns suffered damage as a result of their dual use. They replied that they had no problems in sharing their lawns with the cricket club but foot brawlers were not allowed to use the area. At the last working bee on 7th May, we placed the corner and centre markers, laid out the hoop positions and mowed the area but the grass was not cut low enough to play. All this took time and we were left with too little of this important resource to complete the work for the start of the cricket season.
At the last General meeting we decided that we would have to defer the construction of the 3rd lawn until after the cricket season, which will finish in March 2008. After making the decision to defer the lawn we received notification from Kiama Council that we would need a separate Development Application for the 3rd lawn which means that we wouldn't have been able to start the work anyway. We now have about 9 months to get everything in place for the construction of the lawn.
Croquet was first played in Manly some 130 years ago. The first public tournament took place on Manly oval in 1903 which is when the Manly Croquet Club was formed. The concept of a week-long tournament was resurrected forty years ago with the Seabreeze tournament which is still held from the first weekend in October. (Have you submitted your entry forms to the 2007 event?)
In the past 100 years the Club's fortunes have ebbed and flowed. One young man who joined the club played for Australia, another member was awarded an Order of Australia for services to the game of croquet.
Some four or five years ago the Club's membership was alarmingly low and subscriptions would not cover the groundsman's costs. Then by a happy coincidence in the last three years while I have been President, the Club's fortunes have turned around. We now have ample fund and we have renovated the clubhouse as well as our three courts. Our membership numbers are climbing. Perhaps in line with other clubs the number of members choosing to play Association remain static and few seem to want to enter competitions. The surge of interest is in Golf Croquet where there is now real interest in competitions and we will soon be putting members into inter-club competitions. Newcomers get a very friendly reception, so if any Golf Croquet players are in Manly on a Sunday morning, please drop in to see us.
The Finals of the Club's Golf Croquet Competition was held on 15 April with David Griffiths winning against Lorraine Doherty who was a valiant second. They are pictured during the competition.
Boys in Year 10 at St Paul's College, Manly, who come to the club each Thursday afternoon in the school term to be coached by Manly Club Professionals. The instructor on this occasion is Vice-President, Betty Simpson.
Pictured after the event - Lorraine and David (holding winner's trophy) with Mayor of Manly, Peter Macdonald, in the centre.
A group of players who attended a Gala Day at Manly.
Photos supplied by Florence Houghton-Clarke Publicity Officer for Manly Club
Our thanks go to all the players for their participation and to Heather Smallbone for organising and managing the event. The other player who must be mentioned is our Council groundsman. By the Wednesday of the second week, the lawn was much in need of mowing. The groundsman dutifully arrived - and much to the amusement of everyone, mowed all around the clubhouse - but not the lawn!! Thankfully he returned later and left us with a playable surface.
Jim worked tirelessly and enthusiastically to promote the game and the club, and was always eager to teach beginners.
We wish him all the best. He will be sorely missed.
Some of our senior members may be leaving us, but here is one of the up-and-coming champions of tomorrow.
Recently our Club had a Pioneer Croquet Day where players dressed in the garb of long ago. These are a few of the participants on the steps of our clubhouse. We had a great day where the rule of the game was 'side stance' which we found difficult at first, but after a few shots managed to roquet very well. After lunch of cucumber sand-wiches, damper, cup cakes etc with sparkling wine (non alcoholic!), we had to play our normal stance which was most difficult with our long skirts!. It was quite a sight with skirts tucked up into pants! The men had no trouble!
We make it a rule that the last Sun-day in every month is a social event for all our members to get together for either High Tea or Lunch and this was the last Sunday in June. So we decided to 'live it up' with the 'blast from the past' and it was great.
Ed's note: Murwillumbah is in NSW but due to its proximity to our northern neighbour, the club is affiliated to Croquet Queensland.
President gets his lunch on time
On Tuesday, 15th May, Port Macquarie Croquet Club held its first ever club singles Golf Croquet championship - a knock-out competition.
The day dawned perfect and remained so throughout the matches. Thirty members turned up to play, eight of whom decided to play friendly doubles on lawn three.
The remaining twenty two highly competitive players battled through about twenty elimination matches to arrive at the final pairing, for the ‘best of three' finals round.
These final games were to be played between Club Golf Captain, Terry Devereaux, and President, Stewart Parkes. As it was close to lunch time, the president was anxious to avoid a late lunch. By sheer determination, brought on by pangs of hunger, he won the first two games and was declared the champion.
A great day was had by all present. There was an unexpectedly high turn-out for the singles competition, given that the Club normally concentrates on doubles games.
On Wednesday, 2nd May, thirty six members of the club enjoyed a day of golf croquet, novelty games and fellowship.
A good day was had by all.
On the Queen's Birthday holiday - a cold but sunny day - 30 members and friends of Sawtell Club gathered to enjoy morning tea, drinks and nibbles followed by a nice lunch. We also had visitors from the neighbouring Caravan Park. Everyone enjoyed the day. These photos are of members who work tirelessly for the good of the club.
Sen. Vice Lynne
Life Member Iris
The club continues to expand, with our membership now at 25 and growing. New members have been welcomed with special morning teas on our Friday Golf Croquet days and we are continuing our membership drive with monthly come and try croquet activities on Saturday afternoons - with the special aim this year of trying to promote croquet as an alternative, non-contact, Saturday sport for young people.
A successful Golf Croquet coaching clinic was held at our courts at Exeter by Geof and Jacky McDonald in early May and all who attended were later keen to pass on their collective knowledge to those who were unable to be there. We will also be participating, with members from Ulladulla, Nowra and Wollongong clubs, in a one-day seminar involving a Golf Croquet Referees Workshop in the morning with an examination in the afternoon. Margaret Sawers from the Nowra Club has been negotiating with Tony Hall (Canberra) and Gillian Powell (Young) to run this seminar and at the moment it is anticipated that it will be held at the Exeter Courts.
We continue to invite organizations and clubs to think about a morning or afternoon of golf croquet as an interesting activity for their members and already have the Newcomers Group visiting in September and the Nattai Probus Club in October. Also, after a very successful 7 week term last year, our association with U3A Southern Highlands continues in 2007 with the first Croquet Is Fun classes already underway and continuing until September.
A letter from The Canberra Croquet Club, offering to demonstrate Gateball at our club, was received with interest at our AGM and following a very brief discussion, it was agreed that this was an offer we should readily accept - particularly as the Canberra Club has generously untaken to provide us with both their time and all the necessary equipment. We are looking forward to this visit, probably in September, and hope to invite a few members from other clubs within the area to participate with us in this learning experience.
Finally, although playing croquet at the moment requires many layers of clothing and hats pulled firmly down around the ears, remember we play Association on Wednesday mornings and Golf on Friday mornings and Saturday afternoons. So if you're in the area and would like a game, be assured of a warm welcome at Exeter.
Despite the unpredictable weather conditions on Sunday 17 June, the Open Day went ahead as planned. Committee members had worked very hard to advertise the day widely but had no answer when the elements decided to let loose with the rain that has been missing for so long! Club members welcomed a few visitors including the president of Croquet New South Wales, Jacky MacDonald. It was great to welcome Jacky to the Club for the first time since becoming President of CNSW - she had made the long train journey despite the weather forecast. Visitors, who braved the weather conditions, received individual coaching and were introduced to some aspects of the intriguing game of croquet. Everyone enjoyed morning tea, which helped warm up both visitors and members. Thank you to all those members who helped promote the day and came to assist on Sunday.
Lydia Mitchell introduces Sylvia Bennett to some Croquet strokes
Club stalwarts defy the bad weather and play on
Wollongong Club members had a most enjoyable April morning when they attended a recent lawn naming. The No. 1 lawn at our club was named "Tom Wright Lawn" in recognition of Tom's long involvement with the club.
Tom and his wife Mavis, together with members of their family and club members, were welcomed to the morning by President, Carol Hayes. Barbara Scott, another member with a long involvement, spoke of the efforts of members such as Tom in the lead up to getting the club up and running in its present location adjacent to the Towradgi Bowling Club. Tom, together with Barbara, unveiled a plaque naming the lawn, then all enjoyed morning tea.
Wollongong club members will continue to enjoy many happy times playing on Tom's lawn.
Winners were Margaret Foster and Rin Draisma (pictured here with their winners' trophy) with runners up Nance Moreing and Gary Fensom. Congratulations!
Golf Croquet at Wollongong
Wollongong Club has just held its Inaugural Golf Croquet Handicap Doubles Championship. Ten members entered the competition with close results.
Entrants appreciated referees Madeline Goodman and Ingrid Cohen coming from Sydney Croquet Club to give some of the players their "first taste" of being refereed in a tournament. Here's hoping they liked it enough to participate in future events either at club or interclub level. Pam Gentle and Carol Hayes assisted by scoring and organising the day.
Inaugural Golf Croquet Handicap Singles/Club Champion are planned for September.
Lenora Everton and Olga Hough enjoyed the competition even though they didn't win!
Our membership has recently climbed to over 50 so our playing days have been extended to cater for this. Fortunately we have three courts so we can still play both Association and Golf Croquet at the same time.
Social play has been restricted over the past few weeks due to the bitter cold, wet and windy weather we have experienced. All the harder for members as the past few winters have been relatively mild due to drought conditions. Then again we are extremely happy that the winter has produced much needed rain for our parched land and most dams are full. We now look forward to spring and a plentiful cherry harvest.
Some of our internal competitions have not been finalized and a Golf Croquet Fun Day planned to celebrate our 16th birthday was cancelled. We held our second evening in April when members of a church family group played first to seven games of Golf Croquet, had tea and more games. They enjoyed the event so much that they have set November for another visit.
Last Sunday July 29th nineteen members of Young and Bribbaree Croquet Clubs played the second round of the Alan Shannon Golf Croquet Fun Competition for the year. The weather was not too unkind, members sensibly dressed warmly and the clubhouse was a warm haven between games. Three games were played in the morning before we all stopped for a delicious BBQ lunch, two more games were then played before afternoon tea. The Bribbaree team of Alan Shannon, Judy and Max Baker, Shirley Trudgett, Carol Turner, Aileen Hanns, Brenda Cummings, Jackie and Paul Bourke won the day and the event playing against the Young team of Kathy Rolfe, Beryl McDonald, Ann Gavin, Sophie Purkiss, Pat McEvoy, Edna Kelly, Bernice Carter, Marie McCabe, Sally and Harley Robertson.
All enjoyed the fun relaxed day with some great shots being played along with the occasional woeful one. The sun at times did warm the air as the day progressed and the rain held off, too. Alan Shannon presented the trophy to Max Baker at the end of proceedings. A big thanks is due to the many members who helped to make the day such a success.
Our Annual Association Croquet Spring Carnival will be held in October and already places have been booked for this event. In January 2008 we will be hosting again a family reunion of the Bond family - our oval is named after their father a past local sporting identities. Last held in 2005 all the extended family soon picked up the game of Golf Croquet and much enthusiasm was shown as they competed for a lovely trophy.
Visitors are always welcome to our club and we look forward to seeing you.