In the Clarence Valley four years ago, about half a dozen people played croquet one morning a week on one lawn at Coutts Crossing. Today there are 170 regular players in five clubs and nine lawns.
Last Thursday Coutts Crossing acted as the hosts for the first gathering of enthusiasts from Iluka, Yamba CRU3A, Yamba Bowls Club and Lawrence Golf and Croquet Club; 36 players enjoyed a day of play on Coutts Crossing’s two lawns, a good lunch and the opportunity to renew friendships, and make new ones. Some coaching took place, there was lots of laughter.
There was agreement to set up regular tournaments and visits in 2018 and to improve all aspects of the sport in the Valley. At present all but a dozen play the short form of the game, Golf croquet, but a demonstration of the classical game, Association croquet, was watched by all with fascination. Coutts Crossing members have offered to visit the other clubs to coach Golf croquet players to a higher standard, and to introduce them to Association in 2018.
Although on the day there were no truly outstanding shots made, the closest was a ten metre hoop by Yamba’s Neil Cryer. Dorothy and Andrew Mouat from Yamba showed promise, and a number of players with arthritic hands and wrists were shown how to avoid pain. Sue Reid and David Frakes came from Iluka and performed well. The Lawrence quartet of Ann Gleeson, Karen Marsden, Elaine Holmes and Edna Jackson were the latest recruits to croquet, and all benefitted greatly by the day.
In the Valley croquet has taken off. It is for all ages.It is an inexpensive sport to play. The clubs though the Valley will give a warm welcome to anyone wishing to take up this sport and enjoy the health and social benefits it brings.