Croquet. They look nice…

December 6th, 2020Croquet. They look nice…

THERE’S a saying about croquet players, according to Kyneton Croquet Club president Dave Wauchope – it’s a game played by the nicest people with the nastiest minds.

But everyone I talk to at the club seems just nice.

Dave knows better though. “The basic skill is hitting the ball straight, which seems easy, but your opponent is always trying to push you out. They are always willing to do something nasty to stop you winning a hoop. It’s a very strategic game, very psychological.”

The club has about 30 members, starting with a few in their 40s and rising up to 88, which is the age of the current club champion, John Teed.

Mind you, Dave says, like bowls, the game is attracting many younger professional players, with the Australian national champion just 22. At Kyneton, each year one of the local schools send their students to play as part of their physical education – and they love it.

The club, which is private and owned by the members, dates back to 1866 with a reference in a newspaper of the day.

Then in the 1890s the club was a joint member of the current Kyneton Bowls Club land but in 1929 the members fundraised and bought land and built a clubhouse on the corner of Ebden and Donnithorne streets, where they are today.

It’s a great spot and players are often found chatting over the fence with passers-by. It also means older members can walk to the club but there are those who travel from Woodend, Daylesford and Trentham to play.

The grass is in perfect condition, so good it looks fake, but it is very well taken care of and, Dave says, the best croquet ground in the district.

Anyone who wants to join can come along to a social day where they are given basic skills and then teamed up with seasoned players to give them tips.

The mallets are not heavy and anyone who can swing one is welcome. There’s also a gentle walking workout involved as balls are knocked towards hoops, other players’ balls or just out of the game.

Games last about 40 minutes and two are played before afternoon tea, with one more after players have been fortified by tea and biscuits.

For information and membership queries call 0422 125 622.

image: From left, Dave Wauchope, Milla Meehan, Michele Groves and Bill Caddaye

Words: Donna Kelly | Image: Kyle Barnes

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