‘Come and have a go’

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Winton Croquet Club members (from left) June Duckett, Val Skinner and Phyllis McConachie, all of Winton, are eager to welcome new members to the club.

IT was an invitation which couldn’t be refused.

“Come and have a go,” they said.

“You’ll enjoy it.”

They were right.

So it was I picked up a croquet mallet on Monday morning and tried a sport I have never tried before.

Worried about whether I would look stupid, whether I would hit it hard enough, if it would end up anywhere near the hoop, I quickly found with a small bit of tuition and a few nervous giggles, I really enjoyed myself.

This may have had something to do with the expert tutelage from Winton Croquet Club president Judith Hamilton and fellow members and patient coaches Val Skinner, Barbara Miller, June Duckett and spritely 94-year-old Phyllis McConachie add could smack the ball like you wouldn’t believe.

There I was aiming for the hoop, determined to get it right, hands positioned just so.

With a seasoned exhale, I went to hit the ball and missed… oh the utter shame.

But they were quick to point out it didn’t matter and soon I was off and practically initiated into the fold.

Mrs Hamilton said the club started in 1927 with traditional croquet being played.

However, in 2008 a shorter, faster version of the sport was created, and Golf Croquet was introduced.

Now the club holds the Hilda Jeffrey Tournament each year which sees players from Oamaru south take part.

“The first Hillda Jeffrey Tournament was held in 2010 because there was very little competition in the south,” Mrs Hamilton said.

“It was intended as a fundraiser and to bring other players into our club for more competition.”

The tournament had become popular and always had full fields, she said.

Now the club is looking for new members, a new generation of players to come in and make sure it continues past its 100-year celebrations.

The club hosts social nights, where groups of people come along, pay $10 each and have a go at the game.

So if you’re looking for a new sport, want to have some fun and banter and enjoy time with some lovely people, give Mrs Hamilton a call on 03 236 8208 or Mrs Miller on 021 620 022.

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