Nambucca Valley Croquet Club on a roll after windfall swings their way

Nambucca Heads RSL Club president Terrie Hyslop, Croquet Club VP Graham Harris, and Mayor Rhonda Hoban test out the new mallets
Nambucca Heads RSL Club president Terrie Hyslop, Croquet Club VP Graham Harris, and Mayor Rhonda Hoban test out the new mallets

It's been two years since the Nambucca Valley Croquet Club found their new home at the EJ Biffin Playing Fields.

Back then the ground was rough as guts, but 2000 voluntary man hours later and the courts have been transformed into something to be proud of. Although, club president Kerrie Crooks said there's still a way to go yet to get a surface fit for royalty.

"Tim Woodward and his gang have been absolutely amazing and Council has helped us wherever they could," she said.

In fact Council will lay another layer of top soil for them very shortly.

And with some graciously-received grant money from both the Council and the Nambucca Heads RSL Club going into the club's coffers, they've just been able to splash out on some beautiful new wooden mallets, two sets of balls and some branded perimeter flags.

"We thank you for understanding what this game means to the community," club Vice President Graham Harris said to both the mayor and the RSL president at last week's celebratory morning tea.

Since the club moved in at the oval, they've doubled their membership.

"It's a social group that has a lot of fun, while exercising, using brainpower, and without costing people a lot of money. And it doesn't matter if you're tall, short, thick or thin - anyone can play," Kerrie said.

The move across town to Newville has also enabled the club to reach out to the local schools in the hopes of proving that the sport is universally accessible.

Hayley Reibel, Victor Doherty, Mitchel Smith, Terrie Hyslop, (Frank Partridge Public's best teacher) Jaxen Heward, Rhonda Hoban, Wendy Biden, Caitlyn Jones, Daniel Crease and Mckenzie Winner

Hayley Reibel, Victor Doherty, Mitchel Smith, Terrie Hyslop, (Frank Partridge Public's best teacher) Jaxen Heward, Rhonda Hoban, Wendy Biden, Caitlyn Jones, Daniel Crease and Mckenzie Winner

After a teacher fun day at the courts, the Green School took up the offer with both hands; Frank Partridge students have since been learning that there's a lot more to croquet than meets the eye.

"Some of the kids we've had coming down here are our footy stars, naturally good at sport. But they've had to develop a different skill-set. It challenges them mentally," teacher Jaxen Heward said.

"Yes the biggest misunderstanding about croquet is that it's just hitting a ball through a hoop - but it's mostly strategy, like chess. You're always thinking on your feet," Ian, one of the club's members, said.

Some of the kids have really taken to the sport, like young Hayley Reibel, who has accepted the club's offer for sponsorship.

Kerrie said she recently showed her skills in a friendly match against two experienced members.

"We beat them on a tie-breaker, and Hayley hit the winning shot," Kerrie said.

I love these kids and I'm really thankful Jaxen and [principal] Todd Potter have given them the opportunity to come down and learn the game - they're such a pleasure to have.

And the kids seemed pretty pleased to be there too, working hard at perfecting their jump shots.

Kerrie said the club hopes to sponsor more interested kids and give them the opportunity to travel down to Sydney to play against other juniors on championship courts.

There are also big plans next year to apply for state grants to revamp the clubhouse building.

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