Welcome to Croquet in 2020
New Year’s Day was the final day of the Victorian Association Croquet Championships.
We had everything – extreme heat being the most significant event. Play was suspended on Monday due to the oppressive conditions. This put pressure on the schedule for the event but the players’ co-operation to start early and finish late on subsequent days was much appreciated.
Keenly contested Vic AC Doubles
The Victorian Open Doubles Championship was keenly contested at Cairnlea on Friday 27 and Saturday 28 December.
A smaller than usual entry (not surprising with a number of players electing not to come to Cairnlea twice in such a short time with the World Championships coming up!), but the contest was close and some excellent croquet was displayed by the players.
Posted by: Sarina Cevaal-Hewitt
Posted on: 2020-01-12
News Type: Golf
Under 21s win scholarships to Geraldton
Croquet Victoria Council has awarded two under 21 players scholarships of up to $1000, to help them attend the Croquet Australia Under 21 championships in Geraldton, WA, later this month.
The recipients are Felix Gelman-White, of Williamstown, and James Wombwell, of Casterton.
Williamstown and Casterton Croquet Clubs have provided background on Felix and James.
We have the Williamstown Garden Club and Williamstown Croquet Club's gourmet barbeque dinners to thank for Felix's interest in croquet. The combination of sport, food and good company a few years back was the trigger for an interest that has developed into a passion for teenager Felix.
Felix is mentored by a number of fellow members of Williamstown Croquet Club and these members have had an important role is Felix's development during his teenage years.
Croquet has provided opportunities for travel to competitions and fostered a sense of independence in Felix. He has competed at croquet competitions in Essendon, Cairnlea, Adelaide and is looking forward to competing in Geraldton at this years Under 21s. The competitions out of Victoria have involved arrangements being made for billets. This has been another opportunity for Felix with each billet proving to be a positive experience.
Felix enjoys the competitive and strategic aspects of croquet. He plays AC and GC, having started with GC. Felix has improved rapidly over the last 12-18 months and is now one of the best 2 or 3 Golf Croquet players in the club. He gets on very well with the older members apart from terrorising some of them with his rocket-like 30m roquets! The up-coming U21 Championships will be an excellent experience for Felix and another step on the path to potentially becoming a world-class player over the next 5 years. We’re very proud of Felix and wish him well for the championship.
Felix is looking forward to playing in more competitions, both in around Australia and maybe overseas after completing his VCE this year.
The 2015 Casterton Croquet Club Green Fees Book tells the story that James Wombwell came along to try out croquet on 22 August 2015.
When we look back in history it’s usually a number of events or circumstances that determine what happens to make someone come along to try out for a sport that many people, let alone youngsters at the age of seven, have any idea of.
In James Wombwell’s case, it was Marg Currie, who was a member of the club, who suggested to James’ parents that croquet could be a good opportunity for James to play a sport where strategy and tactics are as important as fitness and fun combined.
As both secretary and coach of the junior croquet program, I can recall the morning James arrived for the first time with his Dad. Leigh Wombwell introduced James to me and quietly told me that sometimes James finds it a little difficult to concentrate for long. Ever the optimist, I replied that James would be fine.
I took James under my wing that morning and from the moment we started I realised he had an extraordinary ability to understand the subtleties of the sport. He took advice readily and showed plenty of emotion when something didn’t quite work out. However, he immediately got over it to try again with the next ball.
James’ enthusiasm for croquet never wavered even when his peers who were competing in more physical sports spoke about croquet as something old people played.
This is a common perception because most clubs do not have a junior program. The Casterton Croquet Club is the only Club in Victoria that has a junior program where youngsters can play and compete in their choice of sport on a Saturday morning. Sponsored by Foodworks, they enjoy monthly competitions as well as the annual Ruby Foster Club championship and the Foodworks Grand Final Countdown competition.
In 2017, I accompanied James when he attended a two day coaching clinic at Croquet Victoria in Melbourne. This coaching clinic was established to assist “early development” and it was an eye opener for both James and myself to see most of the players were a fair bit older than him.
In January 2019, five junior players, James included, competed in the 2019 Under 21 Golf Croquet Nationals which were being held in Adelaide. Their contribution to this event has been recognized by Croquet Victoria and the Australian Croquet Association with funds now becoming available through a Junior Croquet Scholarship to offset travel and accommodation for the families who make the effort for these young players to compete as well as coaching opportunities by a certified coach.
James again travelled to Adelaide in October 2019, along with three other junior players, to compete in the inaugural Under 21 SA State Golf Croquet Championships.
This year, on 16 January he (accompanied by his mother Cassandra) is competing in Geraldton in the 2020 Under 21 Golf Croquet championships.
James has been practising very hard. Lions, Casterton have been generous to assist with funds for a certified Croquet Victoria Coach and recently appointed Director of Golf Croquet, Geelong based Ian Peterson, to visit Casterton for some one on one coaching and this has seen James improve his skills and strategic game. He will also be travelling to Geelong for some further coaching before his flight to Perth and then on to Geraldton.
James’ commitment is total. He is a credit to his family, the club and the sport. We wish him the very best in his endeavours.
Croquet Victoria wins two government grants
Croquet Victoria has been doubly successful in the 2019 round of the Victorian Government Together More Active program.
We have received two grants: a Foundation grant of $20,000 a year for four years; and a Project grant of $20,000 over two years for a Player Development Project.
High standard AC competition
The Gold Cup and Silver Shield Association Croquet tournament was held at Cairnlea over the weekend of 18-19 January.