Cro­quet about friend­ship and fun

Kapi-Mana News - - SPORT - KRIS DANDO

‘‘Sen­si­ble peo­ple who are mar­vel­lous to look at"’’

Eric Cas­tle says a good in­di­ca­tion of when to give up play on the cro­quet green ‘‘is when the balls are float­ing’’.

The long­est-serv­ing mem­ber of the Plim­mer­ton Cro­quet Club, at 27 years, Cas­tle will have the hon­our of cut­ting the cake on Septem­ber 3 as the or­gan­i­sa­tion cel­e­brates its 90th year.

In Gray’s Rd as part of a ten­nis and bowl­ing club from 1926, the cro­quet sec­tion broke away and moved to Plim­mer­ton Dr, off Ul­ric St, in 1994.

Cas­tle said it took some real work from mem­bers and Porirua City Coun­cil, but an old gravel pit and rugby league prac­tice ground was trans­formed into the bil­liard­like greens they have to­day.

A fifth green is in the process of be­ing added, mean­ing more room for the club’s 90 mem­bers.

Cas­tle said his fa­ther was a lawn bowler, but he was at­tracted to cro­quet, upon re­tire­ment, for the mov­ing about re­quired and the sci­en­tific part of the sport.

Plim­mer­ton has the high­est mem­ber­ship of any cro­quet club in the re­gion.

Flood­ing and bad weather come hand-in-hand in this re­gion, Cas­tle said, but the sport was called off only oc­ca­sion­ally.

‘‘The way I see it is that you give up play when the balls are float­ing. We’re a hardy lot - it takes a lot to get us off the green. I’m here three days a week and re­ally en­joy the so­cial and com­pet­i­tive side of play­ing. It’s the most used sports fa­cil­ity in Porirua, if you go by num­bers of peo­ple and con­stant use.’’

Pip Piper, who joined in 1990, said all the club’s mem­bers were ‘‘sen­si­ble peo­ple who are mar­vel­lous to look at’’.

‘‘They are salt of the earth types and it doesn’t mat­ter what your skill level is, there’s a place for every­one. It’s gen­tle ex­er­cise, which is good for you, but a think­ing game. You need to be think­ing a few steps ahead.’’

The club is in good fi­nan­cial nick, Cas­tle said, with a proac­tive com­mit­tee that looked af­ter the club with no out­side help.

While the Septem­ber 3 cel­e­bra­tion is for past and present mem­bers, every­one from the com­mu­nity was wel­come.

A ‘‘have a go’’ day would be held in Novem­ber, and it was hoped a new mem­ber or two might be gleaned from that event.

There are two pop­u­lar types of cro­quet - as­so­ci­a­tion and golf, with the lat­ter grow­ing in pop­u­lar­ity for its shorter run time.

Eric Cas­tle and Pip Piper at Plim­mer­ton Cro­quet Club.

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