Croquet about friendship and fun
‘‘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.