First tour­na­ment in 20 years

Taupo Times - - YOUR LOCAL NEWS - STEPH RANGI

It has been more than 20 years since Cro­quet Cro­quet Club hosted a com­pet­i­tive tour­na­ment but that drought has now ended.

The Cro­quet Club has been in de­cline since 2006 as the pop­u­lar­ity of the game started to drop.

A pas­sion­ate few sup­port­ers of the sport keep it go­ing in Taupo but their ef­forts were prov­ing fruit­less. Un­til a cou­ple years ago. Aart Van Saarsloo first in­tro­duced golf cro­quet into New Zealand when he was a mem­ber of the Have­lock North Cro­quet Club.

When he moved to Taupo a few years ago, he brought his knowl­edge of golf cro­quet along with him – and the club hasn’t looked back since.

Upon the in­tro­duc­tion of Golf Cro­quet, the Cro­quet Club was able to host its first Golf Cro­quet com­pe­ti­tion as mem­ber­ship num­bers have risen at Taupo Cro­quet Club.

’’It’s a real step for­ward for the club,’’ club pres­i­dent, Pe­ter Fage, said.

‘‘The in­ter­est in golf cro­quet grew quite no­tice­ably. The club stopped be­ing a so­cial club, so to speak, as it in­tro­duced a bit more com­pe­ti­tion.’’

Golf cro­quet has been played in New Zealand for the past 10 years.

Fage said it is the fastest grow­ing sport in the coun­try.

Com­pared to its cro­quet brother, golf cro­quet is eas­ier to com­pre­hend. It is quite a so­cial game as ev­ery­body plays at the same time, in ei­ther pairs or sin­gles.

Be­cause of the game’s pop­u­lar­ity, Taupo Cro­quet Club has also be­came as­so­ci­ated with Cro­quet New Zealand.

‘‘It’s been some time since we the club has been af­fil­i­ated,’’ Fage said. ‘‘We have re-joined the outer net­work.’’

Club mem­bers are now work­ing to­wards the three Bay of Plenty sanc­tioned tour­na­ments they are go­ing to be stag­ing – the first one to take place on Oc­to­ber 23.

‘‘It’s very much a first for us, to stage an open event,’’ Fage said. But that’s not all for the club. They have also en­tered into an in­ter­club golf cro­quet team in the Six Club Se­ries where they will play against the five other clubs that form the BOP as­so­ci­a­tion.

Fage said look­ing at the hon­ours board in their clu­b­rooms, there is a no­tice­able ‘death’ to the love of cro­quet in 2006.

‘‘Eleven years later, we are get­ting the club back to where it used to be at some stage.’’

SUP­PLIED

The Taupo Cro­quet Club held their first tour­na­ment in 20 years.

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