For a sport that is centuries old, 90 years might not seem like a long time. But for the Wimmera Croquet Association it is certainly a milestone to be celebrated.
Ninety years ago, croquet was an extremely popular sport in the region with seven clubs located in Horsham, Natimuk, Warracknabeal, Nhill, Dimboola, Murtoa and Minyip. By 1938, this increased to a peak of 14 clubs. Today the association has pared down to four clubs with a combined membership of about 100 people.
Since forming in 1930, the association has survived a long-term break in play during World War 2 and now 2020, a year marked by the COVID-19 global pandemic.
Despite the decrease in membership, croquet still has an important role for those who are engaged in the sport. Croquet is naturally a highly social sport and offers players a chance to catch up and interact with others whilst out on the green and this aspect was highlighted by the interruptions to play this year.
For those new to the sport, it is good to note that there is not just any one ‘type’ of croquet. In fact, the game has many different variations, including ‘association’ and ‘golf’ croquet which are both commonly played across the Wimmera association. ‘Golf’ croquet sees all players out on the green competing simultaneously, whilst ‘association’ croquet sees players take turns on the green and offers a longer and more involved game.
All types of croquet can be quite competitive, with strategy and ruthless tactics often playing a key role. It is also a low-impact and inexpensive game to get involved with as clubs can offer new players access to mallets.
Looking forward to their 91st year, the association is keen to welcome any new players who would like to get engaged in the sport. The association includes Casterton Croquet Club, Dimboola Croquet Club and two clubs in the HRCC municipality: Horsham Kalimna Park Croquet Club and Horsham Croquet Club.
Horsham Croquet Club is hidden away in a peaceful site between the Horsham Botanic Gardens and Horsham Lawn Tennis Club at the southern end of Firebrace Street. Horsham Kalimna Park Croquet Club is located at 209 Baillie Street, on the corner of Park Drive.
For more details on getting involved in Croquet in the Wimmera, people can visit the Croquet Victoria website.