New club aims to put sport in the spotlight

New club aims to put sport in the spotlight

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Back) Sally Pannell, Philip Davey, Karen Davey, Charles Kerfoot, Maggie Cussell, Marie Donovan. (Front) Pushba Rene, Vicky Kerfoot, Jyoti Loach are the club’s foundation members.

Fancy a spot of croquet?

This Saturday the Shire of Serpentine Jarrahdale will officially welcome its newest club.

Byford and Districts Croquet Club founder Marie Donovan said she’s thrilled to see this opportunity open up for her community.

“Croquet offers a unique and much-needed opportunity for community members including senior citizens to join a club that provides challenges, exercise, fun, plus the chance to meet and establish new friendships and enjoy social activities,” she said.

Club member Philip Davey said it was a great social activity with gentle exercise for seniors like himself – something which had been lacking in the Serpentine Jarrahdale Shire for some time.

“The Byford surrounds have never had this opportunity before unless they were prepared to travel to the nearest croquet courts at Gosnells, Pinjarra or Mandurah,” Marie said.

Indian-born and former South Australian resident Jyoti Loach is incredibly grateful for the chance to belong to the club.

“This is wonderful for social inclusion. I’ve been feeling homesick after moving from Adelaide, so this is making me feel part of something again,” she said.

“So, thank you very much.”

And it’s this kind of broad appeal which has the sport gaining traction in Australia.

“It’s a growing sport in this country. An Australian – Jamie Gumbrell – just won the Women’s Golf Croquet World Championship in England,” Gosnells club’s Maggie Cussell said.

And she said interest in the game was rising with a range of Perth clubs (including Gosnells) set to host the National Championships from September 13.

“It’s quite a competitive sport,” she said.

“There’s a lot of strategy and skill involved; It can be a lot more demanding than people think.”

Anyone curious about the game, or interested in joining can head along to the Family Fun Day this Saturday at the Bill Hicks Pavilion on Plaistowe Avenue, Byford.

Games start from 10am with equipment provided, and coaches on hand to teach beginners. There’ll also be a sausage sizzle from noon.

With strong interest shown at their inaugural meeting, Marie has high hopes that more will want to join the fledgling club.

“We’re in the initial stages of development and are determined to have all the equipment purchased and the club up and running well before Christmas 2023,” she said.

“Prior to this we will be organising regular practice days with borrowed equipment.”

Marie said because of tough economic times many prospective members who would love to play just cannot afford to buy a mallet so they are seeking sponsorship from local businesses to purchase croquet sets which will be appointed with plaques etched with the donor’s details.

And there’s already been encouraging news, with the shire granting them permission to use the Bill Hicks Pavilion as their home.

“We’ve been very lucky to have not just the support of the shire, but also the Gosnells and Pinjarra Croquet Clubs. Their expertise and the loan of their equipment has been invaluable,” Marie said.

For more information, or for anyone who would like to join the club but cannot attend the Family Fun Day, please call Marie Donovan on 0427 192 799 or email marie.donovan46671@bigpond.com