Brian Newman has a shot at the hoops at the Wonthaggi Croquet Club. He says the upgraded lawns will benefit the club’s members. mm082118

THE local council has listened to pleas from the Wonthaggi Croquet Club for better facilities, agreeing to develop their playing lawns; with hopes one day Bass Coast will host a Festival of Croquet.
The announcement of funding through the council’s Community Grants program follows a presentation by members of the Wonthaggi and Phillip Island croquet clubs about the state of their facilities.
David Mann of the Phillip Island Croquet Club said there’s a bit of misunderstanding around the sport.
“While it probably is played on the back lawns of big country estates, that’s not what we’re about,” he said at a Community Connections Session recently.
Croquet is an international sport enjoyed in 19 countries, played to international rules and standards.
David pitched an idea of a ‘Bass Coast Festival of Croquet’, referencing a similar, successful event held in Bendigo.
“Between our two clubs, we believe we could have the same thing here,” he said.
“The sport is unique, in that men and women play on equal terms; it provides physical and mental stimulation. Most importantly, it provides social interaction.
“The health benefits are very significant in our age group. We’re setting goals and rewarding achievements, that’s very important for people who don’t lead an active, working life.”
Members also introduce school children to the sport, who David says love having a go at croquet.
He encouraged the council to invest in their facilities so they can further grow their membership numbers.
Paul Andrews, committee member of the Wonthaggi club, said it’s important for council to support sports for people aged over 60.
“Older people down here are the future,” he said.
The Wonthaggi Croquet Club is experiencing a membership growth of about 10 per cent a year, with Phillip Island at around eight per cent.
“Croquet Victoria has 92 clubs affiliated with it,” David said, adding that Bass Coast is home to 22 per cent of the players in Gippsland.
Council’s recreation and culture coordinator Mark Lindsay said the Wonthaggi Croquet Club was successful in gaining funding through council’s Community Grants program to develop their playing lawns.
“Council’s turf experts will be assisting the club to ensure the best outcome possible,” he said.