Lilydale croquet competes in club championships

By Mikayla van Loon

The only croquet club in the Yarra Ranges Shire has hosted its first club championships in many years.

The Lilydale Croquet Club held a two day championship last weekend, seeing two players take home the 2021 title.

Club president John Thomson said 18 players competed in the doubles, while nine took part in the singles title.

“Because we’ve got a diverse range of players, as far as skill level goes, we did them in handicap form, so that the not so skillful players had extra turns against the players that were more skillful,” he said.

“Everybody had a great time and we’re hoping to build on that now.”

Glenn Crook and Murray Howlett won the doubles competition on Saturday 15 January, while Howlett also had an impressive win in the singles competition on Sunday 16 January.

Building the competitive spirit at Lilydale has become somewhat of a focus now that members have seen how championships are played.

“A lot of [members] didn’t know how it worked and how the handicap system worked properly,” Mr Thomson said.

“The ones that were new to it and that tried it certainly learnt a lot. They will be better off in spring when we hold our 2022 championships because they will have done it before and will have an idea on what to do and how it all works.”

Having struggled with memberships prior to the pandemic, Mr Thomson said there had been no real desire to host a championship in recent years.

“Membership had dropped away over a period of time and the ones that were playing at that time were happy enough to just play social croquet and that’s fantastic and we still encourage that to happen,” he said.

“Now that membership has grown, there are a number of players that want to play a little bit more competitively and against other clubs.

“So we started up the club championships, to get that going and give some of the newer members a taste of how everything works. Hopefully they’ll come through now and want to play in the midweek shield against other clubs.”

The autumn shield will get underway in a few weeks time, with Lilydale competing in both the Monday and Thursday sessions.