Croquet club celebrates 40 years

Pete Beerkens (club captain), Adrian Rowland, Gail and John Siccardi, Barry Moray and Jim Cook with the 40th birthday cake.
Pete Beerkens (club captain), Adrian Rowland, Gail and John Siccardi, Barry Moray and Jim Cook with the 40th birthday cake.

It started in Leura 40 years ago today, September 17, 1980.

The Blue Mountains Croquet Club then moved to Katoomba and later to Blackheath.

Now the club is settled in its shared digs (with the cricket club) at Peter Carroll Oval, on the Leura-Katoomba boundary.

At a birthday ceremony at the oval yesterday (September 16), several past presidents recalled the battle to find the club a permanent home.

Forced out of Blackheath when the owners opted to build a childcare centre on the site (which didn't materialise), they sought out suitable alternatives.

Eventually they settled at Peter Carroll. They build three croquet lawns, two on the oval itself and one beside it.

On the Saturdays when the cricket is on, the croquet players confine themselves to the lawn beside the oval.

"We play on our lawn one," said member and past president Jim Cook. "We're out of their way then."

Sharing the ground "makes a better use of the oval", Mr Cook said.

COVID-19 has affected the club, like many other sporting groups. They had to pack their mallets away for six weeks but have since resumed playing, although with limited numbers.

Only 12 can play on the Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays when they gather - six on each lawn - said acting president John Siccardi.

"We'd normally get 18 or 19," he said.

People also have to book their place, rather than just turn up, and numbers in the kitchen are limited to two at any one time.

Club membership has fluctuated over the years but at the moment it is looking healthy with 40 members - appropriate in their 40th year. The oldest is 92 and the youngest 60.

Anyone interested in joining should call Gail Siccardi on 0437 555 361.