Manly Croquet Club draws younger crowd

NEWCOMERS: Grace Mcnatty and Cam Currie at the Manly Croquet Club. Picture: Geoff Jones
NEWCOMERS: Grace Mcnatty and Cam Currie at the Manly Croquet Club. Picture: Geoff Jones

YOU know times are changing at Manly Croquet Club when players start rocking up on electric scooters.

Grace McNatty, 33, and Cam Currie, 35, are leading a push for young people to take up the sport, described as snooker meets chess on grass. After parking their scooters outside the 115-year-old croquet club - a picturesque oasis tucked away just off the Harris Farm roundabout at Manly - the recently-arrived northern beaches couple explain why this 19th century game has them addicted.

"We were going for a walk around the neighbourhood and saw the club and wanted to know more and wanted to get involved in the community, so we came to one of the social days and immediately got addicted," Dr McNatty, a clinical psychologist, said. "It's a lot like mini golf. You have to use strategy to get around the course and use your brain. What's not to like? You're outside in such nice surroundings and can also enjoy a social drink with friends."

Mr Currie, who works in IT and is helping the club get up to speed with its social media, is equally enamoured with the game and its environment. He said: "Bowls had the same 'old person' image until they dropped some of the restrictions and embraced young players, who then found out how much fun it was. The same thing is starting to happen here. I actually think croquet is better than bowls because there is more strategy involved. We were hooked from day one. And look at where we get to play."

Manly Croquet Club's publicity officer Steve Curtis doesn't shy away from the fact new players are required to keep the organisation afloat. It costs around $50,000 annually to maintain the three lawns and quaint clubhouse. "We have 81 members paying an annual membership fee but we would like to increase that number," Mr Curtis said. "It would be great to see more members join us, especially younger players. It would not only build our numbers but younger players bring in fresh enthusiasm. We think it's a great game, it's a nice place to play and it's a very sociable club."

Members can choose between association croquet (the traditional game) and golf croquet (ideal for new players). For information on membership, contact Steve Curtis on 0408 684 675.

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