Nowra Croquet Club celebrates 100 years of playing 'the thought sport', a nasty game for nice people
Those who play croquet say it is 15 per cent skill and 85 per cent psychology, an aggressive game played by nice people with a smile on their face.
The nice people of Nowra Croquet Club celebrate a century of play this year, and today launch a book acknowledging and celebrating 100 years since the club's inception.
Secretary of Nowra Croquet Club, Karen James, instigated the production of the book.
It proudly highlights a unique feature of the club — being largely women-only for a majority of its history.
But it is not a ladies club anymore.
"Our first male, as is shown in the book, did not become a member until 1982, so that's a long time of it being [only for] ladies, and of course they played in long skirts."
"Ladies played to the side with their mallet because it was unseemly for a woman to push a mallet between her legs."
Patience, persistence, and a playful spirit is required for this hard-hitting game.
"It's called 'the thought sport' and that's particularly important for us older people," said 82-year-old player David Knott.
The Nowra Croquet Club and members play a big role Mr Knott's life, who joined the club five years ago and plays frequently.
"You're looking to outsmart your opponent. You're looking for the position of their balls versus the position of your own balls. You have to assess what stroke you are going to make for the benefit of scoring that hoop.
"The art is moving the opponents' balls as far away as possible."
"You have to think and you're exercising all the time. That's the important thing — you keep moving."
Pam Harrison started playing croquet when she was 89.
She is now 91 and not only does she love it, according to club members she is also quite good.
"You can still play croquet with a walker, you just have to leave it there for a moment while you grab your mallet and hit the ball, then come back to your walker," Ms Harrison said.
"I love it. Anybody who has got a walker and thinks they should come, just come, because you'll be made very welcome."
A nasty game
Doug Cornish, vice-captain and grounds coordinator at the club, agrees the game employs something akin to war tactics.
Out on the lawn you have four options.
"It's all about deciding whether you can run a hoop, or whether you need to clear an opponent or block an opponent, or promote your partner ball," he said.
However, Mr Cornish said a key ingredient to a good game was patience.
"Don't rush in. Look at what your options are, and then if you want to get really technical you'd look at what the percentage of performing a particular shot is," he said.
The importance of sport
Karen James believes that at their club, which supports over 60 members, players understand the importance of sport.
"[It is important] to keep going and to keep not only physically active but socially active, so you are interacting as well.
"This game is perfect for those people who can't run the marathon any more or swing a golf club or even bend down to bowl."