THE Sandy Bay Croquet Club was a hive of activity early this month when it officially kicked off its new season.
In what has become an annual tradition, Hobart’s Lord Mayor was in attendance to run the first hoop of the season.
“One of the things that gives Hobart its vibrancy are our many traditions,” Hobart Lord Mayor Anna Reynolds said.
“The Lord Mayor running the first hoop to open the season at the Sandy Bay Croquet Club is something that has been happening since 1980.
“It’s my great pleasure to continue this tradition and also recognise the 103-year history of the club.
“When the club first asked the Hobart City Council to lay the lawn at Long Beach in 1918, I’m sure they didn’t imagine that less than a hundred years later a nude swim in winter would become a feature of the same beach.
“I love that Hobart can evolve and grow, while still keeping its history alive.”
Sandy Bay Croquet Club acting secretary Alicia Groves said the open day was “just a bit of fun” to start the new season, even though most members played throughout the year.
“We play games, eat some nibbles, have a few drinks and enjoy the company,” she said.
Sandy Bay Croquet Club was formed in 1916 and started off on the lawns in front of the Beach House Hotel in Sandy Bay, before moving to the present site on Long Point Road in 1920.
The club has continued to prosper through the generations, and now has around 90 members.
Ms Wilson said the club was open to join to anyone, of any age.
“The Sandy Bay Croquet Club really contains the most welcoming group of people who instantly make you feel at home,” she said.
“Members work and play together to achieve remarkable results in both interclub and state championship, as well as Australia-wide events.
“But you can also just play for the social aspect – you can make it a serious game or a laughing game, whatever you want.”
Ms Wilson said croquet was played in many variations and was great for social interaction.
She said it was suitable for people of all ages.
“We have members more than 90 years of age who still play weekly,” she said.
“The sport can be a deceptively simple, but endlessly complicated game – but, of course, the main challenge is to get the ball through the hoop.
“We encourage anyone slightly interested to come and try it out – almost everyone who does instantly gets hooked, just like I did.”
The Sandy Bay Croquet Club is hoping to start a social twilight season once daylight savings begins.
The clubrooms and lawns are available for hire for family gatherings, corporate events and school challenges.
The Sandy Bay Croquet Club is located at 4 Long Point Road, Sandy Bay.
For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Caption: Sandy Bay Croquet Club members, from left, Helen O’Conor, Geoff Haward and Anni Morgan.