Friends, fun and mallets - what's not to love about croquet?
WHEN a friend introduced Rosemary Stillman to croquet back in 1983 she wasn't sure she was going to like it.
However 35 years later she's not only still playing twice a week but she is now the longest-serving player at the thriving Sawtell Croquet Club, being asked to cut the cake earlier in the year for the club's 70th birthday celebrations.
"A friend suggested it and I had a go but I thought I didn't like it at first," she said but perseverance is the key and now it's an important part of the 75-year-old's life.
"It's just a great game. There is a lot of strategy involved.
"It's also a good way of meeting people - I have made some good friends.
"I used to go away and play, I've played in Sydney, South Australia, Wagga Wagga and Bathurst. But I don't go in competitions anymore I get too nervous."
With a 35-year stint at the one club Rosemary has seen the Sawtell Club grow and change.
"Yes it's changed a lot over the years," she admitted.
"The club had a little old shed for a club house and 50 members when I started."
Back then she laughed there was also just one green - these days there are three greens which are busy with competitions most days of the week with Sunday's reserved for training days. And while there was just Association Croquet on offer when Rosemary started these days all three forms of the sport including Golf and Ricochet are now available to play.
Club secretary Jenny Arnold said it had been a big year for the popular club.
"The year started on New Year's Day with the Sawtell Carnival - the club has a
fun day where members come along for some croquet and a shared lunch," Jenny said.
"However the first big event for the year was 6 April. It was a double celebration -
the Opening of our new Court three and the club's70 th Birthday Celebration.
"After many years of planning and with help and support from both State Government and Coffs Harbour City Council and members our much needed third court is now operational."
The club has blossomed now to have more than 100 members and are always looking for more to come along and join the fun.