Tag Archives: Croquet

Croquet Pro #03

Getting around Jacksonville

After a few weeks on the road and generally I am ok with ‘keeping to the right’. Having spent 20 years driving in Adelaide has definitely helped, drivers there are always going slow in the left lane! For my time here I have a vehicle, a Ford pickup, which I call “Penny”.

Jim with “Penny”

For those of you familiar with The Big Bang Theory the following photo explains everything.

I know how you fell Penny…

I have since been to a shop and found out the best way to fix the issue…

Most cost effective…

Drive through everything…

Ok back in Australia we have drive through bottle shops, Maccas ( and various other fast food outlets), however the most obvious drive through service they have here is banking! Yes there are ATMs, however why should you need them when you can go and talk to a bank teller at the drive up window?

Drive thru banking

After the banking is finished, don’t forget to return the kid’s library books at the drive through library.

And for the local council workers, they have Segway to keep them mobile when cleaning up rubbish or writing parking tickets.

Best way to get around Jacksonville

 

Croquet Pro #01

Wagga Wagga to Jacksonville Florida

With daytime temperatures around 38C (100F) I took the opportunity to have an early morning walk around Wagga and simply appreciate where I live. The laugh of a kookaburra, the ripple of the Murrumbidgee, the empty main streets will certainly be missed over the next 4 months.

It was fitting long-time friends Carmel & Andrew Woods took me to the airport, as they were responsible for introducing to croquet when I moved to Wagga in 2000.

By and large the travel through to Jacksonville was uneventful, although a delay out of Sydney due to 2 passengers having anxiety attacks (fear of flying) and a 45 minutes search for their luggage  resulted in the transfer at Dallas through customs, security and sky train was a little stressful.

On the flight from Dallas to Jacksonville next to me was an expat Australian (Penelope) who lives in Ponte Vedra and had receive a recent flyer from the Ponte Vedra Croquet Club. So even before my feet were on the ground in Jacksonville my PR skills were called upon.

John Curington, the driving force behind the Ponte Vedra Croquet Club, met me at airport. We went to Taverna in San Marco for a very enjoyable US steak.

First IMPRESSIONS OF JACKSONVILLE

The strange part of the Jacksonville central business district is that it is primarily business. There are no retail malls! There are some cafes and small retail shops, however the main retail shopping district is 5 miles away heading out towards the Jacksonville Beaches area.

Jacksonville is situated 15 miles in land from the Atlantic ocean on the St John’s river. The river is very impressive with the widest point being approximately 2 miles. San Marco is located immediately across the river from the central business district and has numerous restaurants and night clubs.

Travelling east one travels across marshlands area to the Jacksonville beaches. The Ponte Vedra (pronounced pont-a-vee-dra) beach area was originally mined for titanium. Similar to Australia the beaches has transformed from being holiday shacks to very sort after real estate.

The retirement villages (I use the term village tongue in cheek) are amazing. No shortage of dollars here. The more modest estates are similar to Australia. The exclusive estates are simply astonishing.

 

New Year’s Eve

Went to a local entertainment venue – Pussers and enjoyed grilled swordfish while watching a one sided game of (American) football before checking out the Island Girl Cigar Bar to bring in the New Year. The smoking laws in (some parts of Florida) allow for indoors smoking. With the cigar bar there was an entire room of cigars to choose from – I found a specially made cigar to enjoy with your favourite porter or stout!

Throughout the evening spoke to a number of people, all of whom “loved the accent”, in particular Mark who had me say his name numerous times.

It was rather nostalgic feeling being in the same time zone as New York and experiencing the countdown to the new year and the famous Times Square ball drop.

24 Hour Croquet Fundraiser for Junior Diabetes

24 Hour Croquet

It’s on again – 24 Hour Croquet, where we literally do eat, sleep and play croquet.

24 hour croquet - girls

This year we are raising funds for Type 1 Diabetes. Our great friends, Claire & Trev Bassett have been directly impacted and have had a busy time managing T1 Diabetes with their daughter Evie.

As usual we will be having a great time, playing all sorts of variations of croquet throughout the night to keep us awake. And this time we will also have world number 1 Robert Fletcher giving us expert tips. We will also be turning the lights off when he takes lift shots so we have a chance of beating him!

Many thanks to the Shepparton Croquet Club for hosting us.

To donate please follow this link  – Claire’s Page and click on Donate to Fund Raiser.

24 Hour Croquet for $24,000

24 Hour Croquet – WE must be mad…

Country Bumpkins 24 Hour Croquet Challenge

Country Bumpkins
24 Hour Croquet Challenge

Actually it is all for a good cause – Cerebral Palsy Alliance.

The Canberra Croquet Club is hosting the inaugural Charity Weekend on 8 and 9 February 2014 to support Cerebral Palsy Alliance ACT.

All up there will be 12 players, 4 teams of 3, battling it out to see who can stay awake and play reasonable croquet at 3am in the morning.

I was fortunate enough to pick up some of the subtleties of “night croquet” on my visit to Ireland. It was amazing how well the Irish could run hoops in the dark; not once did you hear the ball hit the side of a hoop. (as seen it photo below)

Night Croquet in Ireland

Night Croquet in Ireland

As captain of the “Country Bumpkins” I will be directing my trustworthy, honorable team members Trevor and Claire Bassett to adopt similar tactics. 😉

However, and most importantly, I am asking you to support the “Country Bumpkins” and raise some much needed funds for Cerebral Palsy Alliance.

Please click on “Country Bumpkins” for details about how you can donate.

Thank you for your generosity.

 

 

The Croquet King

“The Croquet King” Robert Fletcher in action at the 2013 Association Croquet World Championships

Irish Peel video – normal and slow motion

Croquet Instructional Video – Irish Peel

Bob Kroeger has some wonderful instructional videos which he has been perfecting with a super slow motion camera. You can see all his videos at his website

I don’t have the equipment Bob has, however I was fortunate to get this footage of Robert Fletcher completing an Irish Peel at Rover in game 1 of the 2013 Association Croquet World championships in Surbiton.

The first is at normal speed.

Here is the Irish Peel in slow motion.

The Penultimate Croquet Waltz

Croquet is not only a game of skill and tactics, one needs to have good footwork and be in harmony.
One of the best proponents of being in harmony and exquisite footwork is current world number 1 Robert Fletcher.
Here Robert shows off his talent doing the Penultimate Croquet Waltz during the semi final against Irishman Andy Johnson in the 2013 World Championships on his way to becoming world champion.

His technique has been commented by many and widely acclaimed as one of the reasons of his fast rise and success in the last 5 years.

SBS Interview with Robert Fletcher

SBS Interview wiith Robert Fletcher

Croquet Australia, and indeed croquet enthusiasts around the world are extremely grateful for promotion of croquet by the main stream media.
Whilst not the easiest sport to promote to the masses, when your home grown hero wins the world championship everyone (we hope) jumps on the bandwagon.

Croquet Gazette up and running

An online paper, Croquet Gazette, has been established to compile news articles, videos, photos and blogs from around the world.

Using search engines the gazette automatically processes more than 250 million social media posts per day, extracting & analyzing over 25 million articles, to find news items about croquet.

The gazette has been designed to update automatically on a weekly basis.
Please note, due to the design of some websites not all articles will be captured by the system.

If you know of some good sources of information about croquet, please contact me and I will endeavor to add them to the list.

Hoop 1 Court 1 – NZ Open Centenary

One of the more difficult hoops to make at United Croquet Club during the 2013 NZ Open Centenary was hoop 1 on court 1.
Rushing to the hoop from hoop 2 usually resulted in having to approach from A baulk as there was a nasty decline sloping back from the hoop to the boundary.
Aaron Westerby successfully negotiated the hoop in the video below.
Lawn was quite fast running at 13 seconds.