Tag Archives: Wagga Wagga

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.


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.

2016 Festivus

Wagga Wagga Airing of Grievances

This year’s Airing of Grievances tries to cut through the red tape and asks brewers to provide greater transparency when promoting their craft beer.

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.



Wagga Festivus 2013

Gearing up for the Wagga Festivus

Festivus will be celebrated in Wagga Wagga this year at the Thirsty Crow

Festivus is a holiday celebrated on the 23rd December, which fortunately for us is $5 pint night, so we don’t have to spend any more money than necessary.

The Festivus dinner, usually a plain meal, will not be served as the staff at the Thirsty Crow haven’t a clue about serving up a boring meal. Therefore some alcohol may be consumed whilst seated around the Festivus pole.

Come air your grievances around the Festivus pole

Come “air your grievances” around the Festivus pole

The customary tradition of “Airing of Grievances”, where we tell each other how they have disappointed us throughout the year will be take place. Craig “the brewer” Wealands will be awarding a prize for the best “grievance”. Any prize awarded will also be the first Festivus Miracle to occur in Wagga Wagga!

A $5 donation will be collected to support a local charity.

Be at the Thirsty Crow on Monday 23rd December 2013 commencing at 6pm to celebrate Festivus “with the rest of us”.

So Festivus came and went. A small group congregated around the Festivus pole at the Thirsty Crow to mark this auspicious occasion. No donation were made to the “Human Fund” as most couldn’t be bothered, a true reflection of the host (Craig the Brewer) triple booking himself and therefore unavailable for the “Feats of Strength”.

At least there was one grievance…


Happy Festivus… from the rest of us.


2013 NSW Gateball Championships

Wagga Wagga entered a team in the 2013 NSW Gateball championships.
We had a lot of fun on the way to producing our best ever team result of 6 wins in 10 games.

The experienced Japanese teams were simply too good and were very precise with their ball positioning, as you can see in the video below.

For more information about Gateball visit the Gateball Website

Preparing for NZ Open – spee kin key wee

As I have been playing croquet in different parts of Australia I have found it is a good idea to acclimatise myself as best I can in order to perform at my peak and not get any strange surprizes from the locals. For example, prior to playing in Tasmania my diet included James Boag beer and King Island Cheese, to which I partly attribute the success of making the Australian Mens final.

With this in mind, I have commenced trying to master the local New Zealand lingo to improve my results in the centenary of the NZ Open.

After completing a rendition of jungle bells I travelled to Milburn to play in the Victorian open and since then have been practicing sex times a week. Upon returning to Wagga Wagga my mcKennock did a tin thousand km service on  my car as I did my washing and used pigs to hang my clothes.
My diet includes  munnwe stroney, and fitta cheney, along with warm chuck and ever coadeau  salad.
As there is no brudge to New Zulland I will have to go via earplane – a sivven four sivven on the way there, and a sivven sucks sivven when I return.

There are not any beers in New Zealand, but some people have bun button by small insects so I will peck some pissed aside; hopefully this will not cause any problems at beggage chucken as the earplane leaves at iggs ektly sex pissed tin.

Junie Clark, a whomin with fear hear, has told me the lawns will be first and duffy cult. I amejen that this will be more of a problem for my inner me than myself. At least I have a good beard to sleep on at night after enjoying a sex pack with the other pliers.

I have been told some pliers from the nirth island have nasty hobbits like guess, so I will keep clare of them so I have frush ear.

Kip a close eye out for Tum and Jum in the dub ells, as wear hoping to stick it right up our inner mes.

No wurrys - I pissed

No wurrys
I pissed with flying collars


Thirsty Crow hosting sporting champions

Wagga Wagga’s finest champions, past, present and “legends of their own lunch boxes” are celebrating their sporting championship status this afternoon at the Thirsty Crow.

Thirsty Crow’s brewer’s head

Head brewer Craig Wealands wasn’t known for his sporting prowess on the field, however he has honed his skills to providing all sporting champions the finest of ales to toast their achievements.
And he has a trophy to prove it.
So being the good sport that he is, Craig has “Sporting Ale” on tap for all sporting champions to enjoy.

Croquet Champion Jim Nicholls
enjoying a “Sporting Ale”

 So come on down to the Thirsty Crow to watch our finest footballers this weekend, bring your trophies, and embellish the great moments, both on and off the field (pool table or dart board), that has made Wagga Wagga Australia’s greatest city of good sports.
Given that Two Bird clubs, Hawks and Swans, are competing for the title, it is only fitting that I take my “Best part for a Canary played by a Budgie” trophy

“Canary played by a Budgie” trophy

ABC Open – croquet documentary about me!

ABC Open is an exciting initiative which provides a focal point for Australian regional communities who want to get involved in sharing their experiences through the ABC via websites, radio and TV.
… and they chose me as a subject.
During the school holidays Sonya Gee had 3 student under her watchful, artistic eye to teach how to put a documentary together. Tristan very ablied assisted with the filming.
Take a look at the fantastic job they have done

Jim Nicholls. Croquet Champion. Wagga Wagga. from ABC Open Riverina on Vimeo.

Many thanks to
Up and coming producers – Sachitha Bandara, Liam Campbell, Jade Miller;
Camera extraordinaire – Tristan Strong;
ABC Open Producer – Sonya Gee


Taking on the world

Well one can’t compete in a World Championship without having to do a number of interviews.
Thanks to local ABC Riverina for airtime today.
To read and listen head to ABC Riverina  



3 & under becomes 10.56 and under after record rain

Record rainfall throughout the Riverina and Southern Tablelands of NSW caused the local dams (Burrinjuck and Blowering) to reach capacity within 2 days. Having been about 80% capacity, after 150m to 250mm of rain in the catchment area the dams were overflowing at un-precendented rates.
On Saturday 5 March we abandoned our local croquet as we could see the storm rolling in.

By the time Monday came around there had been plenty of rainfall in the catchment area upstream from Wagga. This caused major flooding in the Murrumbidgee. The river level quickly rose.

At 9.30pm all residents in the Wagga Wagga CBD received evacution orders and busily began packing, moving, lifting furniture before 6am Tuesday morning.

Having spent the night at my friend’s place (Thanks Bill) spent the day takng in the water views around Wagga Wagga. Amazing to see so much water…

Kangaroos “swimming for it” across kilometres of waters.


Wagga CBD protected by a 10.70 metre levee bank. The integrity of the levee could not be guaranteed, hence the evacuation. The river was tipped to peak at 10.90 metres.

 The train travelling across the Murrumbidgee at Wagga Wagga.



Every sheep for themselves… inovative ways to keep dry


And all over NSW the rain was falling and causing problems

Approximately 80% of NSW was flood affected, of which 80% of the water will flow into the Murray Darling basin to South Australia.


After a hectic few days of packing, sleeping on foreign couch and finally getting back to work, decided it best not to play in the NSW 3 & under. Whilst it was to prepare for the Eire Cup, nothing like some rest was required to get prepared for the 10 days of croquet ahead in Perth.