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Hitting it .. Aorangi Croquet Club captain Kevin McGlinchy on the green. PHOTO: RACHAEL COMER

by Rachael Comer

The game of croquet is gaining popularity in South Canterbury as more people take up the outdoor sport.
At the recent South Island Masters Games held in Timaru, the number of players in the croquet section was up 40% on previous years.
Nearly 120 people competed, organiser Chris Thomas said.
Aorangi Croquet Club membership was at its highest at almost 60 people, club captain Kevin McGlinchy said.
“It’s been slowly increasing over the years,” McGlinchy said. “It usually sits around 45 but we had 10 new members last year and we’ve had seven this year.”
The Courier visited the club last Wednesday and found a hive of activity.
“We had 35 here yesterday playing.
“That’s great. Thirty-two players at a time is ideal as there are eight people on the lawn at a time.”
McGlinchy put the game’s popularity down to the region’s ageing population.
“We’ve been told we have to get more exercise as we age. With croquet, you can have a hit anytime you want and it’s a lot of fun.”
Croquet was an “enjoyable” game, and very social.
“When you play, you’re also outside. And when if it’s a good day, it’s great.”
The South Canterbury Croquet Association included three Timaru clubs and groups from Oamaru to Ashburton, with nine clubs in total part of the group.
McGlinchy is president of the association.
He has been involved in croquet in the region for about eight years.
“I got into it as I was invited along to play just after I retired.
“I really enjoyed it. It’s a very social club, this one.”
The Aorangi Croquet Club is more than 100 years old, celebrating its centenary in 2014.
“The club started playing at Anzac Square and have been playing at the present site for about 80 years.”
The Aorangi Croquet Club is holding opening evenings on Thursdays for anyone interested in playing the game. The sessions will be held from 6pm to 8pm at the club off Rose St. Anyone is welcome to attend.