Youngsters shine at golf croquet nationals

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Golf croquet national double winners Levi Franks, 17, and Josh Winter, 18, of Christchurch in action at Ashburton this week. 

The pleasant clunk of croquet balls can be heard in the Ashburton Domain this week with the golf croquet nationals in full swing.

The Waireka Croquet Club is hosting the competition for the first time and tournament manager Audrey Leath said the competition had been excellent with young players challenging experienced veterans.

“These young girls (Jessica Bullen,16, and Charlotte Marshall, 18,) who have just won, have a handicap of 10 and won against a guy who is minus five,” she said.

Most of the competitors in the tournament are younger with only four being over 50.

Mrs Leath thought golf croquet, which is a faster version of traditional croquet, was one of the reasons more young players were taking up the sport.

“It’s a bit like sevens rugby compared with normal rugby,” she said.

Jessica Bullen, 16, of Paraparaumu is all concentration as she lines up a shot.

Players have come from all over New Zealand to compete including Manawatu, Whanganui, Wellington, Nelson and Blenheim.

The 2021 doubles winners Levi Franks, 17, and Josh Winter, 18, from Cashmere, Christchurch retained their title on Tuesday winning the doubles finals.

The pair have been playing croquet for around four years and thought it was a fun, social sport to play with friends.

“Also the competition aspect, getting good at it and winning national tournaments,” Levi added.

The golf croquet nationals are being played at the domain until January 22.

~ By Daniel Tobin