Merthyr Croquet Club celebrates 100th anniversary

Merthyr Croquet Club celebrates 100th anniversary

By Kate Lockyer

Ask any Merthyr Croquet Club player and they will tell you the game is highly competitive – Club Captain Greg Kerswell said they think of the game as “chess on grass”.

The club is celebrating their centenary on July 27, marking 100 years to the day that the Mayoress of Brisbane Mrs M J Barry officiated the Grand Opening of the Merthyr Croquet Courts at New Farm Park in 1924.

Club President Zach Kominar is a Canadian who was introduced to the club when he came to town 10 years ago – and never left.

He said the community kept him coming back, as well as the direct competitiveness of the game.

There is a hotly contested Annual Club Championship and they have borne two state croquet players out of the group.

Mr Kominar himself made the Queensland Association Croquet team this year.

Club member David Phillips said: “It’s a strategic game… you’re thinking three or four moves ahead, and you’re thinking of team play, and not only what you can do with your shot but how you can promote your partner and impede your opposition – or destroy them.”

Once known as a women’s sport, these days they have a fairly even split of men and women in the club.

Mr Kerswell said the women used to play with long mallets, swinging them from the side rather than between their legs.

Men started playing in the 1950s, Mr Kominar said, with the first man to join the club being a Mr Gurney in 1947.

An article in the Warwick Daily News from the time quoted him as saying: “I have never regretted taking up the game… I consider it more scientific game than bowls, and that it ranks next to billiards as a game of skill. It has a fascination all of its own.”

The club has just established a Cross-River Challenge with East Brisbane Croquet Club, and they also plan to have a joint Croquet and Lawn Bowls Day with the New Farm Bowls Club in their centenary year.

The croquet club originally began at the bowls club before they moved to their current location.

Merthyr Croquet Club has bounced back from several disasters over its 100 years.

In 1961, a fire burned down the clubhouse, then in the 1974 floods, the club lost most of its records and other treasures, although fortunately the 2022 floods caused only minor damage to the building.

They currently have about 50 members, and play on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday afternoons and Saturday mornings, and can open at other times.

The public are invited to join them at the club on Saturday, July 27 from 2pm for music, food and fun – email with any questions or to RSVP.

Zach Kominar and Greg Kerswell on the croquet court. Photography: Kate Lockyer

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