Brothers Finn, left, and Billy Sloan slice through a block. Photo: Peter Jones.

Chips fly as axemen show their chops

The Blenheim Axemen’s Club are an adaptable bunch.

With the Marlborough A and P Show cancelled, they decided to relocate their annual wood cutting event from A and P Park to the Hocquard property in Riverlands.

On Saturday, competitors came from far afield to take part in a series of events, all contested in a relaxed, rural atmosphere.

The day’s premier event was the Geoff Hocquard Memorial Standing Championship contested by the top four back markers on the highest handicaps. The event was won by Joe Cox from Timaru, from Andrew Cox, also from Timaru, with Ray Biggs of Nelson third and Christchurch’s John Aitken fourth.

Championship races have all the competitors starting on a count of three seconds.  The Open and Restricted races see all the competitors starting on their marks from the woodchopping handicap system.

The four Open woodchopping events, consisting of small and large Underhand and Standing Chops, had two heats with placegetters meeting in the final.

The 300mm underhand was won by Kyle Hedley, with Chris Heath second, Steve Foster third and Marlborough chopper Finn Sloan fourth.

Hedley and Foster tied for first in the 325mm underhand, with Ross Birchfield third and Sloan fourth.

Foster won the 275mm standing from Hedley, with Picton’s Tim Abel third and Peter McEwen fourth.

Abel claimed the 3000mm standing title, Dave McEwen finishing second, Hedley third and Andrew Cox fourth.

Nelson chopper Hedley, with 15.5 points, claimed the overall points trophy from Steve Foster (Greymouth) on 12.5 pts.

The single and double sawing events had reduced numbers this year, especially with local sawyers Geoffrey Hocquard and Willie Abel unavailable to compete.

The single saw was won by John Aitken, with Andrew Cox second, local sawyer Robbie Brownlee third his grandson Finn Sloan fourth.

The double saw title was claimed by Andrew and Joe Cox, from Brownlee and John Aitken, then Finn and Billy Sloan, followed by Charlie Morgan and Martin Mason.

The three restricted underhand chops were contested by the newcomers, juniors and ladies also competing under the handicap system.

The No 1 restricted was won by Justin Carter, from Ashleigh Radford, Alex Gregg and Toby Godsiff.

The No 2 restricted was taken out by Louie Gregg, with Emma Riddell second, Justin Carter third and Alex Gregg fourth.

Carter claimed the No 3 restricted title, from Louie Gregg, Alex Gregg and Ashleigh Radford respectively.

Carter scored the most points in the restricted chops, with Louie Gregg second.

Local competitors were Tim Abel, Robbie Brownlee and his grandsons Finn Sloan, Billy Sloan, Alex Gregg and Louie Gregg.

Everyone competing at the Blenheim Axemen’s Club event also had a second day of competition with the Nelson Axemen’s Club meeting at the Wakefield Hotel on Sunday.

Tennis leaders win another close encounter

Renwick CPR continue to show the way in the Wine Brokers NZ premier tennis competition, notching up another narrow win on Wednesday.

The leaders managed a countback victory over Rapaura Wairau River Noir while Rapaura Wairau River Blanc also claimed a win on countback, beating Marlborough Forrest Wines.

Renwick CPR lead after four rounds, sitting on 42 points, with Rapaura Blanc second on 38 and Marlborough tied with Rapaura Noir on 19.

Despite their relative positions on the standings, the Renwick v Noir tie turned into a battle royal. The doubles were shared, Hamish McRae and Jared Bell giving Rapaura an early boost by recovering from a first set reversal to win the top double, 0-6, 6-2, 10-4 over brothers Oscar and Joseph Sandford-Jury.

The Renwick duo of Daniel Riordan and Mieko Kimura levelled the scores with a 6-4, 6-1 win over Blair Harvey and Ella Sowman.

The singles were also shared, both Sandford-Jury teens winning their matches, then Bell and Sowman replying for Rapaura.  On countback Renwick won seven sets to Rapaura’s six.

The other match was also extremely tight.

Hamish Morrow and Stephen Dempster best Ant Walkenhorst and Glen Cameron 7-6, 7-6 in the top double to allow Marlborough a strong start, but Hugh Robinson and Donna Clark’s 6-1, 6-1 win over Jay Geris and Amber Lyons levelled the tie.

The key match in the singles was between Geris and Robinson. Although the former prevailed, the fact it went to three sets worked in Rapaura’s favour when the tie was decided on countback.

Morrow also won his single, beating Walkenhorst 6-4, 6-2, while Cameron and Clark replied with for Rapaura, leaving the tie locked up 3-3, Rapaura getting home 7-6 on set countback.

In division two, the Marlborough Nga Hau Wha team continued on their winning way, beating Marlborough Next Gen 5-1, while Rapaura Wairau River Rose downed Renwick Rallycats by the same score.

After four rounds Nga Hau Wha sit on top of the table with 46 points, from Next Gen (31), Rapaura (27) and Renwick (17).

Luke Romano wins another lineout at Lansdowne Park on Saturday night. Photo: Shuttersport.

Canterbury turn season around at Lansdowne

Tasman’s uninspiring Mitre 10 Cup premiership display against Canterbury on Saturday may not prove as costly to the Mako play-off hopes as initially thought.

Going into the 29-0 defeat at Lansdowne Park, Tasman, fresh off an away win over Wellington, lay second on the premiership points table, justifiably eying a home semifinal.

At the other end of the table languished Canterbury, an unfamiliar position for the perennial pace-setters, with the threat of relegation looming large.

Teetering above the trapdoor, the Red and Blacks responded by producing the sort of performance that has underlined their previous dominance of the provincial scene.

Their emphatic 29-0 victory at Lansdowne Park on Saturday evening appeared to have assured their participation in the top echelon next year and derailed Tasman’s chances of hosting a semi this season.

However, a combination of upset results in what is quickly turning into the closest premiership battle for many seasons has seen Tasman remain in second position at the end of the round, with Canterbury still equal bottom of the table.

Now, although they face a tricky away match against Otago on Saturday, the Mako at least have their semifinal future in their own hands.

Things were not looking so positive at the final whistle on Saturday though.

Putting their patchy form this season behind them, Canterbury took their frustrations out on a Mako side who undoubtedly knew what was coming, but were unable to match the defensive intensity and clinical finishing that came their way. Their unrelenting work without the ball quickly created hesitation in the Tasman attack, forcing them to chase the game from early stages, rather than build into it.

Given the familiarity of so many of the players through Crusaders connections, it was perhaps no wonder that, at times, it appeared as if Canterbury had read Tasman’s script.

The influence of former All Blacks Luke Romano and Mitchell Drummond cannot be underestimated. Pivotal players when Tasman lost to Canterbury in the 2018 semifinal, they repeated the dose. Romano’s disruptive lineout presence, ability to slow Tasman’s ball down and general work rate proved constant thorns in the home side’s flesh. Drummond continues to haunt his former home town team, pulling all the right strings with coolness, slick passing and clever kicking options.

The impact of the opening try, to Canterbury winger Ngatungane Punivai in the third minute, should not be underestimated.

It not only gave Canterbury the belief that they have been struggling for, it also put the Mako firmly on the back foot from the outset, a situation compounded by early injury concerns.

Mako lock Quinten Strange said while Canterbury, “with their backs to the wall”, played well, some of the damage was self-inflicted.

“We were just one or two percent off tonight, in a few areas of the game we were our own worst enemy. At set piece we weren’t executing … we were throwing those 50-50s a bit much, trying to score off first phases and they had a good plan, a good strategy.

“As we know, if you don’t turn up against Canterbury they are going to punish you.”

And that they did, Saturday’s defeat ending an 11-game winning run at Lansdowne Park, with Tasman’s last defeat in Blenheim coming against Auckland in September 2015.

However, if Tasman’s supporters have discovered anything about their team over recent years, it is their ability to rebound quickly from adversity.

In the age-old cliché, they “have plenty to work on” over the coming week.

No-one could fault their intent and effort on Saturday, but there seemed to be more spring in Canterbury’s step, perhaps a result of being pushed into a corner and facing a previously-unthinkable fate.

The Mako will be looking for the same desperation when they travel to Dunedin.

As Strange suggests, “it’s such a tight competition, whoever turns up on the day is going to win.

“That’s the beauty of this competition … we have to make sure we get the right mindset heading into next weekend.”

Mitre 10 Cup premiership table with one round remaining: Auckland 34, Tasman 29, Waikato 29, Bay of Plenty 26, North Harbour 25, Canterbury 24, Wellington 24.

Wairau Valley batsman Tim Abrahams is bowled by Celtic spinner Josh Poole during the one-day final at Horton Park on Saturday. Photo: Peter Jones.

Lamb propels Celtic to one-day trophy win

Celtic are the Marlborough 50-over cricket champs after beating Wairau Valley by three wickets at Horton Park on Saturday.

In a low-scoring encounter, on to a Horton Park No 1 wicket which contained plenty of moisture and made free-flowing shot-making hard to accomplish, Celtic made the most of winning the toss.

Electing to bowl, they soon had Valley in trouble, removing opener Tom Leonard with just three on the board. Ben Ivory-McCullum and Luke Pannell played within themselves to push the score up to 22 before Ivory-McCullum perished.

Pannell, who finished as top scorer with 18 from 36 balls, began to form another partnership with Matthew Stretch before the youngster was bowled by impressive medium pacer Matt McCormick with just 40 runs on the board. The key wicket of Stretch followed soon after, caught at slip by man-of-the-match Jerrym Lamb from Jaden Adams’ bowling.

From then on it became a steady procession out to the middle then back to the pavilion for the remainder of the Valley order as they limped to 129 in 45 overs.

Celtic used seven bowlers who, backed up by some slick fielding, all bagged at least one wicket. Left arm spinner Josh Poole, who took 2-21 from his 10 overs, and medium pacer Adams, 2-23 from 10, picked up a brace apiece, while Lamb, with 1-12 from seven was the most miserly.

Elated with their fielding effort, Celtic were immediately put under pressure when it came their turn to bat. Openers John Porter and Logan Robinson were both bowled by the lively Bailey Andrews-Kennedy, leaving their side 2-3 after seven overs.

However the arrival of Josh Poole and Jack Holdaway steadied the ship, the pair taking the score through to 30 before Poole departed for 14. Holdaway then joined forces with Lamb and they began to turn the match around. When Holdaway was dismissed by Stretch for 24 from 72 balls they had lifted Celtic’s score to 70 and the platform for victory was set.

Reuben Kepes became Andrews-Kennedy’s third victim 15 runs later, Liam Young and McCormick came and went with the score at 111, but through it all Lamb remained calm and in control.

When Celtic achieved victory the vastly-experienced allrounder was unbeaten on 69, scored off the same number of balls, with six fours and two sixes.

For Valley, Andrews-Kennedy and Sam Boyce bowled accurately and economically, the former recording figures of 3-18 from his 10 overs, while Boyce claimed 2-18 from his full complement.

Next up for the club players is the first round of Tasman premier league play next Saturday.

Andre du Toit won the A grade title at the Kaituna range over Labour weekend. Photo: Peter Jones.

Shooters defy breeze to register good scores

Young South African shooter Andre du Toit, representing the Malvern club, claimed the A grade title at the Marlborough Fullbore Shooting Championship, staged over three days at Labour Weekend.

Forty eight competitors at the Kaituna range had to contend with a weekend of warm nor’westerly crosswinds making accuracy a challenge.

The net result of the conditions was that only 11 possibles were shot over the weekend, Alan White from Malvern bagging three of them.

In A grade du Toit led from the front for most of the weekend to take out the title with 475.33 from Brian Carter (Te Puke) on 473.30 and White on 472.27.

Du Toit arrived in New Zealand two years ago from the Transvaal area of South Africa. He has represented his homeland at under-19 and senior level, shooting for South Africa at the 2018 Commonwealth Games. He hopes to become eligible for NZ in time to shoot for this country at the world champs in 2023.

Entry numbers for the annual champs were well up on 2019, due to the strong support of those prepared to travel long distances and the addition of the two new F Classes. Shooters travelled from as far afield as Dunedin, Gore, Te Puke and Hamilton.

The Long Range aggregate was decided using the 900 yard scores with three tied on 185.10, with Carter winning from Ross Mason (Trentham) and Bevan Mehrtens (Malvern).

In B grade Les Marshall (Hawkes Bay) had a comfortable five point margin with 457.24 from Megan Snowden (Ashburton) with 452.25 and Martin Fleming (Ashburton) 452.23.

In C grade Shaun Ellis (Cheltenham) won easily with 435.11 from Brian Hawksby (Ashburton) on 420.18 and John Fleming (Ashburton) on 417.14

The tightest competition of the weekend was in F Open with Ian Hughes (Cheltenham) and Mike Chui (Ashburton) battling for supremacy. Going into the final shoulder-to-shoulder 900 yard match they were four Xs apart. Hughes came out on top, scoring 565.29 to Chui’s 563.27.

In FTR Murray Cook (Ashburton was a runaway winner on 535.21 from Mark Alexander (Malvern) on 506.19 and Les Grimsey (Oamaru) on 502.11.

In the new FTR Classic class Sharon Grimsey (Oamaru) won on 514.16 from Conal Richardson (Cheltenham) on 504.7 and Mike Slade (Kaituna), 502.10.

On Monday afternoon, four club TR teams and two club F class teams fought out the coached teams match.

The Malvern TR team of du Toit, Charlotte Flanagan, Alan White and Chris Kershaw, coached by Bevan Mehrtens and Richard Rowlands, were dominant with all four shooters scoring in the 70s over the 15 shots to win with 283.17 from Cheltenham on 266.5. The only other shooter to better the 70 mark was Megan Snowden (Ashburton), coached by her father John, who top scored the match with 73.2.

In the F Class match the Cheltenham team of Ian Hughes, Shaun Ellis, Conal Richardson and Greg Hayes won with 320.10 from Ashburton on 314.6.

Rapaura Wairau River Blanc duo Glen Cameron, serving, and Ant Walkenhorst during their doubles match on Wednesday. Photo: Peter Jones.

Tennis leaders pushed all the way

Renwick CPR continued their unbeaten run in the Wine Brokers NZ Marlborough premier tennis competition, but were made to fight all the way to secure victory on Wednesday evening.

Renwick defeated Marlborough Forrest Wines on a countback in the match of the round after matches were tied at 3-3.

Marlborough made a fast start, Hamish Morrow and Jay Geris beating the father and son combination of Oscar Sandford-Jury and Dave Sanford 6-3, 6-4 in the top doubles.

However Renwick bounced back in the other double, Joseph Sandford-Jury and Mieko Kimura beating Stephen Dempster and

Amber Lyons in straight sets.

With Oscar Sandford-Jury edging Morrow in a third set tie-breaker in the top singles Renwick got their nose in front, however Lyons notched a three-set win over Kimura in the women’s singles to level the tie again.

Dempster won his singles clash, as did Joseph Sandford-Jury, leaving the overall match scores tied, Renwick prevailing 69-63 on games won after each side won the same number of sets.

In the other tie, Rapaura Wairau River Blanc defeated Rapaura Wairau River Noir 5-1.

In the top double, Ant Walkenhorst and Glen Cameron defeated Hamish McRae and Jared Bell 6-3, 7-5. Blanc then went 2-0 up when Hugh Robinson and Donna Clark defeated Blair Harvey and Ella Sowman 6-4, 6-4.

In the singles Walkenhorst beat McRae 7-5, 6-2, Robinson downed Harvey 6-4, 7-6, Cameron overcame Bell 6-1, 6-4 and Sowman defeated Clark 6-4, 6-4 to claim Noir’s point.

In division two, Marlborough Next Gen defeated Rapaura Wairau River Rose 4-2 while Renwick Rallycats downed Marlborough Nga Hau Wha 5-1.

Tasman flanker Sione Havili was in outstanding form in Porirua. Photo: Shuttersport.

Mako forwards tame Lions

The Tasman forward pack answered their doubters in the best possible fashion on Saturday, setting up a commanding 19-3 victory over Wellington in Porirua.

After being dominated up front during the side’s only losses this season, to North Harbour and Auckland, doubts began to surface over the potency of the Mako forwards.

However, after paving the way for a comfortable win over Southland last weekend they stepped up to another level at the weekend, totally outplaying one of the leading premiership side’s packs.

The battle of the 2019 Mitre 10 Cup premiership finalists was expected to be close, especially given their respective records this year.

Interestingly, only five of the 13 Mako forwards named for the decider at Trafalgar Park last year fronted up for Saturday’s rematch – Andrew Makalio, who impressed in his 50th game for the union, the returning Quinten Strange, Sione Havili, who gets better with each outing, Isaac Salmon and Te Ahiwaru Cirikidaveta.

In contrast, Wellington fielded eight of their forward mix from the 2019 final.

However it was the visiting side at Jerry Collins Stadium who looked the more powerful, cohesive, organised outfit. Their scrum held the upper hand for most of the match, their lineout was sound despite tricky conditions and both the Mako tries came from unstoppable lineout drives. Allied to that slick set piece work came some bruising defence from the big men, ensuring Wellington’s ball-carriers rarely breached the gain line.

Mako co-head coach Andrew Goodman was “stoked” by his side’s efforts today, especially the forward display.

“That was an important win for our season really,” he said.

When the Mako turned at halftime with an 11-point lead, despite playing with a strong wind at their backs, the game was very much in the balance, but Goodman said his side’s leaders pulled the right strings.

“[The wind] was very gusty and hard to play into, but I felt our nine [Finlay Christie] and 10 [Mitch Hunt] played really well in the second half. However it was the forwards today who laid the platform for that victory … the maul, the scrum, just all the work they had to get through.

“Isaac Salmon, both at scrum time and on defence, was outstanding. A lot of the boys that have been given more of an opportunity this year stood up today. I’m really proud of them.”

Goodman also praised the input of experienced squad members Ethan Blackadder and Strange. “Even when they have been unable to take the field they have been massive for us this year with all the work they have done with the lads, off the field.”

The return of Strange, an All Black-in-waiting, to the field could not have come at a better time for the Mako, his presence an inspiration to his team mates.

“It’s great to have his leadership back,” said Goodman, “he’s driven standards really high during the last couple of weeks when he’s been back on the training pitch so we hope to get a few more minutes from him next week.

The Mako, who briefly returned to the top of the premiership table with their victory, meet cellar-dwellers Canterbury in Blenheim on Saturday, kick off 7.05pm.

Local driver Anton Rasmussen took out the ClubSport Briggs LO206 Heavy title. Photo: Peter Jones.

Karting champs draw strong field

Karters revelled in the return of national-level sprint events at the South Island meeting in Blenheim over Labour Weekend.

The meeting saw spirited racing across all classes, with defending title holder and local driver William Exton (125cc Rotax Max Light) taking top honours at the Cresswell Electrical-backed South Island champs.

Ninety-three drivers, included a handful of North Islanders, competed in the event on the outskirts of Blenheim, with several locals managing podium positions.


Class title winners were:

125cc Rotax Max Light – William Exton (Marlborough)

125cc Rotax Max Heavy – Matthew Butchart (Richmond)

Rotax Junior – Chris White (Christchurch)

Vortex Mini ROK – Zach Tucker (Christchurch)

Cadet ROK – Jackson Culver (Rangiora)


Two non-championship support classes were also contested at the South Island titles meeting for drivers running Briggs & Stratton 4-stroke engined LO206 karts.

They were won by:  ClubSport Briggs LO206 Light – Tony Dyer (Nelson); ClubSport Briggs LO206 Heavy – Anton Rasmussen (Marlborough).

Local driver Charlie Botham finished second in the Cadet Rok class, age 7-9, Arthur Broughan came second in the Vortex Mimi Rok section, age 9-12, while Archie Botham finished sixth and William Ruffell ninth.

Pete Richardson came home 12th in the Rotax senior division. Cory Crossan came second in the Briggs Light class, with Mike Kendrick a close second behind Rasmussen in the Briggs Heavy.

The next event is the local club champs on November 15.

Guest speaker Sir Michael Hill with the grantees and regrant recipients on Thursday evening. Photo: Supplied.

Another inspirational evening

Two new names were added to the ever-growing list of Marlborough youngsters helped along their career paths by the Inspire Foundation Marlborough during a glittering evening at the Marlborough Convention Centre on Thursday, October 22.

Given the extraordinary happenings of 2020, the Foundation decided to go all out and host a sit-down dinner for 300 with Sir Michael Hill as the guest speaker to honour the next round of grantees and raise awareness of the Foundation’s work.

“What a way to toast the talent in our region and pause to reflect how lucky we are to be able to have a large gathering to celebrate our future leaders in these uncertain times,” said Inspire spokesperson Angela Wilson.

“Sir Michael was highly entertaining … his life story reflects the values of our foundation – grit, resilience, determination, and ability to overcome adversity to shine. While very funny, and beautifully delivered, his speech had many poignant points that were relevant not to just our grantees but to all present.”

With an eye on ensuring the future of the Foundation a fundraising auction was staged, with items such as an art piece drawn by Sir Michael Hill during lock down, a signed jersey from Emirates Team NZ and a signed golf glove worn by Tiger Woods in 2002 among the more popular bids.

TVNZ reporter Kaitlyn Ruddock was MC for the evening.

Since the Inspire Foundation Marlborough came into being in this region in November 2017, 33 grantees have been recognised, several receiving regrants to help them further along their way. Joseph Sullivan and Craig Harper have been appointed Inspire Ambassadors.

The first grantee on Thursday was smallbore shooter Dom Henry. He represented New Zealand twice in the past year in this demanding sport and been accepted into the New Zealand junior development programme. Dom placed fifth overall at the national secondary school championships and was selected in the New Zealand team to face Great Britain. The 16-year-old was also selected for the second year on the NZ under 21 men’s team. He hopes to be chosen for the 2021 Oceania Shooting Championships and his long-term goal is to compete at the 2024 Paris Olympics.

The other new grantee was musician Sharon Wilson. After specialising in the flute for many years, Sharon recently decided to take up the cello. Although many of her lessons have been online because of COVID, she has made rapid progress with both instruments and is lead flute in various stage musical shows, as part of the local orchestra.  She is currently working towards grade 8 for both flute and cello and is part of the NZSO mentoring programme for both instruments. Her goal next year is to be part of the New Zealand Secondary School’s Symphony orchestra, be part of the National Youth Orchestra and eventually after finishing her studies at university she would like to be playing professionally.

Regrants were also announced to a couple of outstanding performers in the musical field – composer Kodi Rasmussen and tenor horn player Eleanor Grigg.

The evening also offered a chance to re-recognise three previous grantees who were named during a Zoom ceremony at the height of the COVID lockdown – touch player Nikau Peipi, forensic scientist Stephie Loncar and violinist Lauren Doherty.

To qualify for a grant, applicants must be aged between 15 and 23 years of age, a resident of Marlborough for at least three years with New Zealand Citizenship and have demonstrated extraordinary ability or potential in any of the areas of Arts, IT, Design, Music, Science, Research, Education, Sport or Community Service.

Greg Bryant, croquet’s national head coach, is heartened by the sport’s growth. Photo: Peter Jones.

Croquet coach targets younger brigade

Greg Bryant, one of the nation’s most decorated croquet exponents, was in town recently to lend his expertise to a sport that has seen considerable growth in recent times.

The multiple NZ title-holder and part of MacRobertson Shield world championship-winning combination in 2014, is the national head coach and sport development officer. He came to Marlborough to hold a two-day workshop, focusing on upskilling the region’s coaches.

“Croquet in Marlborough is growing … both at the Blenheim and Brooklyn bases,” said Greg.

“We are seeing that nationally, particularly in golf croquet across all the regions.”

He puts the rise down to croquet becoming “more visible in the last decade”.

“There is more direct interaction with the croquet community and the national body. We have also established more community-based development initiatives, based around coaching coaches and our secondary schools programme.”

Previously viewed as something of a pastime for older competitors, croquet is becoming increasingly more youth-focused.

Underlining this trend is the fact that when the New Zealand team won the World Golf Croquet championships in Nelson this year the average age of the Kiwi side was 23. All of the Kiwi team had been previous under-21 world champions who had come out of the secondary schools programme.

Greg says NZ Croquet have been working hard on introducing the sport at school level over the past decade.

“Croquet traditionally has been known as a sport for elderly, retired folk but there was a real call from the [croquet] community to change that image.

In fact, all our test teams now are made up of young people, but they are not seen locally.”

Greg said COVID had stalled the secondary schools programme this year but the national organization planned to re-boot it, with the help of the regional sports trusts.

“Annually, the local croquet bodies host regional competitions in March to find qualifiers for the national secondary schools event in September … from there we are providing pathways into youth development programmes. So there are plenty of opportunities for kids to participate in the organized game and there are well-defined pathways right to the top of the sport.”

The sport is played in two forms – association croquet and golf croquet.

“There are different sets of rules but the coaching content is around techniques that are applicable to both codes,” explained Greg.

Golf croquet is the focus of the schools programme, being easy and quick to learn.

“But it’s a very challenging game to master,” suggested Greg.

“That’s the challenge with kids. They can pick up the game and be playing it in 10 minutes but they quickly realise that there is a lot of physical skill involved. The game is quick and very interactive, going shot-for-shot, plus it’s non-gender specific at school age and the youngsters like that interaction.

“And it’s something different … it’s stationary ball targets and most of the time school sport focusses on moving ball targets. It gives them their opportunity to expand their skill sets.

“It also provides a chance for non-participants in traditional games and sport to be involved.

“There are always kids who don’t want to take part in the mainstream sports but want to be involved in something and a lot of them are finding that avenue through golf croquet, it’s quite cool,” he added.