While I was relaxing in England in the summer of 2012 I received an email from Jenny Clarke, World Number 1 Association Croquet champion. Whether the numbers were down or whether she hadn’t seen me play, I’ll never know. But the email strongly encouraged me to apply for a wild card to enter the 1st Women’s Association Croquet World Championships that were to be held in Melbourne in October 2012. She said I wouldn’t stand any chance of winning, but the experience would be memorable.My instant reaction was disbelief. When I mentioned it to my son-in-law, Bret, that evening his response was immediate. ‘Of course you give it a go’, he said.
So, with no anticipation of being successful, I sent my croquet results by email to Croquet New Zealand, fully expecting them to refuse my application. But they didn’t! Apparently there was a space in the field of 32 and it was now mine.
Probably! But Jenny was right. It was an amazing experience and although I only managed to win four games, that was three more than my goal of ensuring that I won at least one.
There were twelve full-size lawns but the surface was short on grass. I found them very tricky, accustomed as I am to playing on the much heavier surface at Plimmerton but others didn’t seem to have too much trouble.
We’d met at a tournament in Nelson several years previously but this time we had much more time to get to know each other and had a great time with lots of laughs. She played a wonderful tournament and dropped her handicap several places.
By this time I was out of contention and had plenty of time to watch the games. And it was at this time that I received a very exciting visit from James, son of my very good Friends, Di and Mal from Perth, and his wife Jo. They live in Melbourne, had no idea the croquet facility existed, and came to check it out. It was delightful to catch up.
Then it was time to return to a normal life again. Several months on holiday on the other side of the world, followed by an unexpected adventure in Australia. How long would it take to come back down to earth?