Giggles on the grass . . . Preparing for the Awamoa Croquet Club "have a go" sessions are (from left) club coach Ethel Johnston, committee member Julie Pringle, secretary Pat Gunn and president Derek Atkinson. PHOTO: KAYLA HODGE

Julie Pringle is hooked on hoops.

Croquet hoops, that is.

After going along to one of Awamoa Croquet Club’s “have a go” sessions last year, Pringle decided to swap golf – ”it just wasn’t for me” – for croquet.

“Just playing this last season – I’m hooked. I want to be here whenever the lawns are open,” she said.

Pringle has also joined the committee and extended her game under the watchful eye of club coach Ethel Johnston.

“Ethel is an amazing coach and she’s really made me enthusiastic about [croquet].”

The club is holding a new series of “have a go” days this month, in a bid to attract more players.

Johnston said croquet was a great social and competitive sport, depending on what players desired.

“It’s good for the mind and soul. You’ve got to keep your wits about you,” Johnston said.

“A lot like to come play socially. It’s great to get them off the sofa – they just love the companionship.”

While there were a lot of senior players in the club, they were supported by secondary school and junior players.

Waitaki Boys’ High School club members Harry Wilson and Sen McMaster are part of the Croquet New Zealand youth squad and will play in the New Zealand Secondary School croquet final, in Hawke’s Bay, next month.

“It’s great. We’ve had intermediate schools coming before … they seem to like it, and not everyone wants to play contact sport,” Johnston said.

Club secretary Pat Gunn said the sport was addictive and the club offered both association and golf croquet.

“It’s one of those games you just get hooked on it. There’s an increasing level of tactics that you can work your way through,” Gunn said.

Club president Derek Atkinson said the club, which was formed in 1931, welcomed anyone who wanted to give the sport a go.

The “have a go” sessions will be held on August 18, 21, 24, and 26. The season opens on August 28.