Peter Heywood receives Service to Sport Award at Dubbo on Australia Day | Daily Liberal

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Go back just a few years and it appeared the sport of croquet was facing its final days in Dubbo. After playing at the Dubbo City Bowling Club for close to 100 years, the Dubbo City Croquet Club was given its marching orders when that venue was closed. For people like Peter Heywood, who had been involved with the club for more than a decade, the news hit like a sledgehammer. But Heywood didn’t throw in the towel. Instead, the man who has filled roles such as secretary, treasurer and president at the club applied for grants to move from the old courts to Muller Park. The bid was successful and now one of the most long-running clubs in the country still has a home and everyone involved was able to celebrate its 100-year anniversary in 2021. READ ALSO: – ‘Humbling and an honour’: Origin hero Darcy named Sportsperson of the Year – Broken hands and pandemic’s impact can’t stop Eather from succeeding – ‘It doesn’t matter how old you are, it can still happen’: Smyth named to lead Brumbies Heywood was also the coordinator of that celebration and produced a detailed history of the club’s early years on display boards. He also managed projects like the installation of new synthetic surface, which included the clearing of surface area, court design, hoops, artificial surface selection, lighting and shaded seating. There’s few people in the region who have done as much for the sport they love in recent times, yet Heywood was a humble figure on Australia Day when he was honored with the Service to Sport Award at the annual ceremony in Victoria Park. “I didn’t think I did more than any other member of the club,” he said, his club now being known as the Muller Park Tennis and Croquet Club. “We just want the croquet club to survive. We hit a major crisis with the closure of the City Bowling Club and we had been the longest operating club in Australia, as far as I’m aware, because we played right through World War II That’s unusual because all the women were fundraising plus playing their sport. “It was important we survived and it’s been quite a challenge for the last year or so to relocate, which we have and it’s been fantastic. “But I’m just one person. There was a whole group of us pulling together to do it.” As satisfying and relieving as it has been to keep the club alive, there have been other challenges to face in recent times. Like so many other groups and organisations, the croquet club has had plans severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The major 100-year celebration planned for last year had to be scaled back and the players eventually had to meet virtually over Zoom to celebrate the occasion before restrictions eased. “It was very special but the biggest disappointment was we’d planned a much bigger celebration,” Heywood said. “We still had one day but we did have a week’s worth of celebrations planned. But we’re there and that’s the main thing.” The sport of croquet might not draw in the same crowds as other sports or gain the same amount of headlines, but there’s a group of roughly 60 who are part of the club and that number is growing. “Until you try it, you probably don’t realize how skilful and mentally challenging it is,” Heywood said. “You’re playing against people who are trying to stop you getting hoops. “It’s a bit like a chess game. You’re planning three or four moves ahead. “It’s just a fantastic challenge.” Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can continue to access our trusted content:



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