Moorabinda Croquet Club secretary John Jury was going about his daily life in 1998 and then it changed forever.
“My wife and I had a retail shop in town,” he said.
“A customer then walked in one day and asked us if we would like a game of croquet.”
Running a business seven days a week, John managed to squeeze in his playing commitments, even with a busy schedule.
“But in those days when we started, there was no choice, you had to play association croquet which is a longer game,” he said.
“And it is a bit more complex. It is like snooker and chess played outdoors, so there is a lot more to it.”
Although very humble about his achievements and always keen to put the club first, John recalls the time he managed to secure one of the highest achievements in association croquet – a triple peel.
“You can regard it a bit like a hole-in-one for golf,” he said.
“Except there is no luck involved, it is all skill. It is a case of you making all 12 hoops with each ball.
“You make nine hoops with the first ball and with the second, you peel the first ball through the remaining three hoops.
“It is not easy to do, but it is a great achievement if you are able to do it.”
Along with his playing career, John has worked as a volunteer at the club for many years and is fascinated about Moorabinda’s place in the Bunbury sporting landscape.
“The club itself was established in 1904,” he said.
“So it is one of the oldest sporting clubs within not only Bunbury but in WA. It started in Ramsay Road in the centre of town.”
After initially being located in a backyard, a second piece of land was acquired, which allowed for a clubhouse to be built.
“However, men were still banned at that stage,” John said.
“There was one man who was allowed to do maintenance work and play but he was not allowed to be a registered member.”
In 1980, Moorabinda Croquet Club elected to relocate to Hay Park.
“Instead of two lawns, we now had six,” John said. “We were able to expand very rapidly and became very popular.”
Born and raised in Bunbury, John has also managed to enjoy a large amount of travelling, which is one of his major passions.
“My wife and I have just come back from Kununurra and we went through the Bungle Bungles,” he said.
“We have daughters in Melbourne and Adelaide so each year we head over to the east. We have done the Nullabor about 15 times.”
Croquet has brought a tremendous amount of joy to John’s life and he is optimistic about the sport’s future in the South West.
“It is a big part of my life now,” he said.
“We quite often say to people “we do not have friends, we play croquet” as it has taken over. We are both on the committee and I have been secretary for eight years.
“It is not an onerous job, it is a real love.
“We have got some really good players coming through now and a number of our club members have State titles across a range of divisions.
“The future of the club looks really good at the moment.
“We have even got three applications for membership for players aged between nine and 10 years old.
“We are turning the image around and hoping people are going to look at us as a club for everybody.”