Len Bal and Jim Cox are two of our croquet section’s octogenarians and are fine examples of the oft-quoted adages – ‘you are never too old to learn’, and ‘age is no barrier’.
Len is originally from Holland and having left there in 1962 to find a new life, he eventually settled with his wife Michelle in Devonport in 1993. He started playing croquet only two years ago and enjoys the fun and the socialising. Says Len “it is a challenging game which keeps my brain active – and that’s important for someone of my age.”
Jim is a Victorian who came to Devonport in 1967. It was meant to be a 5 year stint, and he and wife Val are still here after 50. Jim was introduced to croquet as the result of inheriting his father’s mallet. According to Jim, none of his siblings wanted it, and it was forced on to him. So, he decided to make use of it, and spent his first year of playing perfecting a particular stroke called a stop shot. To this day, Jim’s stop shot is a sight to behold!
Jim has been one of the club’s senior and leading players over many years. Not only has he won many club events but has also been a key contributor to lawn maintenance and administration of the club, including membership of the Devonport Board for many years.
This year Len and Jim have formed a playing partnership in golf croquet which has seen them compete at the Launceston tournament at Easter, and just last week in the State Open doubles. They performed creditably at both events, securing a few wins and giving many younger competitors a bit of a fright.