HISTORY OF BRIGHTON CROQUET CLUB
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Brighton Croquet Club has functioned successfully for over 100 years and extremely few South Australian croquet clubs can match this endurance. It all started when a group of ladies began playing croquet on a parcel of land on Brighton Road just south of St Jude’s Church. These women decided to form Brighton Croquet Club in 1915 and two years later moved to take up residence on land that they were purchasing from Brighton Tennis Club in nearby Keelara Street. By 1924 the players were donning the standard Brighton sporting team colours of Black and Gold and in 1936 the Club attained solvency having systematically toiled to fully pay off its mortgage.
In 1949 males were belatedly admitted into membership and 50 years later the numbers of each gender reached parity then, in 1952, BCC became an Incorporated organisation. Future legend Jean Armstrong took up croquet at Brighton in 1956 followed by her husband Tom shortly after. They decided to promote and coach the sport in metropolitan, country and interstate locales as well as introducing the game at some Adelaide private schools. At Westminster School amongst their charges was Neil Spooner. Both Neil, and star Brighton player Creina Dawson were inducted into the World Croquet Federation Hall Of Fame along with their mentors Tom and Jean Armstrong. What an outstanding achievement this has been for a Club in suburban Adelaide to have four WCF inductees when one considers that no other females had then been so honoured and only 40 players inducted worldwide. In 1998 Brighton Club launched a prestigious Association Croquet tournament for invited Australian and New Zealand women players and it was named the Jean Armstrong Trophy and ran for just on 20 years.
Serious difficulty was experienced along the way however as court space shrank in the face of increasing membership numbers. Brighton Council recovered tracts of land in 1931, 1939 and in 1942 for roadworks whereas membership numbers rose steadily to a peak of 101 in the year 2000 trying to cope with space reduced to one and a half courts. Our Club, which had never in its history sought outside assistance, repeatedly approached the Council for a better site. This was eventually acceded to when a swap of land occurred and BCC took up residence at the Brighton Sports Complex in 1997. A promise of a right of renewal was given for a further 20 years to occur in the year 2016. The Club has enjoyed a three-court arena since its re-location and continues to be a highly competitive force respected by its suburban rivals.