Teen to take on world

By Iain Hyndman

A keen eye and a steady arm have gained Lachlan Hughes a trip to Cairo in Egypt in April.

The 15-year-old Wanganui Cullinane College Year 11 student has been selected to represent New Zealand at the Under-21 World Golf Croquet Championships after his two handicap and consistent form attracted the attention of the national selectors during a junior coaching school in Wellington last October.

Hughes got into the game through his grandparents Mary and Murray McNae from Marton as an 11-year-old and ever since he has demolished most of his older rivals on the Wanganui Croquet Club greens in Parsons St in St Johns Hill.

"My grandad is a former winner of the North Island champs and he and my grandmother got me into the game. I love it," Hughes said yesterday.

Golf Croquet may not be a mainstream sport, particularly for youngsters, but Hughes has found his niche and last year won the Olly Shield for juniors and intermediate players in Wanganui after going unbeaten in nine straight games.

"I think accuracy and tactics are my strongest points. Tactics is a big part of the game."

Hughes and his mother Rachael will be teaming up against the grandparents in a tournament this weekend.

Then he will be busy fundraising for the $5000 needed for the Egyptian trip in April.

"There were six of us selected for the U-21 New Zealand team, but there's only three of us going - myself, one from Timaru and one from Oamaru. The others couldn't afford it. I will be selling chocolates and hosting a few barbecues and we have already written letters asking for sponsorship to several local businesses," Hughes said.

During the world championships in Cairo, 36 teams from eight countries will compete, although Hughes said he was unsure where New Zealand stood in the global pecking order.

- Wanganui Chronicle

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