When Phyllis Young staved off the challenge from Kate McLoughlin for a 2-0 victory in the plate final of the Women's Golf Croquet World Championship in Hastings today pleasant memories came flooding back.
"Actually, many years ago, my mother and I played the New Zealand Autumn Foursomes in golf at Cambridge and we won that," said Young, of Morrinsville, after she beat McLoughlin 7-4, 7-6 on the final day of the sixth edition of the championship held at the Heretaunga Croquet Club in Havelock North.
"She was so delighted to think that she played alongside her daughter and won something," said the grandmother of her mother, the late Islay Garland.
Young recounted those memories in juxtaposing that day with today when her daughter, Dallas Cooke, of Mt Maunganui, also collected a salver in clinching the shield section after overwhelming Mona Hegazi, of Egypt, 7-4, 7-1 in the final.
To cap it off, Young's husband, Geoff, was the championship manager throughout the eight days here and Cooke's daughter, Ashley Cooke, 29, also of Mt Maunganui, was in the field of 52 competitors at the four-yearly event that lured eight nations.
"That's the same feeling I have about playing alongside my daughter and granddaughter because it is quite special to be able to do that," said Phyllis Young, beaming from ear to ear before the family attended the prizegiving ceremony tonight.
The retired dairy farmers used to be avid amateur golfers but she had to give it up due to a neck injury.
That prompted her to look for an alternative and Geoff's parents' croquet lawn beckoned so the sporty couple gave it a shot in 1984 at the district Kereone Croquet Country Club.
"I really liked it because you're playing a stationary ball with a mallet," said the former 10 handicapper.
Five years after cracking coloured balls through the hoops the Youngs decided to establish a croquet lawn of their own on their farm. It became an ideal platform for socialising, sometimes starting at 9am and ending close to 6pm.
When Dallas Cooke, now an office administrator, was courting her then fiance, Keith Cooke, he looked over the fence of the Mt Maunganui Croquet Club and suggested to her he was keen to give it a shot.
Coincidentally Ashley Cooke "grew up on the croquet lawn", said Young.
"I can remember Ashley in her pushchair with all her grandparents pushing her around while her mother [Dallas] was playing," she said of her granddaughter who is the duty manager at the Coffee Club in Tauranga.
It was Young's fifth women's world championship here, three for Ashley but Dallas Cooke has done all six.
Young's best finish was seventh in the knockout division at the Mt Maunganui world championship in 2011.
"Dallas and I have been together to Egypt and Dublin [Ireland] and Australia several times to play croquet and you get to meet such lovely people," she said.
However, Young isn't sure if she would be up to another women's world championship in four years although she is prepared to take stock in two years to see how her body holds up.
She said it seemed players who gravitated towards croquet tournaments tended to enjoy the competitiveness the code offered.
For the record, Young has always been the better player than her husband, whether it was golf or croquet.
"He went out in the first round of the over-50s one day and his granddaughter turned around and said to him, 'Oh granddad, you're the best of the worst'," she said with a laugh.
On a serious note, Young said she and Geoff were fortunate to have had almost similar handicaps because it made the competition even more enjoyable together.
"The competition was always fierce because we all tried to beat one another."
Maha El Derdiri, an English schoolteacher from Cairo, took the bowl section honours when she beat New Zealand women's golf croquet champion and World Under-21 Open Championship-bound Ellie Ross, of Nelson 7-5, 5-7, 7-6 in the final.
In the battle of the Bay, Helen Reeves, of Hastings, beat former national croquet association champion Sonya Sedgwick, of Haumoana, 7-6, 7-6 in the bowl Z section.
From the eighth and final day:
Knockout final: Soha Mostafa (Eg) bt Manal Khoudier (Eg) 7-1, 5-7, 7-3 7-4.
Knockout 3 & 4, final: Iman El Faransawi (Eg) bt Jenny Clarke (NZ) 7-5, 7-4.
Knockout Z: Maram Nabil (Eg) bt Alison Sharpe (Aus) 3-7, 7-5, 7-5.
Knockout Z final: Shadin Oukasha (Eg) bt Maram Nabil (Eg) 7-4, 4-7, 7-3.
Shield final: Dallas Cooke (Mt Maunganui) bt Mona Hegazi (Eg) 7-4, 7-1.
Bowl final: Maha El Derdiri (Eg) bt Ellie Ross (Nelson) 7-5, 5-7, 7-6.
Bowl Z final: Helen Reeves (HB) bt Sonya Sedgwick (HB) 7-6, 7-6.
Bowl ZZ: Cheryl Bromley (USA) bt Sandra Knuth (USA) 7-6, 6-7. 7-6; Sandra Knuth (USA) bt Perihan Elwaei (Eg) 7-6, 6-7, 7-6; Cheryl Bromley (USA) bt Karen Magee (Aus) 2-7, 7-4, 7-4.
Bowl 3 & 4: Kate Logan (Aus) bt Jayne Stevens (Eng) 7-5, 3-7, 7-4.
Plate knockout: Kate McLoughlin (Aus) bt Virginia Arney (Aus) 7-6, 4-7, 7-6; Phyllis Young (Morrinsville) bt Sue Roberts 7-6, 7-4; Annie Henry (NZ) bt Rosemary Newsham (Aus) 3-7, 7-6, 7-5; 5 – 8: Sue Roberts (NZ) bt Annie Henry (NZ) 7-4, 7-4; Phyllis Young (Morrinsville) bt Anne Woodhouse 7-6, 7-6.
Plate final: Phyllis Young (Morrinsville) bt Kate McLoughlin (Aus) 7-4, 7-6.