Sport, this game's on for young and old

TRADITIONALLY known as an old ladies' game, croquet is making a comeback, with teenagers among the latest star recruits.

Australia's No.1-ranked association player and world No.2, Robert Fletcher, 19, will contest the Australian Croquet Championships in Brisbane this week.

His brothers - Malcolm, 17, and Greg, 20 - will also compete at the event, jointly hosted by the Toombul and Windsor croquet clubs.

''It's a mentally challenging game,'' Fletcher said of croquet's appeal. ''It's a bit like chess - very tactically challenging.''

Fletcher said competitors could range from their early 20s to their mid-60s. ''Everyone puts in a lot of training and players are just as competitive when they're 60 as they are in their 20s,'' he said.

The Queensland Croquet Association president, Doug Williams, said while the top-ranking stars of the game were relatively young, their age was not typical of most players.

''The age of players has got younger - these days it's from about the mid-50s upwards,'' he said.

The strategy of croquet was what usually attracted younger players, Williams said.

''We call it a combination of three sports: the exercise of golf, the eye-hand co-ordination of snooker and the tactics of chess.''

The Australian Doubles Championship started in Brisbane on Saturday, with the Open Singles due to start on November 21.

The story Sport, this game's on for young and old first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.

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