Croquet New Zealand was saddened to learn that CNZ Life Member Paul Skinley passed away this afternoon.
Although Paul often said he learnt croquet while in his pram accompanying his mother when she was playing at Rangatira Croquet Club in Dannevirke, Paul began to play seriously at the tender age of 11. Quickly developing his own style, Paul ascended the player rankings in New Zealand winning his first North Island Open singles title in 1974.
Paul enjoyed a decorated career which included three NZ Open Singles titles (1980, 1981 and 1985) and was runner-up another three times, the most recent being in 2016. Along with his singles titles, Paul also won the NZ Open doubles on two occasions in 1995 and 1997 pairing with Dr Steve Jones both times.
Paul was selected in the New Zealand MacRobertson Shield team seven times (1979, 1982, 1986, 1990, 1993, 1996, 2000 and 2006) however due to an injury was unable to compete in the 2006 event. During his tenure in the team, New Zealand won the MacRobertson Shield twice, in 1979 and 1986.
Paul’s prolific playing career was recognised as he was part of the initial group to be inducted in the CNZ Hall of Fame in 2015.
The contribution to croquet goes far beyond just his playing prowess as Paul has left his mark across the national, regional and club level of the game. Paul has served on the Executive / Committee for CNZ, Wellington Croquet Association and of course the Wellington Municipal Croquet Club which he joined in 1978. From hoop setting to coaching have a go session, Paul’s vibrant, happy personality was infectious and ensured everyone felt welcomed and would develop a love of croquet.
It would be impossible to list all that Paul has done for croquet but in recognition of his enormous contribution, Paul was made a Life Member of Wellington Municipal Croquet Club in 2005, Wellington Croquet Association in 2015 and Croquet New Zealand in 2019.
Paul’s passion and love for croquet spanned over 5 decades. He was a towering and beloved figure and he will be sorely missed.
Our thoughts are with Paul’s family and friends at this difficult time.