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Croquet - The Modern Game

Croquet Internationally                 Countries playing Croquet today     Croquet In the UK

Who is playing Croquet today ?       Why should I play Croquet ?     Croquet in the Community

Where is croquet played in South West UK                Croquet Player Numbers Worldwide

Croquet Internationally

The World Croquet Federation (WCF) is the International governing body for Croquet with a membership of 22 countries across five continents.  It publishes a newsletter world-wide every six months, circulates press releases to editors of national croquet magazines and has a regular column in most.  It produces literature for member associations, maintains a list of international contacts and co-ordinates the sport using all technologies (Email, Fax, Internet).

Croquet was a "demonstration sport" at the World Games in Karlsruhe in 1989.

Ten world championships have been held including the first in 1989. The first world championship comprised players from Australia, Canada, England, Ireland, Japan, New Zealand, Scotland, USA and Wales (winner New Zealand).  Since then world championships have been held in UK, USA, France, Australia, Italy and Egypt. Sponsors have include Continental Airlines, Jaguar Cars (US), English Sports Council, Favre, and Warwick District Council.

WCF world championships have attracted over £100,000 of sponsorship and grants, resulting in publicity for national associations and the provision of improved playing facilities such as new courts and clubhouse extensions.

In March 2001, there were 639 world ranked players.


One of the more exciting developments in world croquet is America's National Croquet Centre in West Palm Beach, Florida.  This is a 10-acre site comprising 12 lawns and a 19,000 square foot building complex housing a museum, staff HQ, Pro shop, members lounge, restaurant and meeting rooms.  Cost so far has been over 2 million USD, final cost about 5 million USD.  The courts opened for play in November 2000. (Picture below)

The lawns as they are now

Bob Alman (left),
Acting Director of Marketing and Community Relations,
is living in Palm Beach for several months helping to launch the new Center.

Archie Peck (right),
Director of Croquet,
seeing the lawns filled with players in two separate events in its first day, commented, "It doesn't get any better than this

What the final building should look like when completed - building work is in progress at the moment (June 2001)
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Countries with currently active Croquet Associations include: -

Australia Belgium Canada Egypt
England France Germany Guernsey
Holland Ireland Isle of Man Japan
Jersey Netherlands New Zealand Russia
Scotland South Africa Spain Switzerland
USA Wales    
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Croquet In the UK

The governing body in the UK is The Croquet Association (CA) founded in 1897, now based at The Hurlingham Club in London.

In 1985, financial help from the Sports Council enabled the Croquet Association to employ a National Development Officer for the first time.  A National Coaching Scheme has been set up and over 100 official coaches have been appointed.

Nowadays croquet is played in many schools as part of the sports curriculum and the Croquet Association's National Schools Championship has become a regular feature of the tournament calendar.

In 1986, the Croquet Association introduced the "Croquet Classic", a tournament especially designed for garden players. More experienced players (those with an official handicap) are barred from competing.  Over 500 players take part in this competition each year.

Many clubs in the UK have their own active web-sites, as does the CA and WCF

The Association is divided into 9 Federations, corresponding with the Sports Council regions, in order to facilitate co-ordinated development of the sport.

The regional Federations run leagues and tournaments, provide coaching, support clubs with loan equipment, with development plans & grant applications and provide contact with CA council.

There are over 120 clubs registered with the CA in England alone (Ireland, Scotland and Wales have their own associations) and many run nationally advertised tournaments.

In 2000, there were over 1600 individual players registered with the CA (although there are many more unregistered players).

In March 2001, there were 278 ranked players in the UK.

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Who is playing Croquet today ?

Just about anyone !

Ages from about 13 years upward, sometimes younger, with no sex discrimination (although ladies-only events do exist). There are no physical fitness requirements.

Many of the best players these days are young with the top players in England coming largely from the 20-35 age group.  There are National Student and Junior championships.

Many handicapped people are also able to play and all croquet venues attempt to cater for this - indeed new projects have to provide facilities as a condition of planning permissions and finance.

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Why should I play Croquet?

Croquet has much strength both as a Sport and as a Game: -

Croquet is not one game but a whole range of different games from which one variation can be chosen that will suit virtually all ages and all abilities.

There are variations of the sport (game formats) suitable for all shades of competitiveness and social relaxation as well as game lengths (time).

It can be played on very well prepared and flat lawns to well defined rules and will involve high levels of skill and tactical decisions.

Alternatively it can still be played on more 'ordinary' lawns of miscellaneous shapes and sizes to local 'home brewed' rules and will provide an excellent social game.

Playing requires delicate skill rather than strength and tactical ability rather than quick physical reflexes - it has been described as a mix of Chess and Snooker played on a Bowling Green.

A good handicapping system allows for good sport between unequally skilled opponents.  Therefore, it can be played successfully at varying skill levels.

National and local club competitions are arranged to take advantage of this.

Croquet is an all year round sport - weather and court surface permitting - in fact, it is often played in the rain in the UK !

Some facilities exist for outdoor play on artificial surfaces and indoor play on carpets but this is not yet common.

Croquet can be ideal for those coming from a more strenuous (moving ball) sport, which they can no longer play for physical reasons.

At a competitive level, the game can be very advanced - the "inner game" is prominent as in all competitive sports.

There are currently over 100 tournaments held each year in the UK, a mixture of weekend, 3 day and week-long events.

As a 'game' rather than a 'sport' it can be most satisfying as some formats are aimed at gentle relaxation with all players on court simultaneously, allowing much social interaction.

Croquet is a comparatively cheap sport to participate in - flat soles shoes are the only requirement - clubs will always provide playing equipment.

There is plenty of lawn capacity for new players and most clubs welcome new members and players,
especially in Cornwall !
    

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Croquet in the Community

Croquet enhances the local community : -

Most clubs run regular sessions both as 'croquet tasters' and as 'social outings' for other local organisations.

Open days and Coaching Courses are advertised and run, thus adding to the choice of sporting activities for local people as well as increasing the profile and membership of croquet clubs.

Croquet demonstrations have taken place in public places, like shopping centres, to introduce croquet and allow the public to 'have a go'.

Some schools and colleges have included croquet in end of term activities, allowing students to see and try another sport.

Charitable support. In 2000, for example, Croquet (nationally) raised funds for Childline. Local clubs raised money in any way they chose during the year and there was a successful National Day on May 7th.

A Croquet Club can be a great way to spend leisure time in good company.

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Why is Croquet not more popular ?

Croquet has changed, along with most active sports, over the years.

Regrettably the game is still seen by many as a geriatric and snobbish pastime but this could not be further from the truth with the top players in England coming largely from the 20-35 age group and all walks of life.

Never the less, croquet enthusiasts have failed to make the sport 'interesting' to the public.

There are, however, other game formats for the sport, which are more accessible to the spectator and the croquet community is now trying to modify these to make them more interesting to watch.

One of these formats, called Golf Croquet, had its third World Championship at Leamington Spa in 1998 and the speed and accuracy of strokes clearly astonished many spectators.

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A few website URLs: -

www.wcfcroquet.org www.croquet.org.uk
users.ox.ac.uk/~croquet/ www.croquetamerica.com
www.croquetworld.com www.croquet.com
www.croquet.org.nz www.swfcroquet.org.uk
www.croquet.ru www.oxfordcroquet.com
more links here  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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