Stephen Mulliner

Hall of Fame
Stephen Mulliner

Born: 4 September 1953
Inducted: 2012

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Stephen Mulliner discovered "serious" croquet as an undergraduate at Emmanuel College, Cambridge in 1975.  An early opportunity to see Keith Wylie in action and the discovery that croquet had an international dimension in the form of the MacRobertson Shield contest cemented his interest and ensured that croquet would displace golf and become his principal competitive recreation.  He confirmed his place at the top level of the game by winning the President's Cup for the first time in 1981 and enjoyed a decade-long rivalry with Nigel Aspinall until the late 1980's which saw the arrivial on the scene of a new generation of first-class players.  For over twenty years, Stephen has remained in contention with the younger stars and shows no sign of losing his competitive edge, culminating in victory in the 2016 Association Croquet World Championship in West Palm Beach, Florida at the age of 62.  In 2000, he began to compete in the British Open Golf Croquet Championship and now plays both AC and GC with equal enthusiasm.

Stephen has travelled widely in pursuit of international competitition and won the first three of the Sonoma-Cutrer championships in 1986 to 1988. He achieved his goal of representing Great Britain in 1982 when GB regained the MacRobertson Shield in Australia and has since appeared on seven further occasions.  He is, so far, the only player to have won the singles and doubles AC championships of Australia, England, New Zealand and the USA. He has also won AC or GC national championships in Austria, Germany, Ireland, Japan, Spain and Switzerland and has won numerous European Championships in both codes.  He has also competed in Egypt, France, Italy, Scotland, South Africa and Sweden.

Shortly after Stephen became a presence on the tournament circuit in the late 1970s, he began to develop a grading system for croquet players that was based on the Elo System used for chess.   The system gradually became an established service to the playing community and grading lists were published annually in the Croquet Gazette.  Stephen single-handedly maintained the AC grading system until the mid-1990s when Chris Williams offered to help and handed over responsibility completely in 1997.  In 2007, he took over the GC grading system from Bill Arliss and has maintained it ever since.

Stephen joined the CA Council in 1980 and quickly became an active and vocal contributor, serving as chairman of several committees, as Sponsorship Officer for several years and then as Chairman of Council from 1990 to 1992.  With Nigel Aspinall, he was responsible for the introduction of seeding in major events and, to meet rising demand, the extension of the Open Championship from its traditional six day format to the today's nine day format.  He was elected a Vice-President of the CA in 2001.   A lawyer by training, Stephen has always had a keen interest in the AC Laws and GC Rules.  He played a major role in the production of the 6th Edition in 2000 and was the original author of ORLC (the Official Rulings on the Laws of Croquet).  He was appointed as the CA representive on the WCF Golf Croquet Rules Committee in 2017 and served as Editor of the 5th Edition of the WCF Rules of Golf Croquet which were approved by the WCF Council in July 2018.  His administative interests became international when he was elected President of the European Croquet Federation in 1998 and were further extended when he was elected to the World Croquet Federation Management Committee in 2009.  He became the Secretary-General of the WCF in 2013 and was re-appointed for a further four-year term in 2017.

Stephen has always found great enjoyment in playing, supporting and administering both codes of the game.   A wonderful temperament, good sportsmanship and excellent demeanor have made him the perfect ambassador for the sport of croquet.

Playing achievements

Association Croquet

President's Cup winner: 1981, 1983, 1986, 1987, 1992 and a record 40 appearances from 1978 to 2018

British Open Champion: 1988, 1990, 2000 and 42 consecutive appearance from 1977 to 2018

British Doubles Champion: 1980, 1981, 1984, 1986, 1988, 1994, 1997, 2000, 2010

British Men's Champion: 1984, 1985

World Champion: 2016, finalist 1997 and 2008, semi-finalist 1989 and 1995

European Champion: 1993, 1994, 1995, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2008, 2009, 2011, 2013

Australian Open Champion: 2009

Australian Open Doubles Champion: 2009

New Zealand Open Champion: 2009

New Zealand Open Doubles Champion: 2000

US National Singles Champion: 2011

US National Doubles Champion: 2011

Golf Croquet

British Open Champion: 2000, 2001, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2016

British Doubles Champion: 2006, 2007, 2010, 2016, 2017

English National Singles Champion: 2012, 2014

Musks Cup winner: 2015

European Champion: 2007, 2009, 2013, 2015

Spanish Open Champion: 2015

World Championship: semi-finalist 2000, 2006, 2015

 [Updated September 2018]

Ian Wright

Hall of Fame
Ian Howard Wright

Born 1924.
Died 2016.
Inducted: 2012

Ian Howard Wright was one of Scotland's top players at his peak and the most influential of the pioneers that helped the formation of the Scottish Croquet Association in 1974.

As croquet in Scotland expanded after the CA Centenary in 1967, Ian was one of the prime movers in the setting-up of the Scottish Croquet Committee as part of the Croquet Association.  This organised competitive croquet in Scotland, from whose numbers came the next three winners of the All-England Handicap, and included setting up the Edinburgh Week Tournament in 1969, which has been run annually during the Edinburgh Festival since 1972.

When it became apparent that the Scottish Sports Council (now sportScotland) would support sports only with autonomous National Governing Bodies, Ian used his contacts and influence in the CA to initiate the amicable secession of the Scottish Croquet Committee and its rebirth as the independent Scottish Croquet Association.  He was also a key figure in getting the 1974 New Zealand MacRobertson Shield team to play a warm-up match against Scotland, an event which further stimulated Scottish competitive croquet.  While Ian did not do all of this alone, he has continued to be involved with Scottish croquet for 45 years and, particularly in the East of Scotland, he has been known as the "Father of Scottish Croquet".

Ian was awarded Life Membership of the Scottish Croquet Assocaiation in November 2011 in recognition of his contributions to Scottish Croquet. These contributions, in turn, have furthered the WCFs objectives, and therefore the Scottish Croquet Association nominated Ian for induction into the WCF Hall of Fame.

 

Garth Eliassen

Hall of Fame
Garth Eliassen

Inducted: 2012

Garth Eliassen is an American writer and newsletter editor who founded and edited the National Croquet Calendar, the first independent croquet publication in the USA.  The Calendar was a newsletter that was published from 1985 to 2012 and devoted itself to comprehensive coverage of the American and international croquet scene.

Before the advent of the internet, the Calendar was the publication of record for American croquet which knitted together the far-flung world of American croquet. The Calendar ceased publication in 2012 because Eliassen wished to retire from his one-man show and because the internet had taken over much the immediacy of his coverage.

Garth Eliassen also invented the most revolutionary tactic in American USCA rules, the "Chernoybl opening".  Before the "Chernoybl" appeared, American players brought all balls into the game on the first four turns.  Eliassen realized that by keeping the yellow ball (the fourth ball) out the game would be transformed, and it was. Today the majority of high-level USCA rules games see the "Chernoybl" employed, and the tactic has evolved into numerous permutations.

Charles Jones

Hall of Fame
Charles Edmund Jones

Born: 1953
Died: 2011
Inducted: 2013

Charles started playing croquet at the Rangimarie Croquet Club here in Westport when he was nine or ten  He was a regular competitor at the national level from the mid-seventies to early 2000.

However, Charles’ greatest contribution to croquet was on the administration and support side.  Charles was the preferred team manager for Trans-Tasman and Mac Robertson Shield teams.  Charles’ team management skills were impressive.  He was chief cook and bottle washer, mentor and organiser.  NZ teams’ success over the last sixteen years owe a great deal to Charles’ commitment and support.

Charles convened the association croquet selectors’ panel for many years.  He had a good eye for talent and many young players have acknowledged,  in recent days, the important role Charles played in their development as elite players.  Charles gave the same attention to encouraging and supporting recreational players.  He also held senior leadership positions in the Wellington and Canterbury Associations and was a regular attender at Croquet NZ AGMs.  Charles was elected CNZ President in 1999 serving for four years and his tenure saw the start of CNZ’s moves to establish a strong national office supporting the game throughout the country.  Golf Croquet was becoming popular and Charles’ efforts made sure that the game became an important part of NZ croquet scene. He played a pivotal role in putting the game’s administration on a more professional basis.  Charles’ contribution was acknowledged when he joined the small band of life members of the CNZ in 2010.  

Charles’ contribution to international croquet was not limited to managing NZ teams.  He played at both golf and association world championships.  He refereed and managed at a number of international events from 2002 to earlier this year.  He joined the World Croquet Federation’s management committee in 2004 and was elected WCF President in 2010, becoming the second New Zealander to take this role since the establishment of the WCF in 1989. 

Charles contribution to international croquet administration is summarised perfectly by Martin French, the WCF Secretary General.

Charles’ forthright, honest and often colourful contributions to these discussions and to the vigorous e-mail traffic generated by his Management Committee colleagues played a significant part in energising the work of the committee.  He deserves much of the credit for the significant improvement in the relationship between the Management Committee and the larger WCF member countries over the last year.

It didn’t matter whether Charles was in Cairo, Cheltenham or Christchurch; the room lit up when he came in and the stories started.  Charles was awarded the Queen’s Service Medal for public services.  It could equally have been awarded for services to the community. Not all of us have an opportunity to contribute in as many areas as did Charles.  Charles seized all his opportunities and gave it his best.  It is not just the croquet world that is better for it.  

George Latham

Hall of Fame
George Frederick Latham

Born: 1941
Died: 2010
Inducted: 2012

George Latham was a devotee of croquet and a stalwart of the sport in Victoria and Australia as a player, coach, administrator, innovator and visionary.

George, who was an accomplished sportsman in other areas including hockey, cricket, Australian football, orienteering and marathon running, came to croquet in 1975 when he joined the Essendon (Victoria) club, of which he was later made a Life Member.

As a player, George developed to the point that he held:
. many Victorian titles and team memberships from 1984-2000
. Australian Men's Singles Championship in 1983,1984,1987, 1988, and 1990;
. Australian Open Singles Championship title in 1984 and 1985;
. Australian Open Doubles Championship in 1987, 1988, 1990 and 1991
. Australian Golf Croquet Open Singles Championship in 2002;
. Australian Golf Croquet Handicap Doubles Championship in 2000;
. the British Bronze Medal in 1984 and the Silver Medal in 1986; and
. represented Australia in the MacRobertson Shield in 1986 and 1990, at the WCF World Championships 1989 and 1990, and as a  member of the 1991 Trans-Tasman Team.
 
George was the coach of the 1996, 2003 and 2006 MacRobertson Shield teams, coached the Victorian teams during 2000-2004 and was appointed National Development Squad Coach 2000-06.  At his death, he was the Victorian Director of Coaching and had just completed sessions to reaccredit coaches in eastern Victoria.

George also contributed to the sport as a referee and as an Australian selector in 1992, 1993 and 2000-2004, and as a Victorian selector 2008-2009.

As an administrator, George had a fine record, being:
. President of Essendon Croquet Club in 1984-85 and 2006-07, as well as periods as Secretary, Club Captain, Club Coach, Handicapper and Greenkeeper;
. Secretary of Brunswick Croquet Club 1993-96, President 1997-99
. Senior Vice-President of Victorian Croquet Association 1996-1998, President 1998-2001 and Secretary 2004-2010;
. Vice-President of the Australian Croquet Association in  2001-04

George developed Aussie Croquet as a simplified form of the game for schools and instigated the Croquet Victoria schools program and the Croquet Victoria Schools Championships.

George's vision made him the driving force behind the sale of the previous Croquet Victoria headquarters at Warleigh Grove, Brighton and the construction and development of the current Victorian Croquet Centre with its 12 courts at Cairnlea.

His epitaph, as voiced by his widow, Marion, is "croquet nut".