Salah Hassan

Hall of Fame

Salah Hassan
Born: 1964
Inducted: 2020

Salah Hassan was born in Egypt and discovered Golf Croquet in 1982 when two friends invited him to try the game at the Shooting Club, one of the leading sports clubs in Cairo.  He was immediately attracted to the game and it was to become his main recreational activity for the next four decades.  He was willing to practice intensively for up to five hours a day and soon became an active competitor in the many annual team and individual tournaments organised by the Egyptian Croquet Federation.

He won the Egyptian Singles Championship in 1996 and 2001, the Men’s Doubles Championship in 1998 (with Ahmed El Mahdy) and 2000 (with Mohammed Essam) and the Mixed Doubles Championship (with Nahed Hassan) in 1999.

Egypt joined the World Croquet Federation (“WCF”) in 1996 and the reputation of its players as the best exponents of Golf Croquet in the world helped to raise the profile of the game in the more traditional croquet countries which had hitherto regarded Association Croquet as the only serious competitive form of croquet.

The WCF held the first Golf Croquet World Championship in Italy in 1996 and followed it four further World Championships in 1997, 1998, 2000 and 2002.  These were dominated by Khaled Younis (EGY), the winner in 1996, 1998 and 2002, and by Salah, who was World Champion in 1998 and 2000.

Salah also reached the final of the Golf Croquet World Championship in 2002 and 2006 and, shortly after his 50th birthday, won the Over-50 Golf Croquet World Championship in 2014.

In recent years, Salah has focused on coaching the younger Egyptian players such as Karim Ghamry, Amr El Ibiary and Mohamed Karem, who reached the final of the Golf Croquet World Championship in 2019.

Jenny Clarke

Hall of Fame

Jenny Clarke
Inducted: 2020

Jenny Clarke (New Zealand) began playing croquet whilst studying for her PhD in the UK at Oxford University in the 1990’s, becoming a regular player on the UK tournament circuit the following decade and becoming an accomplished A-Class player. She returned home to Christchurch in her native New Zealand, where she still lives with her husband Chris Clarke who she married in 2008. She is a life member of the Canterbury Croquet Association and the United Croquet Club.

Jenny plays both AC and GC and won the Women’s AC World Championship in 2012.  The GC title has always eluded her but she has two silver and three bronze medals in this event. She has been a member of the New Zealand AC and GC Test Teams for many years.  In addition to various Trans Tasman matches, she has made three appearances in the MacRobertson Shield including the victorious 2014 team and as captain of the 2017 team. She was also a member of the victorious Openshaw Shield team of 2016, only she and her husband have won both the AC and GC World Team Championships.

Jenny has won various open and women’s domestic titles both in NZ and the UK but her stand-out titles at this level are her three Australian Open Singles titles in 2010, 2018 and 2019.

Whilst it is her playing success which is particularly noteworthy, Jenny, who is a lecturer in Sport Science at Canterbury University, is also an accomplished coach. She coaches both AC and GC at an international level, has developed a coaching website and introduced the athlete-centred coaching methodology to croquet. She has also spent a good deal of time honing her own skills including changing from playing right to left handed in the midst of her career.

In addition to the many titles she has won, Jenny has regularly been the number 1 ranked female player at both AC and GC throughout the past 15 years and has also achieved the highest AC grade of any woman since the rankings began. Jenny is without doubt the outstanding female croquet player of her generation.

Jose Alvarez-Sala

Hall of Fame

Jose Alvarez-Sala

Born: 1953

Inducted: 2020

Prof. José Luis Álvarez-Sala Walther established in 1994, together with two close family members, the Spanish Croquet Association, that was registered in the Spanish National Register of Sport Associations. Since then, up to the present time, Prof. José Luis Álvarez-Sala Walther has been President for the 25 years plus of history of this Association, turned into Spanish Croquet Federation in 2015. Shortly after its establishment, Prof. José Luis Álvarez-Sala Walther, achieved its integration in the European Croquet Federation (number 11 of 20 countries), as well as the status of “Observer Member” in the WCF that same year (number 18 of 29 countries), becoming first “Associate Member” in 2007 and later, in 2012 “Full Member” (with two votes, four votes in 2018 and six in 2020).

From 2002 to 2006, Prof. José Luis Álvarez-Sala Walther was member of the Management Committee of the European Croquet Federation.Since the very first, Prof. José Luis Álvarez-Sala Walther worked towards making this sport known in Spain, particularly in Asturias, organizing tournaments and events to draw new players. In 1995 he organized the I Spanish Championship of AC Croquet (currently this event has reached 26 editions).In the following years (1996-2006), the growth of croquet in Spain was more than remarkable, increasing to nearly 300 the number of FEC affiliations and a Spanish player participating for the first time in 1996 in the IV European Championship. This growth was associated with an improvement in the level of play of the Spanish representatives that, again, in 2005 and 2009, made it into a World Championship of AC Croquet in Cheltenham (England) and Palm Beach (USA).FEC hosted in 1999, as well as in 2004, the two first Open Championships (AC) contested in Spain. These two events augured, without a doubt, the important future that (it already was obvious) was in store for croquet in Spain.As a consequence of the efforts of Prof. José Luis Álvarez-Sala Walther at the head of the Spanish Croquet Federation, croquet continued its expansion and, since 2010, croquet lawns were built in different regions of Spain, more so in the South (Andalucía) and in Madrid.On the other hand, Spain continued to participate in all major international competitions, and it is to be pointed out the exponential growth nationally, as well as the increasing recognition of the Spanish Croquet Federation abroad.

In 2012 (Egypt) and 2016 (England) Spain won a place at the World Championships of GC Croquet, and was able to make it into the Tier 2.1 of the World Championship of AC Croquet (England) in 2014.The work of Prof. José Luis Álvarez-Sala Walther has been commended in several occasions, one of them being the Award for contribution to sports that he received in 2015 from the Spanish Olympic Committee (“COE”).Also, in 2017 (the same year in which two Spanish players became European champions of AC and GC croquet), the Spanish Croquet Federation presented Prof. José Luis Álvarez-Sala Walther with a commemorative award as proof of sincere gratitude for his efforts and selfless dedication to croquet in Spain.In addition, that same year, Prof. José Luis Álvarez-Sala Walther established, under the patronage of the Spanish Croquet Federation, the Spanish Croquet Academy. Its aims and functions being to promote the practice of croquet, to impart initiation lessons and improve the level of Spanish players, and to prepare referees and trainers to promote the development of croquet in Spain.For all these efforts and for his constant support and promotion of croquet, in 2018 Prof. José Luis Álvarez-Sala was again recognized by the COE as sports ambassador and promoter of healthy lifestyles. This recognition was, without doubt, one of the most representative of his sport’s achievements and we believe is a solid ground upon which to base the definition of the tireless effort of Prof. José Luis Álvarez-Sala Walther as a major supporter of development and promotion of croquet in Spain, strongly recommended as a healthy sport to be incorporated into our regular activities.

In 2019, the Spanish Croquet Federation, under the direction of Prof. José Luis Álvarez-Sala Walther, organized the 2nd GC Spanish Open Championship (the first being in 2015), attended by elite international players. Reg Bamford, Khaled Younis, Stephen Mulliner, Ahmed El Mahdi, Lionel Tibble, Robert Stafeckis and Sherif Abdelwahab, among others, participated in this championship that was won by a Spanish player.In the year 1994, at the beginning of this adventure, croquet had barely 30 affiliates and only one regulation lawn.

As a result of Prof. José Luis Álvarez-Sala Walther’s persistence (together with other enthusiasts, clubs and FEC MC members in the 25 years of this presidency since its establishment) the numbers in August 2020 are significantly different: nearly 1,400 affiliates and more than 26 regulation lawns (and the same number under construction), with croquet becoming more and more a common practice in Spain. Currently, Spanish croquet can boast more than 40 international players, understanding as such those that have officially represented Spain having been selected by the Spanish Croquet Federation. Similarly, if at the beginning the percentage of Spanish players represented a minimum amount of total active players globally, today we can affirm that Spain represents more than 13% of total GC active players in the World, according to the International GC Grading System of the WCF. It also has 4 players in the top 100 in this same modality and one player as number 6 in AC.

Bob Alman

Hall of Fame
Bob Alman

Born: 1939
Inducted: 2020

Bob Alman is a master promoter and organizer of croquet in the USA. He always says “croquet is my life”, and he has devoted himself to the game full-bore. Association Croquet, American Rules, Golf Croquet, backyard croquet: it doesn't matter to Alman. They all get his support.  He has also been an accomplished American Rules player and won a national doubles championship and continued to compete at a high level at that form of the game for many years.

Croquet clubs in most croquet-playing countries are primarily located in public spaces supported by local authorities. This is not the case in the USA. The majority of clubs are located in private country clubs or other venues not readily accessible to the public. When Tom McDonnell shifted his focus to building his own club in Santa Rosa, California, Bob devoted himself to building the San Francisco Croquet Club into the largest public club in the United States.

Bob Alman co-created and produced the San Francisco Open over its multi-decade-long span. At its height this tournament was the most competitive American rules tournament in the United States. Working with the Sonoma-Cutrer Croquet Club and the organizers of the famous association rules invitational there, Alman welcomed and introduced the American version of the game to many of the world’s best players, players such as Bamford, Clarke, Fulford, Lines, Maugham, Prince, Stephens, Lines and others. 

Bob Alman was instrumental in convincing reluctant local authorities to create the Oakland Croquet Club at an under-used bowling club, expanding croquet's footprint in the San Francisco Bay Area. Today the OCC is still thriving.

Alman was appointed the first manager of the USA's National Croquet Center in Palm Springs, Florida. Alman taught and promoted croquet in south Florida, an area with the largest population of croquet players in the United States.

In 1996 Alman created the website Croquet World Online. CWO will be his legacy and a lasting contribution to world croquet.            Alman moulded the website into something nothing seen before, a unique online news and feature croquet news service accessible to everyone in the world. Over the years CWO has covered world croquet in all its variety. It maintains an archive of hundreds of croquet-related stories. At times controversial, CWO strives to include all viewpoints. Not only that, it is highly entertaining to read.

Alman is now in his early eighties and continues to edit the website almost single-handedly. He is now endeavoring, through a handpicked editorial board, to turn the publication over to a new editor to continue the website through the twenty-first century.

 

Chris Hudson

Hall of Fame
Chris Hudson

Born: 1934
Died: 2015
Inducted: 2020

Chris Hudson, like many people, came to croquet by happy accident.  He had bought a house near Crewe which had a croquet lawn/bowling green, so he joined the Croquet Association (“CA”) so that he could play in tournaments.

The Croquet Secretary at Bowdon, Neil Williams, found out about him and wrote to him in 1973 asking him to join the club, which he did.  He quickly became heavily involved, becoming Croquet Secretary in 1974.  Over the next 42 years of his membership he made an outstanding contribution to the development of croquet in the club, in the UK and internationally.  He served as Bowdon’s Croquet Secretary from 1974 to 1980 and became chairman of the committee in 1981.  Thanks to his recruitment initiatives, the club acquired an enthusiastic team of younger players, many of whom went on to play at the top national and international level or to serve on CA council or to become coaches and referees.

Chris was elected to the  CA Council in 1982 and served as chairman of the Publicity and Development Committee until 1985 when he took on the role of CA Development Officer.  During his 15 years in that role he stimulated many initiatives, not always without controversy, but it is fair to say that his time was a golden period for the development of croquet in the UK.  The National Croquet Classic for garden players and the National Competition for Schools were two of his initiatives, national Junior Championships were started and Short Croquet, which could be played on a tennis court, was introduced.  He edited the Croquet Gazette from 1985 to 1992, modernising the format to widen the appeal with less emphasis on tournament reports and more articles of general interest; many will remember the musings of his regular correspondent, Dolly Rush.  Together with the then CA Secretary, Brian MacMillan, he worked to increase the sponsorship of croquet to the benefit of many major events.

In the early 1990s, Chris became an enthusiast for Golf Croquet (“GC”), which at the time was very much a poor relation of Association Croquet.  GC soon became a major project for him, something not universally popular in some croquet circles.

Chris was heavily involved in the foundation of the WCF, which was initiated by the CA under Andrew Hope’s chairmanship in 1986, and was elected the first Secretary-General in July 1989.  One of his first initiatives was an appeal to supporters worldwide to donate £100 to become a Friend of the WCF, the aim being to raise £25,000 as a reserve.  The response was positive and ensured the future financial stability of the WCF.

Concurrently, Chris had linked with the GC enthusiast, Syd Jones, and they persuaded Samantha Curry at the Ripon Spa Hotel to use the hotel’s croquet facilities to promote international competition.  GC brought a whole new cadre of players into the croquet world who became the economic base for many clubs with the result that GC is now a fundamental part of croquet’s vitality and development.

In 1996, Chris met General Ahmed Hamroush, the President of the Egyptian Croquet Federation.  As a result, Egypt joined the World Croquet Federation, the world was shown a whole new way to play GC and the first GC World Championship was held in Italy in that year.

Chris retired from the WCF in 2001.  During his 12 years of service, he had seen its international membership grow from 12 countries to 22 and assisted with the organisation of eight AC World Championships and four GC World Championships.

Chris was a quiet and self-effacing man.  He just got on with things without any self-publicity and the full extent of his contribution to the development of croquet will probably never be realised.