Bryan Dawson

Hall of Fame
Bryan Dawson

Born: 1946
Inducted: 2019

Bryan Dawson is a resident of Adelaide, South Australia and played Association Croquet competitively from 1988 to 2013. He made regular appearances in the Australian Men’s and Open Championships from the start of his career to the early 2000s and was a stalwart of the South Australian Interstate Team from 1991 to 2011. In 1999, he travelled to the USA to play in the Sonoma-Cutrer and Resort at the Mountain events and, in 2000, represented Australia in the MacRobertson Shield in New Zealand as well as making a second appearance at Sonoma-Cutrer.

However, Bryan made his major contribution to the game of croquet as the maker of the eponymous Dawson Ball, the premier competition croquet ball for over 25 years from 1992. At his Adelaide workshop, he undertook years of painstaking research into the precise mix of plastics and colours required for the cold moulding process that would produce a croquet ball that met the specifications reliably by being perfectly round, robust enough to withstand years of vigorous use and almost totally resilient to temperature changes.

The manufacture of croquet balls had evolved from the use of boxwood at the dawn of the game in the 19th Century to various forms of composition balls in the 20th Century, culminating in the widespread use of the famous “Eclipse” ball manufactured by John Jaques. Unfortunately, the plastic cover of a compressed cork inner became a source of weakness and, from 1980 onwards, a cottage industry of croquet ball manufacturers began to emerge. Names such as Barlow, Walker, Willhoite came and went and, even today, Sunshiny balls are still regularly used. But, without any doubt whatsoever, the ball that steadily took centre stage in almost every croquet-playing country in the world as the 1990s wore on was the Dawson Ball.

The only exception was in Egypt which had been self-sufficient in ball-making for decades. As a Golf Croquet nation, the Egyptians preferred very hard balls and used wooden mallets which were had faces capable of handling the sharp impact of ball on mallet face. However, with the growth of interest in international Golf Croquet came the realisation that Egyptian balls did not suit the new generation of carbon-fibre mallets with brass inserts. The sharpness of the impact of ball on face tended to break the adhesion of the insert to the head. The Egyptian Croquet Federation recognised that it made sense to use Dawson Balls in their own international events not only to suit foreign visitors but also to prepare their own players for using Dawson Balls in world championships. The Dawson Ball can now claim to be genuinely ubiquitous in croquet terms!

As a youngster, Bryan did not excel academically but had a strong mechanical and inventive streak. He joined his father in his cabinet and joinery business and learned the importance of being a perfectionist. Bryan began making croquet mallets even before taking up the game and was then encouraged to turn his attention to making a reliable croquet ball. He adopted the cold moulding process and embarked on continual research over many years on the effect of different components on the colour, resilience and temperature stability of the moulded ball. The Dawson 2000 ball was his final development based on the most accurate metal master ball that he had ever made.

Bryan decided to retire in 2017 and sold the business to Paul Mainwaring, a fellow-South Australian, who has continued Bryan’s work and supplies Dawson Balls all over the world. The contribution of Bryan’s wife, June, should not be overlooked. She played a very important role in supporting Bryan in the running of his business and was particularly responsible for dealing with customers and ensuring the efficient transportation of thousands of sets of Dawson Balls all over the world.

Bryan’s unique contribution to modern croquet will be remembered and appreciated by croquet players for as long as the Dawson Ball continues to be used.

Archie Peck

Hall of Fame
Archie Peck

Born: 1935
Died: 2012
Inducted: 2008

John Archibald McNeil (“Archie”) Peck was an all-round American sportsman who took up croquet in the 1960s and remained devoted to the game for the rest of his life.  Blessed with film-star good looks and a relaxed and affable personality, he became the “glamour boy” of the United States Croquet Association as its founder, Jack Osborn, successfully attracted the East Coast jet set to the charms of the game.  Archie was a natural athlete who played croquet with style, grace and skill and did much to put croquet on the map in America in the 1970s and 1980s.

Archie, who also played tennis and golf among other sports, was the USCA’s leading player for several years.  He won the USCA National Singles Championships in 1977, 1979, 1980 and 1982 and the National Doubles Championships in 1977 and 1979.  He was also the Southern Regional singles champion in 1982, 1983 and 1984, the year he was inducted into the USCA Hall of Fame.

He also played International Rules, as Association Croquet is known in the USA.  Archie enjoyed an international success by winning the Silver Jubilee Cup at the Hurlingham Club open tournament in London in August 1996 and showed that, even at the age of 72, he had not lost his touch by winning the USCA International Rules doubles championship with Steward Jackson in 2007.

After a successful career in West Palm Beach real estate, Archie decided to devote what most people would regard as their retirement years to ensuring that the newly-built 12 lawn National Croquet Center in Florida Mango Drive in West Palm Beach would be a success.  He was appointed Director of Croquet in 2001 at the age of 66 and thereafter gave what seemed to be 100 per cent of his time, talent and energy to ensure the success of the Center and promote the enjoyment of croquet.

He was usually to be found at the Center day and night either working on the lawns or being available to teach, help and encourage other players and newcomers.  He had a gift for understanding how to inspire players and correct their weaknesses with great encouragement.  He made the game fun and always encouraged good sportsmanship.

[Updated August 2017]

Keith Wylie

Hall of Fame
Keith Wylie

Born: 1945
Died: 1999
Inducted: 2008


Keith Francis Wylie grew up in Cambridge, the eldest son of an academic family, and was educated at Winchester and at King's College, Cambridge, where he read mathematics.  It was at Cambridge in the mid-1960s that he began playing croquet, one of a long series of players who took up the game while undergraduates, encouraged by Mrs. Heley, who entertained the university club on her private lawn.  Many of the Cambridge players in the annual Varsity matches against Oxford, a fixture revived in 1961, eventually achieved the highest honours in the game, but Wylie stood out as the most brilliant of them all.

Within five years he had won the three major titles in British croquet, the President's Cup in 1967, the Men's Championship in 1968 and the Open Championship in 1970 where he beat Nigel Aspinall in the final.  Defending the last of these titles in 1971, again facing the formidable Aspinall, he completed a sextuple peel in the second game of the final to complete his victory.  This manoeuvre had never before been achieved in such an important game and it established Wylie as one of the game's greats.  But, by turning down the possibility of selection for the Great Britain MacRobertson Shield team which went to Australia in 1969, he had already demonstrated his reluctance to take croquet too seriously – or, as some would say, seriously enough.

After leaving Cambridge as an undergraduate, he decided to become a barrister and returned to Cambridge in 1975-6 to read Law.  He represented the University in a match against Colchester and was responsible for inspiring Stephen Mulliner to take up croquet seriously.  Keith completed his studies for the Bar in London and joined a set of chambers in Southampton where he spent the rest of his career.  While establishing himself as a barrister he played little during the 1970s but, in 1974, he did play in two Test matches in England and then, in 1977, he again won the President's Cup.  In 1982 he felt able to join the British MacRobertson Shield team which was due to tour Australia.  This was to be his final appearance as a top-ranked player and, in the third Test Match against Australia, he produced another performance to rank with his 1971 triumph.

Australia and Great Britain entered the third and final round of Test Matches with two wins apiece against a New Zealand team weakened by the absence of Bob Jackson and with one victory and one loss to each other.  The destiny of the Shield would be therefore decided by the result of their final Test.  Having led 4-2 after two days, British prospects turned gloomy when they lost the first two matches on the final day and Keith, who had lost to the formidable Neil Spooner by comfortable margins in their first two encounters, also lost the first game of what soon became the deciding match. However, despite having by now lost five consecutive games to Spooner, Keith lifted his perfomance on a most challenging court and took the next two games to win the match and so achieve victory in the Test and in the Series.

Most of his best performances owed much to his coolness under pressure, which in turn appeared to result from his apparent reluctance to take winning, or the game itself, too earnestly. While others could be overwhelmed by the importance of winning or the occasion, he claimed to be more interested in the intellectual challenge that the game's tactics provide. While this attitude may sometimes have lost him games he might have won, it may also have provided the detachment and calmness needed to prevail on the really big occasions.

Keith Wylie coaching Jim Bast at the Nottingham test match in 1985

What is certain is that at his best he was one of the greatest exponents of the game ever seen, and that the ideas so lucidly and entertainingly expressed in his book "Expert Croquet Tactics" (1985) will remain the basis of intelligent thought and discussion of Association Croquet for years to come.

Wylie died in 1999 aged 54.  With his death, croquet lost its then most innovative thinker and the player who did most to confirm it as a game of intelligence and tactics in the latter half of the 20th century.  Keith Wylie truly played "chess on grass".

Bob Jackson

Hall of Fame
Bob Jackson

Born: 23 July 1931
Inducted: 2008
Died: 22 January 2023


Bob Jackson took up croquet in his late thirties after a career representing New Zealand at international table tennis.  He brought a professional attitude to practice that was almost unknown in croquet in the late 1960s and helped him to rise rapidly to the top of the sport.  He became particularly famous for his accurate shooting which was based on a remorseless practice routine.

Bob regarded a 10 yard roquet as a near-certainty at a time when almost every other player regarded it as a long shot.  This ability allowed him to adopt a tactical approach that was as intimidating to his opponents as it was effective.  Woe betide the player who laid up in a corner less than 14 yards from one of Bob’s balls – the roquet would be taken without hesitation and usually hit and a break extracted.  Bob’s method of picking up breaks was both novel and apparently adventurous.  If faced with an angled two yard hoop 1 off an enemy ball, most players of the time would retire to join partner.  Bob would bang the ball through the hoop up to the north boundary, turn round and hit the hoop 2 pioneer to the south boundary and then split that ball to hoop 3 while getting a lengthy rush on the erstwhile hoop 1 pioneer.  He would hit that somewhere in the direction of hoop 2, approach with his trademark crouch roll stroke and leave himself another two yard hoop.  This would also be banged through at high speed but, with the boundary only seven yards away, he had a break once again.

Bob made full use of his single-ball accuracy to help with the completion of peeling turns.  Most players would play split peels to ensure that they could obtain a short rush on the escape ball.  This kept the break going but the pull created by the split shot was liable to jaws the peel or worse and so endanger the completion of the triple.  The Jackson approach used a straight stop-shot to take pull out of the equation and he simply hit whatever roquet was needed afterwards.  This approach was so successful in his hands that he was soon an acknowledged expert at sextuple peels and became the first player to achieve an octuple peel.  He actually completed two consecutive octuples and almost completed a third on the same day.

Bob Jackson won 14 New Zealand Open Championships between 1975 and 2003 and was the runner-up on many other occasions in that period.  He also won 12 New Zealand Men’s Championships between 1977 and 2005 and 11 Senior Invitation Events between 1972 and 2004.  He also won ten New Zealand Open Doubles Championships (nine with Joe Hogan) between 1973 and 1990.

Bob represented New Zealand in the MacRobertson Shield on six occasions (1974, 1979, 1986, 1990, 1993 and 2000).  He was regarded as the best player in the world by many in the period from 1979 to 1986 but what stands out is the longevity of his career at the top of both Association Croquet and Golf Croquet.

He made his last appearance in the 2008 Association Croquet World Championship at the age of 76.  He came second in his block and produced an extraordinary one-ball finish to defeat Jonathan Kirby, a 28-year-old Great Britain MacRobertson Shield player, in the first round of the knock-out stage.  It was an amazing display of skill for someone in his eighth decade.

Two years earlier, Bob had reached the quarter-final of the 2006 Golf Croquet World Championship and, at the 2015 Golf Croquet World Championship, when aged 83, lost a play-off game 7-6 and so just failed to qualify for the knock-out stage.  He is the first player to demonstrate that it is possible to play genuinely top-class Association and Golf Croquet when well over 65.

Bob was also known as an equipment maker for both table tennis and croquet for many years.  In the late 1970s, he began making mallets which had an excellent reputation for robustness and good value and they soon began making their appearance in England and Australia.  He was one of the pioneers of what has since become a worldwide cottage industry.

Bob died in January 2023 and will be sadly missed by his family, friends and croquet players around the world.

Humphrey Hicks

Hall of Fame
Humphrey Hicks

Born: 1904
Died: 1986
Inducted: 2008

Humphrey Hicks was one of three players, the others being Patrick Cotter and John Solomon. who straddled the English game like colossi in the twenty-five years after the Second World War.  They were croquet’s equivalent of golf’s “Great Triumvirate”.

Hicks played with an upright side style and was well-known for the shrewd, defensive tactics that he liked to employ.  Early in his career he had been a skilled triple peeler but he later decided that there were safer and surer tactics available that were more appropriate to the lawn conditions and opponents that he faced.  He displayed great touch and control allied to infinite patience.

John Solomon regarded him as the greatest player who had ever played and enjoyed telling the story of when he and Hicks were touring Australia giving exhibition matches after the 1950-51 MacRobertson Shield tour.  Solomon asked Hicks why he never did triple peels, so Hicks demonstrated that it was nothing to do with inability by reeling off several in succession!

Hicks joined the Croquet Association in 1919 and rapidly became a first-class player, winning his CA Silver Medal in 1928.  Having won the Champion Cup (the predecessor of the President’s Cup) and the Men’s Championship in 1930 and the Open Championship and the Men’s Championship in 1932, he disappeared from croquet until 1939 when he won the Open Championship again.  After the War, he was described as a pike among minnows and, in the period from 1947 to 1952, won the Open Championship a further five times and the Men’s Championship and the President’s Cup three times each.

In addition to his seven wins in the Open Championship, Hicks was also runner-up on seven occasions, the latest being in 1967.  He won a total of nine Men’s Championships between 1930 and 1966 and six President’s Cup between 1930 and 1961.  He also won eight Open Doubles Championships between 1948 and 1973, three Mixed Doubles Championships and the New Zealand Doubles Championship in 1951 with the young John Solomon.  His win in 1973 with John Soutter was an astonishing 43 years after winning his first major CA title, an interval that remains unsurpassed.  Hicks amassed a total of 34 major titles which was headed only by John Solomon and D.D. Steel for the rest of the twentieth century and has only been outdone since by the prolific Robert Fulford.

Hicks represented England in the MacRobertson Shield series in 1950-1 in New Zealand, 1956 in England and 1963 in New Zealand again.

Unlike some top players who lost their enthusiasm when their powers began to wane, Hicks continued to play in tournaments with evident enjoyment into his eighties and was always ready to reminisce about croquet in the 1920s and 1930s.  He reputation as one of the greatest players in the history of croquet remains secure.

Chris Clarke

Hall of Fame
Chris Clarke

Born: 1971
Inducted: 2010

Chris Clarke discovered croquet as a teenager at Queen Elizabeth’s Grammar School, Blackburn.  He rose rapidly to the top of the sport and has won every major event in Association Croquet and several in Golf Croquet.  However, this is only a small part of his overall contribution to the game as he has served in many coaching and administrative positions over the past 30 years.  He moved to live in New Zealand in 2005.

In his playing career, Chris has won every major singles title in Association Croquet, including the World Championship (in 1995 and 2008), the Australian, British and New Zealand Open Championships, the President’s Cup, the British Men’s Championship, the Sonoma-Cutrer World Championship and the New Zealand Silver Tray.

His doubles record is also extraordinary.  He and Robert Fulford are the only players to have held the Australian, British and New Zealand Doubles Championships simultaneously.  Chris has also won the British Doubles Championship 12 times (including one shared).  In the MacRobertson Shield, he and Robert Fulford have won a record 23 consecutive doubles matches and a record 42 doubles victories in total.  Chris is the also only player to have won the British and New Zealand Open Doubles Championship with more than one partner (Robert Fulford and David Maugham in the former and Robert Fulford, Hamish McIntosh (twice) and Jenny Williams (now Clarke) (four times) in the latter).  He is also the only player to have won 20 national open doubles championships.

His other individual achievements include the first sextuple peel in the Association Croquet World Championship in 1991 and the first delayed sextuple peel in the same event in 1995.  At 17, he was the youngest ever winner of the President’s Cup in 1988 and, at 24, became the youngest ever Great Britain captain in 1996.  In 2007, he completed 20 consecutive triple peels in tournament play.  Chris has appeared in a total of six winning MacRobertson Shield teams – five for Great Britain (1993, 1996, 2000, 2003 and 2006) and one for New Zealand (2014).  He was selected for Great Britain in 2010 but could not play because of health problems.  He was placed first in the Association Croquet world rankings from early 2008 to 2010.

In Golf Croquet, Chris has won several New Zealand titles and reached the semi-finals of the Golf Croquet World Championship in 2008 and 2015.  He was a member of the Rest of the World team that defeated Egypt in 2008 and captained New Zealand to victory in the 2016 Golf Croquet World Team Championship.  He was ranked first in the Golf Croquet world rankings at the end of 2010.

Chris has made a significant contribution to croquet as an administrator.  He served on the CA Council in the early nineties and on the Colchester Club committee for several years.  After moving to New Zealand, he served on the Canterbury Croquet Association committee, first as Tournament Convenor and then as President.  He also served on the CNZ Handicap Review Committee and, for part of 2010, as WCF Secretary-General.  He chaired the Organising Committee for the 2008 Association Croquet World Championship in Christchurch, New Zealand which was seen as one of the best World Championships from a playing perspective and also generated a profit of $25,000 for the benefit of Canterbury clubs.  As a member of the United Club in Christchurch, he was involved in the bid to obtain a new clubhouse and a seventh lawn and also served as the groundsman for several years.  In 2009, he organised a trip to Europe for some NZ Juniors and managed the players in the first Under 21 Golf Croquet World Championship in Egypt.  He has been elected a Life Member of the United Croquet Club and the Canterbury Croquet Association in recognition of his contributions to the sport.

His contribution as a coach has been just as impressive.  For two seasons in the nineties, he coached the Great Britain Under-21 Squad which included Jamie Burch, Kristian Chambers and James Death.  Burch and Death are now MacRobertson Shield players.  Between 2000 and 2005, Chris gave several Gold plus level coaching courses which were recognised as the most detailed and best presented courses that many of the players had ever attended.  Since moving to New Zealand, he has served as the coach of the Under-21 Squad and run coaching courses of the NZ Development Squad in the North Island and several courses for all levels of AC and GC players in Canterbury and Timaru.

 [Updated September 2018]

Jerry Stark

Hall of Fame
Jerry Stark

Born: 1954
Died: 2010
Inducted: 2010

Jerry Stark was a larger-than-life character who made a tremendous impact on croquet both in and beyond the USA.  There is no record of him owning a dog called Toto but that did not stop him from finding his own “yellow brick road” when he moved home.

After discovering tournament croquet in 1983, he quit a lucrative union job with General Motors in Kansas City, Missouri and travelled 1,000 miles to Phoenix, Arizona - to play croquet.  That’s dedication for you!

Jerry got his break into international play in 1987 at the second Wine Country Invitational (later known as the Sonoma-Cutrer World Championship) and, in 1990, reached the semi-final of the second WCF Association Croquet World Championship at the Hurlingham Club in London.  He had already made such an impression with his shorts held up by red braces and a huge grin surrounded by a ginger handlebar moustache and viking beard that his photograph made it onto the front page of the London Times newspaper.

Jerry was a member of 17 USA National Teams, competed in the WCF Association Croquet World Championship 10 times and in the Sonoma-Cutrer World Championship 10 times.  He was a USCA National Champion five times and the winner of the inaugural Resort Invitational in Welches, Oregon.  He was elected to the USCA Hall of Fame in 2000.

In 1989, Jerry was named Assistant Director of Croquet at the luxurious resort at Meadowood in Napa Valley, located in the wine country of Northern California.  In 1992, he was promoted to Director of Croquet.  He delighted in introducing guests there to what he called the "grown-up" game of croquet.  At Meadowood, Jerry taught an average of 3,000 lessons a year—more than 60,000 lessons over the course of his career, establishing him as one of the sport’s most prolific and admired teachers.

Throughout the world, Jerry became the face of American croquet.  As an ambassador for the game, he made friends everywhere with his infectious laugh and unvarying good nature.  A giant bear of a man, yet gentle as spring cub, Jerry paved the way for other Americans to succeed in international play.  It was a huge sadness for the croquet world when he passed away at the early age of 56 from cancer in May 2010.

It was a fitting tribute to his croquet career that, only six months earlier, he had been part of the first USA team to defeat Great Britain in the Solomon Trophy.  It is a fitting tribute to him that the USCA National Association Croquet Championship is now played for the Stark Cup.

Neil Spooner

Hall of Fame
Neil Spooner

Born: 1953
Died: 2019
Inducted: 2010

Neil Spooner became a household name in Australia after taking up croquet in 1970 and progressing through the ranks to reach the "A" grade in only nine months.  At his best he was one of the most formidable shots in the game.  Playing with an Irish style and from a firmly planted stance, he had one of the most powerful roquets in the game and often seemed to be unable to miss from any range.

Neil began playing Golf Croquet in 1968 while at Westminster School in Adelaide, South Australia. Tom and Jean Armstrong had introduced the game to Neil at the school and he quickly became their star pupil.

Neil was chosen to represent Australia at the MacRobertson Shield in 1974, 1979, 1982 and 1986, the latter as captain.  He chose not to travel with the 1979 team for personal reasons.

Neil also represented South Australia on eight occasions, three as captain.

He won ten national titles between 1975 and 1986 including the Australian Open Singles, Australian Men’s Singles, Australian Open Doubles and the English Silver Medal.

In 1987, Neil and his wife, Theresa, moved to California to take up a position as Director of Croquet at Sonoma-Cutrer Vineyards after being targeted by the President of the winery for that position.  His duties were to be responsible for the day to day running of the croquet activities and to organize a world class charity croquet tournament each year.  The Sonoma-Cutrer World Championship ran from 1986 to 2004 and was the first international singles event in croquet.

While in America, Neil introduced many people to croquet and coached.  He competed in several tournaments and among his successes were the Arizona Open in 1988 and 1989, the San Francisco Open in 1987, the Meadowood Classic, the Masters of Croquet, the California Open and several other events including the U S Open, which was an event organized by the American Croquet Association.  The ACA was a rival to the USCA and promoted Association Croquet (known as International Rules in the USA) while the USCA promoted the American version of croquet, known as “U.S. Rules”.

Neil became an extremely skilful exponent of U.S. Rules and became the first person to complete a triple peel in that code of the game which is much more difficult than in Association Croquet because of the restrictions on rushing a ball off the boundary.  He completed five U.S. Rules triple peels between 1988 and 1993.  He also became the first and so far only player to complete a three-ball triple peel in U.S. Rules tournament play, once at a Meadowood singles event and again in the Arizona Open.

During the San Francisco Open, Neil managed to defeat one opponent by a score of 26 to 1.  This is a rare feat in US Rules because all players start from a position three feet in front of hoop 1 and can normally expect to score at least two points!  Neil went on to achieve the even more impressive US Rules score line of 26 to 0 - a result referred to today as a "full Spooner" with the 26 - 1 score line being referred to as the "half Spooner".

A warm and engaging man with a well-developed sense of humour, Neil was always prepared to share his knowledge with anyone who cared to ask, irrespective of their level of ability.

David Prichard

Hall of Fame
David Prichard

Born: 1912
Died: 1986
Inducted: 2009

David Matthew Caradoc Prichard was born and brought up in Glamorgan on the Prichard family estate.  He was educated at Wellington College, where he played in the 1st XI cricket for two years as a spin bowler, and at the Royal Military College, Sandhurst.  He was then commissioned into The Royal Welch Fusiliers, in which he served for 25 years in various parts of the British Empire and throughout the Second World War.  He was only the second officer ever to pass both Staff College and Technical Staff College.  He played cricket for the Army and enjoyed polo, hunting and riding in point-to-points.

When David was invalided out of the Army, he moved to Monmouthshire.  He soon discovered croquet and was immediately bitten.  He joined Cheltenham and built his own lawn at his home at Gobion Manor near Abergavenny.  His rise to the A-Class was rapid, winning the D, C, B and A classes in consecutive years at the annual Cheltenham Tournament.  In 1960, he was the first winner of the Apps Bowl, then for the most improved player, and also won his CA Silver Medal.  In 1961, he was selected for the Surrey Cup which he promptly won.  He played in this selection event nine times, winning a record three times, and also played in the Chairman's Salver three times.  He was the runner-up in 1962 Men's Championship to John Solomon and was on the fringe of selection for the 1963 MacRobertson Shield team.

Often accompanied by his wife, Betty, David played widely on the tournament circuit at Budleigh Salterton, Cheltenham, Devonshire Park, Hunstanton, Hurlingham, Nottingham, Roehampton and Southwick.  He played in both the Open Championship and the Men's Championships on about a dozen occasions.  He won many A-Class events, handicap singles and doubles and mixed and open doubles in his career and reached a handicap of -2.5.  This was all achieved despite suffering from a rigid neck caused by spondylitis.  As one of the most experienced referees, he never allowed his condition to interfere with his duties and thought nothing of lying down on his back to judge a wiring decision between his toes!

David undoubtedly put far more back into croquet than he took out through his administrative and other work for the Croquet Association where his orderly mind and wide knowledge proved extremely useful.  He served on the CA Council for over 20 years and as its Chairman from 1968-70.  During that time, he served on the Laws Committee and was its chairman for eight years in two separate terms.  He was also a selector for many years and Chairman of Selectors.  He was chairman of the CA Special Appeals Committee which, unusually, had to meet for three different special appeals during his term.  He was elected a Vice-President of the Croquet Association in 1982.

As chairman of the Laws Committee, David was responsible for the 1972 rewrite of the Laws.  This took months of meetings and copious proof reading and amending.  He introduced the idea of a Commentary on the Laws and wrote four editions of this work. Not content with this, he also rewrote the CA Council rules for conducting meetings and compiled a summary of all important CA Council decisions back to its formation in 1897.

David wrote many technical, legal and administrative articles for the Croquet Gazette, the house magazine of the Croquet Association. However, his final and arguably greatest contribution to croquet was the writing and publication of The History of Croquet in 1981.  This took a couple of years to research and write, entailing many trips to the British Library in Colindale and supported by the erudite assistance of Betty.  It is a very readable account and remains widely accepted as the definitive history of the game in England.  All the proceeds of the sale of the book were donated to the CA.

Not the least of his contributions to croquet came in the form of four A-Class players that he introduced to the game - namely Betty and his three sons!

David Prichard always stood up for the rights of the individual and hated any sort of undercover plot.  As a backbench member of Council, he discovered and nipped in the bud certain underhand or unwise dealings on more than one occasion.  He carefully researched his arguments on most issues and was an unswerving campaigner to maintain Croquet as an amateur sport.  He abhorred any possible misuse or waste of CA funds but gave freely of his time and effort to the CA throughout his time on the croquet scene.  

Although David could appear to be a little intimidating, partly due to his stooped posture from spondylitis and because of a certain gruffness of manner, he had an excellent sense of humour.  Shortly before his death, the Council had decided to allow croquet players to win up to £2,000 per annum in prize money without losing their amateur status.  Despite his well-known opposition to this change, he cheerfully informed another arch-proponent of amateurism at the Cheltenham Club that he had decided to turn professional!

Tom Howat

Hall of Fame
Tom Howat

Born: 1912
Died: 1995
Inducted: 2009

Thomas William (“Tom”) Howat was arguably the best Australian croquet player of his generation.  He won nine Australian Championships between 1955 and 1968, a total which still remains unmatched by a substantial margin.  He was also an excellent coach who freely passed on his knowledge of the game to others.

Tom Howat was a member of Brunswick and Coburg Croquet Clubs in Melbourne. He took up croquet when a pennant standard lawn bowls player.  His wife, Isobel, was a member of Brunswick Croquet Club and, when waiting for her after Bowls, he became intrigued by the techniques, tactics and challenges of the game of Croquet.  Tom was a natural player and quickly progressed through the handicap ranges to become one of Victoria and Australia’s leading players.

Tom also became Croquet Victoria’s first Director of Coaching and was instrumental in organising both the Practical and Theoretical components of its first accreditation course. He also made a major contribution to the development of a coaching video featuring the leading players Allan Cleland and John Tyrell for distribution to clubs.

Tom and Isobel invented the game of King Ball.  This is a single ball game with a croquet stroke after a ball ran the rover hoop that could be used to croquet opposition balls out of play. King Ball was the forerunner of Aussie Croquet, a single ball modified version of Association Croquet, which is now used in schools and clubs throughout Australia to introduce community groups and new club members to croquet.

Tom was noted for his great generosity in passing on his expertise to players throughout Australia. In particular, Tom’s coaching and support of John Tyrell, Alan Cleland, Owen Morgan and George Latham played a significant part in their national and international successes. George and Owen succeeded Tom as Victoria’s Directors of Coaching and his example continues to influence croquet in Victoria and Australia through those whom he coached.

Tom Howat left an outstanding legacy for croquet in Victoria and Australia.

Titles Won by Thomas William Howat:

Australian Singles Championship (The Wall Cup)

1955, 1959, 1961, 1963, 1964, 1965, 1966, 1967, 1968

Australian Doubles Championship (with Mrs. T.Howat)

1959 and 1965

Australian Men’s Singles Championship


ACC Gold Medal

1956-7, 1963-64, 1965-66, 1968-9, 1970-71, 1972-73, 1975-76, 1979-80

British Silver Medal

1964, 1966, 1967

English Bronze Medal

1957, 1969, 1971, 1976, 1980

Victorian State Singles Championship

1954-5, 1956-7, 1957-8, 1962-3, 1965-6, 1966-7, 1968-9, 1972-3, 1975-6, 1976-7, 1977-8, 1979-80.

Victorian Doubles Championship (with Len Mason)

1971-2, 1972-3

Victorian Interstate TeamMember

1955, 1956, 1957, 1961, 1964, 1965, 1967, 1969, 1973, 1976 (Captain), 1977 (Captain), 1979, 1980

MacRobertson International Shield (played between Australia, England and New Zealand)


Victorian Wren Memorials – Singles

1973-4, 1976-7

Victorian Wren Memorials – Doubles

1969-70, 1976-7 (with Mrs T Howat); 1979-80 (with A. Ford).