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 arrival on the scene of a new generation of first-class players.  For over thirty 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 competition 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 or open championships in Austria, Czech Republic, Germany, Ireland, Japan, Spain and Switzerland and has won numerous European Championships in both codes.  He has also competed in Egypt, France, Italy, Jersey, Latvia, Portugal, 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 maintained it until 2021 when, after re-designing the system so that it can be updated by national ranking officers, he passed on the task to Richard Bilton.

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 AC Laws 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 representative on the WCF Golf Croquet Rules Committee in 2017 and served as Editor of both the 5th and 6th Editions of the WCF Rules of Golf Croquet which were approved by the WCF Council in July 2018 and March 2022 respectively.  His administrative interests became international when he was elected President of the European Croquet Federation in 1998, a position he held until 2018, 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 retired as Secretary-General on 31st August 2021. He became the chairman of the WCF Golf Croquet Rules Committee in 2022.

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

Playing achievements

Association Croquet

President's Cup winner: 1981, 1983, 1986, 1987, 1992, 2023 and a record 45 appearances from 1978 to 2023.

British Open Champion: 1988, 1990, 2000 and 47 consecutive appearance from 1977 to 2023.

British Doubles Champion: 1980, 1981, 1984, 1986, 1988, 1994, 1997, 2000, 2010, 2018 (shared), 2022, 2023.

British Men's Champion: 1984, 1985

World Champion: 2016, finalist 1997 and 2008, semi-finalist 1989, 1995, 2018

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, 2020

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

English National Singles Champion: 1981, 1991, 2012, 2014, 2021, 2023

First Eight winner: 2015, 2019, 2023

European Champion: 2007, 2009, 2013, 2015, 2019

Spanish Open Champion: 2015

World Championship: semi-finalist 2000, 2006, 2015

[Updated 10.2.23]

Robert Fulford

Hall of Fame
Robert Fulford

Born: 1969
Inducted: 2011

Robert is the most successful croquet player of the past 20 years.  Playing with an Irish grip, he has a superb all round game and whilst the precision of his game brings many admirers it will be for the power and accuracy of his rushing that most who see him play will remember him.  In addition to his stroke play he is tactically without equal and has been responsible for the majority of tactical innovations in the sport during his time in the game - innovations which he has always been happy to share with and explain to others, inspiring, challenging and assisting whenever the opportunity arises.   He is the only non-North American player who is a tactically sound US rules player and he is also a world class golf croquet player where again tactics are his biggest asset.

Now happily married to Susan and settled in the UK, Robert previously spent many years travelling the world playing and coaching the game, particularly in the US.  He also forged a strong relationship with the late Kevin Brereton during his time in Australia, producing a series of coaching videos with him. 

Robert has served on the CA MacRobertson Shield Selection Committee and has captained and organised International matches for the GB team for most of the past decade.  He serves on the committee of Colchester Croquet Club where he learned to play in 1986.   However, it is undoubtedly his playing achievements for which he is best known.

Playing achievements

World Champion (5) 1990, 1992, 1994, 1997, 2002
Open Champion (9) 1991, 1992, 1996, 1998, 2003, 2004, 2006, 2007, 2008
NZ Open Champion (3) 2000, 2005, 2006
Australian Open Champion (1) 1994
Presidents Cup Winner  (8) 1989, 1998, 1999, 2001, 2002, 2006, 2008, 2009.
British Mens Champion (3) 1990, 1998, 2006
Open Doubles (12) 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1996, 1998, 2001, 2003 (shared), 2004, 2006, 2007, 2008
NZ Open Doubles (2) 2006, 2008
Australian Open Doubles (1) 2006
Sonoma-Cutrer Winner (3) 1992, 1993, 1998
Resort at the Mountain Winner (2) 2005, 2007
Most successful MacRobertson Shield player ever with 71 match wins and 6 Shield Victories, 2 as Captain.
Holds the record for the most competitive triple peels and sextuple peels.

Reg Bamford

Hall of Fame
Reg Bamford

Born: 1967
Inducted: 2011

Reg Bamford is one of the most accomplished players in croquet history.  He is a three-time WCF Association Croquet World Champion and twice the WCF Golf Croquet World Champion (in 2013 and 2017) and held both titles simultaneously from April to August 2013.  He has won the British Association Croquet Open Championship eleven times since 1992 and the British Golf Croquet Open Championship ten times since 2002 and is the holder of more than 50 individual championship titles.

Beginning the game at age nine in South Africa, Reg began competing at the highest level almost immediately.  Since 1986, his end-of-year playing grade has only dipped below 2,600 on two occasions.  He has achieved the year-end Number One world ranking eight times and has been consistently ranked among the top five players in the world for nearly a quarter of a century.

Reg is also one of the most likeable individuals in the game, a great ambassador for the sport and his native country. Despite living in the UK since the early 1990s, Reg has consistently maintained his South African nationality in world croquet competitions.  This devotion has surely kept him from competing for Great Britain in the prestigious MacRobertson Shield, as his residency in London and an Irish grandfather would allow.

Reg is also the only known individual to have ever played croquet at the North Pole.  This occurred in April 2005, when Reg trekked to the Pole with, among much needed survival provisions, a croquet mallet and a ball.

Reg’s adventurous spirit is amplified by his intense determination and dedication  to croquet.  He is known among players for his rigorous training exercises, spending hours alone on the court after matches are completed, perfecting his swing and technique.

Reg’s dedication reaches well beyond croquet.  He is a qualified Chartered Accountant and founder and CEO of Sable Group (formerly 1st Contact) —a recruitment enterprise which provides financial and migration solutions to South African and other professionals living in the UK and Europe.

Reg and his wife, Adrienne, currently reside in London and have two children, Alex and Oliver.

Updated August 2017

Tom McDonnell

Hall of Fame
Tom McDonnell

Inducted: 2011

Tom McDowell and son (Author:Croquet World)

Tom McDonnell played croquet in the company of the Hollywood elite on his  home court in Pacific Palisades in Los Angeles.  Actors, including David Niven, Louie Jordan, Gig Young, George Saunders and Diana Hyland would always be at the house to play.

Tom was introduced to the game while working in the television industry in the late 1950s by movie producer Sam Goldwyn.

He ultimately was inducted into the U.S. Croquet Hall of Fame and was responsible for the development of tournament croquet on the West Coast, starting croquet clubs in Beverly Hills, San Francisco and at Sonoma-Cutrer winery in Santa Rosa.

It was at the family's home court in the hills west of St. Helena that he introduced the game of croquet to Meadowood Founding Partner H. William (Bill) Harlan.

At that time, in 1986, Harlan and his partners had owned Meadowood for approximately seven years and with some gentle persuasion decided to include croquet as an activity at the retreat.

To ensure the courts would satisfy world-ranking croquet players, Harlan engaged McDonnell to collaborate on the development of the competition lawns.  They opened in 1986 and that same year, Meadowood co-hosted the U.S. Croquet Championships, the first time they had been held outside of the state of New York.

Tom had also been responsible for the laying of world-class courts at Sonoma-Cutrer.  Those courts were awarded the 1986 USCA championships jointly with Meadowood.

As a direct result of the tireless work put in by Tom, Australian players Damon Bidencope and Neil Spooner attended those championships and in the following year became the resident professionals at Meadowood and Sonoma-Cutrer respectively.

Without the wonderful dedication of Tom Mc Donnell, the sport of croquet in the USA would not have reached the level it currently maintains.

Chris Williams

Hall of Fame
Chris Williams

Inducted: 2011

 

Chris  learnt how to play croquet whilst studying for a physics degree at Oxford University.  In 1986, he became a founder member of the Dyffryn Croquet Club near Cardiff, Wales.  As a player he has won the Welsh Championship on three occasions and the Spencer Ell Cup. He has been a regular in the Wales Home International team since 1992 and captained Wales to their WCF World 14pt Team Championship triumph in 2000. 

However it is for his role as the WCF Association Croquet Ranking Officer that the sport owes him recognition.  Since taking over the maintenance of the Association Croquet rankings from Stephen Mulliner in 1997, he has worked tirelessly to maintain and improve the service offered.  In 2004, the service was updated to the interactive version that we know today but even since then Chris has continuously sought to improve the service offered by the site and the statistics that can be accessed.

Results of games are entered as soon as they are received meaning that the ranking list is always as up to date as possible.  As well as the site being of general interest to players, it serves as an invaluable tool to managers looking to seed events and to selectors, not just from the point of view of the grading information supplied but also by making accessible the huge database of results on which the system relies.

Since 1997, Chris has entered the results of more than 180,000 games into the system, but, as if this were not enough, Chris is now going back through old records with the aim of creating ranking lists back to 1918.  His role of CA Archivist helps to provide access to the historical information for this latest project.  Through his tireless efforts and by constantly seeking to provide another angle for the user to view the information in the vast database, Chris has made the rankings so much more than a list of numbers. It is through his efforts alone that the resource of the interactive ranking database is available to us all, a resource without which the sport would be much the poorer.  

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.  

Graeme Roberts

 Hall of Fame
Dr. Graeme John Roberts

Born: 1949
Inducted: 2013

Graeme Roberts began playing croquet at the Montecillo Club in Dunedin in 1970.  His first experience of the Kelburn Club was in November 1973, when he competed in the Junior Invitation Event at the club and recalls that it blew a gale for all five days of the competition, varying only in direction.  After working (and playing croquet) in England for six years, Graeme joined Kelburn in 1981.  The following January he won the New Zealand Men’s Championship Singles and was selected as a member of the New Zealand MacRobertson Shield team for the competition to be played in Australia the following November.  In 1984 he won the New Zealand Men’s Championship Singles for a second time and also the New Zealand Open Championship Doubles, partnering Richard Clarke of Gisborne.  Graeme represented New Zealand at the Sonoma-Cutrer world singles competition in California in 1990, and at the World Croquet Federation (WCF) World Association Championships twice, in 1990 and 2005, both times in the UK.  He played in two New Zealand representative teams in 1990 in matches against the Great Britain and Ireland team visiting New Zealand for the MacRobertson Shield.  He has won the Kelburn A / Senior A Championship Singles 12 times.

Graeme was appointed one of the founding members of the NZCC Laws Committee in 1986 when it was re-established by Ashley Heenan and Jean Corry after a lapse of many years.  He took over as Chair of the Committee when Jean retired in 1990 and has served on the Committee continuously since then.  He served as the Wellington Association Referee from 1984 to 1990.  He has been Referee of the Tournament for the MacRobertson Shield contest, for the WCF World Association Championships three times (once in France) and for Trans-Tasman test series three times.  He has also refereed at international level at the MacRobertson Shield twice (once in Australia) and the inaugural WCF Women’s World Association Championships in Melbourne in 2012. He has been asked to be the Referee of the tournament for the MacRobertson Shield challenge in New Zealand later in 2013.   He was elected a Life Member of the NZCC in 2000.

As part of his duties on the NZCC, Graeme was involved in the mid-1990s with the attempt to understand the Egyptian rules of Golf Croquet (recently translated from Arabic) and to apply them to the new version of the game then rapidly gaining ground internationally.  Some of the rules proved problematic:  for example “It is forbidden to wear a complete suit.”  However, the following sentence – “The shoes should be without heels.” – survived.

Refereeing Qualifications:

•           1980     Qualified as referee at Cheltenham, UK

•           1981 (October)  Returned to New Zealand

•           1982     NZ Senior Referee qualification

•           1986     Member & recording secretary, 1st Meeting of reinstituted Laws Committee initiated by Ashley Heenan OBE and Mrs Jean Corry.

•           Has remained been a member of that Committee ever since

•           1990     Test match referee for MacRobertson Shield Great Britain and Ireland (GBI) test in Auckland and the GBI/New Zealand test in Christchurch

•           Promoted to leadership of the NZ Laws committee on the retirement of Mrs Jean Corry

•           1990     Referee of the Tournament, Trans Tasman Women’s Test Match in Wanganui

•           1994     Referee of the Tournament, Trans-Tasman Women’s Test Match in Wellington

•           1994     Referee of the Tournament, Trans-Tasman Open Test Match in Christchurch

•           1995     Referee of the Tournament, WCF World Association Championships in Fontenay le Comte, France

•           2000     Referee of the Tournament, MacRobertson Shield quadrangular series, Christchurch, New Zealand

•           2002     Referee of the Tournament, WCF World Association Championship in Wellington, New Zealand

•           2006     Test match referee, MacRobertson Shield, Rich River, Australia

•           2008     Referee of the Tournament, WCF World Association Championship in Christchurch, New Zealand

•           2012     Test match referee, Inaugural World Women’s Association Championship, Melbourne Australia (special request for inter-country referee)

•           1990 to date      Referee of Tournament at NZ Open Championships

Member of International Laws committee from late 1990s when formed, to date

Full member committee responsible for the revision of the Laws of Association Croquet 2000 (ORLC 2001-2002

Writer and Editor of the Umpire’s Handbook (NZ) and the Referees’ Handbook (NZ)

Compiler of Umpires, Referees and Senior Referees examinations since 1992 for New Zealand.

1990 - 95          Councillor, New Zealand Croquet Council

2000     Life Member of NZ Croquet Council for services to refereeing of croquet

Wellington Region Association Referee 1984 to 1990

Significant national and international playing achievements:

1979-81 Winner Plate Event, The British Open Championship

1981     Runner-up, British Men’s Championship

1982     Winner, New Zealand Men’s Championship

1982     Member NZ MacRobertson Shield Team in Australia

1984     Winner, New Zealand Men's Championship

1984     Winner, New Zealand Open Doubles (with Richard Clarke)

1990     Member, New Zealand representative teams versus the Great Britain and Ireland MacRobertson Shield team, Hamilton and Napier

1990 & 2005      NZ Representative at WCF Association Croquet World Championship

1990     NZ Representative at Sonoma Cutrer World Championship

Dorothy Steel

HALL OF FAME
Miss Dorothy Dyne Steel

Born: 1884
Died: 1965
Inducted: 2011

Author: Lt Col Leahy

D.D, as she was always known, dominated the game between the two world wars, and was perhaps the first to prove that women could play on equal terms with men.

In the British Open Championship she competed in ten finals, winning four times, and also collected five Doubles Championships and seven Mixed Doubles Championships, in both cases with three different partners.

D.D played in the President’s Cup for 17 consecutive years, recording six wins, and was also involved in a quadruple tie for first place. She won the Women’s Championship 15 times between the two world wars. 

Unsurprisingly, she was a member of three of the four MacRobertson Shield teams in this period, missing only the trip to Australia in 1935 for family reasons.

She was probably the most dominant player between the two wars of either sex.