2022 Under 21 GCWC – temporary age-limit amendment approved

As previously announced, the WCF Management Committee ("MC") considered the impact of the postponement of the 2021 U21 GCWC to 2022 on the eligibility of players whose 21st birthdays fall in 2021.  Such players would have been eligible to play in the 2021 U21 GCWC but, applying the normal age limit, would not be eligible to play in a 2022 U21 GCWC.

Allowing any player who would have been eligible for a 2021 U21 GCWC to remain eligible for the same event in 2022 would be consistent with treating the 2021 GCWC as postponed rather cancelled.  In view of the exceptional circumstances that led to the postponement, the WCF MC recommended to Council that WCF Sports Regulations paragraph 5.1.5 be temporarily amended so that players whose 21st birthdays fall in 2021 will still be eligible to play in a 2022 U21 GCWC.  The Council voted by 56-0 to approve the MC recommendation.

For the avoidance of doubt, this treatment will not apply if the U21 GCWC cannot be held in 2022 after all.  If that is the case, the 2021 U21 GCWC will be regarded as cancelled and the next holding of the U21 GCWC, perhaps in 2023, will be a new event and subject to the normal age limit.

 

2019 Women’s Golf Croquet World Championship survey

2019 Women’s GCWC survey results

Responses: 24/56 = 42%

Q1.1: Did you receive the Player Briefing Notes before the event?

Yes: 86%, No: 14%

Q1.2: If you did, was the information well-presented and useful?

Yes: 100%

Q2.1: Did you attend the player briefing meeting?

Yes: 74%, No: 26%

Q2.2: If so, was the information well-presented and useful?

Yes: 87%, No: 13%

Q3: Was the format of the event appropriate?

Yes: 100%

Q4: Was your number of games each day too many, not enough or about right?

Too many: 0%, About right: 95%, Not enough: 5%

Q5: Was the overall duration of the event too long, too short or about right?

Too long: 4%, About right 87%, Too short: 9%

Q6: Was the event well-managed?

Block stage: Good: 87%, Medium: 13%, Poor: 0%

Main event: Good: 90%, Medium: 10%, Poor: 0%

Consolation events: Good 90%, Medium: 5%, Poor: 5%

Q7: Was the event well-refereed?

Good: 65%, Medium: 35%; Poor: 0%

Q8: Did the new GC Rules cause any problems for you?

Yes: 4%, No: 96%

Q9.1: Did you make use of the on-line results?

Yes: 96%, No: 4%

Q9.2: Did you make use of the on-line commentary?

Yes: 68%, No: 32%

Q10.1: Catering at venue 1

Did you like the meals? Yes: 100%

Were they good value? Yes: 95%, No: 5%

Were they available at the right time? Yes: 89%, No: 11%

Q10.2: Catering at venue 2

Did you like the meals? Yes: 95%, No: 5%

Were they good value? Yes: 95%, No: 5%

Were they available at the right time? Yes: 95%, No: 5%

Q11.1: Were the courts at venue 1 of suitable quality?

Good: 87%, Satisfactory: 13%, Poor: 0%

Q11.2: Were the courts at venue 2 of suitable quality?

Good: 0%, Satisfactory: 74%, Poor: 26%

Q12: Were the balls of adequate quality?

Venue 1: Good: 91%, Satisfactory: 9%, Poor: 0%

Venue 2: Good: 91%, Satisfactory: 9%, Poor: 0%

Q13: Were the hoops well set?

Venue 1: Good: 74%, Satisfactory: 26%, Poor: 0%

Venue 2: Good: 56%, Satisfactory: 35%, Poor: 9%

Q14: Closing ceremony

Good: 80%, Satisfactory: 15%, Poor: 5%

2020 Golf Croquet World Team Championship Tier 1 survey

2020 GCWTC Tier 1 survey results

Responses: 9/32 = 28%

Q1: Did you attend the player briefing? If so, was the information well-presented and useful? Was the scheduling of the briefing convenient?

All responses were positive.

Q2: Was the format of the event appropriate?

Yes: 89%, No: 3%, Other 11%

One comment expressed a preference for longer Test matches.

Q3: Was your number of games each day too many, not enough or about right?

About right: 100%, Too many: 0%, Not enough: 0%

Q4: Was the overall duration of the event too long, too short or about right?

About right: 78%, Too long: 17%, Too short: 22%

Q5: Was the event well-managed?

Yes: 100%, No: 0%, Other: 0%

Q6: Was the event well-refereed?

Yes: 33%, No: 33%; Other: 33%

Some referees were thought to have been insufficiently knowledgeable.

Q7: Were the courts of suitable quality?

Yes: 44%, No: 22%, Other: 33%

Courts could be very challenging and the two sets of courts differed noticeably.

Q8: Were the balls of adequate quality?

Yes: 100%, No: 0%, Other: 0%

Q9: Were the hoops well set?

Yes: 67%, No: 0%, Other: 33%

Contradictory "Other" comments - hoops were too difficult / hoop settings could have been tougher.

Q10: How did you rate the event overall?

Very good: 56%, Good: 44%

2020 Association Croquet World Championship survey

2020 ACWC survey results

Responses: 33/80 = 41%

Q1: Did you attend the player briefing? If so, was the information well-presented and useful? Was the scheduling of the briefing convenient?

Generally positive but information about transport arrangements to satellite venues could have been clearer.

Q2: Were the transport arrangements satisfactory?

Yes: 64%, No: 0%, Other 36%

Six of the 11 "Other" comments simply stated that the respondent had used their own transport.

Q3: Was your number of games each day too many, not enough or about right?

Too many: 0%, About right: 70%, Not enough: 30%

Q4: Was the overall duration of the event too long, too short or about right?

About right: 88%, Too long: 6%, Too short: 6%

Q5: Was the event well-managed?

Yes: 52%, No: 9%, Other: 39%

"Other" comments related to modes and effectiveness of communication with players, consolation games, dress code enforcement and lack of social events at the mani venue in the evenings.

Q6: Was the event well-refereed?

Yes: 39%, No: 15%; Other: 46%

"Other" comments related mainly to slowness and over-use of ball markers.

Q7: Were the courts of suitable quality?

Yes: 76%, No: 0%, Other: 24%

Some of the satellite venues were felt to be too slow and needed more mowing.

Q8: Were the balls of adequate quality?

Yes: 76%, No: 3%, Other: 21%

The balls at the satellite venues were preferred to those at the main venue.

Q9: Were the hoops well set?

Yes: 70%, No: 3%, Other: 21%

The hoops at the satellite venues were generally wider than those at the main venue.

Q10: How did you rate the event overall?

Very good: 36%, Good: 33%, Satisfactory: 21%, Poor: 3%, Very poor: 6%

2020 AC World Championship – Winner: Reg Bamford (ZAF)

The 17th WCF Association Croquet World Championship
Venue: Victorian Croquet Centre, Melbourne, Australia
Dates: 15 – 23 February 2020

Champion: Reg Bamford (South Africa)

Finalist: Matthew Essick (United States of America)

Reg Bamford being presented with the Wimbledon Bowl by WCF President Ian Burridge

Reg Bamford (ZAF) defeated 21-year old Matthew Essick (USA) at the Victorian Croquet Centre in Melbourne to record his fifth Association Croquet world title, a record he shares with Robert Fulford (ENG). The scoreline was 26-12 tp, 14-26, 26-9 tp, 26-0 tp. Tricky court conditions tested both players' ability to play precision croquet and Essick can be very proud of his performance, especially his semi-final victory over World No. 1, Robert Fletcher (AUS). However, Bamford's greater experience and fine shooting proved ultimately decisive and he emerged a convincing winner.

See YouTube footage of this event via the WCF YouTube Channel > AC World Championship Playlists 

Full results are available at https://croquetscores.com/2020/ac/wcf-world-championship

2020 GC World Championship Tier 1 – Champion: New Zealand

The 3rd WCF Golf Croquet Team Championship - Tier 1
Venue: Nelson-Hinemoa Croquet Club, New Zealand
Dates: 6 – 12 January 2020

Champion: New Zealand (Duncan Dixon, Edmund Fordyce, Josh Freeth, Felix Webby)

Finalist: Egypt (Amr El Ibiary, Hamy Erian, Mohamed Karem, Soha Mostafa, Mostafa Nezar, Yasser Sayed)
3rd: England (Richard Bilton, John-Paul Moberly, Stephen Mulliner, Tobi Savage)
4th: United States of America (Sherif Abdelwahab, Danny Huneycutt, David Maloof, Ben Rothman)
5th: Australia (Robert Fletcher, Peter Landrebe, Chris McWhirter, Edward Wilson)
6th: South Africa (Reg Bamford, Victor Dladla, Judith Hanekom, William Louw)
7th: Ireland (Patsy Fitzgerald, Evan Newell, Robert O’Donoghue, Mark Stephens, Simon Williams)
8th: Sweden (Simon Carlsson, Joi Elebo, Anders Moldin, Joakim Norback, Lewis Palmer)

Finishing Order:
1. 🇳🇿 New Zealand
2. 🇪🇬 Egypt
3. 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿 England
4. 🇺🇸 USA
5. 🇦🇺 Australia
6. 🇿🇦 South Africa
7. 🇮🇪 Ireland
8. 🇸🇪 Sweden

Full results can be found on the Croquet Scores Website:  2020 GC World Championship Tier 1

Tournament Report

The message of the 2019 GC World Championship at Southwick was that the GC baton had passed to a new generation. This was emphatically confirmed by the dominance of the young New Zealand and Egyptian teams and, lest third-placed England be overlooked, the statistic that 13 of the 14 players in the top three teams were aged from 18 to 31.

However, the significance of this event as a potential watershed for the sport lies in the genuinely exciting manner of the New Zealand and Egyptian play.

The final two days were filmed by Sky Sports Next to a very professional standard and the excellent output is freely available on YouTube. The opportunity exists for other countries to use this visual evidence to assist their own efforts to reproduce the success of Croquet New Zealand in promoting GC to its secondary schools’ population.

The venue was Nelson-Hinemoa Croquet Club in Nelson at the north end of the South Island which claims to be the sunniest place in New Zealand. The club boasts nine courts which had been prepared to offer at least 11 seconds each morning and became significantly faster as the day wore on. Coupled with stainless steels Quadway hoops, they presented a tough challenge for the players, especially when the wind got up which was a feature of the first day and several late afternoons.

The event involves eight teams divided into two seeded blocks of four. The first three days involve a round robin of one-day Test Matches of two double matches and four singles matches. The top two teams in each block advance to the championship semi-finals while the bottom two compete in a Plate event in which the main objective it to avoid coming eighth and so being relegated to Tier 2 in four years’ time.

The Plate consists of a further round robin in which each team plays the two Plate teams from the other block and the Test Match already played between each team and its fellow Plate qualifier is carried forward. The top two round robin teams then play a 9-match Test Match over two days for 5th place and the bottom two play likewise for 7th place and the right to stay in Tier 1.

As expected, Egypt and the USA dominated Block A, and both defeated South Africa and Sweden to qualify for the semi-finals. South Africa, led by the undefeated Reg Bamford, beat Sweden and so made a good start to their Plate campaign. Block B was potentially less predictable because New Zealand faced the well-matched England and Australia as well as Ireland. In the event, England beat Ireland 5-1 and Australia 4-2 before being defeated 5-1 by the home team while Australia, with the undefeated Robert Fletcher as first string, overcame Ireland.

Australia, with Edward Wilson, Pete Landrebe and Chris McWhirter, were clearly the strongest of the Plate teams and beat both Sweden and South Africa (in which Fletcher inflicted an impressive 7-3, 7-5 victory over Reg Bamford). It was no surprise when Ireland and South Africa tied 3-3 in their round two match but the expected play-off between these teams for second place failed to materialise when Sweden, who had not won a single match so far, gallantly beat Ireland 4-2 in the final round. Australia duly beat South Africa and secured fifth place but not before Bamford had gained revenge against Fletcher (and thereby inflicted the first match defeat on Robert for two decades – which is an imaginative way of referring to 2011!). In the 7/8th play-off, Ireland recovered from their Friday defeat by Sweden with a convincing 7-2 victory.

The championship semi-finals were 13-match Test Matches and provided something of a contrast. England made a good start against Egypt when John-Paul Moberly and Tobi Savage beat Amr Alebiary and Mostafa Nezar 7-5, 7-4 in the top doubles and Stephen Mulliner and Richard Bilton took the first game against Hamy Erian and Mohamed Karem 7-3. However, that was the English zenith and, although the remaining matches were highly competitive, they all went to Egypt who therefore notched up a confidence-boosting 12-1 victory. The USA fielded a mature team, albeit headed by recent GC World Champion Ben Rothman, but defied expectations by giving New Zealand an excellent run for their money. Indeed, had Rothman not failed a rather short hoop 12 in game 3 against Edmund Fordyce, the overnight score would have been 3-3 instead of 4-2 and the eventual match score of 7-6 to New Zealand might just possibly have been the other way around.

It is a GC truism that, particularly in top-level play, the game scores do not necessarily give a good indication of how a match went. On the evidence of the semi-final scores, USA should have had a distinct edge over England in the 9-match 3/4th play-off Test Match, now rendered even more meaningful by the WCF decision to award silver and bronze medals to the players in the second and third placed teams. In the event, England grabbed a 4-1 lead on Saturday and converted it into a 7-2 victory on Sunday.

However, the focus of the 70 plus spectators at the venue and a surprisingly large number of YouTube watchers was, of course, the final between New Zealand, the holders, and the mighty Egyptians. Egypt had fielded a squad of six consisting of Amr Alebiary (the Egyptian no. 1, prevented from competing in the 2019 GCWC by military service), Mohamed Karem (the 2019 GCWC finalist), Hamy Erian (2015 GCWC finalist and 2019 GCWC semi-finalist), Mostafa Nezar (2013 U21 GC World Champion), Soha Mostafa (2019 Women’s GC World Champion) and Yasser Sayed (2019 U21 GCWC semi-finalist). The first four were fielded for the semi-final and final and seemed to be equally formidable in their positioning, hooping and clearing skills. 4 to 5 yard hoops and 20 yard clearances seemed routine and it seemed obvious that New Zealand would have their hands full.

New Zealand fielded four Under 21 GC World Champions in Duncan Dixon (2009), Josh Freeth (2015), Felix Webby (2017) and Edmund Fordyce (2019). Dixon and Freeth are multiple casters while Webby casts a little and Fordyce stalks and casts but once before lashing the ball at its target with astonishing speed, accuracy and consistency when on form. The word was that all except Dixon had been a little off their best at the recent NZ Open Championship (won by Logan McCorkindale, apparently a Kiwi equivalent of Tobi Savage). Despite that, Dixon, Fordyce and Freeth seemed to be firing on all cylinders with only Webby having the odd poor game.

The scene was therefore set for an almighty dust-up of hard hitting and long hoop-running. The spectators were not disappointed, and one result was the considerable length of some of the matches. This is unsurprising when remorseless clearing can lead to a single hoop taking over 20 minutes to resolve. Saturday’s play ended at 9.20 pm with the match between Alebiary and Webby pegged down at game all and 4-4 and Egypt with a slender 3-2 lead.

Sunday began with a five-hour marathon doubles won by Egypt countered by singles wins for Fordyce and Freeth which levelled the Test at 4-4. In the remaining four singles, Webby found his best form and inflicted a decisive 7-1, 7-4 defeat on Nezar while Dixon proved too good for Erian. Suddenly, New Zealand were 6-4 ahead and game up in both the other two matches. Attention turned to the Fordyce-Karem match where Fordyce had taken the first 7-2 and was exuberantly 5-2 ahead in the second. Hoop 8 was powered through from six yards and, after a decent duel at hoop 9, Karem failed to block from short range and Fordyce hammered his black ball through from five yards. Game, match and retained title to New Zealand.

The event concluded with a courtside presentation of the Openshaw Shield to the New Zealand team by David Openshaw himself and a more formal presentation of medals and the Shield at an excellent Championship dinner.

The event was managed very smoothly. The tremendous contribution of the 85 volunteers from the host club and the Richmond and Riwaka clubs was very warmly recognised in the speeches and the hard work of John Christie, Peter Freer and Manly Bowater, the Tournament Manager, Referee and Deputy Referee respectively, was given particularly appreciation. The caterers, bar staff and ground crew worked long hours but clearly enjoyed being involved. In an unusual but very pleasant gesture, a message of thanks from the catering volunteers was conveyed to the players for their friendly and appreciative presence in the Nelson-Hinemoa clubhouse throughout the event!

Word pictures can only convey so much, and readers are recommended to enjoy the YouTube spectacle at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hu2iy7T6oRg.

GC is a game well suited to the fearless and the example set by the young stars of the game should be an encouragement to all to play more friendly games where the object is to have as much fun as possible by trying for outrageous shots, finding your boundaries – and then trying to extend them. New Zealand now have many secondary school players up and down the country who play in the evenings with their friends and both threaten to displace the current stars in the 2024 GC World Teams and to take a stranglehold on future U21 GCWCs and, very possibly, the GC World Championship itself.

2016 GC World Team Championship Tier 1 – Champion: New Zealand

The 2nd WCF Golf Croquet Team Championship - Tier 1
Venue: Surbiton Croquet Club, England
Dates: 15 May - 21 May 2016

Champion: New Zealand (Duncan Dixon, Chris Clarke, Jenny Clarke, Phillip Drew)

Finalist: Egypt (Ahmed Nasr, Mohamed Karem, Mohamed Nasr, Hamy Erian, Amr Baher)
3rd: England (Stephen Mulliner, Lionel Tibble, William Gee, Rachel Rowe, Tobi Savage)
4th: Ireland (Jack Clingan, Simon Williams, Charlie von Schmieder, Patsy Fitzgerald, Evan Newell)
5th: United States of America (Ben Rothman, Danny Huneycutt, Sherif Abdelwahab, David Bent, Rich Lamm)
6th: Sweden (Anton Varnas, Lewis Palmer, Simon Carlsson, Joi Elebo)
7th: South Africa (Reg Bamford, William Louw, Judith Hanekom, Victor Dladla)
8th: Wales (David Walters, John Evans, Ian Burridge, Chris Williams, Peter Balchin)

Full results are available at https://croquetscores.com/2016/gc/golf-croquet-world-team-tier-1-at-surbiton

Commentary

New Zealand held a 4-2 lead overnight but saw the match tighten to 5-4 after the morning doubles and two singles.  A crowed of well over 100 watched the final four singles.

Ahmed Nasr kept Egyptian hopes alive by defeating Duncan Dixon 7-4, 7-6 but, in the bottom singles, where Egyptian hopes were probably highest, it was the turn of Jenny Clarke and Phillip Drew to rise to the occasion.

Jenny defeated Mohamed Nasr 7-4, 5-7, 7-3 and Phillip beat Hamy Erian 7-6, 7-6.  This gave New Zealand an unassailable 7-5 lead and the match between Chris Clarke and Mohamed Karem was abandoned at 6-6 in the second game, the first having gone to Chris 7-5.

The New Zealand team was presented with their winner's medals by Amir Ramsis, the WCF President and the Openshaw Shield by David Openshaw himself.  Quiller Barrett, the President of the Croquet Association, paid a warm tribute to the great efforts made by the teams of vounteers at the host clubs of Surbiton, Bath, Camerton & Peasdown and Guildford & Godalming.