February 2015 Newsletter

WCF February 2015 Newsletter

The newsletter provides a summary for WCF Members of what the Management Committee has been doing recently and what is on the agenda in the near future.  Your comments are always very welcome.  It is also made available to all on the WCF web-site and via the Nottingham list and other croquet bulletin boards.

Council debates and decisions

Council approved the amendments to Statutes 301 to 309, including changes to Statute 303 to cater for the new world championship allocation process on 18 January 2015.  New versions of the Statutes, the Event Regulations and the Sports Regulations are available on the WCF website.

What has been happening this year so far?

New Official Rulings for the 4th (2013) edition of the Golf Croquet Rules were published with effect from 1 January 2015.  The final stages of preparation for the 2015 Under 21 GCWC and the main Golf Croquet World Championship proceeded smoothly and both events were held very successfully in New Zealand.  Many thanks to Croquet New Zealand and to the event management teams led by Gordon Smith and Geoff Young for making it all happen.

Preparations for the next Association Croquet World Championship have begun and will gather pace later in the year.  Discussions are in progress concerning the date and location of the second Golf Croquet World Team Championship following Egypt’s proposal to advance the date from March 2016 to October/November 2015.

The new web-site encountered some minor technical problems which have now been overcome.  It should be fully active before the end of March.  The two web-sites will be run in parallel for a few weeks before closing the old site.

Recent and forthcoming WCF championships

2015 Under-21 Golf Croquet World Championship

This was held at the United Croquet Club, Christchurch, New Zealand from Sunday, 1 February to Thursday, 5 February 2015.  28 competitors from Australia, Egypt, England and New Zealand took part with pre-event expectations focussing on England’s Harry Dodge and the Egyptian squad of four.  However, what transpired was a home victory in very challenging playing conditions of fast courts and very firm Atkins hoops.  In the semi-finals, Egypt’s Marwan El Sabarouti gained revenge for a block defeat by Harry Dodge, winning 4-7, 7-4, 7-4, and New Zealander Josh Freeth defeated fellow-countryman Felix Webby 7-3, 7-5.  The final was extremely close but Josh continued to show admirable control and resolve to edge out Egypt’s Marwan by 5-7, 7-6, 7-6.

2015 Golf Croquet World Championship

This was held at the Mount Maunganui Croquet Club in the Bay of Plenty region of New Zealand’s North Island from Saturday, 7 February to Sunday, 15 February 2015.  The block stage also made use of clubs at Katikati, Rotorua and Whatekane.  80 competitors arrived from Australia, Belgium, Egypt, England, Ireland, New Zealand, South Africa, Sweden, Switzerland and the USA.  After two successive non-Egyptian world champions, Egypt sent a large and strong squad to try and recover the title they had held from 1996 to 2008.  Much attention focussed on whether Reg Bamford could defend the title he won so spectacularly in Cairo in 2013.  Or would Ahmed Nasr gain his revenge and a third world title?  Or, perhaps, Hamy Erian, the 25 year old wunderkind of Egyptian croquet, would confirm his class and take his first World Championship.

The reality was fascinating.  Hamy made his way to the semi-finals with his typical efficiency and lack of drama and 12 consecutive match victories.  There he met Chris Clarke, providing a home country representative.  Chris had dropped one block match to another New Zealander, John Christie, but had otherwise looked in excellent form.  He and Hamy had a closely fought semi-final in which the young Egyptian demonstrated his calmness under pressure and won 7-2, 4-7, 7-6, 4-7, 7-3.  In the other half of the draw, Reg had had a tough time against the young New Zealander, Hemi McLaren in the opening round but then made a good start against Ahmed El Mahdi, another top Egyptian who had never made as much impact on a GCWC as the quality of his play would indicate.  Ahmed now caught fire with superb shooting and swept into the semi-final by 4-7, 7-4, 7-1.  There he met England’s Stephen Mulliner who had despatched Ahmed Nasr 7-5, 7-6 in the quarter-final.  However, El Mahdi continued his excellent form and won 7-6, 7-3, 7-6.

The final was dramatic.  Hamy looked invincible as he took the first two games 7-4, 7-5 and Ahmed’s shooting was clearly not operating at the level he had shown in the previous two matches.  However, he clawed back in the third by 7-4 and repeated this in game 4.  Any doubts about Hamy’s confidence were swiftly dispelled as he took a 5-1 lead in the decider.  However, after a prolonged duel at hoop 7, Ahmed began an astonishing run of six consecutive hoops to take the game 7-5 and the title.  Many congratulations to both players for a truly excellent display.

2015 Women’s Association Croquet World Championship

This will be held in Nottingham from Saturday, 25 July to Saturday, 1 August 2015.  The Event capacity has been increased to 36 players.  The names of the 32 players with Ranking Places, Wild Card Places and Membership Places are available on the WCF website under World Championships.

2016 Association Croquet World Championship

This will be held at the National Croquet Centre, West Palm Beach, Florida from Friday, 22 April to Saturday, 30 April 2016.  The Qualifying Tournament will be held from Sunday, 17 April to Wednesday, 20 April 2016.  The Invitation Date is expected to be in June 2015.  More details will be available on the WCF website in due course.

MC Topics completed or closed in 2015

MC 309:           2014 MC Report approved and published.

MC 310:           2015 Official Rulings on the 2013 GC Rules approved and published.

MC 312:           GCWC qualifier places.

Topics open, pending or under administration on 28 February 2015

MC 251:           2014 Women’s GCWC (player survey to be completed)

MC 278:           Review of croquet activity among Members.

MC 282:           2015 GCWC, February 2015 (player survey to be completed)

MC 283:           2015 Women’s Association Croquet World Championship, July 2015.

MC 284:           New WCF web-site.

MC 285:           2015 Under 21 GCWC, February 2015 (player survey to be completed)

MC 291:           Appointment of GC Ranking Officer and Assistant Ranking Officers.

MC 295:           2016 Association Croquet World Championship.

MC 311:           Regulation policy.

MC 313:           2016 GC World Team Championship.

MC 314:           Women’s GC World Team Championship.

Outlook for March

The main activities for the month will be analysing the results of the player surveys for the last three WCF events, continuing to administer the forthcoming 2015 Women’s AC World Championships and continuing the review of the WCF Statutes.

 Stephen Mulliner

Secretary-General 3 March 2015