Rhys Thomas

Hall of Fame
Rhys Thomas

Inducted: 2014

Rhys Thomas has worked diligently in numerous aspects of croquet for many years, particularly concentrating his efforts towards establishing and developing the USCA’s role in the international croquet community.

Rhys first discovered American six wicket croquet in Aspen, Colorado, in the summer of 1981.  Seven years later, ensconced in Hollywood, he discovered the manicured lawns of the Beverly Hills Croquet Club in Roxbury Park.  Learning quickly under the tutelage of National Seniors champion, C.B. Smith, Rhys rose to championship caliber, launching a long career playing, managing and promoting croquet events, both nationally and internationally.

Rhys was a member of two USCA Solomon Trophy teams and represented the United States at five World Championships, both WCF and WCC.  He was also the coach and manager of the 1996 USA MacRobertson Shield Team.  That year, he relinquished his USA team eligibility to accept the chairmanship of the USCA’s selection committee, a position he held until 2003, when he was appointed chair of the USCA’s International Committee.

Between 1996 and 2011, Rhys worked with others to improve USA’s performance in international croquet competition.  This included the creation of the Selection Eights, inspired by Jerry Stark and dedicated to W. Ellery McClatchy.  Throughout that period of time, Rhys also acted as the United States representative to the World Croquet Federation, serving on the WCF Management Committee from 2003 to 2011.  In 2005, he was instrumental in establishing the WCF Hall of Fame.

Among his most important international achievements, Rhys lobbied tirelessly on behalf of the USCA for equal representation and improved player allocations at all WCF World Championships.  This resulted in a deepening of the USA player pool and directly contributed to the first USA test match victories in the MacRobertson Shield.  The culmination of these efforts came in 2009 when a USA team defeated Great Britain to win the Solomon Trophy for the first time in croquet history.  This was a home victory at Mission Hills in California but USA repeated this feat in 2011 in England.

Domestically, Rhys has managed four USCA National Championships, in American and Association rules.  In 1997, he organized and managed the Solomon Trophy at Sherwood Country Club, where he served as Director of Croquet for 17 years.  In 2003, Rhys helped organize the first MacRobertson Shield held on United States soil and served as the Tournament Referee.  He is also a USCA National Class I Referee.

Notably, Rhys’ volunteer management accomplishments were achieved while he played at the highest level of championship croquet and worked full time as a professional writer.  He is the author of one published non-fiction book, three unpublished novels, numerous newspaper articles, several screenplays, and hundreds of hours of documentary films for which he has garnered a handful of awards, including an Emmy nomination.