Congratulations to Brass Spot Mallets and Marcelino Piquero for taking top spot in the 2017 Annual Croquet Network Mallet Poll. Brass Spot notched 167 votes in a poll that set a new record with 454 total votes. For players though, the good news is the number of mallet makers has now grown to 27 which is up four from 2016.
As posted on the Nottingham List, the schedule for the 2017 European Masters Series is starting to come together. The season long tournament series awards points for performance in both AC and Golf Croquet tournaments in Europe. More information can be found on the European Masters website. Here is the schedule to date:
In anticipation of the upcoming MacRobertson Shield Tier 1 World Team Championship between Australia, England, New Zealand and the United States this coming April, this is the second of a three-part statistical look at the team line-ups. This week we'll focus on a pair of charts on Tripling Percentage by Games Played and Wins and follow with two charts based on Dynamic Grade and World Rank. As a note, this week's charts do include Chris Shilling in place of Paul Skinley for team New Zealand as that line-up switch was announced this week. All statistics are sourced from croquetrecords.com.
For the tables below, I'll offer some comments on items that caught my eye, but it's primarily from a statistical look as I rarely get to watch even the US players and have no in-person experience watching players from the other three teams. I would encourage anyone with more insight to fill up the comments section with feedback.
Come along and see the game of croquet played at its absolute finest when the World Croquet Federation’s Golf Croquet World Championships come to Australia for the first time at the end of February.
Around 80 players from 14 countries will converge in Melbourne from February 25 to March 5, 2017 for the 12th World Championships, which are held every two years in a nominated country and attract the best names in the sport.
There was certainly a bit of drama in the long wait for the US MacRobertson Shield roster line-up. I was sort of expecting a Livestream press conference with fireworks, cheerleaders and some AC/DC. Alas, the roster quietly appeared on the Americas forum on Croquet World Online. The report there names Jeff Soo, Ben Rothman, Danny Huneycutt, David Maloof, Matthew Essick
Welcome to our Third Annual Croquet Network Most Popular Mallet Poll. This has quickly proven to be the most popular annual feature on Croquet Network and with this 2017 edition we are anxious to see if RPM Mallets can register a third straight win (2016 Poll, December 2014 Poll). Of course, it should be recognized that this is a popularity contest and the reality is there is a long list of great mallet makers out there. This is a great opportunity for players to support their favorites.
As the new year settles in, I can certainly acknowledge that over the past few weeks Croquet Network has been all like "me, me, me," with posts on the Best of 2016, Top Supporters and our recent announcement of our 2017 Media Kit. We'll chalk that up to a little bit of annual housekeeping and specifically in the case of the media kit -- a strong desire to expand the editorial output of the website. A mission which obviously accelerates as the budget increases.
Looking forward though, we are now ready to get back to on-site tournament coverage and the usual features on the sport of croquet. With that in mind, I always enjoy the annual re-start of the Morning Coffee winter spring series. Like a lot of good cable or Netflix series, this weekly roundup of world croquet news now focuses on a short run from January into the spring. At some point, we all need to get off the keyboard and get onto a court.
Enough with the long intro, we're back in action for 2017 and here's your weekly rundown ...
2017 MALLET POLL: Get ready for Croquet Network's most popular annual series. The 2017 Mallet Poll will launch for public votes, this Friday, January 20, 2017 and run through the end of the month. And yes, once again we'll follow up in February with an updated 2017 Mallet Directory based on the results.
FORDYCE WINS NZ GC TITLE: Sixteen year-old Edmund Fordyce became the youngest player to win the New Zealand golf croquet national open singles title with a 5-7, 5-7, 7-3, 7-5, 7-1 over Josh Freeth in the final. Full story from the Nelson Mail.
BOB CHILTON PHOTOGRAPHY: CWO has a piece on Bob Chilton's incredibly engaging photography that goes well beyond croquet. You might note that the last photo in the article appeared on the cover of the USCA's Croquet News for the 2015 Volume 1 issue. All of the photos in the CWO article are downsized, but you can see Chilton's full collection on his website: www.bobchilton.com. I recommend following his Facebook page as it's always enjoyable to see one of his beautiful nightshots pop in your newsfeed.
Dedicated followers will note that in 2016 Croquet Network launched an initiative to provide daily coverage of certain events. Examples include the British Opens, Solomon Test, USCA Golf Croquet Nationals and the US Open. Ideally, we'll tackle more events in 2017 ... so we would love to see some sponsorships develop to help us accelerate our ability to produce better croquet content here on Croquet Network.
Certainly the biggest surprise I found in launching a croquet website back in January of 2008 was the closed environment on the internet for the sport. There are definitely a number of facets to defining what that even means, but getting other sites to link to Croquet Network is a large part of the equation and it has proven to be a futile effort. Success for Croquet Network has been built through more challenging methods, but the promotion of traffic and sharing of good croquet content is one of the key factors in building a successful website and active internet community overall.
It remains as the top challenge for Croquet Network and that is why I wanted to recognize the top sites that do support Croquet Network by driving traffic. For 2016, here is our list for top 10 supporting sites for CroquetNetwork.com. Congratulations and thank you for supporting this site and the sport overall.
As 2016 winds down, it's always a great time to look at the most popular articles and pages on the Croquet Network site. The trends always present an interesting look back at the year in our wonderful sport and the popularity of specific pages or articles makes me appreciate the loyal audience that has been cultivated over a near-decade of work. The past year was particularly enjoyable because, we kicked off a small but targeted effort to invest in and produce more original content. It's nice to see some of those pieces in the top 10 for 2016.