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.
The central venue for the event is the Victorian Croquet Centre (VCC) at Cairnlea, which has 12 lawns. A number of other clubs around Victoria will also host Championship rounds including Essendon Croquet Club, Williamstown Croquet Club, Belmont Croquet Club (Geelong) and Ballarat Alexandra Croquet Club.
The current number one ranked player in the world and the only player to ever hold both the Golf Croquet and Association Croquet World Championship titles at the same time, Reg Bamford from South Africa, will be looking of his second GC World title. In addition, there is a long list of notable players that includes the highest ranked woman in the world, Jenny Clarke from New Zealand (ranked 23) and the highest ranked young player, Hamish McIntosh from New Zealand (aged 26 and ranked 28 in the world).
Think croquet is a niche, old-fashioned sport? Think again says the President of Croquet Victoria Jim Clement.
“Croquet is growing in popularity with 89 clubs and more than 2800 members in Victoria alone – 265 clubs and 9000+ players nationally,” said Clement.
“Some of the most successful players at the moment are only young, like our very own Jack Williams from Traralgon who at 19 years won both the Australian Under 21 Golf Croquet Singles title and the Victorian Open Golf Croquet Singles in 2016.
“These Championships will be an exciting opportunity to see the game played at its best by both Australian and international players, including the notorious Egyptian players who hit the ball so hard that we have to erect special fencing at each host location for this event.”
Golf Croquet is like the "One Day Test" of croquet – it’s is a much simpler and quicker version of the game than Association Croquet and is gaining popularity with younger generations because it’s easily learned by beginners and generally takes about 50 minutes to complete a game.
Prior to the Golf Croquet World Championship, the World Croquet Federation Under 21 Golf Croquet World Championship will also take place from February 18-23, 2017, at Cairnlea’s VCC, with 28 players from Australia, Egypt, New Zealand and USA competing. The top two players from this event will earn themselves a spot in the main open Championship event.
Spectators are welcome at all events and admission is free by registering at http://croquetvic.asn.au.