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WCF Championships Video 2008

I don't know what's going on in most of these highlights, but still very interesting. There are about three shots that I completely don't understand.


First Shot: The Croquet Network Mission

This month I thought it would be a good idea to discuss the evolving mission of croquetnetwork.com. In one sense it can be summed up pretty easily, I couldn't find another full-time croquet blog out there, so I thought I'd jump in. Of course, a primary focus is to cover news that comes up in a timely fashion. Frankly, there are not a lot of sources out there for croquet news (best sites listed in the right column), which I suppose is both good and bad. The good is that it validates the need for a good croquet blog. The bad is that it's difficult to find information.

Below the main stories on this site, you'll find a consolidated news feed that tracks this site, my club site (pbrtour.net) and another community site that I also built -- kccroquet.com. There is also a feed for the NYCC blog in there, but it hasn't seen too many updates over the winter.

So, beyond the internet news bits and tourney results, I've decided to approach this from a monthly magazine perspective. This "First Shot" column will be a monthly feature that will act like a publisher's letter to kick off each series. I've also targeted a product review, a skills article, a tournament calendar and interview as re-ocurring monthly departments. I'll also throw in at least one video per month and a photo of the month. Those are the goals, but keep in mind this is a one-man show.

Speaking of which, I'll get into my personal croquet story more in the future, but just so you have a base knowledge -- I've been playing backyard croquet since 1998 with a private little social club that hosts a tournament series in the Kansas City area. I usually play one tournament per year on the Missouri Croquet Association circuit. This year I plan to get into a six-wicket game even if it has to happen in my backyard. I'm also hosting the first team nine-wicket event that our club has ever had.

In other words, I've got a little experience around the game but in no way am I a six-wicket pro or do I have deep connections with the established croquet associations. I'm learning as I go and I'm really enjoying it. Hopefully, I can provide some good information and entertainment for the croquet lovers out there.

A final note this month -- the ads you see for T-shirts (or other products) on the site are my creation and do help fund my efforts here. I'll say it straight up -- I'm not here to make a buck, but I'd love to sell 20,000 shirts and focus on this site full-time. The mission laid out above is pretty modest, but I'd like to see some success because I really enjoy this sport and I can envision a lot of ways to expand this site and I see a bright future for the game. So if you like the site and the shirt or other products, jump right in -- it's good for the overall mission.

Dylan, Publisher -- Croquet Network


Backyard Drills: Four-Ball Break

Time: approx. 30-40 minutes

This is a new feature that I’d like to put out monthly that will focus on skills for the basic backyard game. The strategy and drills are pretty common so experienced players probably won’t find much use in this series, but new players should find some value.
We’ll start with my favorite and most practical drill. This one is most likely to simulate that one chance that will should come up in the nine-wicket backyard game (one ball) for a big run. Ball color does not matter but for instructional purposes place the red ball between wickets one and two (off center is good). Place the black ball four to six feet past wicket two. Place the yellow ball somewhere in the vicinity of wicket number three. Placement of all three balls is not critical at all and you’ll want to vary it somewhat for each session (Figure 1).

Place your blue ball at the starting line and clear wicket one just as you would in a real game. The object here is to make a sixteen wicket run. You’ll contact red (Figure 2) between the wickets then send it roughly halfway between wickets two and three (Figure 3) with a stop shot (meaning blue ball stays between wickets one and two).

Score wicket two then contact the black ball (Figure 4). You’ll want to do a ¼ roll shot that sends black toward wicket four and the blue ball toward red between wickets two and three (Figure 5).
Contact red then, you’ll likely need a ½ or ¾ roll shot to get red out near wicket four and blue closer to wicket three or the yellow ball (Figure 6).
If the yellow is on the near side, you may want to contact it before clearing wicket three. You can then perform a roll shot that sets up an easy hoop shot on wicket three while placing yellow on the far side. If yellow was already on the far side you could skip that step and score wicket three if the shot is makeable (Figure 7).



Once wicket three is cleared, the pattern essentially repeats. Contact yellow (Figure 8), roll shot sending yellow toward five and blue toward red (Figure 9).
Contact red, roll shot sending red toward five and blue toward black (Figure 10).
Roll shot, black to other side of four, blue to set up hoop shot on wicket three (Figure 11). Score wicket three then repeat (Figure 12).


The four-ball break is the ideal situation that every player is looking for in a game, so practicing the sequence will get you experience with those critical roll shots. In practice, the fun part is trying to run all sixteen, but if you miss a shot replay it until you play it successfully. The idea is to ingrain the shots and strategy into your mindset – making it second nature. There’s always tomorrow to try to pull off that pure sixteen wicket run.



U.S. Tournament Calendar -- March 2008

Feb 27 - Mar 2 -- Audobon Invitational
Audobon Croquet Club, Naples, FL
Contact: jnjbalson@aol.com

Mar 3–8 -- 20th Peyton Ballenger Invitational
Crouquet Club at PGA National, Palm Beach Gardens, FL
Contact: margostinson47@msn.com

Mar 7–9 -- Boca Grande Invitational
Gasparilla Inn & Boca Bay, Boca Grande, FL
Contact: blainedavis@att.net

Mar 9–11 -- USCA Croquet Week Golf Croquet Championship
National Croquet Center, West Palm Beach
Contact: tournamentusca@aol.com

Mar 12–16 -- USCA National Club Teams Championship
National Croquet Center, West Palm Beach
Contact: tournamentusca@aol.com

Mar 20–22 -- Mar-a-Lago Singles Invitational
Mar-a-Lago, Palm Beach , FL
Contact: Twenty6to2@aol.com

Mar 27–30 -- NC Open Championship Qualifier, 1st & 2nd Flt.
Pinehurst Croquet Club, Pinehurst, NC
Contact: frank@avmetro.com

Source: USCA Calendar Page (click for more details)


February Croquet Photo of the Month

(flicker/cc -- user: sheilaellen)

The Dream Field
I don't know where this was taken, but it sure says croquet to me. The photo was titled "Rotura Croquet Lawn."


WCF Worlds -- Maui Club Rundown

A little surf across the web this morning revealed this Maui Club breakdown of the World Championships. An excellent bracket that really clarifies how it went down. Good stuff.

Maui Club WCF World Championship Link


England's Chris Clarke is World Champion

Chris Clarke won his second world championship by defeating Stephen Mulliner in four games this past weekend in Christchurch, New Zealand. Clarke last won in 1995.

2008 Finals Scores:
Chris Clarke (England) bt Stephen Mulliner (England) 9-26tp, 26-0tp, 26-17, 26-14

Story Link: press.co.nz


WCF Championships -- Crazy Eight

Five from England advance

RESULTS (number denotes seed)

8-Stephen Mulliner (England) bt Michael Wright (NZ) 26-0 , 22-26, 26-20

Shane Davis (NZ) bt Ian Lines (England) 19-26, 26-13, 26-5

5-David Maugham (England) bt Paddy Chapman (NZ) 26tp-22 26tp-1

Aaron Westerby (NZ) bt 4-Rutger Beijderwellen (Netherlands) 1-26 26tp-9 26-13

3-Robert Fulford (England) bt Paul Skinley (NZ) 26-0 26-9

6-Keith Aiton (Scotland) bt Ian Dumergue (Australia) 26-0 26-10

7-James Death (England) bt Samir Patel (England) 26-7 26tp-22

2-Chris Clarke (England) bt Bob Jackson (NZ) 26-7 26-22

From the Croquet World forum.


Sweet Sixteen

Shane Davis (NZ) bt 1-Reg Bamford (South Africa) 26-18 4-26 26tp-9

Ian Lines (England) bt Greg Bryant (NZ) 26-20 20-19

Michael Wright (NZ) bt Peter Landrebe (Australia) 0-26tp 26-23 26-11

8-Stephen Mulliner (England) bt Robert Lowe (NZ) 18-26, 26-22, 26-18

5-David Maugham (England) bt David Openshaw (England) 1-26 26tp-1 26-9

Paddy Chapman (NZ) bt Leo McBride (Canada) 26tp-16 10-26 26-21

Aaron Westerby (NZ) bt Ian Burridge (England) 26-8 26-4

4-Rutger Beijderwellen (Netherlands) bt Phillip Drew (NZ) 26stp-11 26tp-8

3-Robert Fulford (England) bt AJ Reid (NZ) 26tp-0 26tp-0

6-Keith Aiton (Scotland) bt Toby Garrison (NZ) 12-26 26-4 26-15

7-James Death (England) bt Marcus Evans (England) 26-10 26-4

Samir Patel (England) bt Bruce Fleming (Australia) 26-9, 26-10

Bob Jackson (NZ) bt Jonathan Kirby (Scotland) 26-15 26-14

Ian Dumergue (Australia) bt Jenny Clarke (NZ) 26-21, 10-26, 23-22

Paul Skinley (New Zealand) bt John Gibbons (England) 23-26, 26-18, 11-8

2-Chris Clarke (England) bt Andrew Johnston (Ireland) 26-3, 26-2

Source: http://www.croquetworld.com/Event.asp


World Championships Down to 32 Players

(top four from each block in order):

Block A:
Reg Bamford (South Africa) Jonathan Kirby (Scotland), Ian Lines (England) AJ Reid (NZ)

Block B:
Chris Clarke (England) John Gibbons (England) Robert Lowe (NZ)Andrew Johnston (Ireland)

Block C:
Robert Fulford (England) Ian Dumergue (Australia) Shane Davis (NZ) Marcus Evans (Wales)

Block D:
David Maugham (England) Greg Bryant (NZ) Leo McBride (Canada) Phillip Drew (NZ

Block E:
Rutger Beijderwellen (Netherlands) Aaron Westerby (NZ) Samir Patel (England) Bob Jackson (NZ)

Block F:
Keith Aiton (Scotland) Bruce Fleming Australia) Paul Skinley, Michael Wright (NZ

Block G:
Stephen Mulliner (England) James Death (England) Ian Burridge (Wales) Jenny Clarke (NZ)

Block H:
Peter Landrebe (Australia) Paddy Chapman (NZ) David Openshaw (England) Toby Garrison (NZ)

From the Croquet World website.


Art of the Jump Shot Video


US Calendar -- February

Jan 31 - Feb 3 - - Sarasota County Winter Singles Invitational
Sarasota County Croquet Club, Venice, FL crokpeople@aol.com

Feb 1 - Feb 3 - - USCA Croquet School
National Croquet Center, West Palm Beach, FL usca@msn.com

Feb 5 - Feb 9 - - ORAC Invitational
Ocean Reef Club, Key Largo, FL wgcamper@aol.com

Feb 12 - Feb 17 - - Useppa Island Invitational
Gasparilla & Useppa, Useppa Island, FL thecapstonegroup@comcast.net

Feb 15 - Feb 17 - - Mar-a-Lago Doubles Invitational
Mar-a-Lago, Palm Beach, FL Twenty6to2@aol.com

Feb 19 - Feb 24 - - Charles P. Steuber Invitational
National Croquet Center, West Palm Beach, FL archiepeck@aol.com

Feb 27 - Mar 2 - - Audobon Invitational
Audobon Croquet Club, Naples, FL jnjbalson@aol.com

Source: USCA Calendar Page (click for more details)


Family Man: Back in the Game

The Austin Statesman has a nice profile on Jim Bast who took off eight years from competitive croquet to raise two daughters. Bast is back in the game now and will compete in this year's World Championships in New Zealand. As I read the piece, I was wondering if my wife would let me quit the day job and take on competitive croquet. Probably not. Oh well, this quote from Bast is something I think players of all levels can agree with:

"You never forget how to do it. Once it gets hold of you, it pretty much keeps hold of you."


Palm Beach Results: Ben Rothman Wins


The Croquet World site reports that Ben Rothman defeated
John Osborn 26-2 to win the singles Championship flight
at the Palm Beach Invitational in Florida this weekend.


Link to Site




Interview With A Minnesota Pro Player

This is from an Edina, Minnesota promotional show. A pretty good interview on the basics and some nice footage of play at their club.