Perry Matson at Woodlawn in Maine wrote, " Our winter was so long this year and the Spring has been very wet and cold so our court may not be ready for play until June. Due to our court being snow and ice covered for so long, we had to have it over seeded last week. We're waiting now for some sun and warm temps to get the grass growing. Very unusual but everyone is anxious to get going. Our First tournament is June 13. We're praying for green grass by then."
From New Zealand, Chris Clarke reported, "Most of the clubs in Christchurch are currently closed until September, so we didn't celebrate world croquet day. My understanding is that none of the major croquet nations did."
The English are aware of World Croquet Day and report trying to coordinate local events with it.
In Australia, on the other hand. Zach Kominar told me, "There's lots of activity going on around Brisbane/Queensland region; The Windsor Shield was just a coincidence to coordinate with World Croquet Day."
You might think that because Australia is so far south, their winters would be too cold for sporting in the winter. The south ocean currents dictate otherwise. In Australia, croquet can be played year-round.
Top-ranked player Reg Bamford shared on the Nottingham Board his event plan, which doubles the utility of a full-size court.
We've hosted two annual Croquet days for my staff for the last 20 years (and we now host two a year for our two offices - one at Surbiton and one in Cape Town). I've also hosted a couple of "friends and family" Croquet Days, so it's a well-oiled, tried-and-tested formula:
1. For every 16 people in attendance, you'll need one full-size court.
2. Each court is split in two, being North Court and South Court, to create two half-sized courts.
3. We play Golf Croquet, with primary colours on South Court and secondary colours on North Court.
4. I swap the red-topped hoop (Hoop 5) with Hoop 3, and put the Blue corner flag in Corner 4 and the Reg corner flag in Corner 2. So each game starts in those corners, with the simple instruction that "the first hoop you go for is the one with the colour on the top".
5. The sequence of hoops is: South Court is Hoops 1, 5, 4, 1, 5, 4, etc and North Court is Hoops 3, 6, 2, 3, 6, 2, etc. To score the hoop, you must run it in the direction towards to centre of the court (I don't confuse people with changing the direction). They can play an unlimited number of hoops in each game, continuing in the same sequence of three hoops.
6. Players pair up to play doubles. They keep the same partner throughout.
7. Play starts when I ring the bell and I allow about 20-25 minutes per game, at which point I ring the bell again signalling the end of that round. I record the score from each game.
8. I aim for each pair playing 3 rounds, so "block games" take around 3 hours.
9. I have an easel set up near the clubhouse with a big flipchart to indicate the order of play and to record the scores.
10. Once the "block games" are over, I then rank each pairing based on win % and net hoops. This determines the order in which the pairs will enter the "Peg Shoot-out". The worst pairs start the Shoot-Out, with the best pairs entering it last (a bit like the Patmore Draw at Sonoma).
11. For the Peg Shoot-out, each pair puts forward one player to compete. Pairings that were unbeaten in the block games are allowed to have both players enter the Shoot-out (that's the incentive to win all your block games).
12. The Shoot-out takes place on one court on the North/South boundary nearest the clubhouse, with everyone in attendance. I remove the relevant hoop (either hoop 5 or 6), to give an unhindered shot towards the peg. Eight players line up (players from the worst pairings go first), and all take a simultaneous shot ("on your marks, get set, go!") to land their shot near the peg. I eliminate the worst two shots, with the remaining 6 players staying in the Shoot-out. Two more players join the six, and the Shoot-out continues until there are only representatives of two pairings left. These two pairs play the final match - a "best of 3 hoops only" - in front of the clubhouse crowd.
The whole thing takes about 4 hours. If you want it to last longer, either extend the game time and/or add in an additional round. If you want it be shorter, reduce the game time and/or only have two rounds.
I do a quick introduction, explain the rules (how to grip, how to swing, the offside rules, how the day works, etc), and then do a couple of demonstration shots. The most popular ones are the jump shot over a ball, a cannon off another ball to run a hoop, a jump shot over a ball in a hoop. And then I end it with an attempt (or two!) at a Barnes-Wallis bouncing jump shot over a ball in a hoop. Lots of oohs-and-aahs, and you'll see some of the more adventurous trying these shots during the day (with very limited success).
Its enormously good fun, it's simple, and it allows people to get to meet each other in a friendly, competitive environment, where everyone is as useless at the game as the other.
Good luck with it!
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