Croquet world championships emerge from Ashes shadow
As the nation immerses itself in the Ashes a lesser known, but equally competitive sporting world championships are taking place in a small corner of Wandsworth.
The 14th World Association Croquet Championships is being held this week at the Roehampton Club, in Roehampton Lane, and after a week of tightly-contested competition will conclude on Friday.
Newcomers to the game could be forgiven for assuming the sport’s sedate amateur reputation is transmitted to competitive tournaments.
But the glossary of terms associated with the sport, including double taps, scatter shots, triple peelsand pegging out, demonstrate the aggressive nature of the strategies involved.
Double world champion, and Roehampton Club member, Reg Bamford, will once again be involved in the tournament, which saw 120 players, officials and dignitaries taking part in the opening ceremony last Friday.
The tournament winner will be presented with the Wimbledon Cup, donated to the Croquet Association by the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club to commemorate the hosting of the first World Association Croquet Championship in 1989.
South-west London has a rich history of croquet and is the birthplace of the modern game with the country’s first club being based in Wimbledon.
The British Croquet Championships were held at the Hurlingham Club, near Putney Bridge, in 2007.
Entry to the tournament is free and to learn more about the sport in general visit wcfcroquet.org/joomla/.
• The oldest document to bear the word “croquet” is a set of rules registered by Isaac Spratt in November 1856.
• During the reign of Charles II, the game was played under the name of paille-maille or pall mall, derived ultimately from Latin words for “ball and mallet”.
• The All England Croquet Club, founded in 1868, was the first croquet club in the country.
• Modern tennis was born at the height of a croquet craze, which was centred at the All England Croquet and Lawn Tennis Club.
• The first tennis championships was held in 1877, to raise money for a pony-drawn roller for its croquet lawns.
• After the success of its inaugural tournament, the name was changed to the more familiar All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club.
• There are several variations of croquet including association croquet, golf croquet, American six-wicket croquet, nine-wicket croquet garden and extreme.
• In May 2006 John Prescott, the Deputy Prime Minister, was pictured playing croquet at his official residence shortly after a sex scandal.
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