Preparing to play croquet in England

With less than a week before heading off to the “Mother country”, I have been busy preparing for the Holy Grail; to play croquet in England. Unlike the ultra tough conditions in Christchurch, playing croquet in England will throw up some new challenges for me.

Hurlingham Croquet Club, England

Hurlingham Croquet Club, England

1. Players

The 2013 Association Croquet World Championships will host a very strong field of 80 players from 22 countries. Traditionally the UK has had very strong players, with approximately 50 players regularly ranked in the top 100. That said, Australian Robert Fletcher is currently ranked #1, Reg Banford (South Africa) at #3, and five New Zealanders are currently ranked in the top 10.


Not too many clubhouses are quite as impressive than Hurlingham. A private club, I will have to have all my pearly whites sparkling and on best behaviour before they will even let me start to play.

3. Balmy Army

Given the current state of Australian Cricket and English success at the Tour de France (with a Kenyan) and Wimbledon (with a Scot) it is a possibility that the Balmy Army may turn up to support and jeer us.

4. Language

By the time I commence playing in England I will have gained much experience in conversing with the locals. Flying with China Southern will hone my skills in Chinese whispers, before spending a week of “Craic ‘n’ Croquet” in Dublin, Ireland.
I am also completing a course “The Origins of 9 Great British Insults” which will put me in good stead, especially dealing with the Balmy Army.

5. Other Bits

Just the usual pre world championship to-do list – organise flights, pack, unpack due to weight issues, fill in leave forms, organise the bathroom to be renovated, decide what to leave behind, inadvertantly leave mallet out of case, unpack, media commitments and finally get to the airport on time.

Would you like to play croquet in England? or perhaps you already do. Do you know of any other challenges?


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