I am new to the sport of http://www.playcroquet.com/index.php>croquet , as a professionally competitive sport. I have played backyard croquet and poison croquet with friends and family, but there have never been clubs or professional competitions in my vicinity. I am therefore researching various tournaments, where and when they occur, along with how they are played and how one can enter those tournaments. This is the first of probably several articles which I will write on the subject. This first article will be written on the United States National Croquet Championships. According to the United States Croquet Association website, the tournament occurs from May 31 to June 5. Because the tournament follows international rules, it is also termed the USCA International Rules National Championships, as opposed to the USCA AC National Championships American Rules, which is held annually in November and December. This year (2008) the tournaments were held in Seattle, the same place they were held in 2001, and hosted by the Puget Sound Croquet Club.
According to Jeff Soo, who reported on the National Championships in the Croquet World Online Magazine, (May 25, 2008), eleven of the top twenty croquet players, as determined by the World Ranking, competed in the tournament. Because of the small number of lawns available for the tournament, it is limited to only twenty players per one flight. Jeff Soo also said that five of this year’s competitors can claim nine of the last twelve singles titles in this event – Leo McBride, John Taves, Bob Cherry, and Mik Mehas. “Paul Scott has won the last three doubles titles with two different partners.” Also, according to Soo, the games will be played as “straight knockouts,” meaning that each match is won by the best out of three games in both singles and doubles. There will also be a singles Plate match in “flexible Swiss format.” Danny Huneycutt, Croquet World Online Magazine (6 Jun 2008) mentioned that for the first time in North America, competitors were allowed to play “plate game, even prior to being eliminated from the main event.” The plate games were limited to two-and-a-half hours while main event matches, doubles and singles, were limited to seven-and-a-half hours. Time limits and other technical changes made the tournament run smoothly and efficiently.
Entry into the tournament was restricted to invitation. Players entered the tournaments by mail invitations, which posted the requirements for entry; hence, I do not know all of the requirements for entry. Since it is the national championships I would assume that all contestants must have won other tournaments, which qualified them for the national championship. The entry deadline was May 16. Jerry Stark and Jeff Soo were co-tournament directors for this years match.
This years’ tournament ended with a new national champion, Danny Huneycutt, who beat Paul Scott in a three-game match. Stark won the Plate knockout over John Taves. The tournament did receive some media in Washington where it was held, giving publicity to the sport of croquet and providing an opportunity for croquet players to explain to locals and visitors about the tournament, and the sport of croquet itself.
There are many other croquet tournaments in the United States, Canada, and other countries. I will write articles about the other croquet tournaments as well. For more information about http://www.playcroquet.com/index.php>croquet or http://www.playcroquet.com/index.php>croquet sets, go to www.playcroquet.com