Following the one-year postponement of events due to COVID-19 restrictions, the World Croquet Federation (WCF) has adjusted the 10-year schedule and there are now confirmed dates for all the events in 2021 and 2022.
GC World Team Championship Tier 3
Dates: Tuesday to Saturday | July 20-24, 2021
Venue: Guildford & Godalming Croquet Club, England
GC World Team Championship Tier 2
Dates: Monday to Saturday | October 11-16, 2021
Venue: Real Club de Golf Vista Hermosa, Sherry Club and Real Novo Sancti Petri Golf Club, all of which are near Cadiz in southern Spain.
Women’s Association Croquet World Championship
Dates: Wednesday to Wednesday | January 5-12, 2022
Venue: Christchurch, New Zealand
Under 21 Golf Croquet World Championship
Dates: Sunday to Thursday | February 6-10, 2022
Venue: Claudelands, Hamilton East and Morrinsville Croquet Clubs, New Zealand
Golf Croquet World Championship
Dates: Saturday to Sunday | February 12-20, 2022
Venue: Croquet Mount Maunganui, Matamata, Tauranga and Whatakane Croquet Clubs, New Zealand
Association Croquet World Team Championships, Tiers 2 and 3
Dates: Tuesday to Sunday | August 9-14, 2022
Venue: Budleigh Salterton Croquet Club, England
The WCF has noted that all these arrangements are subject to the state of the pandemic and any restrictions placed on travel or overseas entry to the relevant countries. The WCF Management Committee is keeping the situation under review and will make an announcement about each event approximately six months before it is due to be held.
The plans for events in 2023 and 2024 are available at https://worldcroquet.org/index.php/world-championships/10-year-championship-schedule. Members will be consulted shortly with a revised plan for 2025-2030 accommodating a MacRobertson Shield in 2025.
Matthew Essick joins the Pro Croquet Golden Jacket club by winning the 2020 PCA AC event at Chesapeake Bay. Zack Watson on the left came in second with tournament director Macey White in the middle
The first-ever Pro Croquet Tour event was held as an Association Croquet tournament at the Chesapeake Bay Croquet Club on October 22-25.
25 players from all over the US came to try to be the first-ever PCA Association Croquet Pro Tour Champion. When the dust settled, it was no surprise that National Champion Matthew Essick went home with the winning check and the gold jacket.
This event was a replacement for the USCA’s Selection Eights tournament which was canceled. Immediately following the USCA’s canceling of the 2020 Selection Eights, the best players in the country asked the Chesapeake Bay Croquet Club to host the event. Club president, John Priest, and the CBCC board of directors agreed to hold a replacement sanctioned by the Professional Croquet Association (PCA).
Since this was a replacement for the Eight’s, the PCA modified it slightly from the standard PCA format to give the players what they wanted. First, this event was open to everyone and not just the tour qualified players, as is the Eights tournament. A few brave novices entered, like Pat Richmond from New Jersey who played in this event as her first-ever Association Croquet tournament. Pat did well and each game was an education with new skills, tactics and rules learned. Pat improved so much that she ended her tournament play by almost upsetting Rick Darnell in a close 11-14 finish. Adam Lassiter also played tournament AC for the first time but Adam is by no means a novice and was positioned in the second Eight and advanced to the second round of the knockout.
The second modification from the standard PCA format is that players played eights style games while not in the knockout for the money prizes. Eights style means that the top eight players (based on World Federation grades) play each other and the second eight play each other and the third eight...
All players started the tournament in a round of 32 bracket-style knockout. This means that everyone in the tournament had a chance to play for the big money. Not just the best players. In addition, players in the lower eights had a chance to show they were better than their grades. Not surprisingly, some players did well and proved that they were better than their WCF grades. In the first-round, Rick Darnell, a 3rd Eight player beat his 2nd Eight opponent to advance to the second round. In the second-round upsets continued with 2nd Eight Macey White defeating 1st Eight Jim Bast, 2nd Eight Shane Hettler defeated 1st Eight Dan Pailas and 2nd Eight Chris Barley defeated 1st Eight Tom Balding. Macey lost the 3rd round to tournament winner Matthew Essick and Shane lost to Zack Watson. Chris won his third-round match against 1st Flight powerhouse, Stephen Morgan only to lose to the 2nd place finisher, Zack Watson in the semis. The finals were Zack Watson from Virginia vs Matthew Essick from North Carolina. The final game was moved to Saturday to avoid a rainstorm that came in Saturday evening and lingered through Sunday. The final was a high-level, low mistake croquet battle between Zack and Matthew. Matthew prevailed in two straight and was presented with the Golden Jacket (every PCA Tour Event winner is presented with a gold jacket on their first tour win) and Matthew received the winners share of the prize money, a check for $1500. Zack won $750 and each succeeding place won half as much as the place before. Everyone in the tournament received a check for their portion of the prize money ($3000).
Matches in the knockout were best two of three with an eight-hour time limit. Matches in the eights portion of the tournament were single 3-hour games. Games played against fellow eights players in the knockout were also counted in the eights. This made blending the money knockout with the eights a little easier.
Leading women's player, Sandra Knuth, won the 3rd Eight followed closely by Calvert Chaney and Rodney Lassiter. The 2nd Eight was a tie between Mike Taylor and Chris Barley. The 1st Eight was won by Matthew Essick and Sherif Abdelwahab came in second.
Even though this was a no-frills tournament, the event had three dinners. On Wednesday, opening night festivities included a players meeting and a dinner on the grill with an open bar (actually there was an open bat all week). Saturday night was a tidewater country feast with steamed crabs, southern fried chicken and pulled pork, Friday night was a Dutch treat dinner from a local restaurant that fed everyone during our PCA business meeting. The PCA is an open structured organization and all players are invited to attend the PCA meetings. The goals, plans and operating guidelines are on the PCA website for everyone to see. It was decided that the PCA will schedule at least 4 events for next year, 2021 and the entry fee will be raised slightly to increase the payout to players. The new model for entry fees is $250 with $150 of that going to the purse, $75 going to the host club and the remaining $25 paying expenses incurred by the PCA. A schedule for 2021 PCA events will come out soon and here is what we are planning at this point:
2020 PCA PRO Tour AC Event - Money Round Finishing Order
1 Matthew Essick
2 Zack Watson
3 Sherif Abdelwahab
3 Chris Barley
5 Macey White
5 Shane Hettler
5 Danny Huneycutt
5 Stephen Morgan
9 Tom Balding
9 Jim Bast
9 Rick Darnell
9 Lee Jorde
9 Adam Lassiter
9 Rodney Lassiter
9 Dan Pailas
9 Mike Taylor
17 Rob Byrd
17 Calvert Chaney
17 Jay Hughes
17 Thomas Hughes
17 Karin Karel
17 Sandra Knuth
17 Bo Prillaman
17 Pat Richmond
17 Steve Thurston
1st Eight Finishing Order
1 Matthew Essick
2 Sherif Abdelwahab
3 Dan Pailas
4 Zack Watson
4 Stephen Morgan
6 Tom Balding
7 Danny Huneycutt
7 Jim Bast
2nd Eight Finishing Order
1 Chris Barley
1 Mike Taylor
3 Shane Hettler
4 Adam Lassiter
4 Jay Hughes
6 Lee Jorde
7 Tom Hughes
3rd Eight Finishing Order
1 Sandy Knuth
2 Rodney Lassiter
2 Calvert Chaney
4 Rick Darnell
4 Rob Byrd
6 Steve Thurston
7 Bo Prillaman
8 Karin Karel
9 Pat Richmond
The USCA has announced three Regional Vice Presidential positions up for re-election.
· Midwest Regional Vice President
· Western Regional Vice President
· Florida Regional Vice President
If you or someone you know would like to be considered for nomination to the position of USCA Regional Vice President in the Midwest, Western, or Florida Region, please contact the Nominating Committee Chair, Lucille Maresca at (561) 626-5156 or email firstname.lastname@example.org by November 18, 2019. The RVP elections will be held at the 2020 Annual General Meeting.
THIRD TITLE FOR MISSOURI TEAM
On a final day shortened by lightning strikes, Missouri rolled through Florida 6-0 to claim the 2019 Croquet Network States Shield title on Sunday, August 18, 2019, in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Missouri had advanced to the championship final with relative ease after a 7-3 win in the semifinal against Wisconsin. On the other semifinal matchup, Florida went to the final round in their semifinal against Colorado to claim a 6-4 test win to advance. It was Vernon Pierce that got the test clincher with a 7-3 win over Steve Berry.
That projected out as a competitive championship battle on Sunday between Florida and Missouri. In fact, Florida's opening duo of Jim Teel and Pierce jumped all over Missouri's team of Matt Griffith and Matt Smith in the early stages of the opening round doubles game as they worked out to a 4-0 lead. Missouri stayed in it and battled back to take a 7-6 win. From there, momentum and the scores all started to roll Missouri's way.
Smith beat Pierce 7-3, Shield veteran Stephen Jackson beat Teel 7-4 and Griffith took down Hal Denton 7-1. That meant a 4-0 lead after two rounds for Missouri and the third round continued to tilt toward that way as clouds formed and the storm started to roll in. Smith took down Teel 7-2 and Griffith defeated Pierce 7-4 to clinch the test with the needed six wins.
With lightning closing in, play was stopped and the players agreed that there was no point to waiting out the lightning to play the final games. The final score went down as 6-0 for Missouri.
The win now means that Missouri has taken the Shield in three out of the four years the event has been played. However, this one certainly had to be a bit sweeter. The 2019 Shield included 11 teams that narrowed down to the four teams that battled in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The 2016 and 2017 events included two and four teams respectively.
Plus, after being knocked out of a championship bid in last year's Central qualifier with a last-round run of wins by Oklahoma, Missouri came into the 2019 event with plans to field their strongest possible team. The plan was modified as highest-grade player Matt Griffith had to miss the June Quad Qualifier as he was playing in the British GC Open, but the Smith, Jackson and Ron Millican line-up came within one win of claiming the Central, falling to Colorado 6-5. However, their strong win total put them in the fourth spot for the championship as the top second place team from Quad play.
US GOLF CROQUET CLASSIC
As a companion event for the Shield Championship weekend, the US Golf Croquet Classic kicked off one-day prior to the Shield semifinals on Friday, August 16 with two blocks of four in action in the morning. Tulsa's Matt Baird went 3-0 in A Block and John Steninger from the Colorado Shield team went 3-0 in B Block to claim top seeds in the afternoon quarterfinals of the main knockout. Baird advanced and played his semifinal against Wendell Thompson on Friday and took a comfortable 7-3 win to advance to the final set to be played Saturday afternoon.
Steninger also advanced through the quarterfinals and in the Saturday semifinal was set to face Colorado alternate Ned Sperry who had advanced from the quarterfinals with a hard-fought 7-5 win over Tulsa's Jon Spaulding. The Colorado showdown went in Steninger's favor as he cruised to the victory 7-2.
In the final, a rested Baird took down Steninger 7-5 to claim the first annual US GC Classic title.
All players knocked out in in the quarterfinals moved into the Plate knockout where newcomers Anna Hanson and Mariah Chitwood showed a lot of one day improvement as they battled more experienced players in the semifinal. After scoring just three hoops on Friday, Chitwood in particular captured the spectators' attention as she was up 6-3 on Spaulding. Spaulding battled back though and escaped 7-6 to go to the plate final. There he faced Harold Menzel from Dallas who fended off Hanson 7-4 in his semifinal. They squared off in the afternoon heat for a tough game with Spaulding claiming the Plate title with a 7-5 win.
01. Matt Baird
02. John Steninger
03. Ned Sperry
03. Wendell Thompson
05. Jon Spaulding
06. Harold Menzel
07. Mariah Chitwood
07. Anna Hanson
The States Shield Championship weekend had 19 players participate and would have had two more if Tulsa’s Joe Steiner hadn't had to withdrawal due to a heart attack on the Sunday prior to the event. The overall States Shield event had a total of 49 players and will certainly grow again in 2020 as it will likely to move to 16 teams and expand on the GC Classic concept./p>
The 2019 Shield was played in three different cities over four different weekends and that is due to the efforts of many dedicated croquet players and supporters that continue to drive this event forward. There were of course support teams for all three of the Quads played in South Carolina, Illinois and Oklahoma earlier in the summer and we thank the quad directors -- Damon Bidencope, Cheryl Bromley and Matt Smith for their efforts in managing those events.
For the Championship weekend, many of the players on hand helped with both court setup and court teardown and I thank them for their efforts. We were working on the back foot for the entire Shield season as we did lose our primary championship venue in April. I would like to thank Matt Smith and the Tulsa Croquet Club for stepping in with short notice to provide a replacement championship venue to make the 2019 event possible. In particular, Jon Spaulding and Joe Schulte from Tulsa were critical to the event as Schulte provided the truck that allowed us to store equipment near the courts and Spaulding worked hard days on the markup, setup and teardown for the US GC Classic. Matt Baird made sure drinks were courtside as players battled the August heat.
As mentioned before, we missed Steiner as a player and as part of our set up crew, but I thank him for the expanded layout tool and wish him a successful and quick recovery. And again, thank you to players in both the GC Classic and Shield for work on set up and teardown and for participating in the event. As a director and spectator, it was a fun and entertaining event and I enjoyed meeting several new players and watching some great croquet. See you in 2020.
Leading up to the start of the third quad of this year’s States Shield event, there was some uncertainty if it was actually going to happen. Two weeks out, the Illinois team of previous years had to be reorganized due to work and schedule conflicts and thankfully Jeff Lee of Chicago was able to secure Matt Brown and George Saad for the team.
One week out the players got the word that the Minnesota team had to withdraw due to schedule conflicts, however, with the Indiana, Wisconsin, and Illinois teams intact, the Midwest Quad was able to go on.
If you ever find yourself in the Chicago area, I highly recommend checking out the Prairie Lights Croquet Club located an 1-1/2 hour drive southwest of the city. You feel as though you’ve literally stepped into the movie Field of Dreams. I couldn’t help but think, “build it and they will come!” Owner Mickey Huttenhoff meticulously maintains the lawn to superb condition and he, along with his wife Ronnie, are the most gracious of hosts.
Play got underway Friday evening with temperatures still hovering in the 90s. Once the sun went down and the lights went on, the first test match between Illinois and Wisconsin battled on until 11:00 p.m.
The Wisconsin duo of Mary Feind and Cheryl Bromley got things rolling with a solid doubles win, followed by Bob Feind’s (WI) singles victory over George Saad (IL). Bromley (WI) took out Matt Brown (IL) and Wisconsin found itself with an early 3-0 match lead.
Illinois followed up with two singles wins to close the gap with both Saad (IL) and Jeff Lee (IL) defeating Mary Feind (WI). Bob Feind (WI) then pulled out a clutch win over Brown (IL) hitting a one-handed backwards jump shot at hoop #13 to snag his match. The last match of the evening between Bromley and Saad had more theatrics as Bromley scored two hoops in one shot when she hit a jump shot over Saad’s ball in the jaws at hoop #1 with the momentum carrying her ball through hoop #2.
Wisconsin finished up the night with a 5-2 test lead needing just one more match in the morning to win the test. Saturday’s games started off with Lee’s (IL) victory over Bob Feind (WI). It was looking as though Illinois would grab another win as Brown (IL) held the lead in his match until the 13th hoop when Mary Feind (WI) managed to score the winning hoop and the test for Wisconsin. Bromley’s (WI) win over Lee (IL) was icing on the cake.
Next up, Wisconsin faced another tough team from Indiana and would need to pull off another 6 match wins to take the Test and win the overall Quad. Bromley and M. Fiend (WI) started with a 7-6 doubles win over Russ Dilley and Michael Leaming (IN) followed by another stellar singles win by Bob Feind (WI) over Mark Troiano (IN). Bromley (WI) also defeated Troiano (IN) while Dilley (IN) took down Bob Feind (WI). Wisconsin now had a 3-1 match lead. Dilley (IN) went on to defeat Mary Feind (WI) and Bromley (WI) closed out a match with Leaming (IN) keeping Wisconsin in the lead 4-2. Bob Feind (WI) skillfully got past Leaming (IN) and now it was M. Feind’s 7-6 win over Troiano (IN) that sealed the deal for the Wisconsin win. Bromley (WI) and Dilley (IN) faced off in an encore match with Bromley coming out on top.
With a few hours of travel between them, Indiana and Illinois opted not to do a playoff for second and third place. Wisconsin’s team will now head to Tulsa, Oklahoma in August to compete in a national semi-final showdown with Colorado, Florida, and Missouri.
Individual game scores may be found at https://croquetscores.com/2019/gc/croquet-network-midwest-states-shield-quad
The 2019 Volume 2 Digital Edition of the USCA's Croquet News is now available for viewing. Check it out online by clicking the cover to the right. It works best on a tablet or desktop, but can also even be viewed on a smartphone. Print copies should start mailing to USCA members by the end of the week.
This issue features the 2019 Club Directory, the 2018 Annual USCA Awards Winners and coverage on both AC Nationals and Club Teams / Croquet Week. Here's the complete line-up:
Visit the USCA's magazine page (members only) for back issues of the Croquet News magazine.
DENTON IS NEW PRESIDENT AND COO
The Croquet Foundation of America recently announced the following changes to its Board of Directors: David McCoy was elected to the new position of Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer; Hal Denton was elected President and Chief Operating Officer; Mike Gibbons was elected Executive Vice President.
Tom Tribby will continue as Corporate Secretary and Vickie Johnston continues as Treasurer. Other Functional Vice Presidents are Howard Sosin: VP-Coordination; and Ruth Summers: VP-Strategic Planning. Conner Helms is Board Designee to the Executive Committee. Other Directors are Ron Atkins, Randy Cardo, Stuart Baker, and Sara Low- ex officio (USCA President) and Joy Diesel is an Advisory Board Member.
McCoy will continue his involvement in management of the Foundation, but with a primary focus on fundraising, planning and policy matters.
Hal Denton was formerly the CFA’s Vice President-Facilities and Grounds, where he made major contributions and also guided the installation of night lighting, security cameras, major court and sprinkler system improvements, landscaping, new mowing and maintenance equipment, machine-shed cleanup and repair and many other enhancements to the National Croquet Center.
David McCoy and Mike Gibbons are both members of the US Croquet Hall of Fame and their bios can be found on the USCA website www.croquetamerica.com.
The Croquet Foundation of America, Inc. (“CFA”) is a 501(c)(3) Not-for-Profit organization with a mission to promote and develop the sport of croquet. It owns and operates the National Croquet Center (“NCC”) in West Palm Beach, FL. – the largest and finest dedicated croquet facility in the world. The CFA also manages the annual United States Croquet Hall of Fame Induction and Gala, the Croquet Museum, and the NCC Pro Shop.
The NCC houses the Croquet Pro Shop, the Croquet Museum, the United States Croquet Association headquarters and schools, the National Croquet Club, the Special Olympics Croquet Club of Palm Beach County, and Sandy James Fine Food and Productions (caterer). The NCC hosts the local Croquet Senior Games and acts as an official shelter and feeding station during State emergencies. To help promote and introduce new people to the sport, the CFA rents the NCC for private, corporate and not-for-profit events or parties for up to 400 people or more, (usually involving golf-croquet games with instruction). See www.croquetnational.com and www.cfacroquet.org or call (501) 478-2300 ext. 2 for more information.
The Third Openshaw Shield WCF Golf Croquet World Team Championship (Tier 1) is scheduled for January 6 through 12, 2020 in Nelson, New Zealand. Team USA will be looking to improve on its prior 4th- and 5th-place finishes in the eight-country tournament.
The USCA GC Selection Committee will announce the Team USA roster in late July. Players wishing to be considered for selection must return the availability form (by mail or email) to the USCA office by May 31, 2019.
Thanks to last year’s remarkably successful fundraising efforts led by Michael Albert, significant travel funding should be available for the team of four players, plus a traveling alternate. For a full description of the criteria used to assess player performance, see section 6.2 of the USCA Team and Individual Event Selection Policy. Particular emphasis will be placed on performance against high-ranking players in regional, national, and international tournaments in the second half of 2018 and through mid-July of 2019.
USCA Availability Forms (members only):
Please, subscribe to get an access.