Tournaments: a reply by Roger Sutton

ca3-sml.pngWhy are so few players entering tournaments?

This continues the discussion currently on the front page.

A reply from Roger Sutton

Dear Editor

Why are the GC one day tournaments so popular and AC in decline?

How life has changed; just look at our History page on our website and see how many entered AC tournaments in the past. It's quite clear that people had more time on their hands. Spending two or three days or a week at a tournament is just not on any more for most people, apart from the expense if you live away from the event. The pace of life was slower and, as in other sports, croquet needs to adapt to the modern world and not hang on to the traditions of the past.

Having been at the Club this week whilst your AC tournament [AC Annual Tournament] was in progress there was a lot of sitting around waiting - it’s not what most people want any more for a day of sport. There also seems a tolerance of slow play that’s OK for very few people.

Our GC one day events, when managed properly, can be played out in six and a half hours including lunch which is a long enough day for anyone. With the aim of six and a maximum of seven rounds, this makes a full and competitive day. It's what people want. I’ve always tried to complete a tournament by 5 o’clock at the latest. 

Some GC tournaments seem to have a hang over from AC days. It is a mistake to try and fit 8 rounds as in the recent Inter Counties. Finishing the day’s tournament at 7.30-8 o’clock is not what most people want. 

This brings me on to slow play, the killer of so many sports and must urgently be tackled in croquet. In our recent World Championships slow play was rife and not addressed, the 10 hour semi-final between Fulford and Bamford was the worse advertisement for the game there could be How refreshing to watch the young American winner, getting on with the game at a pace that was acceptable.

It’s quite clear that the Croquet world wants to bring croquet to a wider audience; streaming is an example of this but games must be managed in a way that keeps the game moving. I sat and scored one match in the Worlds and out of boredom started timing how long players took, many times this was 2 – 3 minutes.

Even for Championship matches Managers/Referees should step in and warn players for slow play otherwise GC will not move on and gain the popularity it deserves.

I firmly believe that croquet needs to rid itself of the traditions of the past and bring all tournaments to fit in with modern trends. If handled well GC will prosper; AC needs to adapt and then there will be a place for it.


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