The Croquet Legends
Hall of Fame Regulations (136kb) (Adobe pdf format)
|Edmond Patrick Charles Cotter||England||2009|
|Lilias (Lily) Gower (Deceased)||England||2008|
|Dr. William Ormerod||Enlgand||2009|
|Walter Peel (Deceased)||England||2008|
|Lt-Col David Matthew Caradoc Prichard (Deceased)||Wales||2008|
|Lord Bentley Lionel John Tollemache (Deceased)||England||2008|
At the inception of WCF in 1986 certain principles and objectives were established to promote the sport of croquet throughout the world.
One of these is enshrined in the WCF Rules (Statutes)
(103.11) To make awards to those who have contributed to the achievement of the Federation's aims.
Many sports and pastimes have recognised the leaders in their chosen field, either as practitioners or as supporters, sometimes by tokens (gold watches), awards (Oscar's), medals, certificates or by other means. All have a common theme, to thanks those that have demonstrated exceptional ability or generous support.
The WCF Hall of Fame was inaugurated in 2005 to make regular awards to qualifying persons and is virtual based on the WCF web site.
Pat Cotter graduated from Trinity College, Dublin with a degree in classics and soon joined the teaching staff at St. Paul’s school, Hammersmith, teaching Latin and Greek. . During the second World War he was in the R.A.F. in the Intelligence division with the rank of Squadron Leader. After the war he returned to St. Paul’s as head of classics where he remained until his retirement.
He was an international bridge player, playing regularly at Crockfords and the Devonshire and in 1938 won the World Bridge Championship. He wrote a weekly article on bridge for the Financial Times and a monthly one for Country Life until shortly before his death. He was also a regular compiler of crosswords for the Times.
Pat Cotter was a scratch golfer and in 1947 was due to play in a competition at the Roehampton club but had sprained his ankle and wandered over to the croquet courts. He had played a little croquet at university and after a little practice he entered a competition and his handicap was soon down to scratch. Remarkably in 1949, only having played for 2 years he was invited to play in the Presidents Cup and won it, and went on to win it another 3 times in the next 4 years. Thus he was the winner on 4 of his first 5 years and in 21 years won it 6 times and was runner-up 5 times.
He was regarded by Maurice Reckitt as one of the Big Three with Hicks and Solomon and was captain of the winning Great Britain team for the MacRobertson Trophy in England in 1956 and in New Zealand in 1963. Surprisingly his number of wins in other major events was relatively few, winning the Open Singles only 3 times between 1955 and 1962, 4 Men’s titles between 1952 and 1969, and 2 Mixed doubles, though he did not play in this event very often. He won the Open Doubles 9 times with John Solomon.
As a player he was extremely accurate with a very light touch and played with a mallet of only 2 lbs 12 ozs, which allowed him to play superb stop shots. His rushes and split shots were very accurate. He was not a particularly good long shot, probably because he rarely hit the ball hard and even on good courts the ball would veer off line. He was an excellent tactician and would rarely take a risky shot, preferring to bide his time until his opponent presented him with an opportunity. He adopted the ploy of peeling his partner ball through the first hoop in his first break, thereby enabling him in his next turn to send the forward ball straight to hoop 3 ready for the triple peel which then became relatively easy and this was soon adopted by many of the better players. His ball control on hoop running was such that he invariably achieved the rush to wherever he wanted. He probably created a world record at the time by finishing a best of three doubles in less than one and a half hours, including a stop for morning tea, in a test match at Whangarei in 1963 with his partner Solomon.
He was also instrumental in making relationships between players much more relaxed as he called them by their first names instead of the formal Mr., Mrs, or Miss which was the norm at that time. His book “Tackle Croquet This Way” was published by Stanley Paul in 1960 in their series on various sports and is a very concise and readable explanation of the basics of the game.
Having learned all she knew about croquet and its tactics from a book, upon entering her first tournament in 1898, she beat the then Open Champion, C.E. Willis. She then went on to win the Ladies Championship for the next three years after which disdaining the "unequal opposition" of her own sex, turned her attention to the men. In 1901 she won the Open Gold Medal and eventually in 1907 the "Men's Gold Medal" (This was due to an ambiguity of the conditions of entry) This, with other victories by women led eventually to their being a complete segregartion of the sexes in the two Championships.
By her victories she was one of the first women in the sport to compete with men on equal terms.
Tom Howat was arguably the best player in Australian croquet. He has won the most Australian Championships, doubles and singles and was an excellent coach who freely passed on his knowledge of the game. He willingly lived up to his statement to "teach you all I know".
There were many who benefitted and followed his example of passing on "all we know".
Chris has thus far done more than anyone to "spread the word" of croquet outside of the countries in which the game was played when the WCF was first formed, and to increase the number of member associations.
As the first Secretary General of the WCF he had a pioneering role which has set the tone for WCF activity ever since. For many people while he was in office he was the WCF.
Over time he was the Development Officer for the Croquet Association (of England), and is a past President of his home club, Bowdon.
He has provided tremendous service to world croquet over many years.
William has been playing competitive croquet for 60 years now and is still playing at a very high standard (HC -0,5); last year he could win an A-class tournement. I can hardly imagine that there is any croquet player in the world playing for a longer time.....or in any other sports......Not to forget: he is the perfect gentleman - always polite and friendly and extremely helpful. He still does a lot of coaching and in this way helping to to bring clubs and players up.
Walter Peel, was Open Champion in 1868, 1870 and 1871 as a young man, but croquet had suffered a demise. In 1896 he felt that tournament croquet could be generally revived.
In contrast to previous ideas for governance, which had been based on the pre-eminence of a single club, Peel planned to band together all players up and down the country into one body. He circulated the best past and present players of the time, who responded enthusiastically and at Maidstone in August 1896 agreed to form a new association. The fourth and present governing body for croquet, the United All England Crqouet Association, thus came into being - changing its name to the Croquet Association in 1900. He became its first Secretary
Walter Peel, died only 12 days after the first committee meeting in 1897. His achievements have been commemorated by the Peel Memorial competition, which was initiated in 1898. He also gave his name to “Peeling” a ball through hoops, so much part of the modern game.
He was born and brought up in Glamorgan at the Prichard family estate. Educated at Wellington College, where he played in the 1st XI cricket for 2 years as a spin bowler, and RMC Sandhurst. He was commissioned into The Royal Welch Fusiliers, in which he served for 25 years in various parts of the British Empire and throughout WW2. He was the second officer ever to pass both Staff College and Technical Staff College. He played cricket for the Army and enjoyed polo, hunting and riding in point-to-points.
When he was invalided out of the Army he moved to Monmouthshire. He soon discovered croquet and was immediately bitten. He joined Cheltenham and built his own lawn at home. His rise to A class was rapid, winning the D,C,B and A classes in consecutive years at the Annual Cheltenham Tournament. In 1960 he was the first winner of the Apps Bowl, then for the most improved player and also won his CA Silver Medal. In 1961 he was selected for the Surrey Cup, which he won on debut. He played in this selection event 9 times, winning a record 3 times, and also played in The Chairman's Salver 3 times. He was runner-up in 1962 Men's Championship to John Solomon. He was on the fringe of selection for the 1963 MacRobertson Shield. Often accompanied by his wife Betty he played widely on the tournament circuit at Cheltenham, Roehampton, Hurlingham, Budleigh Salterton, Devonshire Park, Nottingham, Hunstanton and Southwick and played in both The Open and The Men's Championships on about a dozen occasions. He won many A class events, handicap singles and doubles events and mixed and open doubles in his career and reached a handicap of -2.5. This was all achieved with a rigid neck caused by spondylitis.
He however probably put more back into croquet than he took out through his administrative and other work for the CA. His orderly mind and wide knowledge proved to be exceptionally useful. He served on the CA Council for over 20 years and as Chairman 1968-70; he was a member of the Laws Committee and Chairman for 8 years in 2 separate terms; a selector for many years and Chairman of Selectors; Chairmen of the CA special appeals committee, which had to meet for 3 different special appeals; he was appointed a Vice President of the CA in 1982.
He was responsible as Chairmen for the 1972 rewrite of the Laws, which took months of meetings, proof reading and amending. He introduced the idea of The Commentary on the Laws and wrote 4 editions of this work. He rewrote the CA Council rules for conducting meetings and wrote a summary of all important CA Council decisions back to its formation. He wrote many technical, legal and administrative articles for the CA gazette. His final work was the writing and publication of "The History of Croquet" in 1981, which took a couple of years to research and write. This book is widely accepted as the definitive history of the game in England. All proceeds for the sale the book went to the CA. He also introduced 4 A class players to the game in his wife Betty and his 3 sons!
Although he appeared to be a little intimidating partly due to his stooped posture from his spondylitis, he had a extremely good sense of humour. He stood up for the rights of the individual and hated any sort of undercover plots. As a 'backbench' member of council on more than one occasion he discovered and nipped in the bud certain underhand or unwise dealings. He always widely researched his arguments on most issues and was an unswerving campaigner to maintain Croquet as an Amateur sport. He abhorred the misuse and wastage of CA funds but he gave freely of his time and effort to the CA throughout his time in the croquet scene.
Became third Baron on the death of his grandfather in 1904.
Reasons for inclusion.
1) Lord T was a famous croquet player and instructor.
2) He was socially significant and very prominent person. He was a most effective promoter of the game to friends, aquaintances and royalty.
3) In the early part of the 20th century, association croquet was evolving fast. Lord Tollemache produced and supported several ideas. He had a considerable and forceful influence in the debates then taking place on several of the features which form our modern game.
4)He wrote two well known books on the game.
5)He is an interesting, never to be repeated, phenomenon of his times; rich, powerful,and widely influencial, yet dedicated to croquet.
MP for Cheshire for 40 years. He was particularly interested in the welfare, education, and furtherance of his estate workers and those on the numerous estates across the country at that time.
Lord Tollemache lived at Peckforton Castle (designed by Anthony Salven who restored the Tower of London), his family seat in Cheshire until 1939 when he took up residence in Eastbourne. His widow(second wife) died in 1982 and her mallet was offered to Compton CC and bought by Roger Wood who retains it to this day.
Lord Tollemache a member of the Bowdon Club from 1920 - 1940, was a great croquet enthusiast and promoter of the game. He entertained royalty to croquet at Peckforton Castle, and in turn, regularly attended shooting parties at both Balmoral and Sandringham. He appears to have been a somewhat egocentric and controversial man. In 1926, he made a stance against the Royal and Ancient GC, defiently using his putter in the croquet manner.
He was a recognised, influencial, leading authority and instructor on croquet in the first half of the 20th century. He wrote two books which are now eagerly sought collectors items. The first, published in 1914, was "A Premier Instructor", with a pictorial and text approach. The second, a much larger tome, Modern Croquet, Tips and practices", was published in Eastbourne in 1947 (usually said to be 1948).
Association croquet, even in the early part of the 20th century was considered too time consuming. A game might take as long as five hours, and the result was most often a fait accompli for the player who won the toss. He was a supporter of the, "Either ball Game", to overcome this problem. He supported the use of clips, and favoured the introduction of a one yard circle around each hoop to make hoop running and management more difficult.(Well known photograph of Lord T addressing a ball to run a hoop from just outside the white-lined circle).
Lord Tollemache occupied a prominent position in early 20th centuary society, and had abundant time for leisure pursuits. Fortunately for us one of his eclectic activities was croquet, to which he devoted much time and energy. However, time passes quickly and most of those who could have provided facts and anecdotes reflecting this lifelong passion have passed on.