The History of Croquet World Championships
The WCF was founded in 1988 and celebrated the first Association Croquet World Championship in September 1989 at the Hurlingham Club in south-west London. The recognition of Golf Croquet as a serious alternative code gathered pace in the early 1990s, assisted by the discovery of Egypt as a powerhouse of GC expertise. This led to the holding of the first Golf Croquet World Championship in Italy in 1996.
Since its foundation, the WCF's primary task has been to foster the playing of croquet at the highest possible level. The principal means of bringing players from different countries together has been the holding of regular World Championships in both codes. These include the two main singles World Championships designed to produce the true World Champions but also include World Championships for women, young players and senior players.
There have been 17 Association Croquet World Championships since 1989 and the most recent, held in Melbourne in February 2020, was won by Reg Bamford who lives in England but represents South Africa. By doing so, Bamford won his fifth AC world title and joined Robert Fulford (England) as the joint record-holder. The next ACWC is planned to be held in London in July 2023.
The discovery in the 1980s that Golf Croquet was played to a very high standard in Egypt provided important support for renewed interest in this code in the UK. The first Golf Croquet World Championship was held in Italy in 1996 and was won, predictably, by an Egyptian, Khaled Younis. Since then, a further eleven GCWCs have been held, most recently in February/March 2017 in Melbourne, Australia. The Egyptians dominated these events from 1996 to 2008 but the 2011 and 2013 GCWCs were won by Mark McInerney (Ireland) and Reg Bamford (South Africa), reflecting the steady improvement in playing standards in other countries. Ahmed El Mahdi restored Egypt's pre-eminence in 2015 in New Zealand but Reg Bamford regained the title in 2017 in Australia. Ben Rothman became the first American to win a WCF world title when he defeated Mohamed Karem (EGY) in a tense, five game final at the Sussex County Croquet Club in August 2019. The next GCWC is planned to be held in New Zealand in 2022.
Reg Bamford is the only player to have won both the ACWC (five times) and the GCWC (twice) and, for good measure, held both titles simultaneously from April 2013 to August 2013. This is a feat that is unlikely to be repeated by anyone else in the near future.
In addition, AC and GC World Team Championships are held approximately every four years. Australia are the current AC World Team champions and holders of the MacRobertson Shield after a convincing victory in Rancho Mirage, California in April/May 2017. The MacRobertson Shield was donated in 1925 as the trophy for Test Matches between England and Australia but the competition now includes New Zealand and the United States. England (often playing as Great Britain) has been the dominant nation with 14 victories over the 92-year history of the "Mac" with seven consecutive wins from 1990 to 2010. New Zealand and Australia have each had four victories while the USA, which joined the Mac in 1993, has yet to be successful. Australia's victory in 2017 represented the end of an 82-year drought since 1935.
The GC World Team Championship was established in 2012 and the first winner was Egypt. New Zealand are the current GC World Team Champions and holders of the Openshaw Shield. They beat Egypt in the final in London in May 2016 and then retained it on home soil in January 2020, again defeating Egypt in the final.