WCF World Rankings

The history of croquet rankings began in 1978 when Andrew Hope, an extablished British tournament player, sent a copy of a recently-published book "The Rating of Chessplayers: Past and Present" by Arpad E. Elo  to a young English player named Stephen Mulliner.  Elo was an academic physicist who had recently been the chairman of the Rating Committee of the United States Chess Federation and his book explained the mathematics that supported the Elo Grading System which was based on the principle that, in relation to pairwise comparisons such as games of chess, "the many performances of an individual will be normally distributed when evaluated on an appropriate scale".

Mulliner had chanced upon serious croquet at Cambridge University in 1975 and become a keen tournament player.  He had also played some competitive chess and had a chess grade and thought that croquet should also have a grading system.  He modified Elo's system to use the logistic distribution instead of the normal distribution and began to calculate croquet grades from tournament results using a handheld programmable calculator.  The birth of the personal computer era was highly fortuitous and the TI-57 programable calculator was replaced by a Sinclair ZX81 so that the grading program could be written in Basic and handle the production of ranking lists.  Mulliner published grading lists twice a year in the Croquet Gazette for the next 15 years and, in 1995, was offered assistance by Chris Williams, a Welsh player who also was an IT professional.  Williams eventually took over full responsibilities for the system which dealt only with Association Croquet results and has continued to administer it ever since.  International results began to be added as the internet and email became part of life and the system was provided with an interactive front-end so that users could inspect ranking lists and results histories whenever they wanted.  The current Association Croquet rankings can be seen here.

Golf Croquet began to take off in England in the 1990's and Bill Arliss, one of its main proponents who was an engineer by profession, was given the system code so that he could create a Golf Croquet Grading System in 2003.  Arliss maintained the system until 2007 when Stephen Mulliner volunteered to take over responsibility for the system.  The strong growth in Golf Croquet all over the croquet world led to parallel growth in the number of games being submitted for ranking and they exceeded 34,000 in 2019.   The GCGS is now administered by Mulliner with the support of Assistant Ranking Officers resident in Australia, England, New Zealand and Spain.