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 main World Championships designed to produce the true World Champions but also extend to World Championships for women, young players and senior players.
There have been 14 Association Croquet World Championships since 1989 and the most recent, held in London in August 2013, was won by 21-year old Robert Fletcher from Australia, the youngest-ever winner. Fletcher had given a firm indication of his ambitions in the two previous ACWCs by reaching the semi-final in 2009 in West Palm Beach and the final in 2012 in Adelaide, He will have the opportunity of defending his title in West Palm Beach in April 2016.
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 ten GCWCs have been held, most recently in February 2015 in Mount Mauganui, New Zealand. 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. However, Ahmed El Mahdi and Hamy Erian ensured an all-Egyptian final in 2015 in which El Mahdi recovered from 0-2 games down and 1-5 down in the fifth game to claim a superb victory.
Reg Bamford is the only player to have won both the ACWC (three times) and the GCWC 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.