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Croquet owes thanks to John Prescott

[<<] [>>] by Elizabeth Williams
13th June 2006 (Other News)

CA Website Page Hits
Sunday 21 May 5,902
Monday 22 May 9,245
Tuesday 23 May 8,202
Wednesday 24 May 8,497
Thursday 25 May 6,838
Friday 26 May 7,403
Saturday 27 May 4,857
Sunday 28 May 6,022
Monday 29 May 9,190
Tuesday 30 May 19,944
Wednesday 31 May 12,337
Thursday 1 June 11,358
Friday 2 June 10,405
Saturday 3 June 6,647
Sunday 4 June 7,183
Monday 5 June 18,965

Following John Prescott being photographed playing croquet at his grace-and-favour country house, Dorneywood, "when he should have been running the country", the sport of croquet received a big boost. For the subsequent couple of weeks, croquet club officials up and down the country were interviewed by the local and national press, radio and television. Public interest translated into sales of croquet sets being tripled, and visits to the CA website increased significantly.

The story broke over the bank holiday weekend (May 28th). Press clamoured to interview croquet officials, most of whom were taking part in the Inter-County Championship at Southwick and Compton, but public interest in croquet lagged by a couple of days as the story carried on.

Samir Patel analysed the CA website hits: The first week (21-27) is fairly typical away from major tournaments. On Tuesday 30th, there were far more hits than usual in the "Getting Started" section. The new peak on Monday 5th is also interesting, following the second weekend paper coverage. The higher rates during working days perhaps indicates that people followed up when they got back to work, rather from their homes.

Referring sites are the usual mix (Google, OxfordCroquet, WCF etc.) but more from Wiki and BBC than usual.

For a change, there was quite a sensible list of search terms, topped by the inevitable "croquet", followed by "croquet association", "croquet sets" and "croquet rules" but some will be pleased to see "Naked Shopping" making an appearance at #50, almost on par with "Streaking" at #46. "Reg Bamford" is the only player to appear by name in the search phrases (#26).

Windows users make up 78% of visitors, while 68% of visitors use Internet Explorer. The average visitor looks at 11 pages.

An earlier news report gave a flavour of the interviews being done, and we have Richard Hilditch's excellent interview for Radio 5 Live on-line.


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