Croquet in the news again!
It was generally accepted that the media coverage of John Prescott playing croquet at Dorneywood, when he might have been attending to matters of State, was good publicity for the game. Good publicity in terms of the quote "All publicity is good publicity". Many of the articles contained the usual stereotypes of croquet being a vicious game played by toffs.
However the 2006 Open Championships gave rise to two excellent articles. The first, based around the final, was published in the Times and brought to the attention of Nottingham List subscribers by Chris Dent www.timesonline.co.uk/../0,,28910-2264101,00.html. It brought this reaction from Bruce Mitchell:
That really is an excellent article. The picture of croquet as a serious, if marginalised, sport existing in a kind of time warp (third last para) is accurate without being condescending.
I have just one question. In what bizarre alternative reality could Robbie Williams make something look cool? Real cool is effortless. Nobody who tries as hard as Robbie Williams could possibly be cool. What we really need is for Samuel L Jackson to give up golf and take up croquet!"
The article pointed out the fact that for the first time ever a webcam was set up, sending live action of the final to the Croquet Association website.
The second article appeared in The Guardian and was based around the 2006 Open Champion, Robert Fulford sport.guardian.co.uk/../0,,1821714,00.html. Its author, Will Buckley, gave interesting details about Fulford's life and rise to croquet excellence, did not shy away from explaining some tactics and match scoring, and highlighted the small audiences and lack of prize-money, while being convinced that these could be changed. Nigel Graves reports that Will played in the National Croquet Challenge at Bury St Edmunds on Sunday and qualified for the next round. Will plans a further article, based on his experiences, in the Observer Sports Magazine in the autumn.