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Richard Hilditch is 38, single, and one of the most influential croquet figures in Britain, though he has never found the time to be on the Croquet Association Council (Britain's official national organizing body). He is well known around the world by virtue of his omnipresence on the Nottingham Board and his management and refereeing of major croquet events (most recently the 1996 MacRobertson Test Series).

Richard works as a computer programer and has lived in Enfield in the north of London for all his life, except for seven years at Cambridge, where he studied Pure Maths and did research in Complex Analysis.

He started playing croquet at Cambridge in the late 70's. He credits himself with being partly responsible for an influx of new players into the game, helping to change the dominant tenor of the playing community in England from upper class to intellectual class.

When asked to describe himself, he says, "I could compare myself to Jerry Stark - without the braces and moustache but with a bigger belly. My famed accoutrements are a big plastic bottle of Orange Squash (soda without bubbles) and packet of chocolate biscuits ("cookies" to Americans). I also have a furry dice for tossing up instead of a coin."

Richard's handicap these days goes up and down between 3 and 4. He is known for playing very fast (close to Burridge speed) and looking as if he doesn't care whether he hits, scores, or wins.

At Cambridge, he ran the croquet club at college and university level for several years. He is today secretary of the Harrow Oak Croquet Club in NW London and chairman of the South East Croquet Federation, which is responsible for the clubs in London, Surrey, Sussex and Kent.

Richard somehow finds time to manage about 12 events each year, including several regional championships and - for the last nine years - the British Open championships at Hurlingham. On the weekends when he's not managing tournaments, he's usually playing in them.

We hope Richard will favor us often with new installments of his inimItable blend of news, analysis, and opinion in "The Hilditch Report."

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