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LETTERS, COMMENTARY, OPINION
7/1/97



HOW DID THE PLAYERS AND COUNTRIES RANK AT SONOMA-CUTRER?

Your coverage of the Sonoma-Cutrer World Championship was great, but I would like to have seen a listing of ALL the players and their countries to compare them in the final results.

--Byron Callas, New York, New York

Good idea. Here are the players who made the final "cut" into the elimination ladder, finishing in the following order, showing the relative strength of England and New Zealand:

1. Chris Clarke (England)
2. Debbie Cornelius (England)
3. Tony Stephens (New Zealand)
4. Steve Comish (England)
    Stephen Mulliner(England)
6. Jeff Dawson (England)
    Toby Garrison (New Zealand)
    Steve Jones (New Zealand)
9. Wayne Rodoni (United States)
    Jerry Stark (United States)
    Simon Williams (Ireland)
    Aaron Westerby (New Zealand)
13. Shane Davis (New Zealand)
    Leo McBride (Canada)
    Jeff Newcombe (Australia)
    Lewis Palmer (Wales)
And from block placements, the balance of the rankings are:
17. Brett Hewitt (Australia)
      Colin Pickering (Australia)
      Harley Watts (Australia)
      Rod Williams (Scotland)
21. Phil Arnold (United States)
      Mik Mehas (United States)
      Tony Le Moignan (Jersey)
      Robert Rebuschatis (United States)
25. Ren Kraft (United States)
      Erv Peterson (United States)
      Rhys Thomas (United States
      Mohammad Kamal (Egypt, living in the U.S.)
Now that your request has been answered, it must be said that there is something false and odious about this kind of comparison, nevertheless so essential an element of reporting. All these players are very fine. All of them except one won at least one game (and that one missed the mark by only one point), and each of them could beat any of the others on any given day. These championships are great events because they are celebrations of the sport - not because they are organized to end by crowning as "the best" the player who winds up on top on the last day. The players know this, acknowledge this, and say this often. Sometimes we less successful players don't listen to them.

--editor

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REPRESENTATIVE DEMOCRACY - COULD IT POSSIBLY WORK IN AMERICA, TOO?

I just read your editorial on voting (see RESTORE REPRESENTATIVE GOVERNMENT and it continues to amaze me that a country that prides itself on its democracy can seem to ignore what we in Australia consider to be the routine system of democratic decision making.

Australia and the U.S. both inherited the British ethic, and it's surprising that we have not gone along the same lines - or is it just in croquet that there is a difference?

Because of the tyranny of distance (is there a difference between us in that respect?) we base our administration on State Associations. The New South Wales state system (and other states are similar) has small clubs (less than 20 members) with one delegate and other clubs with two delegates to the supreme state body, the Council. With 20 city and 44 country clubs, that means that about 50 delegates attend bi-monthly meetings of Council, some being proxy delegates for distant clubs (some are 600km from Sydney).

On most matters the delegates represent the interests of their members and report back after the event. On important matters the motion must be placed on notice so that clubs have time to determine their reaction and instruct their delegates how to vote. Some clubs decide by having a general meeting, others by the opinions of their committee. Very few would be happy for their President to decide without consultation. The point is that the representatives ARE ALL ELECTED, and if decisions are made which do not please the membership. the reps will not be elected again. They are responsible to their members.

For the system to be practical, there is a State Executive (Five only: President, two Vice-Presidents, Secretary and Treasurer, all elected by Council) with power to act between meetings of the Council, always with the proviso that their actions are endorsed at the next meeting of Council. Again, bad decisions will mean non re-election: the Executive is responsible to Council.

That is the state system; now to get to our national system: The Australian Croquet Association is governed by a supreme Council, which meets only once a year, consisting of two delegates from each of the six states. All important motions are notified months before the annual meeting to give states the opportunity to determine their reactions. Ideally the most important decisions are referred to clubs and even to their membership.

We have recently had complaints that insufficient time was allowed for the complete process, so the time has been increased. Between meetings the Executive (Six only: President, Vice-President, Secretary, Treasurer, all elected by National Council, Vice-President from next host state and Immediate Past-President) has power to act but is, once again, responsible to Council. Bad decisions will not go unnoticed. The Executive meets only once a year, six months after the annual meeting, meaning that quite a lot of business must be dealt with by telephone, fax and post. (Up the net!) This method of operating has been working well for some years now.

So we operate by electing representatives who are responsible for the decisions they make, but on the most important matters they are given time to obtain instructions from their "electorate". (I have sometimes had to argue positions with which I disagreed most heartily!). So our one-man, one-vote democracy refers to the power to elect representatives who do just that - represent the views of their members. To my knowledge this system is used in most of the community, charitable and sporting associations, professional societies and other largely non-profit organizations in Australia. It works well.

--Tony Hall, New South Wales, Australia

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WICKET? LAWNS? MALLETS? ALMAN? FULFORD?

On a "croquet" search on the Excite browser, what comes up is this wierd instruction: "Click to add one or more of these words to your search.... usca, wicket, WCF, timidly, lawns, niceties, mallets, Alman, Fulford, slammed..."

They actually got the ridiculous notion that "Alman" is a keyword for croquet!

--Marc Gilutin
Circulation Manager, CROQUET WORLD ONLINE MAGAZINE

It makes perfect sense to me - and to Excite's Web spiders - that "Alman" has become one of the prominent key words associated with croquet on the Internet. After all, a new "Alman" byline appears a couple of times a week in CROQUET WORLD ONLINE MAGAZINE. And who is this guy "Fulford," anyway?

--Editor

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COMBINE OCTOBER'S "AUSTRALIAN MASTER GAMES" IN CANBERRA WITH THE W.C.F. CHAMPIONSHIP IN BUNBURY IN NOVEMBER

From 24-31 October, 1997, the Canberra Croquet Club will be playing host to Croquet as a sport in the 1997 Australian Master Games. Some 10,000 competitors in many different sports are expected to take part in the games.

To date we have had almost 80 expressions of interest in Croquet. Croquet will offer both singles and doubles in round robin blocks. Entries close at the end of August.

If you will be over 50 years of age at the time of the games and would like further information check out: http://msowww.anu.edu.au/~sjm/croquet/masters.html

--Stephen Meatheringham
Canberra Croquet Club, Captain
E-Mail: sjm@mso.anu.edu.au

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BERKSHIRE CROQUET CLUB OFFERS INTERNATIONAL MEMBERSHIP

Bob - I have been enjoying the Croquet World Online Magazine and I wondered if you have space in a forthcoming issue for a paragraph or two on an initiative here in England.

*** Berkshire Croquet Club offers international membership ***

This year saw the formation of a new club near to Newbury in Berkshire, some 50 miles west of London. We have named it 'Berkshire' to reflect our ambition to become a centre of excellence within this region, which hitherto only included a few small clubs.

We have space for five courts and share our facilities, including pavilion, changing rooms, bar, etc. with one of the area's leading cricket clubs. Since our opening in April (by World Champion Chris Clarke) we have signed 35 members, including a dozen local beginners.

BCC now announces that it is to be the first British club to offer an international membership. For just 25 US dollars, international members will:

- be on the BCC's official membership list;
- be affiliated to the English Croquet association;
- receive newsletters regarding progress of the club and its members;
- be eligible for certain club and other UK tournaments;
- and, last but not least, will get a big welcome when you visit England and would like a friendly game of croquet!

Those interested please contact the club secretary, Kevin Carter, on +44-118-971-2948, kcprof@netcomuk.co.uk See also the web site for the Berkshire Croquet Club.

Regards, Kevin Carter; 13.6.97

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MAINE TOURNAMENT BRIDGES GAP BETWEEN 6-WICKET AND 9-WICKET CROQUET

The first annual Six- and Nine- Wicket Lobster Invitational Croquet Tournament will be held in Southwest Harbor, Maine, on September 4-7, l997. This will be a USCA sanctioned tournament, co-sponsored by the Seawall Croquet & Chowder Club and the Claremont Hotel. Play will be in one or two flights, singles and doubles. All players will compete in both six-wicket games on two or three private courts in the environs of S.W. Harbor and nine-wicket games at the historic seaside court of the Claremont Hotel and Cottages.

This tournament is scheduled to take maximum advantage of the legendary beauty and charm of Mt. Desert Island and the natural wonders of Acadia National Park. . The weather is usually mild, the lobsters are typically at peak supply, everything is open and available, but the summer tourist season is over and accommodations are plentiful. This is one tournament where non-playing companions will have (almost) as much fun as the players!

I am hoping that this tournament will be a first step toward bridging some of the distance between nine- and six- wicket players and traditions. It is interesting that the Claremont Classic nine-wicket tournament was stared by Alan McCue in the same year (l976) that Jack Osborn founded the American six-wicket game and the USCA. Although Mr. McCue contacted Mr. Osborn, at that point Osborn was not interested in the nine-wicket game, and they went their separate ways for a long time afterwards.

But in recent years the two traditions have had quite a bit of crossover. Six-wicket players such as Rich Curtis, Libby Newell, Andy Short, and Bill Langstroth have played at the Claremont and a number of players have been exposed to "serious" croquet at the Claremont and then taken up six-wicket croquet - this includes myself, of course, as well as Keith Jones and Wayne Fisk, among others. Several years ago, Jack Osborn himself made a visit and actually played on the court, so I am told. By then, however, Alan McCue had passed away.

For further information, registration, etc., contact me at larrys@acadia.net. (Or drop a bottle in a note off the coast of S.W. Harbor and it will probably wash ashore near one of the courts.)

--Larry Stettner, Maine

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WATCH FOR SWEEPING DESIGN CHANGES AND TALK BACK TO US BY E-MAIL

We are involved in a wide-ranging discussion with readers and friends in the Internet industry on re-designing our Web site to make it more attractive, more accessible, and easier to use. The Webmaster's Forum is one way of expanding this discussion for a limited period, leading to substantial changes and improvements in July and beyond.

We invite your comments, criticisms, and questions on any and all non-editorial aspects of this Web site, including organization, presentation, programing and technical features, ease and speed of navigation, and especially the general issue of circulation: How can we make CROQUET IN AMERICA and CROQUET WORLD ONLINE MAGAZINE more accessible to the general public to promote croquet everywhere?

The remarkable growth and development of this Web site is the product of the dedicated work of many volunteers in the San Francisco Bay Area and far beyond, extending to correspondents in many countries. Those of us in California who are able to work together in the same physical space at times wouldn't get anything done or have any fun at all without their active involvement.

Watch for eye-popping, wide-ranging design changes in the coming weeks - and let us know what you think!

--The editors and the design team
(Bob Henry, Bob Alman, Mike Orgill, Adam Stock, Reuben Edwards, Marc Gilutin)

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