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  Letters from our readers
8/6/97


Hilditch nails home his point on "volatility" with his own version of the rankings, sans decimals; the keeper of the rankings answers a critic with the first World Women's Rankings, in which the ladies of New Zealand are seen to excel; Scotland's Rod Williams produces a most amusing paraphrase of Monty Python; there is "poison" in the backyards of America, and the first American match-play tourney is to be played at Sonoma-Cutrer

 1. Last words on the ranking
 2. With apologoes to Monty Python
 3. A world women's ranking list
 4. Backyard "Poison"
 5. First American match play tourney at Sonoma


Putting too fine a point on the rankings?
[in response to New Zealand's Westerby Rises to #1]

Mulliner and Harrison [creators of the WCF world rankings] both point out that as statistical indicators of ability the rankings have an error range of +/- 50 units (in the modern numbers). It is ludicrous that they are now printed with the first decimal point; at least they should clearly be rounded to the nearest 10 (as they used to be when they were 10-fold smaller). Interestingly if we had season averages we would get a smaller error number. (This is a principle of statistics - increase the number of games included by 4, say, and the error goes done by 2, the square root of 4.)

Interesting reading is the actual number 1 at each end year:

78-84 - Aspinall
85 - Aspinall and Openshaw (joint, no silly decimal points)
86 - Mulliner and Openshaw (joint)
87-90 - Mulliner
91 - Clarke
92 - Fulford
93 - Maugham
94 - Bamford
95-96 - Fulford

I think that proves my point about the volatility of the current rankings; in the 90s in each case top of the rankings went to the player who had done best in the last couple of events in the year.

For fun. here are the top of the world rankings rounded to 50 to make them more realistic:

World Rankings as at 15 June 1997

  Name                 Grade (rounded to 50)

1  Westerby AJ [NZ]      2750
   Fulford RI            2750
   Clarke CD             2750
4  Maugham DB            2700
   Jackson RV [NZ]       2700
   Mulliner SN           2700
7  Comish S              2650
8  Avery MN              2600
   Stephens AJ [NZ]      2600
   Jones SG [NZ]         2600
11 Davis S [NZ]          2550
   Fleming B [A]         2550
   Taves JB [USA]        2550
   Skinley PJ [NZ]       2550
   Baker R [NZ]          2550

--Richard Hilditch, London

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With apologies to Monty Python

"I am upper class. I make one error every four games. I do occasional sextuples. I calculate my new ranking by hand after every game. I look down on him because he's middle class. If I lose to him, it will be just a fluke and shouldn't effect my ranking."

"I am middle class. I make four errors every game. I do occasional triples. I look to see where I am in the rankings whenever they appear. I look up to him because he's upper class. If I beat him, I ought to go twenty places up the rankings. I look down on him because he's lower class. If I lose to him, it will be just a fluke and shouldn't affect my ranking"

"I am lower class. I make one error every four hoops. I do occasional all round breaks. I keep hearing people talk about these rankings. I look up to him because he's middle class. If I beat him I will be very pleased and buy him a drink. I look even more up to him because he's upper class. If I beat him I would be very surprised because he is never at the same tournaments as me. I can never remember who I played yesterday and whether I won or lost. I like playing croquet."

--Rod Williams, Glasgow, Scotland from the Nottingham Board

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Williams ranks the top 95 women in the world

Leo Dungan wrote on the Nottingham Board, "Chris Williams' endless possibilities [for specialized ranking lists} should include a 'women's list'."

Well, here it is - the current World Rankings List for Women, as at end July 1997

10 games minimum
 
                             Grade / Games / Wins
  1  Cornelius DA Miss        2491    30     18 
  2  Thurston H Mrs [A]       2318    49     35 
  3  McIntyre J Miss [NZ]     2196    61     37 
  4  Jones P Mrs [NZ]         2179    73     49 
  5  King W Mrs [A]           2163    56     39 
  6  Dawson CM Miss [A]       2134    67     38 
  7  Hadwin M Mrs [NZ]        2118    55     37 
  8  Stephens SD Miss [NZ]    2116    35     25 
  9  Carr S Mrs [A]           2098    40     18 
 10  Stephens CA Mrs [NZ]     2083    68     32 
 11  Graham R Mrs [A]         2062    26     14 
 12  Belz B Mrs [A]           2034    29     13 
 13  Hutton J Mrs [A]         2033    21     11 
 14  Curry GE Ms              2016    16      9 
 15  Young M Mrs [A]          1975    14      4 
 16  Young PJ Mrs [NZ]        1973    59     24 
 17  Prater C Mrs [A]         1969    21     10 
 18  Ketelaars L Mrs [A]      1968    33     15 
 19  Hoddy S Mrs [NZ]         1959    23     12 
 20  Knox C Mrs [SA]          1950    14      7 
 21  Frey K Mrs [A]           1936    18     10 
 22  Hosking J Mrs [NZ]       1934    55     33 
 23  Cooke D Mrs [NZ]         1931    54     30 
 24  Gugan R Mrs              1924    27     17 
 25  Grant P Mrs [NZ]         1922    37     21 
 26  Downton J Miss [SA]      1916    10      7 
 27  Fisher P Mrs [NZ]        1868    37     23 
 28  Bamford C Mrs [A]        1852    12      6 
 29  Bartlem S Ms [A]         1848    24     10 
 30  Alcorn D Mrs [A]         1841    13      4 
 31  Pierce R Ms [A]          1839    10      5 
 32  McCready D Mrs [A]       1825    18      7 
 33  Gower E Mrs [A]          1819    19      7 
 34  Norton PE Mrs [NZ]       1819    22     10 
 35  Garrod M Ms [A]          1812    14      8 
 36  Harris B Mrs             1805    21     13 
 37  McLeod A Mrs [NZ]        1796    10      7 
 38  Townsend CM Mrs [S]      1787    15      6 
 39  Boyes B Mrs [NZ]         1774    31     13 
 40  Durbridge C Ms [A]       1771    12      3 
 41  Stutz M Mrs [NZ]         1770    26     14 
 42  Scott E Mrs [NZ]         1763    36     13 
 43  Yeates YM Mrs [NZ]       1757    50     22 
 44  Fleming E Mrs [A]        1751    10      4 
 45  Carlisle V Mrs           1747    15      6 
 46  Ransom FE Mrs            1745    35     15 
 47  McGlen BA Mrs            1744    21      9 
 48  Vaissiere S Ms           1744    12      4 
 49  Le Blang L Mrs [A]       1739    25      5 
 50  Watts ML Mrs [NZ]        1734    71     31 
 51  Lea S Mrs [NZ]           1732    30     15 
 52  Murdoch J Mrs [A]        1730    19      4 
 53  Lindon O Mrs [A]         1726    17      3 
 54  Roach P Mrs [A]          1718    14      3 
 55  Versey C Mrs [NZ]        1709    13      7 
 56  Roberts B Mrs [A]        1709    20      6 
 57  Hamilton P Ms [A]        1707    20      6 
 58  Slavich D Mrs [NZ]       1703    15      8 
 59  Christensen E Mrs [NZ]   1698    15      7 
 60  Leonard K Ms [SA]        1694    14      2 
 61  Mears G Mrs              1692    11      6 
 62  Edmonds JI Miss [NZ]     1690    53     15 
 63  Stark J Mrs [NZ]         1684    15      7 
 64  Hinz L Mrs [NZ]          1683    14      1 
 65  Somers M Mrs [NZ]        1678    30     15 
 66  Muir G Mrs [NZ]          1674    29      9 
 67  Harrington N Mrs [NZ]    1668    15      3 
 68  Jones Pi Mrs [NZ]        1668    23      9 
 69  Taylor N Ms [A]          1652    23      6 
 70  Steward CM Mrs           1646    39     11 
 71  Fenwick M Mrs [NZ]       1641    15      3 
 72  Saunders K Ms [A]        1634    21      6 
 73  Anderson CJ Mrs [NZ]     1629    10      3 
 74  Garland M Mrs [NZ]       1623    23     10 
 75  Healy PV Mrs             1618    41     15 
 76  Elleray R Ms [NZ]        1614    18      2 
 77  Baty I Mrs [NZ]          1606    30      7 
 78  Judd E Mrs [NZ]          1606    16      8 
 79  Maplesden D Mrs [NZ]     1604    15      0 
 80  Marsh AE Mrs [NZ]        1603    10      2 
 81  Speers J Mrs [A]         1596    11      2 
 82  Dunnet E Mrs [NZ]        1578    61     14 
 83  Anderson J Mrs           1569    12      4 
 84  Kendrick E Ms [NZ]       1569    13      1 
 85  Osmond C Mrs             1564    29      9 
 86  Burnett AM Mrs [NZ]      1563    15      4 
 87  Stenhouse SAR Ms [S]     1562    22      6 
 88  Constable CE Mrs         1561    11      3 
 89  Magee EM Mrs             1551    16      5 
 90  Herbert PM Mrs [NZ]      1544    15      4 
 91  Nichols P Mrs [A]        1506    15      2 
 92  Bent E Mrs [NZ]          1480    10      0 
 93  Jackson M Mrs [NZ]       1476    42      7 
 94  Kroll A Mrs [NZ]         1466    59     14 
 95  Neall AM Mrs [NZ]        1412    16      3

--Chris Williams, from the Nottingham Board

We are happy to note that the first three places are taken by women from each of the three leading countries - Britain, Australia, and New Zealand. We feel compelled to point out the following statistics, leaving it to others to determine their significance: New Zealand leads the list with 45 places; Australia is second, with 29; Britain is a poor third, with 14.

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Poison in the backyard?
[in response to "Backyard Croquet - Can the Game be Rehabilitated?"]

I am writing to relay to you a variation on the standard croquet rules which we have found adds more drama and suspense to casual backyard croquet games. We call it the "poison rule."

In this variation, striking the turn-around stake is optional. A ball which strikes the turn-around stake, at any time during play, becomes "poisoned" (and receives the traditional bonus stroke). Thereafter, if that ball strikes another ball, the struck ball is removed from the game and a single bonus stroke is awarded to the striker. However, if another ball during its turn strikes the poisoned ball, the poisoned ball is removed from the game and the striking ball is awarded a single bonus stroke. All other rules on traversing the course apply to the poisoned ball (with the exception that if all other players/teams are eliminated the game is called without completing the course).

Games that start out as boring run-aways quickly become tight and
suspenseful. Obviously this rule dramatically changes the strategy of the game. A player that is far behind will go poison themselves. Poisoned balls must make their kill attempts at high speed (so that if they miss they end far enough away to discourage retaliation). A leader must decide whether to make an attempt to kill a poisoned ball (possibly wasting a turn by being pulled out of position) or try to stay away. A poisoned ball can park itself at the next wicket and force the leader to make a long-distance try or waste a turn being coy and trying to draw an attack from the poisoned ball. Games that start out as boring run-aways quickly become tight and suspenseful.

A disadvantage we have experienced in casual play of the standard game is that if a team (or a player during cut-throat) becomes far enough behind they become frustrated and lose interest - and generally a single strong player will dominate a backyard game to the extent that the game loses appeal to the other players. This variation acts as a dramatic equalizer, and gives an opportunity for a player/team far behind to make up a lot of ground quickly (by eliminating their opponents), or be removed from the game quickly (and go get refreshments). We have found that this rule allows players of a broad range of skill levels to simultaneously enjoy the game by keeping all players "in the hunt."

Watching a poisoned ball shoot towards yours (which may be poised to finish the final wickets) certainly raises the pulse While I realize your focus is on the standard rules and competitive croquet, I hope you may be able to pass on this variation to casual players who are looking for ways to keep the entire family or group involved in the backyard croquet wars.

--Scott Ramsey

The "poison rule" has long been a favorite variation for backyard play, and it works very well with the official USCA BASIC BACKYARD RULES published on this Website.

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Sonoma-Cutrer hosts first American match play tourney

The date is August 29 - September 1 (Labor Day); the venue is the two courts of the Sonoma-Cutrer Winery; the format is a single block of eight, playing International advanced rules in best-of-three matches. Prize money will be awarded for first and second places. The entry fee of $65 includes lunch each day.

Players are invited based on a ranking list devised by the SCC based on the WCF ranking list and observation of current form. Players wishing to be considered for the tournament should contact Mike Orgill at (707) 585-7819; E-mail morgill@sonic.net.

The Sonoma-Cutrer Croquet Club is sponsoring this tournament to promote international match play; the tournament will also serve as an excellent tune-up for the USCA International Rules Championship in Oakland later in September. To our knowledge, this is the first serious match play tournament to be mounted in the United States.

--Mike Orgill, Rohnert Park, California



 
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