Bury Croquet Club’s David Crawford is hoping a strong performance at Sunday’s World Championships will inspire the next generation.
Crawford flew out to Egypt on Tuesday ahead of the tournament, which will see 64 players from Egypt, England, New Zealand, Australia, Ireland, South Africa, Scotland, USA, Sweden, Finland, Belgium, Norway, Spain and Germany descend on the African country to compete for the world crown.
Those players will be divided into eight groups of eight, with first to seven hoops, best of three games taking place, resulting in the top four from each group progressing through to the knockout competition.
As the national sport in Egypt, the competition is expected to reach viewing figures of 250,000 and Crawford, one of eight English competitors, has revealed he is confident of targeting the quarter-final stages.
“I’m feeling good, I have played a number of tournaments before flying out and I’m in good form,” he said. “Even though I’m on the older side and a lot of the competitors are now young or middle aged, I’m targeting a quarter-final place.
“Although I might not go further than that there are some players among the England who could reach the semi-finals
“However, Egypt and South Africa will have some favourites among their squads, but if I can get to a quarter-final then I’ll be pleased.”
Unlike the traditional format of croquet, golf croquet, the format used in the World Championships, is known as a hard-hitting, exciting spectator sport that appeals to diverse characters and is inclusive of men and women of all backgrounds, with ages ranging from under 21 to 75 and over.
As a result, increasing amounts of younger participants have taken up the sport, finding real success and Crawford is hopeful that trend will continue to help change people’s perceptions of the sport and continue to encourage younger members into clubs across the country.
“People have a wrong perception of croquet and I’m trying to change that,” he added.
“I would like people to see it as a fast paced competitive sport that is perfect for younger people to get involved in.
“Another plus point is that it can be played throughout the summer and winter with indoor leagues and can be enjoyed by families.
“As a coach at Bury Croquet Club, I would be happy to coach new players and would welcome anybody to come and try the sport out.
“I’m looking to start a local winter league and would like to encourage more local beginners with good hand eye coordination, a determined attitude, and a competitive spirit to get involved and continue growing the sport.”
n Anyone interested in taking up croquet can contact David on 01284 388944.