By Don Gaunt and Roger Wheeler
Electronic transcription by Dr Ian Plummer
Don Gaunt and Roger Wheeler have both had considerable experience in managing croquet tournaments, although almost every event still teaches them something new! Roger has always managed jointly with his wife, which explains his references to 'Roger and Dab' in some sections.
The authors want to share some of the tips they have picked up with those just embarking on a managerial career. Most of the material in this book will be familiar to experienced managers, but we have all had to learn on the job. We think that a compendium of advice may be useful; it is inefficient for each new generation to have to reinvent the wheel.
New managers who will bring fresh ideas to the administration of tournaments are always needed. The suggestions in this book are addressed to anyone thinking of taking up the challenge in the hope that they may be helped to foresee some of the potential hazards. The solutions offered should not be thought of as mandatory requirements but merely as possible options that we know will work and from which the new manager will be able to depart when he or she gains experience and confidence.
Each chapter deals with a different aspect of tournament management but reference is often made to material in other chapters. They can be read in any order, but if you have no previous experience of management you are advised to start with Chapter 1, which takes you step by step through all the phases of your first tournament: the planning beforehand, the management when play is in progress and the things that have to be done when the tournament is over.
The games in any competition must be planned so that play takes place in a systematic way and the event comes to a satisfactory conclusion. Several chapters are devoted to describing the various formats that are available to achieve this, including one on some lesser-known formats.
There are two chapters on the special problems of organising championships. These have been written by contributors who have special expertise in managing such events and the authors are most grateful to all of them for their eager cooperation.
Finally, what if it all goes awry despite your best efforts? Chapter 13 considers a set of thorny problems of the sort that managers (occasionally) have to resolve. You are invited to decide on your own responses before looking at the solutions that some leading managers have kindly (and often amusingly) suggested.
DLG & RFW March 1995
G E P Jackson C.B.E.
27 July 1906 - 11 December 1994
The authors wish to dedicate this book to the memory of Edgar Jackson, a great personality and a resourceful and inspirational manager, who greatly influenced their ideas on croquet management.
A tournament managed by Edgar was always an enjoyable experience for all the players, not only for those who happened to be winners. He was a great innovator and was responsible for many features we take for granted today. He introduced the weekend tournament (and how many of us can imagine a calendar without these?), the use of systematically shortened games to avoid time limits (what we now call the 'Bray system'), and many original and ingenious formats that ensure that every competitor, whether successful or not, will be guaranteed a generous number of games.
Edgar thought deeply about the philosophy and practice of management and the opportunities for development. He collected extensive data on the time games take, which he enthusiastically used in support of his advocacy of the full bisque handicap game.
We do not presume to believe that Edgar would have agreed with all our observations, although he certainly approved of our intention to write something to help new and aspiring managers avoid possible pitfalls and to encourage them to experiment as they become more experienced. Had our book been written a few years earlier when he still had his full vigour, he would doubtless have made many constructive suggestions for improving it.
It is a great pity that Edgar Jackson never wrote his own book on croquet management, but we reprint as a Foreword a short article of advice he wrote for private circulation a few years ago.
by Edgar Jackson
Croquet tournaments are largely social events. People come for their enjoyment of playing, not usually in the expectation of winning a trophy. If there is a prime event included, those who get knocked out don't expect to have to pack their bags and go home like professional snooker players; they expect to go comfortably on playing in something else. If this is not provided most would not come at all! Thus the majority of players come for the fun of it. It is the Manager's job to see that it is fun for all the entrants.
This requires a good deal of preparation before the thing starts. For instance he must know how players are to get to the tournament. Nothing is more sickening, and un-fun-making, than for B to share a car with A who is called for 0945 when B is not to play till 1130. The manager should see to it that they play at the same time or thereabouts. Last games do not matter so much; evenings are fit for conviviality, but even here some care should be taken. In the same vein, it is ridiculous for many to be called for 1130. The Manager who says "X, Y and Z for 0945 please: all the rest at 1130" should not be asked to manage again! People have better things to do than hang around for perhaps two hours awaiting their game.
There is no difficulty in estimating how long most games will take. Certainly the manager should give himself safety margins: the lawns may be unexpectedly difficult; a pegged out game may arise; much depends on the number of lawns in use. When estimating, a rule of thumb is easy. Minus and scratch players playing each other need less than 2 hours on average; 1s to 3s, in advanced play, need 45 min longer. In handicap play the average duration depends on the skill, i.e. the time needed, of the lower handicap player. The theory is that scratch players give bisques so that the receiver may play like a scratch player too and thus their games take 2 hours on average whichever wins. Unfortunately this theory doesn't work higher up the handicap scale. The 7, for instance, gives only 3 bisques to the 10. Thus to estimate their average game we need to know how long 7s need to finish their games. If the Full Bisque game was universal, all games would take about 2 hours, given the bisqueage works from the sensible base of scratch. As it is, we have to experience longer and longer games as the handicaps of the players rise.
This is the guide I have always used. Where the better player is 1 to 3, allow 2 hr 15 min; 4 to 6, allow 2 hr 45 min; 7 to 10, allow 3 hr 15 min; 11 and over, allow 4 hr 15 min, unless there is an overall time limit. These figures may be vaguely helpful to the manager.
These timings (and they come from a few thousand games recorded) show how unfair a 3 hour time limit is. Unless playing a lower handicap, all 7s and above may not have the enjoyment of finishing any game except with a contrived ending. Hence the Bray system was invented. In this system a time limit is not fixed. The limitation is on the number of hoops to be made. Thus the beginning of the games for some players is cut off, not the exciting end. For instance, if the sum of the two handicaps is say 5, play a full game; if 10, play 22 points; if 15, play 18 points; if 20, play 14 points. So much depends on the quality of the entry, lawns in use, etc. that a rule of thumb for Bray is hardly possible, but the example given illustrates the idea and it can be readily adapted.
Above, I mention the homework to be done before the tournament starts. The fact that games of higher handicaps take longer than others is a consideration to be taken into account. Often these are the more elderly people and a rest between games may be sensible. The fact that the longer periods of play come before lunch and after tea often helps.
The cliché that croquet players can't read has some truth! But there are a few who like to know what lines the manager is working on and wish to keep up with progress. A notice informing how the tournament is planned is common and often excellent. Thereafter however it is all too usual that results, and the state of play, can't be found out without peering over the manager's shoulder at his own private records. This is un-fun, indeed often embarrassing for all but brash competitors. Scores should be kept in a public place, a little away from the manager's desk. The manager should never work off the main score-board; he should work from a private and separate copy, transferring his instructions to separate call sheets. It usually helps to get a friend to be responsible for keeping the main score-board up to date. This is one of the details which makes all the difference for many competitors.
A habit has recently grown of the manager playing all his games on the same lawn, often the central one near his table. This has two demerits. It gives the impression he is more concerned for his own convenience, whereas his aim is (or should be) to demonstrate he is devoted to making the tournament a success and enjoyable for all. The second point is that losers to him whisper that he knows the lawn like the back of his hand; they had no chance. Not true, of course, but not in the interests of his first aim in managing.
It is undoubted that much has to be done to make managing bearable. He needs to be there from 0915 to dusk; his games get interrupted for decisions and often to reply to foolish questions. The great Humphrey Hicks thought people shouldn't play and manage. In my opinion this is too harsh; indeed I doubt if anyone would volunteer to manage if he couldn't play. However most managers have low handicaps so their games are usually over more quickly than average. To give that essential feeling of impartiality, morning games could usually be played on another lawn. If their other games that day take place on the favoured lawn no one will take exception.
Such a practice has another advantage. People with high handicaps and those in their first tournament should not be asked to play on the centre lawn. They feel conspicuous and fancy all are laughing at their mistakes. (Not true, of course; croquet players are too interested in themselves to bother with other players' play.) If the manager has his first game of the day on a side lawn, this gives him the chance, if play is in blocks, to have his match with the longest bisquer away from the crowd. I have heard a managerial comment that long bisquers should be made to play in the public gaze, to get used to it. How awful, I thought; like making the children eat up the baked rice pudding.
There was a player who regularly came to an event I managed. She bribed me with drink, not to put her on the centre lawn! I wouldn't have done so anyway as I knew it would spoil her enjoyment but I always pretended to forget this and willingly took the bribe.
In sum, my conception of management is to try to make the thing thoroughly enjoyable for everyone, not just for the better players. That is, wherever possible ask them to do what they would ask for themselves if they were doing my job. For the players I would say always thank the manager for his hard work. Actually very many do; further, I can name a number who regularly took the trouble to buy me a drink in thanks. Much appreciated: a habit to be strongly encouraged!
References to 'the CA' or 'Association' should be taken to mean the governing body of the appropriate state or country.
On the way home Ray and Babs Cullers are discussing the tournament.
Is Ray right or are his wife's doubts justified? Certainly if Ray continues with his easy-going attitude he has a potential disaster on his hands. Babs need not get herself too upset though. As long as they plan thoroughly and follow a few simple guidelines, their first managership could be the start of a long and successful series.
Some of the items which we mention may seem obvious, even trivial. You may also think that some of them are nothing to do with the manager. This may well be so, but you had better be sure that someone is doing them! Imagine your embarrassment when you turn up on the first morning and find the gate locked and no-one has a key! So in everything which follows, if the job is not your direct responsibility, make sure that whoever is responsible will be doing what they are supposed to be doing. (If your first managerial experience will not be at your own club, then the local members there will almost certainly be taking care of all the routine arrangements.)
It is the purpose of this book to explain, as clearly as possible, the functions of a manager. The final arbiter of duties is the section on 'Regulations for Tournaments' in the Official 'Laws of Association Croquet' published by your CA. Managers should ensure that they have a copy and that they have read it. It must be pointed out, however, that, at the time of writing, these Regulations are in need of extensive revision in order to bring them into line with modern practice. [Editor: the Regulations and Laws have been revised since this copy was produced].
Later chapters in this book consider tournament formats in detail and you should refer to them when you are making your decision. At this stage the advice is 'keep it simple'. You don't want your first tournament to be remembered as one that did not finish! By far the simplest is the knockout, but this means that the first round losers only get one game. The XYZ is only slightly more complicated and gives at least 3 games and 3 winners. The best simple format which gives near maximum games is the American block or round robin. You can then have just block winners or a play-off for overall winner.
In making your decision on format, you will need to work out how many games per lawn per day you can get in. This is always less than you would like! The one thing that you must do is to have enough lawns/time to finish. This may well mean less entries/games than you would like but that's life. Here are the factors that you need to consider when calculating the number of games that can realistically be played.
Brimhouse club has a membership of 25 of whom about half are regular and competent players. Ray and Babs decided to run their tournament using American blocks. To reduce game times, they went for full bisque play (most of their club players were medium to high bisquers). To make certain, however, they imposed a 3 hr time limit on all games.
On Saturday (day 1) they planned 3 sessions of play to start at 0900 and finish at 2000 and on Sunday 2 sessions to start at 0930 and finish at 1715. They intended to use double banking with the second colours starting 15 min after the first and these were their time calculations.
The club has 3 lawns and so, with double banking, that would allow a total of 30 games. If, therefore, the entry were exactly 12, every competitor would be able to have a game in each of the 5 sessions. Ray and Babs therefore decided that the most satisfactory format would be 2 American blocks, with 6 players in each.
If your event is just within the club, then you can either circulate to members and/or put a notice up in the club house. Choose whatever method reaches your target best. Remember though, to allow enough time for entries to reach members and be returned. Information should reach members months rather than weeks beforehand. Your notice should contain the following information.
Note that, if your tournament is to appear in any Association fixtures book or list, you should compose an entry in the correct format and send it to your CA for approval, meeting any deadline imposed. If it is to be an official CA tournament, then the competitors will have to pay a levy to the Association, unless it is their first ever CA tournament.
The poster below shows how Ray and Babs advertised their first event.
Make sure that the lawns will be cut just before the event and, if necessary, during it. Bear in mind the weather. For example, if the tournament starts on Saturday and the weather is fine on Thursday but the forecast is for torrential rain on Friday, then cutting a day earlier might be a good idea. Make sure that the boundary lines are marked.
When you are working out the car parking arrangements, don't forget other important people who might want car parking spaces, i.e. the caterers or the press. If you are using someone else's parking facilities, say the tennis club next door, get the permission in writing if there is likely to be a query. That way you don't get an argument with the steward who denies all knowledge of your permission. If parking is tight and cars may have to be moved, get all competitors to give you their car number. This will save you a lot of effort tracking down owners.
When thinking about keys, don't forget that the competition balls and hoops may be locked in a special cupboard. Try and use the same make of balls on every lawn.
Ideally, a qualified referee should be available. This is not always possible in small clubs. In this case choose someone who has a good working knowledge of the rules. If you are the only one qualified, be the ROT but choose some deputies so that you are only called for difficult things. Make sure that the ROT knows his/her duties, particularly in ensuring that hoops are set correctly. The full list of duties for referees is in the CA Law Book [Now in the Tournament Regulations]. The ROT should have or get a copy and read these rules. You as manager should also read them so that you know what your referees ought to be doing.
If your tournament requires you to appoint umpires and individual lawn/match referees, organise this as well.
The general principles for the appointing of a ROT apply equally to the tournament handicapper. If you have an automatic system, the handicapper's job is not quite so onerous. Like the ROT, if you do not have an official handicapper, get the club handicapper (if you haven't got one, get one at once!) present. This is most important because a tournament is one of the best indications of players' abilities.
If the prizes are new ones, ensure that they have been properly engraved. Decide on a policy for engraving the winner's names, i.e. who is paying for them and who is responsible for doing them. If the prizes are not new, contact last year's holders and arrange for their return.
If you want publicity, inform the local press, sending them some written information about the tournament and the club. Prepare this carefully, so that they will be able to extract appropriate quotes - but keep it brief! If there is a local Tourist Information Office, send them details well in advance, so that they will be able to include your tournament in their 'What's On' pamphlets.
Your important visitors will not be impressed if they turn up and find that no-one is available to speak to them or that anyone who does do so seems to have little idea about the game. Choose your club's best communicator and brief him/her on what is wanted so that the visit will be of mutual benefit.
What they want. Will always be in a hurry. Will know little about the game (and often care less). Will, sadly, often be planning a sarcastic or humorous article. Will usually be looking for a 'filler' article, but occasionally will do something more substantial with photographs, (especially of local players).
What you want. Great care is needed by you or your representative. Avoid leading questions and steer the reporter away from clichés like 'vicious games' by saying something like "Well, this is not really the image of modern croquet that we want to promote. We would rather have you concentrate on". Here you can then choose some positive aspect of the game like its appeal to all ages. Make sure that the reporter knows that new members are always welcome and give a contact address or telephone number.
What they want. A typical VIP is the Mayor. The visit will be seen as a civic duty, a 'meeting the people' exercise. They normally want nothing more than a pleasant hour, with a nice cup of tea and something to eat. They also need some company, not to be left on their own wondering why they are here. With such simple needs, it is amazing how many visitors are treated with indifference and will probably never come again, so don't ruin your chances for another time.
What you want. To create a good impression. You never know when you might need help, say in getting a grant.
What they want. To see what they have spent their money on and if it is worth spending it again. If there are no banners, if the advertising freebies are in a heap in the corner and if they find out that the players have no idea what the sponsor does, you can say goodbye to sponsorship next year. For hospitality, they need the same treatment as VIPs.
What you want. More money!
The great day has arrived. Make sure you do! You need to be at the lawns at least 30 minutes before the start, even if you are not involved in lawn preparation. If you have other duties to perform before the start, allow time for these in addition to the 30 minutes.
Check that all the balls, hoops, etc. are available and not locked away in a cupboard to which there is no key. If the hoops are not already set out and adjusted, make sure that whoever is to do this is here.
Check that all is in order: signs, restrictions, etc.
Make sure that they have all arrived by whatever means was arranged.
Competitors need to know what is going on. This does not mean that they will read any information that you put up - far from it! If however, it is there, all you have to do is say "look at the board". You do not have to explain things a dozen times. The sort of information that you should display is the following.
Is everyone here? Someone not turning up is always a nightmare. It helps if you have thought in advance about what you will do if this happens: how long will you be prepared to wait before you act? Often there is nothing you can do other than give the opponent a walkover, but this is obviously a last resort. You may be able to find someone in your club who will turn out at short notice. If you have a waiting list, find out if anyone is prepared to come in an emergency and ensure that you have their telephone number. If two people are absent, you may be able to juggle the play order around.
Have a policy ready to deal with players who arrive late, but remember that we are only human.
Be ready to deal with those people who have not told you that their handicap has changed.
At one extreme the manager can completely control the reporting of results, while at the other, the player does so. If you control things totally you should have an up-to-the-minute grasp of the situation at any time. However, particularly if you are a player-manager, you will not want hordes of people making reports and demanding when their next game is to be. If you let the players run things, life is very easy - until something goes wrong! Then you will have no real idea who did what and when. The answer is as usual, a compromise. Have three sets of documentation ready.
The first is the display copy. This is for the use of the players. It shows who is playing whom and has been described in the previous section under 'Pin up the Tournament Information'.
The second is your working copy. Information from this is transferred to and from the display copy. After day one it will probably resemble the writings on an Egyptian tomb!
The third is the master copy. This is made up during quiet periods from the working copy. It is the copy from which information to the press, your association, etc. will be taken.
This is where the skill of the manager really comes into play. The next chapter will discuss things in much greater depth, but suffice it to say that it is at about this point, i.e. after Round 1, when your good planning will really begin to show. So will any bad planning! As you will see later, some formats allow the prediction of games for more than one round, while others are completely dynamic. So, know your format. If you are a player-manager and have put time limits on all games, be ready for a flood of results right at the point where your game is critical. Most players are tolerant of the manager bending the time rules in his/her games but don't abuse the privilege and be fair to your opponent. If you have got your reporting procedure right, this problem should be minimised.
Your preliminary information should have specified the rules about breaks for coffee, lunch and tea. The caterer should also have been told. If specific breaks are to be taken, ensure that everyone does so correctly, e.g. remembers to note how much time is left in their game when play stopped. Remember that not everyone will use the club facilities. Ensure that those who are 'just popping up the road to the burger bar' know the time when they must be back to start play.
Check that your press officer will be sending a report to the local media. If this is a CA event, get someone to write a report for the magazine.
If this is a CA event, you will need to complete the necessary documentation for players who achieve an award such as the English Association's Gold, Silver and Bronze awards.
There is obviously no such thing as a planned emergency. You can, however, be prepared for common emergencies by having thought about what to do if they occur. Thus, if your courts are prone to flooding and the weather forecast is bad, consider the possibility of losing some playing time.
Astonishing as it might seem, people think about things other than croquet. Things like getting home afterwards. They are not going to be impressed if you expect them to play until the late evening on the final day. You should aim to get the last round, especially the important matches in that round, finished by about 4.30. This is particularly so if you aim to have a prize-giving. It is embarrassing to have a VIP give a prize when there are only half a dozen players left.
Be prepared also for a marked lack of enthusiasm from players near the bottom of the event to turn out at 3 o'clock in the pouring rain to play in a match which has little or no bearing on the final results.
Sometimes, due to unforeseen circumstances, a final is likely to go on late. Before this match even gets contemplated, you must find out the situation of the players. If they are happy to play late, good. If they are not you must make a decision based on the situation. That is why you are the manager!
See also the previous sections 'Press', 'VIPs', 'Sponsors'. Check that whoever is giving the prizes knows which prize to give. Find out if they intend to give a speech. Make sure that you know who they are so that you can introduce them properly. It is conventional for one of the winners to give a short speech thanking the manager, the club and its officials and the caterers. If they don't, do it yourself - except thanking the manager!
Ensure that competitors report all handicap changes before leaving and remind them that they must tell the managers of any future events for which they are entered about the change.
Ensure that everything has been put away, tidied up, locked up or cleaned. Pay the groundsman, caterer, etc. or ensure that someone will be doing so.
If the event was in the CA calendar, send in the results to the CA office together with the levy due. If there were handicap changes, send these in as well. If it is a CA event, ensure that the tournament report is sent to the CA magazine.
Make sure that your press officer sends in a report to your local paper.
Prepare, at least in your mind, a report on the event to give to your next committee meeting. Where things went wrong, have an explanation ready. Where they went right, be ready to look modest, but don't be surprised if no-one says anything! Sadly, particularly on committees, often the only accolade you get is a low number of criticisms.
In this chapter we have looked at the basics of running a simple tournament. Many of the points made might seem so obvious that they are hardly worth mentioning. Perhaps so, but in the heat of the moment it is all too easy to forget the simple things. If you use this chapter as a check-list, then you stand a good chance of running a smooth tournament. Good luck!
This chapter and the next consider various matters of policy on which you will have to make decisions when planning your management strategy.
It is not so long ago that the Manager arrived at the Tournament from Valhalla, held court surrounded by acolytes, was held in awe by everyone and departed trailing clouds of glory.
During a week tournament, a player who was off form might only get 4 games. The big handicap was usually played as X & Y, while the class events and doubles were single life knockouts. (Only the 'A' class was allowed the luxury of playing Draw & Process.) In the middle of the week, lawns were under-occupied and players were hanging about. Come Friday afternoon, there were quite often a few players who were in 2 or more events, so some of these were ruthlessly and unfairly scratched from one of the competitions so that the tournament could be completed on time. Incredibly, this was considered skilful management and the practitioners were eulogised in the tournament reports in the magazine. So arduous was managing considered to be that managers could not possibly play in their tournaments themselves.
Needless to say, such an attitude is not acceptable nowadays. Visiting players who have incurred heavy travelling and hotel expenses to play in the tournament and, even more, working players who have taken a week of their precious holidays to participate, expect more pleasure from their investment. The mystique has mercifully been taken out of the process of management and few players would now accept an invitation to manage and then not play themselves. Furthermore, the scratching of any player from a competition save in the most exceptional circumstances (such as weather of such severity that many hours of play have been lost) should be regarded as the greatest reproach to any manager's efficiency.
Nevertheless, it must be said that one does not want all tournaments to be restricted to young lions who want to play 4. or 5 games a day. There is still a place in the calendar for tournaments that have a more leisurely progression, even though the tempo need not be as extreme as in the (true) example pilloried above. What is important is that the fixture book should give some indication of the type of tournament to be expected so that an informed choice can be made. This applies particularly to weekend tournaments, but even in a week tournament where plenty of play should be available for the enthusiast, it is incumbent on the manager to plan the programme in such a way that the competitor who does not want to play more than 2 games a day can be accommodated.
The tournaments we are thinking about here are those that aim to provide the maximum enjoyment for the maximum number of players. The special problems involved in organising prestige tournaments such as the Open, Men's and Women's and similar Championships are considered in Chapter 14.
Before accepting an invitation to manage, find out what sort of tournament the host club is envisaging and make sure that there will be harmony in general terms between your philosophy of management and what the club expects. Is the tournament to be brisk or leisurely; will the anticipated competitors be willing to play until dusk as required in the fixture book or are they likely to be itching to be away by 6 o'clock; will there be any grumbles if you sensibly avoid time limits by shortening the games or if most games are double banked; even (shock, horror) how will your proposal to double bank the handicap doubles be received? (After much trepidation, this last innovation has now been tried on several occasions and it can be reported that, after the initial astonishment had subsided, it proved to be scarcely more troublesome than double banked singles.) Discuss the format you propose to use for the event(s) so that there will be no muttering when you arrive!
If you accept the invitation, start planning the detailed structure of the tournament and calculate the number of games that will be needed to complete your programme. Then decide on the maximum number of competitors the tournament secretary should be asked to accept. If you are new to management, it is wise not to be too ambitious. If you make sensible decisions about the length of the games (see Chapter 3) then, as a rough guide, in the height of summer, it should be no problem to play 3 games a day with each set of balls; in spring or autumn, it will be safer to aim for an average of 2½ games per set. Paradoxically, a large tournament is easier to plan in this particular respect, simply because the statistics have a better chance of balancing out the effect of the few inevitable freak games that might cause unwelcome problems in a smaller competition.
If you have taken on the management of a full week tournament, it is important to start thinking about your plan for the week, so that this can evolve at the same time as your organisation of the individual events develops. Decide on the days when each event will be played, so that every player will be involved in as uniform a way as possible in the early stages, and so that each competition can reach its climax on finals' day. This advice may seem so obvious that it should not need saying, but if you reflect on week tournaments that you have attended where the management has been muddled you will probably come to the conclusion that the reason for the confusion was the lack of a clear plan of action at the start of the week.
Because some competitors are disgracefully lax about reporting changes in their handicaps to clubs where they are booked to play in tournaments, there are disadvantages in starting your week with a level event. You are permitted to modify the handicap boundaries between classes in a level event in order to adjust the class numbers but, by the time all the players have arrived, you may no longer have the opportunity to rearrange those divisions before play in particular classes has begun and the position has become irretrievable. Note also that, if there is no convenient gap in the handicap list in which to place a class division, it may be courteous to wait until the competitors who are tied on the boundary have arrived, and then ask them whether they have preferences about which class they wish to play in, before the matter has to be decided by lot.
If there is a doubles event, then there is one piece of advice that you will certainly ignore at your peril. (On the only occasion when Roger and Dab thought it would not matter and discarded this principle, there was such chaos that we vowed never to repeat the mistake.) Always play doubles games as the first games of the day and only play doubles games in the afternoon if they are later rounds of the competition you have been playing that morning. Assigning a doubles game to start in the afternoon means keeping a set of balls (or, if you have conscientious objections about double banking doubles, then two sets of balls) out of use from mid-morning so that they will be available when the four contestants have all completed the (inevitably protracted!) singles games in which they have been involved and finished their late lunches.
If at all possible, superintend the draw for your tournament, as the Regulations require. If the draw has to be done without you, it will be difficult to enumerate all your requirements to make sure that all the details you want will be incorporated. For example, you may want players who are travelling together to be off at the same time in accordance with your plan for the week. Even without such constraints, there are many things that can unexpectedly go wrong, and you may find that some of your careful planning has been undermined. For example, even someone else's simple draw for a knockout can cause you problems. If the number of competitors is even but not divisible by 4 (that is, 6, 10, 14, ...) then, instead of having an odd bye in each half, the rules sensibly allow these two odd players to be paired in the bottom half. If you are presented with a draw that has been done in the first way, then you have two players who are each waiting for a particular game to finish, who both have to be offered a lawn to practice on and who then have to wait for a lawn to come free on which their opponent has not been playing: a quite unnecessary inconvenience, especially at the beginning of a tournament when all competitors are keen to start their first game. If you had done the draw yourself, you would, of course, have done it in the second way so that the two players can play each other as soon as any lawn becomes available and without the need for practice.
Then again, the procedure for creating the Process from a given Draw (see Chapter 7) is not always performed correctly and you should check this before starting to play the Process. If, despite the recommendation earlier, you plan to play a Draw & Process as the first event of the week, then, for similar reasons to those mentioned in the last paragraph, you should certainly start playing the Draw first, because it is usually more balanced than the Process, and fewer players will be sitting around. On the other hand, if you plan to start such an event later in the week, there are sometimes advantages in beginning with the Process; should you run into time pressures later in the week, the evenness of the Draw may make it easier to complete.
As we noted earlier, the days of the non-playing manager at an ordinary, social tournament are probably gone for ever and few would mourn the extinction of the species. The price the manager has to pay for the benefits of playing is a willingness to give up quite a lot of time in preparation, both before play begins and certainly every evening during the tournament. This is work that the competitors do not see and should scarcely even be aware of. The less the players notice the management, the better it will have been. Defend us from managers who continually fuss to make us notice them!
Having said that, do not be reluctant to ask other players to do managerial jobs for you while you are playing: tasks such as assigning lawns, taking charge of the waiting list in a Hands ladder (see Chapter 9) and arranging pairings, doing bisque adjustments for shortened games and so on You will usually find players sitting out very willing to help you when asked, although they may be shy about volunteering. Always give clear instructions about exactly what it is you wish them to do.
It is usual for competitors to draw for lawns for their first game in the tournament and for the person allocating the lawns to ensure that subsequent games are not assigned to a lawn on which either player (or side) has just been playing. The same method can be used each day, but you may think that, to keep everyone happy, you will construct a lawn tally each night after play and assign the lawns for the first games on subsequent days to ensure a fair allocation of 'good' and 'bad' lawns over the whole tournament. Although we have done this on many occasions, and although at a small tournament there may be some value in the exercise, we have come firmly to the conclusion that, when managing a large tournament, the benefit derived is never worth the huge outlay of effort it involves. (If, of course, you are having to keep a tally of opponents for other reasons then, instead of just putting a blob to indicate a pairing, it is almost as easy to record the number of the lawn on which the encounter took place; that's a different matter.) But never feel guilty because you have not tried to allocate the lawns impartially; there are so many other refinements on which your energy can more profitably be expended.
Managers often make themselves unpopular by playing almost the whole tournament on what is deemed to be the 'best' lawn. If you have done all your planning properly, this should not be necessary. There will certainly be some occasions when the structure of the tournament requires you to make snap decisions that you could not have made in advance. Decide when these problems will arise and plan to be playing on a lawn near the notice boards at those times. But the competitors will appreciate your thoughtfulness if you play your other games elsewhere.
This is a contentious subject. Some managers are adamant that competitors must report all results to them personally. This may be a reasonable idea when the manager is a non-player (as still happens at some prestige tournaments), but it seems to us to be utter folly when the manager chooses to play. It is quite reasonable to ask players not to enter any results on your master charts. But, if you use a sensibly designed 'Order of Play' sheet - and one of the troubles is that many of those in use have not been well planned - then there is no reason why you should not require players to take the responsibility of entering their result thereon. (A magnifying glass can be hung near the boards to remove one of the excuses made by some players who are too self-conscious to wear their spectacles in public!)
If the event is a Hands ladder (see Chapter 9), there is no need whatever to duplicate on the 'Order of Play' sheet the results the players will have to record on their ladder cards. (An exception, of course, will be a simultaneous Hands ladder that is complementing a knockout: see the discussion in Chapter 9). For all other formats, the 'Order of Play' sheet is where results should be entered and you should make it a point of honour to ensure that your master charts are always made up to date from that sheet before the beginning of the next day's play.
The style of 'Order of Play' sheet Roger and Dab have developed is shown above; it will give you a possible model to use unless you feel like designing one of your own.
There should be definite columns in which the results are to be recorded: it's no good at all expecting players to scrawl them somewhere vaguely next to their names. Having the results columns between those with the players' names (as one sees in a football results' table) dramatically improves the visibility of the results themselves and alerts one to the fact that the lawn is now free, Putting the score next to the winner's name on the appropriate side of the centre line makes transferring the results to the charts easier. Furthermore, since no game has ever been won with a minus hoop score, a '+' sign is redundant and the sheet is much easier to read if you can persuade players not to add it. Putting a '+' sign at the top of each column may help. Having 2 separate columns for bisques and putting the number in the column alongside the receiver's name (or in both columns if a full bisque game is being played) is an additional improvement, we feel. One column should be sufficient for your notes; in this you can record the type of play or length of game, add a mark if Wharrad turns (see Chapter 3) have been applied and so on.
If you have been managing a CA Tournament you, or someone acting on your behalf, will have to send the results to the CA Office. By keeping this obligation in mind, and either drawing your master sheets at a size suitable for photo-reduction or by keeping your working charts sufficiently neatly for direct photocopying, you may be able to avoid the extremely boring task of re-copying all the results at the conclusion of the tournament.
Although players do not like having to adjourn games, it is often necessary if you have a tight schedule and need to fit in as much play into a day as possible. Pegging down may be necessary if matches take longer than expected, if players have been given permission to take leave at a particular time (e.g. for a fixed evening meal-time), or if circumstances have forced you to have a finals' day that is more crowded than you had planned, so that the various events have to be juggled to suit the contestants.
The manager is the arbiter of whether there is sufficient light to continue play, but keeping the players on in the gathering gloom in the hope that the game will finish is unfair to the players and often counterproductive. As dusk approaches, decide on the time when (unless conditions worsen) the game(s) will be pegged down and inform the players. At the same time, ask a referee to prepare for this, so that the markers and pegging down sheets can be found. Do not let play continue beyond that time, except to allow the game to reach a state at which an adjournment, is convenient and fair.
If you have to do the pegging down yourself, the things to record are
It is because of the possibility of a wiring problem that you should not have let your last referee go home! If you have done so, you will have to decide this in consultation with the players. Always record the positions of the balls on a diagram as well, in case the markers get moved, with additional, large scale sketches of any interesting features.
If any ball is in a critical position, that is, stuck in a hoop or very close to an upright or the peg, you should let play continue until the problem is resolved. On the other hand, it is sometimes very convenient to peg down when a ball is in hand; it is usually fairer and there is one less ball to mark. Suppose one player has finished a turn under control, leaving the opponent a long roquet. Ask that player whether he or she would like to take the first shot of the next turn before you peg down. If the roquet is made, that player will be able to start with a straightforward croquet stroke, rather than a daunting hit in. If it is missed, the position the opponent faces on resumption will be exactly the one that had been played for and hoped for.
If a game is pegged down at the end of a day, it is often unnecessary and usually undesirable to resume it first thing next morning, if you can put on alternative games instead. One reason is that you may already have published an order of play assuming that the game would finish. Another, possibly more important, is that two other games will be held up waiting for the players in the pegged down one to finish and their opponents will be disadvantaged because those involved in the resumed game will be warmed up.
It is amusing to recall how few years ago it was that croquet players were heard to grumble passionately about double banking and refused to enter tournaments where they were likely to encounter it!
Despite the wide acceptance nowadays of this (rather sociable) practice, there is, nevertheless, one cause for regret.
The most satisfactory method of organising double banking is to rotate the court setting through a half-turn for the second game. That is, the A baulk-line for the second game is the B baulk-line for the first and vice versa. Hoop 1 for the second game is the first's hoop 3; rover in one game is hoop 6 in the other game and so on. It is certainly unreasonable to choose this procedure unless the (normal) hoop 3 can be given a green crown and the (normal) hoop 6 a pink one, so that players can orient themselves easily. (A piece of green garden hose, split lengthwise and another piece painted pink are adequate accessories.) But, provided this is done, the method has many advantages to commend it both games can start at the same time; when two players are both making breaks, one is not following the other all the way round (they may come together at certain hoops but will then separate); also, a minor blessing, if both players have inflated ideas of their skills as triple peelers, at least each peelee will be stuck on the wire of a different 4-back hoop!
If this method had been insisted on when double banking was first introduced, we should by now all accept it with the same equanimity with which we take the other complexities of croquet in our stride. Unfortunately, the processional option is now rather well entrenched. On 3 or 4 occasions around 1980, Roger and Dab persuaded some reluctant tournament players to try it. Some were certainly enthusiastic, but it has to be confessed that the apathy of the majority was overwhelming and discouraging. Are there any managers brave enough to have another try?
There is, of course, one definite disadvantage to the rotated court. The options in the Bray system (see Chapter 3) have to be limited to 26 and 18 point games; only a sadistic manager would schedule a third hoop start with those lawn settings!
One small domestic matter associated with double banking is that (obviously) the games should break for meals at different times. If one game is well ahead of the other when lunch is due, send the backward game off to have lunch first, in the hope that the forward game will finish now that they have the court to themselves, giving you a chance to start another game immediately afterwards and improving your lawn occupancy.
Since this is a subject on which both authors have extremely strong views, we want to urge all managers to consider our counter-arguments carefully before deciding to impose time limits at their tournaments. The best hope of eradicating time limits will be to persuade the new generation of aspiring managers that they are destructive of good croquet and that every effort should be made to abolish them.
In a croquet game between average players, the early turns involve jockeying for position and advantage and looking for a promising opening for an attack. These manoeuvres will take place whichever starting hoops are used. The most interesting part of a croquet game is not the middle but the end - and any game that does not conclude with a peg out is unsatisfactory. (Incidentally; because all their experiences at tournaments have been of timed full games, new players have often played in them for a couple of seasons before they have actually achieved a peg out in one and consequently they have not had opportunities to develop any skills in the end game. See 'Plus One on Time' by DLG, Chapter 5.)
Many experienced players who were brought up on timed croquet games will vehemently insist that shortening the game by four or eight hoops at the start is wrong whereas shortening it by a similar amount at the end by playing a timed game is somehow quite acceptable. This is an argument we find quite illogical and indefensible.
Time limits are an absurd way of delimiting a croquet match. They lead to quite unreasonable annoyance with the players in a double banked game if that game causes excessive interference or requires frequent refereeing - and some players can become very irritated if their opponent is a referee or manager who gets called away from a timed game for official duties. The whole atmosphere at a tournament with extensive time limits can be tense and unhappy.
Lionel Wharrad's suggestion (see later section) certainly removes many of these difficulties, but his solution is not as satisfactory as avoiding all artificial conclusions to croquet games. Indeed, our main criticism of his proposals is that they may divert attention from the campaign that players, and especially managers, should be waging to eliminate all (or almost all) croquet games that do not finish with a peg out.
Any manager recognises that the time a game will take depends partly on the conditions of the lawns but mainly on the handicaps of the players and will be especially long if they are both high bisquers. These are the games that may hold up the progress of a tournament, but that is no excuse for imposing universal time limits. The solution is simply to shorten the early stages of games that are likely to be troublesome and thereby to allow all players to play games that finish in a satisfactory way with a peg out. On most occasions, the aim is to devise a method so that the average time for a game between players of any standard will be somewhat less than 3 hours. Some will obviously take longer and some finish more quickly, but you must have faith that the statistics will even out these fluctuations over your whole programme.
A convenient procedure for achieving this was devised by Edgar Jackson in 1976; it is called the Bray system after Roger Bray, who was Chairman of the Laws' Committee at the time. To make the conditions of application symmetric between both players, it is usual to predetermine the length of the game by the sum of the players' handicaps. The system is equally appropriate for handicap difference games and for full bisque games. (For ordinary level games, for example in class events, it is more natural to prescribe the same length of game throughout the class.)
The choices of game length should be restricted to the standard ones of 26, 22, 18 and 14 points. For the 18 point game, we much prefer the '1 & 3-back' variation (although this is merely a matter of personal choice). We have not often reduced the length as far as 14 points (except in extra events), but you should certainly not feel hesitant about being that drastic when necessary. (When Roger and Dab use it, we usually introduce our own 14 point variation; the '3 & penultimate' game. All clips start on hoop 3 but, as soon as one of the balls of a side scores hoop 3, penultimate becomes the next hoop in order for its partner ball. Middle bisquers may be encouraged to go for a double peel - and perhaps help their opponents by breaking down!)
A Bray system of average severity is the following.
If you try this and then want to shorten still further the average time the games take at your next tournament, you obviously make the conditions stricter (for example, change the handicap sums of 16 and 22 in the left column of the table above to 14 and 20 - and perhaps introduce a 14 point game option as well); conversely, if you want to lengthen them, you relax the conditions by altering those handicap sums to, say, 18 and 25.
When it is a standard handicap game, the bisques must then be adjusted according to the difference of the players' handicaps. This is most efficiently done by two people working together, one recording and one reading the chart. (You will find that a large-print copy of the table in the CA Law Book is very helpful.)
Incidentally, you may be puzzled about the procedure for bisque adjustment in shortened full bisque games when the base is not scratch. Suppose players with handicaps of 10 and 16 are to play an 18 point full bisque game when the base is 4. Should one adjust the bisques as for a full game to 7 and 11 and then subtract the base, giving 3 and 7; or should one subtract the base first, to give 6 and 12 and then adjust them to 4 and 8½? It requires a careful reading of the CA Law Book to discover that the second is the correct procedure. Appendix 3 modifies Law 38(b) before the application of Law 55(a). [Now, 6th Edition: Laws 37(b) & Appendix 3.3].
The suggestion by Lionel Wharrad in 1991 that the traditional imposition of a fixed period of time for play in order to conclude a protracted game of croquet ought to be replaced by a fixed number of turns has, in the opinion of one of the authors (RFW), been one of the most stimulating innovations of recent years. Many experiments have been carried out and no doubt Wharrad turns will soon become officially recognised in the Regulations.
One must distinguish between the 2 different types of time limit. There is (1) the limit that is imposed on all games in a tournament or an event and is in operation as soon as the game starts and (2) the emergency time limit that is applied to isolated, stagnant games that need to be curtailed in order not to hold up the progress of a tournament (especially one with a Swiss format) - or not to try the patience of the lunch caterers!
To impose time limits of the first kind (with the possible exception of doubles events, of which more later) is indefensible, since, as explained in the previous section, the Bray system provides a completely satisfactory managerial solution by shortening the beginning of the match rather than its exciting climax. If a Bray system is reasonably chosen, the need for any sort of artificial termination should not arise. It does, of course, sometimes happen that a manager has not assigned a sufficiently strict Bray system; that is a matter of inexperience. If problems of the second type do arise as a result, then Lionel's proposals are particularly appropriate.
It has been claimed that a fixed number of turns is more likely to lead to defensive play than a fixed period of time. It is ridiculous for anyone to argue in this way. We have all seen timed games in which the player or side in the lead has tried to sit on a 2 hoop lead for the last three quarters of an hour, to the immense frustration of the opponent(s), without making any serious attempt to achieve a win by pegging out and adopting tactics they would never have resorted to if they had known that the game would have to be completed properly. We do not suggest that this will be any better under Lionel's proposals - but it will certainly be no worse. This problem is an inherent feature of all methods of artificially truncating a game at its conclusion; it is one of the most compelling arguments against any such interference.
Roger and Dab have experimented with these Wharrad turns and recommend that the number of turns should normally be 12 for each side. 'Turns' here means 'visits to the lawn' since, in handicap games, a bisque turn must not be counted separately from the immediately preceding turn. (The terminology in the Laws needs to be improved; the same difficulty arises with the experimental 'advanced handicap' game currently being discussed.) Bisques should only be allowed to be taken during the first 10 of these turns. Any bisques left standing only become active again if both sides are level after completing their 12 turns; in that case play continues until the next point is scored. It is obviously important that counting the turns is done accurately. The simplest practical solution to this problem is to issue a prepared card of the design shown below, at the time when the time limit is imposed. The side in play completes its turn and then the spaces on the card are marked with crosses as succeeding turns are completed.
Incidentally, with this system there is a good case for changing the rules so that, instead of a turn being deemed to have finished as soon as the side has played the last stroke to which it is entitled, a turn would be deemed not to have begun until a side has played the first stroke of that turn. (Otherwise, if Wharrad turns are initiated between these two events, one side may seem to be getting an extra turn. Also, it may encourage slow play because, by taking a final shot quickly, your opponent will gain an additional turn before the Wharrad turns start!)
An alternative and better suggestion (due to Ian Vincent) is that the side in play should complete its turn according to the present definition; the other side should have a turn and only then should the counting of the Wharrad turns begin. This makes the procedure analogous to that for starting the extra turns when the sides are level in a conventional timed ending.
There is no reason why a Bray system should not be applied also to handicap doubles games, despite the current disinclination to do this. But if, when managing, you are happy to accept a curtailment of all doubles games, then the possibility of imposing a fixed number of turns rather than a fixed interval of time is exceptionally attractive.
The system has been used for the doubles events at recent Cheltenham July Tournaments, where there used to be timed doubles games finishing either at 1300 or 1315. Now, instead of ringing bells at these times, cards are distributed to each game at the start of the day and bells are rung at 1200 and 1215 (to determine which side is in play) and then, as soon as the current turn has been completed, the card system for the Wharrad turns begins to operate.
On one occasion when players were asked to record the time the extension turns took, the average time taken by the games that went to 11 turns or more was 54 minutes. (Although one game took a surprising 90 minutes, the remaining times were all between 35 and 70 minutes.) So it seems that 12 is probably the ideal number of turns.
A tournament in which all the play is in American Blocks ('round robin' competitions, as they may be called in other countries and other sports) is the easiest type of tournament to manage and is probably the format most managers choose for their initiation, It is popular for weekend tournaments and the only serious problem arises when the players have all been guaranteed a definite number of games in the fixture book and then someone drops out at the last moment. So the tournament secretary should always be asked to keep a player or two in reserve to meet such emergencies.
The whole programme is worked out before the tournament begins, including the order of play for each day and so there should be very little work to do once play has begun. If there is more than one block, it is usual to spread players from the same club among the blocks and, if it is a handicap event, to adjust the blocks so that there is a similar distribution of handicaps in each.
In any American tournament, a crucial decision you have to make is the procedure you will use for deciding the winner (and runner-up, if that is relevant) in each block when there are ties on the number of games won. The method you propose to use should be pasted at the start of the tournament. Although the present Regulations give preference to a primary decision based on the total of each player's net points, there is no doubt at all that the most satisfactory solution is to use the principle of 'who beat whom' whenever this is possible. If just 2 players have the same number of wins then the outcome of the game between them decides the issue. On favourable occasions, the principle may even decide the issue when there are 3 or more players with the same number of wins, since one of the players tying on games won may have beaten each of the others. Only if this fails will it be necessary to discriminate on the less satisfactory basis of the number of net points scored. The numerical information given in Appendix 4c shows that the use of hoop points to determine the winner is seldom necessary.
There are more suggestions about block play in Chapter 5 'Blocks and Play-off.
This is a perennial problem with American blocks in club competitions Players become disinclined to complete their schedule once all possibility of achieving even second place has gone, even though their unplayed games may be important to other players. The same difficulty, however, may arise (although more rarely and for different reasons) in tournaments; a player may be taken ill or severe weather may make lawns unplayable for a lengthy period.
The problem was discussed by Lawrence Latham in The Croquet Gazette 128 (October 1973), p 4 and there is a comprehensive analysis by Ian Vincent in 141 (October 1976), p 3. In most cases, common sense will decide both the winner and runner-up in a way that will be universally accepted as fair; it is for the minority of finely balanced blocks that some automatic and impartial procedure is required.
To strike out all the results of players who were prevented from completing their quota of games is manifestly unfair to the remainder. Ian's method decides the block positions on the basis of pairwise, rather than global, comparisons of the players' performances, (suggested, no doubt, by the match pointing procedure used in pairs' competitions at bridge). It is comprehensive, since he includes the partial results of unfinished games as well as those of all the completed games, but it is over elaborate in that it relies on net hoop scores.
In keeping with the spirit of deciding positions, whenever possible, on the basis of 'who beat whom', the following modified method is offered as being relatively simple to apply.
It will be illustrated with a block of 6 players, whom we shall, with startling originality, call A, B, C, D, E, F. The matches B v E, D v E and D v F have not taken place (indicated by an open rectangle). A plus sign represents a win and a minus sign a loss.
A comparison is made between each pair of competitors to decide who has the better performance. In making this comparison, only the games against opponents they have both played are taken into account. The player with more wins receives. 2 points and the other 0 points. If they have the same number of wins and have played each other, then the victor in that encounter receives the 2 points and the loser 0 points. If they have the same number of wins and have not played each other (or have not completed their game), they receive 1 point each. A few examples should make the construction of the second table clear.
As a check, the sum of the points for a block of n players is, of course, n(n-1). The winner of our hypothetical block is D and the runner-up is E. Should this procedure lead to a tie, then it would have to be done again, with the placement points for each player determined by using the net hoop scores when making the comparisons (as in Ian's solution).
It has been assumed above that the failure to complete the block has been due to unforeseen circumstances. Should it be the result of someone's wilful obstinacy, then, of course, that player must not be allowed to gain any advantage by defaulting. He will be given an artificial total of 0 points, regardless of other considerations, but the remaining players will be treated as described above.
A block of n players involves ½n(n-1) games and requires (n-1) sessions of play if n is even and n sessions if n is odd. It is not difficult to discover by trial and error ways of sharing the pairings among the various sessions, but there is no doubt that a systematic approach will pay dividends. Both even and odd blocks have their own points of interest. A small block of 4 is trivial and so we shall concentrate on blocks with between 5 and 8 players, the commonest numbers; if you have to organise a block of 9 or more, then you will have to adapt the principles below.
A block of 6 players will play 15 games spread over 5 sessions. But if you start planning the sessions, say,
1. AB CD EF; 2. BC DE FA; 3. AD BE CF;
you will discover (try this!) that the remaining games (AC, BD, CE, DF, EA, FB) cannot be completed in 2 sessions.
If you represent the 6 players by labelled points and each of the 15 games by a line joining a pair of players, then the geometric picture presented can be split into 3 diagrams: a hexagon, 2 overlapping triangles and the 3 diagonals.
The overlapping triangles cannot be accomplished in 2 sessions, so one has to mix games in this pattern with games from other patterns, such as the diagonals; for example,
1. AB CD EF; 2. BC DE FA; 3. AD CE FB; 4. BE DF AC; 5. CF EA BD.
The 28 games in 7 sessions with a block of 8 players may cause less surprises, since the overlapping figures are squares, but it is still useful to think of the pairings geometrically as shown: two 8-cycles, 2 overlapping squares and 4 diagonals.
If, however, even with these hints, you don't want the trouble of working out a schedule of play for yourself, then use the following.
1. AB CD EF GH; 2. HA BC DE FG; 3. AD GB EH CF; 4. FA DG BE HC; 5. AC EG BD FH; 6. GA CE HB DF; 7. AE BF CG DH.
Any schedule of play for a block with an even number of players can obviously be related to a schedule for a block with the next smaller odd number by pairing the additional player in the larger block with the person who was sitting out in that session in the smaller block.
Both 5 and 7 are prime numbers and the pairings are completed in 2 and 3 separate cycles, respectively. The diagrams refer to a block of 7 players.
The pairings could be, for example,
1. BG CF DE; 2. CA DG EF; 3. DB EA FG; 4. EC FB GA;
With a block of either 5 or 7 players, there is an interesting alternative procedure that may give you more efficient lawn use when this is critical, although it means that the convenience of total preparation in advance will be lost. It will be illustrated with a block of 5 players. Suppose in the first round AB and CD are paired, with E sitting out. Suppose the first game to finish is CD and that C wins. As soon as a suitable lawn comes up, send E off to play C, so that D is now waiting. (The winner is usually more ready to go back on to play immediately than the loser!). When the other game finishes - suppose A wins - D will go off to play A. Then, when the game between C and E finishes, whoever wins, B plays E to complete the first cycle and C waits for the game between A and D to finish so that he can play A to start the second cycle. This finishes in the obvious way, the ordering having been determined by the pairings made earlier.
It may be useful to include here, for reference, schedules of play that are appropriate for Invitation Events for 6, 8 and 10 players, when only 3, 4 and 5 lawns respectively are available.
The format used for each of these events is a double American block, in which each competitor plays each of the others twice and lawns are allocated as uniformly as possible. Players are assigned the reference letters randomly and the player whose letter is on the left is deemed to have won the toss.
The system currently used for 8 players (reproduced overleaf) has been carefully constructed, with each player playing at least once on each lawn in each series, and occupying the various lawns 4, 4, 3, 3 times overall. The author has compiled a balanced scheme for 10 players on similar principles.
In the Invitation Event for 6 players, each competitor plays only 2 games a day (and these must be on different lawns). A perfect system, in which each player occupies the 3 lawns twice, twice and once in each series and 4, 3, 3 times overall, is not possible. There is a choice between (Scheme 1) letting every competitor play at least once on each lawn in each series and not more than 4 times on any lawn over the whole event, but accepting a less balanced 4, 4, 2 lawn occupancy pattern for some (B, D, F in the example), and (Scheme 2) ensuring that the 4, 3, 3 pattern is achieved, but at the expense of one competitor (A in the example) not playing on one of the lawns during the first series.
Tables of the possible win patterns and their relative frequencies are given overleaf for American blocks of 4, 5 and 6 players.
When 3 or more players tie on their number of wins, the subscripts denote the number of wins in the games between those players only. For example, 32 31, 30 means that one of the players with a total of three wins beat each of the other two, one had one win and the third lost to each of the other two. The performance (31 31 31) or just (3 3 3) means that they had one win each in these particular games, their equivalence being emphasised by the brackets.
In the list of patterns for a block of 6 players, 'x' denotes a number of wins less than any of the numbers explicitly mentioned. Thus, for example, 5 3 3 x x x incorporates the patterns 5 3 3 2 2 0 and 5 3 3 2 1 1.
Mathematically minded managers may be interested in a curious fact.
Write down the pattern of wins for all the players and the patterns of losses. Then (obviously!) the sum of the numbers of wins is equal to the sum of the numbers of losses. But did you know that, in addition, the sum of the squares of the numbers of wins is equal to the sum of the squares of the losses? An example with a block of 6 players would be
52 + 42 + 22 + 22 + 12+ 12 = 02+ 12 + 32 + 32 + 42 + 42.
The proof is easy and, in the traditional way, is left as an exercise for the reader!
Because an American block can give each competitor, whether successful or not, a larger number of guaranteed games, a system of block play followed by a knockout has become a popular way of deciding (particularly) class events in week tournaments, in preference to a Draw & Process format.
In your plan for the week, however, be sure to allow sufficient time for the play-off, in order that both winners and runners-up can participate. This is important because otherwise one capricious result in the block may deprive a player of all chance of winning an important trophy. (It is, of course, for the same reason that a Draw & Process is preferred to a single life knockout.)
Apart from separating visiting players belonging to the same club (and close relatives from any club) by putting them into different blocks as far as possible, the distribution of the players in each class among the blocks should be done randomly.
Now you have the problem of the competitors who have asked for leave during a particular session or who are known to be travelling together and would therefore like to have the same sessions free. If the blocks have an odd number of players (such as 5, a likely number in this context), there is a very simple solution. Decide on a system of pairings that will complete the event in 5 sessions; for example,
1. A BE CD; 2. B CA DE; 3. C DB EA; 4. D EC AB; 5. E AD BC.
The single letter represents the player who is sitting out during that round. Reference letters are then given to each player in a block. If a player wants leave for session 3, then he must be given the reference letter C. If 4 players in different blocks are travelling together then, by giving all of them the same reference letter, they will all be free during the associated session. Players doing the coffee or tea on particular days can be given the letters that ensure they will not be playing then and so on. Remaining letters in each block are assigned arbitrarily. Finally, instead of filling your master charts in alphabetic or handicap order, it will make it easy for you if you complete each of them in the order of the reference letters A, B, C, D, E. You should then find that everything will work smoothly throughout all the classes.
The play-off is straightforward if the number of blocks involved is 2 or 4; the winner of one block plays the runner-up from another block in a simple knockout. The draw with 4 blocks is constructed so that players from the same original block cannot meet again until the final. For example, if Wn is the winner of block n and Rn the runner-up, the draw could be
(W1 R3) ; (W2 R4) : (W3 R1) ; (W4 R2).
With 3 blocks, the procedure is not quite so symmetric, since the victor in one of the winner/runner-up pairings will go straight into the final. A possible modification with 3 blocks is to allow the 2 'best' non-qualifiers to go forward to the play-off as well. Since the selection of these favoured individuals may involve some capricious decisions on your part, it is best not to do this if you anticipate any grumbles; although, since nobody is losing by your generosity, there is really no justification for such an attitude.
So, suppose you decide that the performances of players X1 and X3, from blocks 1 and 3 respectively, make them the most worthy extra players to be included. One possible acceptable draw would then be
(W1 X3) ; (W2 R3) : (W3 X1) ; (R2 R1).
It is not easy to say which is the most common method used for competitions, but the knockout (KO) must be a strong contender. It is used on its own (single life KO) and with other life variations (Draw & Process and X, Y, Z). The derivation of the 'Process' from the original draw for the KO is described in Chapter 7.
The standard reference for the construction of a draw is the section entitled 'Management of Tournaments' among the 'Regulations for Tournaments' in the CA Law Book [now in the Tournament Regulations]. You will find it useful to have a copy available when reading this chapter. It contains detailed instructions on the construction of a draw, but these are often not read correctly or at all, resulting in errors. This chapter will describe the correct way to construct a draw.
We consider first a simple KO tournament. This will consist of a number of players (n), who will be paired off to play each other. The winners will then play each other etc., until there is only one left. This is fine if n is a power of 2.
The powers of 2 are: 2, 4, 8, 16, 32, 64, 128, etc.
So, for 8 players, we have 4 matches in Round 1, 2 semi-finals and a final.
What if there are only 7 players? OK; we have a bye. Does it matter where we put it? What if we have 9?
The method used in solving these difficulties is attributed to two gentlemen called Bagnall and Wild. Its basic principle is to calculate how many players are required to play in the first round to ensure that in the second round the number of players is a power of 2. (For a proof see Appendix 6a.) The Bagnall-Wild method achieves this as fairly as possible, bearing in mind that any bye cannot be totally fair.
Take your entry number and subtract it from the next higher power of 2. This gives you the number of byes into Round 2. The number of players left will play in Round 1. This will always be an even number. (See Appendix 6a for a proof.)
Example. We have 6 entries, so we subtract 6 from 8, giving 2. We have 2 byes into Round 2 and 4 players in Round 1 who produce 2 winners for Round 2.
In this step we allocate positions for the byes. The rules regarding position depend upon how many byes there are and on the type of tournament.
One bye, Fig 1
This is placed at the bottom of Round 2.
2 byes, Figs 2 & 3
When there are 2 byes, you have a choice. They may be split between top and bottom, as shown in Fig 2. You can see an example of this choice in Chapter 12 'Nationwide Tournaments'. For other tournaments, they are usually put together at the bottom, as in Fig 3. This was the method recommended in Chapter 2, because it allows players with byes to start playing more quickly.
Two byes must go at the bottom and one at the top. (There is an alternative for 3 or more byes, which is to divide them up evenly throughout the draw. This alternative is covered in Chapter 12 'Nationwide Tournaments').
Note. If there are 4 byes, the entry must be 12, 28, 60, etc., so we are now moving to powers of 2 higher than in Figs 1 - 3. Two byes go at the bottom and two at the top.
5 byes and more
The same principles continue, namely,
Example. In our example we have two byes. We opt for Fig 3.
Assign numbers in sequence to the positions on the chart where the players' names will be placed. Fig 4 shows this. The numbers allocated will be the same as the number of entries. If it is not, you have done something wrong! Fig 4 is also our example draw.
Assign, by a random draw, numbers to your list of players.
Example. We have 6 entries. They are Pugh, Barney, McGrugh, Cuthbert, Dibble & Grubb, all members of Trumpton Croquet Club. They are listed on order and random numbers allocated by the draw.
PUGH = 5; BARNEY = 6; McGRUGH = 3;
CUTHBERT = 1; DIBBLE = 4; GRUBB = 2.
Thus they are entered on the draw sheet as in Fig 5.
Our thanks go to Bernard Neal, Cheltenham, England, for his advice on seeding.
Seeding is permitted in certain top events. The requirements are that the tournament should be level advanced play with unrestricted entry, except for men/women; non-associates of the CA; handicaps; or any other restriction allowed by the CA, e.g. grading.
The purpose of seeding is to prevent top players (and likely finalists) meeting in early rounds. Thus if you had an 8 entry tournament with two seeds, they could be placed one at the top and one at the bottom of the Draw. There is currently no official CA policy on seeding, so the following guidelines may help.
The idea is to place seeds so that they play (apart from byes) as many rounds as possible before meeting another seed. If you look at a 16 entry KO, the first 8 Round 1 players all lead to the top line of the final and last 8 all lead to the bottom line of the final. So if you have 2 seeds, and put one anywhere in the first 8 players and the other anywhere in the last 8, they are guaranteed not to meet until the final (assuming they keep winning!).
This is fine for 2 seeds, but what about 4? Well, if you double the number of seeds the point at which two of them will meet (if they keep winning) occurs one round earlier. Thus 4 seeds are planned to come together in the semi-finals. To make this happen you have to divide Round 1 into quarters, putting one seed in each quarter.
What about the order of the seeds? If you put them in sequence 1, 2, 3, 4 in the four quarters, then 1 is scheduled to meet 2 in one semi-final and 3 to meet 4 in the other. This is probably not what you want so the order 1, 4, 2, 3 could be chosen. Now 1 meets 4 and 2 meets 3.
So far, so good, but in a 16 entry event it is fairly easy to see what is going on. What about a 32 or 64 entry event? The same principles apply but it is not so easy to see where the seeds go. A chart would be useful, so let us make one (shown on the next page). We will assume that the 32 entry event has 8 seeds and the 64 entry event has 16 seeds. If there are fewer seeds than this, use the appropriate part of the chart shown. It is not considered that there will be more.
For both 32 and 64 entry events, there will be a seed for every 4 entries. The chart shows specific positions for each seed but in fact any position in each group of 4 would work just as well. This could be useful if there were byes involved and you did, or did not, want to give byes to seeds.
You may also wish to use distributed byes, (see Appendix 12b). For example, an entry of 48 could be split into 8 sections of 6 with 4 Round 1 players and 2 byes in each section.
There are many ways to list the seeds. Each combination will give a different order of meeting as the rounds progress. The chart shows 2 methods which ensure that seeds 1 & 2 do not meet until the final, with the second being preferable in most cases.
It may well be that, although there is a significant difference between, say, seeds 5 and 12, there is little between seeds 5 and 7. In this case it is useful to group the seeds and draw lots for position within the groups. In tennis, seeds 1 & 2 are considered separately and all the rest in pairs. A suggested grouping for croquet is 1 & 2 separately; then 3 & 4 together; 5 to 8; and 9 to 16.
Note. If you have 8 seeds in a 64 entry event, just use half the chart. The 'first met' pairings will be the same as for a 32 entry event.
Certain modifications to the draw are permitted within the rules.
If the competition is not a first-class event (as defined in the Regulations), the draw need not be completely random. A Regulation allows it to be adjusted, but only in order to avoid as far as possible an early meeting between
This Regulation, however, does not suggest how these results can be achieved! The common practice of doing the draw randomly and then performing some arbitrary transpositions afterwards to satisfy these conditions is a devious and potentially unfair method of avoiding undesirable pairings.
So let us consider a typical set of problems you are likely to meet when you have to do the draw for a fairly large knockout competition, such as your 'Big Handicap'. To be specific, let's suppose that there are 37 players, that less than half of these are visitors to the club hosting the tournament, but that 4 of these visitors come from one club and 3 from another, and that you have several pairs of married couples (or other close relatives) playing.
You will certainly want the competition to be as sociable as possible for the local players, by arranging that, in accordance with condition (1), the fewest number possible will have to play a fellow club member in their first game. This means, therefore, that you will have to fix the draw in such a way that no visitor will have another visitor as their first opponent. There are other desirable constraints that may contribute to the general happiness of your tournament, even if they are not, strictly speaking, permitted by the current Regulations. For instance if, as in our example, there is an unpaired bye, you will probably want that player (who has to sit around waiting for a particular game to finish) to be a local member rather than a visitor.
On the other hand, condition (3) above is not really worth bothering about, as long as none of the other singles events in your tournament is a single life knockout. If that should happen to be the case, then condition (3) can be satisfied by treating each pair of players scheduled to play each other in that competition as though they were 'close relatives' in the procedure below.
Note that, although the Draw we are envisaging will not be one from which a Process (see Chapter 7) will have to be derived, for the sake of consistency, the procedure to be described below is in harmony with the recommendations in that chapter.
Take a set of counters numbered from 1 to 37 (the number of competitors) and divide them into 4 piles A, B, C, D corresponding to the 4 quarters of the draw. In our example (Fig 6) these will be
A: 1 to 8; B: 9 to 19; C: 20 to 29; D: 30 to 37.
Put to one side the counter corresponding to the position where the player who is to be the unpaired bye will be placed; in our example, this is counter 13. Note particularly that when the number of competitors is odd, so that there is an unpaired bye, that bye will necessarily be in an odd-numbered position, whether it occurs in the top or the bottom half of the draw. (It's easy to see why!)
Finally, subdivide the remaining counters in each quarter into separate piles of odd numbered and even-numbered counters, giving you a total of 8 piles.
Then (it's a wise precaution!) put a label on the table near each pile before turning the counters face down and shuffling each pile separately.
When you start to do the draw, have in front of you separate lists of the local competitors and visiting players, with visitors from the same club grouped together and with each pair of close relatives given an individual distinguishing mark.
Start with the visitors, who are all going to be given an even number. Select one counter from each of the 4 'even' piles and shuffle them. As you turn them over one by one, assign the number on it to a visitor from the club that is providing 4 competitors, writing that player's name on the draw sheet at that position. Then put these counters out of the way and draw another 4 counters, again taking one from each of the 'even' piles and mixing them up. Give the first 3 numbers turned over to visitors from the club with 3 competitors; return the unused counter to its pile and put the used counters away. If you still have some pairs of visitors who are linked, either as close relatives or as members of the same club, choose one pair, draw a counter from the 'A even' pile and another from 'C even' and after randomising these, assign their numbers to the pair of players. For the next pair of linked visitors, repeat the process, but this time choose counters from '13 even' and 'D even' and so on alternately.
Should you have any pairs of close relatives consisting of a visitor and a local member, choose one pair, draw a counter from 'A even' for the visitor and one from 'C odd' for the member. For the next pair, use '13 even' and 'D odd'; then 'C even' and 'A odd' and so on.
For the pairs of close relatives who are both members of the host club, repeat the process using, of course, pairs of counters from 'A odd' and 'C odd', or from '13 odd and 'D odd'.
If there are any visitors still unplaced, take all the unused 'even' counters, shuffle them and assign each remaining visitor to one of these places. Finally mix together all the counters that are left (both 'odd' and 'even'), including the counter for the unpaired bye, and distribute these randomly among the remaining local members.
The procedure sketched above is more cumbersome to describe than to carry out; there should be no problem in adapting it to cover more complicated cases. These suggestions are applicable down to knockout events with about 24 players; below that, you would probably not bother with the quarters and just distribute the competitors between the halves of the draw, using similar principles.
Here is a final piece of advice to keep everyone happy; on the day when play in this event begins, do try to ensure that games involving a group of players known to be travelling together are scheduled to start at the same time, whether those games are in the first or second round.
If you have to enter an extra player for some reason, he or she goes into the place that would have been occupied had she or he been included originally. In the example of Fig 5 above, Pugh would be moved to the first round and play the extra entrant. Note that, if a Process (see Chapter 7) has been derived from your Draw, it should be reconstructed whenever entries have had to be inserted or deleted.
A Regulation says that 'if an entry is included in error, it is struck out and the draw remains valid'. Presumably this is intended to cover circumstances in which the draw has been publicised before the error is discovered; otherwise, the more intelligent solution is to scrap the draw and start again! A similar problem confronts a manager whenever a player (P, say) has to be withdrawn from the draw, for whatever reason, before he has started his first game.
If P has been scheduled to play a first round game, the above instruction is sensible; P's opponent (Q, say) is given a walk-over and so gets a bye into the second round.
If, however, P and Q have been assigned byes, it is ridiculous to give Q a walk-over into the third round , since other competitors will have to play and win two games to reach that stage. There is a more satisfactory solution than that suggested by the above Regulation. This will be described with some precision, in order to make the procedure automatic and impersonal. There are two cases.
1. The number of players in the original draw was odd.
In this case, there is an unpaired bye B in the second round, who was due to meet the winner of a first round game between C and D. Now B takes P's place and B plays Q in Round 2.
The match between C and D still takes place, but is now promoted to the second round (so that effectively C and D have each been given a bye). This, of course, is also what happens if the unpaired bye B is the player who has to be deleted.
2. The number of players in the original draw was even.
In this case, as mentioned in Appendix 6a, the number of first round games will be even. Start by identifying 2 particular first round games, A v B and C v D.
If P was due to play Q in the top half of the draw, these will normally be (respectively) the first and second of the first round games on the draw sheet: if P and Q were due to meet in the bottom half, they will normally be (respectively) the last and penultimate first round games on that sheet. Should it happen that, at the time P withdraws, the winners of the games just mentioned have already started to play their second round game, then move down or up the list of first round pairings, choosing the third and fourth matches from the top or from the bottom as the games A v B and C v D and so on.
When identified, assign the winner of A v B to take P's place against Q and promote the C v D encounter to the status of a second round match.
This method aims to disturb as little as possible the division of the competitors between the halves of the draw. Only if all players who won their first round games have already started their second round matches by the time P withdraws (and this is rather unlikely) will it be necessary to resort to the unfair procedure suggested in the Regulation.
This is an easy event to manage. The X is a straightforward KO and the Y is what in other contexts would be called a 'plate' or 'consolation' event. Players who lose their first game in the X go into a second KO, the Y, and the chart for this lists the players who qualify in the same relative order as they appeared in the chart for the X. Since it is a rule that walkovers do not count as wins, a delay occurs if anyone scratches after the draw has been made. Also, if the number of competitors in the X was odd, then there is a player, L say, who has to wait for the outcome of a game between M and N. Suppose M wins, so that N goes into the Y and L plays M. If L loses, L goes into the Y, while if L wins, then neither L nor M qualifies for the Y. So that part of the Y chart cannot be completed until the result of that particular game is known.
The extension of this principle introduces a third competition, the Z, consisting of players who lose their second game in the X or their first game in the Y. It is important to realise that the Z, like the Y, will consist of (about) half the players who started in the X, so you must make sure that you have sufficient lawn capacity before starting.
If there are n players in the X, the exact number of games played in the Y and Z depends on what sort of number n is and whether or not players who had odd byes qualify, but an approximate rule for the total number of games is
The rules allow you to draw the Z in any way you find convenient, but if you do a random draw you may find some players who played one another in the X meeting again in the Z. There is an easy way of avoiding this. Divide the players into 4 sets:
Mix up each of the 4 sets separately and do the draw for the Z by pairing players from XT with players from YB and then players from YT with players from XB.
The Z often degenerates into little more than an 'extra event', but Roger and Dab remember with pleasure a fairly large X competition in which everyone who qualified for the Z entered and nobody dropped out, so that the Z was completed in the same smooth way as the X and the Y. It was very satisfying from a managerial point of view!
In order to give players more games/chances, it is possible to allow entry to the Y in later rounds. For example, second round losers in the X can be merged into the second round of the Y. Methods for doing this are discussed in the section 'Double Elimination' in Chapter 11.
6.5 Appendix 6a: Proof that the Number of Players in Round 1 will always be Even and the Number in Round 2 will be a Power of 2.
Any number doubled must be even and P must be even so 2E - P must always be even.
Round 2 will contain ½ P players, which number will be a power of 2.
Another fact worth noting is that, when E is even (but not 2, although you are scarcely likely to be referring to this analysis in that case!), R1 will be a multiple of 4 and so the number of games in Round 1 will be even.
The chart below puts an X & Y on a single sheet.. If anyone knows how to put a Z on as well, the authors would like to know!
A Draw & Process format is rather less common than it was a few years ago, thanks to the modern competitor's desire to be guaranteed more than 2 games in an event. But it is nevertheless a most interesting format, ensuring as it does that competitors who meet in an early round of either life cannot meet until a late stage in the other. It seems to be an invention that is unique to croquet and perhaps should be cherished for that reason alone; it is surprising that it has not been taken up by other sports and games. Readers who are new to the method or have difficulty with it should turn first to Appendix 7a.
The Regulations set out the procedure for constructing the Process from the Draw, but not everyone finds the current instructions clear; phrases such as 'paired with a blank opponent' have been known to mystify a new manager completely! On those rare occasions when the number of competitors is a power of 2, there is not usually any difficulty. But in the general case when there are byes, mistakes are often made because the method described there can easily be misapplied.
The procedure explained in the Regulations assumes that the Draw will be done by writing out the competitors' names on individual slips of paper and then drawing these one by one out of a hat to fill the consecutive places on a prepared sheet, starting at the top. If you like this method, that's fine. But most people have found it to be an inconvenient way of doing a draw. In practice, therefore, what they have usually done has been to assign a reference number to each entrant; then, as they have moved from place to place down the sheet, they have selected a random number and entered at that position the name of the competitor who bears that number.
Before deriving the Process, the names of the competitors have to be 'numbered accordingly'. What this instruction means is that the competitors are to be numbered in the order in which their names have been entered on the draw sheet. Not infrequently, however, one finds that it has been misinterpreted and that the players have been assigned the position numbers that are often printed on the blank draw sheet. (Incidentally, support for this incorrect interpretation is furnished later in the very same Regulation when the rules for creating a 'marriage' are explained! See Appendix 7b.) Finally, using the correct numbering and the tables provided, each player's position in the Process is determined.
Sometimes mistakes are simply due to a careless confusion between this second numbering and the original one used in constructing the Draw. But it is nevertheless a fact that, done in the above way, the operation is needlessly complicated. The following technique is therefore recommended as being simpler and more reliable. The suggestions in Chapter 6 will have prepared you for this method of composing the charts.
Instead of numbering the players in order and then fitting the players to the places on the draw sheet, number these places in order and then fit the places to the players. Specifically, mark out the Draw sheet to show the positions where players' names will be entered and number these places in order down the chart. Go down the list of players, selecting random numbers as you do so, and record each number in turn alongside the player's name. No further re-numbering is then necessary, because these same numbers will simultaneously determine both the Draw and the Process.
This is probably quite clear but, if not, an example with a small number of players (11, say) should suffice. In the Draw there will be 5 byes and 3 first round matches.
Suppose the random selection associates with the players A, ..., K the numbers 1, ..., 11 as follows.
You have previously numbered the positions on the draw sheet as shown on the opposite page, so you can now complete both lives.
If different players win the Draw final and the Process final, they play each other to decide who wins the competition, the loser of this game being the runner-up.
If the same player wins both the Draw and the Process, he or she wins the competition outright. The losing finalists in the Draw and the Process (if they are different individuals) play off to decide who is the runner-up.
Thus, with an entry of n players, the number of games in a D&P will normally be (2n - 1).
If you do find yourself getting pressed for time towards the end of the week, remember that, except in a so-called first-class event (as defined in the Regulations), you have the option of converting a two life event into a single life event either when both lives have reached the semi-final stage and fewer than 8 players are involved (Variation A) or the final stage when fewer than 4 players are involved (Variation B, which the Laws' Committee did not approve until 1984). This procedure is popularly known as a 'marriage'. It is described in Appendix 7b.
The purpose of a Process is to give a second life to each player. It would not be good management if this second life was against the same opponent as in the first. By using the tables which follow, the manager can avoid this. Indeed, two players who meet in the first round of either competition cannot meet in the other until the final. For our example, we will use the same Draw that was made in Chapter 6 for the Trumpton Croquet Club. For convenience, this is reproduced below.
Produce a sheet with the same number of spaces as for the Draw. In our example with 6 entries, we use an 8-entry sheet.
Choose the appropriate Process Table from those below. For our example, we need the '5 to 8 entries' table.
Allocate numbers in pairs as shown. When an allocated number is greater than the number of entries, the opponent has a bye. In our six entry example, entries meeting numbers 7 & 8, i.e. 3 and 4, will get a bye.
You will already have a list of names to which numbers have been allocated (when you made the Draw), so the process can now be completed as shown below.
To produce a table for 65 to 128 players, each player from the above table meets the player who is 64 higher. Thus 1 plays 65 and 33 plays 97, etc.
This may be introduced when both Draw and Process have reached the semi-final stage. The minimum possible number of differently named players is 4 (the players in each half are identical). The maximum number of differently named players possible is 8 (no players coincide).
If no names coincide, a marriage is not possible and play must continue as scheduled.
If 2 or more players do coincide, construct an 8 entry KO. Then, by reference to the chart below, give byes to all those whose name appears in both the Draw and the Process, in the positions shown. Then draw lots for the remaining places.
It is interesting that, when 1 or 3 players are in both halves, these rules, taken from the Law Book, give more byes in the top half than in the bottom, contradicting to the instructions about byes in the same Regulation! (See Chapter 6.)
This may be introduced when both Draw and Process have reached the final stage. The minimum possible number of differently named players is 2 (the players in each half are identical). The maximum number of differently named players possible is 4 (no players coincide).
If no names coincide, a marriage is not possible and play must continue as scheduled.
If the players in both halves coincide, i.e. there are only two names, they immediately play a one game final, in place of what would effectively been a best of three match.
If only one name coincides in both halves, that player plays the winner of the remaining two.
A single life knockout among 2n players takes n rounds of play and involves, of course, (2n-1) games, since each game eliminates a player, until only one is left. Successful players are rewarded by having more games, but half the competitors will have only one game.
The merits of a Swiss Tournament are:
Opponents in each round are chosen by matching players who have, as far as possible, a similar success record in the numbers of wins achieved.
If a Swiss competition among players were to be played for only n rounds it would be equivalent to a knockout as far as determining the winner is concerned. A true Swiss competition among the same number of players must, therefore, continue for more than n rounds, and (n + 2) is usually considered the ideal number [6 rounds with 16 players; 7 rounds with 32 and so on]. The format does not work well with small numbers: for example, 5 rounds with 8 players is so close to being an American block that it is never entirely satisfactory, especially since the desirable Swiss feature of matching similar players usually has to be abandoned in the last round, a player with, say, four wins having to play a player with only two wins.
The snags of a Swiss Competition are
It is a good idea to offer to cooperate with someone who is used to coping with Swiss tournaments before you try to fly solo in this format. (Indeed, once you have decided that you do want to embark on a managerial career, it is a very good idea anyway to approach some existing managers to ask whether you may look over their shoulders, so to speak; most managers will be happy to try to explain their thought processes to you - except at times when the pressure from players is too great!)
The diagram above shows the features that should be incorporated in a chart for recording the results of a Swiss competition. The number of main columns required is determined by the number of rounds you are going to play, the ancillary headings being repeated for each round. There must be as many rows as there are competitors, each pair of rows being separated by a thick line. The competitors' names are entered in the column for Round 1 in the order in which they are drawn, successive pairs of competitors playing as opponents. At the end of Round 1, the hoop score in each game is entered alongside the winner's name in the 'Result' column, and every player is credited with the appropriate number of wins (1 or 0) in the 'Wins after' column.
The subsequent procedure will first be illustrated with a simple case. Suppose that there are 16 players in a 6 round Swiss event. At the end of the first round, there will be 8 players with 1 win and 8 with 0 wins. For Round 2, the 8 players with 1 win are listed at the top of the chart in the same relative order as they appeared originally (this is most important at this stage), followed by the 8 with 0 wins, also in their original relative order. When Round 2 is finished, there will be 4 players with 2 wins, 8 with 1 win and 4 with 0 wins. The 4 with 2 wins are moved to the top of the chart for Round 3, followed by the 8 with 1 win and finally the 4 with 0 wins, the relative order from the previous round being maintained within each category. Continuing in this way, the pattern of wins at the end of Round 4 will be
4, 3, 3, 3, 3, 2, 2, 2, 2, 2, 2, 1, 1, 1, 1, 0.
(Mathematically alert managers will recognise the pattern of binomial coefficients 1 4 6 4 1.)
During these first 4 rounds, the competition has behaved like a knockout, and the assignment of opponents has been automatic as soon as the results of the previous round's games have become known.
It is during the final two rounds that the problems arise. The choice of opponents is no longer automatic and you will have to make difficult decisions about pairings quickly while everyone is breathing down your neck. The player with 4 wins now has to be assigned an opponent with 3 wins that he has not already met; similarly, the competitor with 0 wins has to play someone with 1 win fulfilling the same condition. Each of the remaining players with 3 wins has to be found an admissible opponent with either 3 or 2 wins and so on. This is the usual procedure: start at the top of the table and work down; then start at the bottom and work up - but never, never, begin announcing pairings to the assembled throng of anxious players until you have satisfied yourself that your proposed solution will not crash in the middle! This is where the pitfalls for unsuspecting managers lurk; you may have to make several adjustments before a satisfactory solution is found.
An example of a 16 person, 6 round Swiss is shown on the following page. 'D' is the winner. This competition is interesting because, even though there are 5 players who each have 4 wins (C, E, H, I, M), this is an occasion on which a definite runner-up can be identified. Try to find the solution for yourself, before consulting the answer at the end of the chapter.
In the example given, the number of players was a power of 2. This is not usually the case and the awkward problems may start arising in earlier rounds!
An important precondition for a successful Swiss is that the number of competitors should be even. It is, in principle, possible to have a fictitious competitor 'Bye' who loses to everyone and remains at the bottom of the table, but - understandably - the spurious wins his 'opponents' receive make players feel uncomfortable.
In fact, however, you should aim to achieve even more than this: try and ensure that the number of competitors is a multiple of 4. This makes the management considerably easier. Suppose, for example, that there are 14 players. Then the pattern of wins and the pairings at the start of Round 2 will be
(11) (11) (11) (10) (00) (00) (00).
You have to wait for the result of the 'middle' game in this round before you know whether you will have (20) or (11) and hence whether the pairings for Round 3 will be
(22) (22) (11) (11) (11) (00) (00)
(22) (21) (11) (11) (11) (10) (00).
But not only is the construction of the chart held up. If the second possibility arises you will not be able to make a 'standard' assignment for Round 3 or else the same players will meet in the middle again. The sort of transpositions that will become essential during the final 2 rounds are already having to be made in Round 3, adding to the inherent difficulties of the format.
So, if you have time only for
This is another occasion on which some reserve players are invaluable.
Whenever any tricky decisions are going to have to be made in the middle of a day's play, it is almost mandatory that you spend time the previous evening trying to anticipate where the problems will arise. It is a good idea (although one that involves a lot of extra work) to keep a tally of opponents as the competition proceeds. Use a large block chart to put marks in the squares corresponding to pairings that have taken place, or list the opponents in each round, as on the opposite page. Only a small part of this labour of love will actually be used - the trouble is you don't know which part that is going to be! If you have the patience to do it, you will be able to impress everybody with the calm and efficient way you will assign the pairings in the final round and all will marvel at your sangfroid.
Answer. The runner-up is E. There were 5 games in which two of C, E, H, I, M participated and the results of these were
E > I > M > H; E > H; I > C;
where 'X > Y' means 'X beat Y'. Had, say, H beaten E or C beaten I, there would not have been a definite runner-up.
An ingenious alternative procedure for resolving a tie in a Swiss competition has been proposed by Ian Vincent. He suggests seeing which of the players involved in the tie has had the hardest opposition, by adding the numbers of wins gained by the opponents each of the contenders has met. In our example, this procedure would make M the winner:
M(22) > E(21) = I(21) > C(19) > H(18).
He points out that a possible objection to this method is that it depends on the later games in the lower part of the event being taken seriously.
Yet another possibility would be to count only the total number of wins gained by the opponents whom the contenders have beaten. That solution would make I the winner:
I(14) > E(13) = M(13) > C(10) = H(10).
If you intend to use either of these methods, it should be announced at the start of the tournament.
This very flexible format is named after its inventor, Paul Hands, who introduced it at Cheltenham in 1987. He modestly and jocularly called it an 'Egyptian' system because he had spent a 'Phar-oah time' working on it, but we prefer to acknowledge its founder. It is a format that can be used for both handicap and level events and gives players total freedom to decide how many or how few games they wish to play before some final deadline is reached; only games started before that time are allowed to count. Careful thought is needed in setting out the conditions; after that the managerial involvement is minimal. You still have to compile an 'Order of Play' sheet for the start of each day but, for many competitions, the tedious task of keeping it up to date during the day may not be necessary - and since results are recorded by the players themselves on special cards, no results have to be transferred to other charts. Life would be bliss were it not for the need to sort out the results for the CA at the end of the tournament!
If you are planning to prepare cards for use with this competition, it is worth pointing out that the design currently in use can be slightly improved. Instead of putting the new rating at the conclusion of a game in the last column of the current line, it is preferable to put it in the first column on the left on the next line, ready for the game to which it will apply. The rating at the start of the competition will appear in the left column on the first line.
If used for a handicap event (which was the application Paul had in mind originally), it is usual to start all players at the same rating irrespective of their handicaps; the rating is increased each time a game is won and decreased each time a game is lost, but the amount of the change is dependent on the relative success the opponents are currently enjoying. (The amount by which the winner increases his rating is always equal to the amount by which the loser decreases his.) Note that it is the difference in the players' current ratings, not their handicaps, that determines the alteration. There is considerable scope for variation in the scales you use. If you haven't got a copy of someone else's chart that you have observed to be successful, you will find the following scale a reasonable choice when you first try the format.
With this scale, a starting rate of 50 should be satisfactory. The player with the largest final rating is the winner.
In the event of a tie, the 'who beat whom' principle may resolve it. It is helpful if you keep the possibility of a tie in mind during the last rounds and ensure that potential winners have played one another: in practice, the contenders themselves will usually have petitioned you to arrange this!
For a level event where players are divided into separate groups, in each of which there is not too large a range of handicaps, all players in a group may start at the same rating and the changes of rating will depend on the difference in the opponents' current ratings, just as in a handicap event. On the other hand, it is also possible for the competitors to be given individual ratings depending on their handicaps and the changes can then be defined either in terms of the difference in their current ratings or as a function of the difference in their actual handicaps. A definition in terms of the number of handicap steps between the players has been a recent successful innovation. You will certainly want to experiment as you gain experience to see what effects you can achieve: the method is still in its infancy. In level events, it is, of course, the player who has achieved the largest increase in rating who is the winner.
An inherent flaw in the scoring system described is, of course, that the amount of the credit or debit a player receives for playing a particular opponent will (usually) depend on the session in which that match takes place, which makes the format unsuitable for very serious events.
There is a further application of the Hands ladder that is worth noting. If you are managing a competition for which there is an important trophy, then neither a Swiss format nor a Hands ladder is entirely satisfactory in yielding an undisputed winner, unlike a straightforward knockout or a Draw & Process. You can, however, have the best of both worlds by having a KO or D&P to decide the trophy winner and running a Hands ladder as a consolation event with its own prize.
Players knocked out of the main event before, say, the semi-final stage (or even the final) enter this competition with all their wins and losses duplicated on their ladder cards and then play however many additional games you nominate in order to be eligible for winning that extra prize.
The carrying forward of wins from a KO competition in which the number of entrants was not a power of 2, however, will leave the players who had byes short of games. Roger Wood points out that, if one has sufficient lawn capacity for everyone to be playing at the same time, a solution (at least when the number of byes into the second round is even!) is to make up games for these players and put them on at the same time as the first round of the KO. The results of these games will count in the consolation event but not feature in the KO. If the KO is best of three, those with byes can get in 2 preliminary games for use in that competition.
One way of organising the waiting procedure is to have 4 suitably sized boxes to contain the ladder cards, labelled
'Ready to play', 'Playing', 'Resting', 'Finished',
among which the cards are moved when games start or finish. This works very well with a small competition but in large events the labour of finding particular players' cards makes this method too cumbersome. At the cost of some complexity, one can improve the 'Playing' store by having separate receptacles for each lawn being used. The main problem is with the cards of players 'Ready to play'. These may be quite numerous and there is no record of the order in which the cards arrive there.
We think therefore that it is always better and more convenient to have the cards on display separately on some sort of physical ladder and to use a waiting list. Design a list containing 3 columns for information on
'Lawn just vacated', 'Name', 'Current rating'.
Players must be encouraged not to fill this in when they come off the lawn and are heading for the bar, but only when they are actually ready to play their next game.
IT IS MOST IMPORTANT THAT THE MANAGER RETAINS CONTROL OF THE WAITING LIST and, if you are occupied yourself, you should depute some responsible person to take charge of it. The player at the head of the list must be given a game as soon as a suitable opponent is available, then the next in order and so on. If you give the competitors complete freedom to choose, you will find that pairs of players who happen to come off together will make a private arrangement to play one another and the players at the top of the list will be left waiting. We have been at many tournaments at which the correct procedure has not been followed and some players have justifiably felt aggrieved. Only in the late evening, when relatively few players want to play further games, would such a 'free for all' not be considered bad management.
When framing your conditions for the tournament, it will normally be desirable to stipulate that any second game between the same two players will not count in the competition.
One way of organising a doubles competition in which all players change their partner for every game is to run it like a progressive whist drive. The lawns are numbered cyclically, with one direction round the circuit being considered 'up' and the other 'down'. At the end of a round, the winning high bisquer moves up a lawn and the winning low bisquer moves down a lawn. The losing pair stay on the same lawn but in the next round split up, each partnering the player from the opposite group who has arrived at their lawn. This works well for club days and is simple to run, but the system described below has some advantages for an actual tournament.
Roger and Dab introduced this method of play for the 5-day tournament in Cheltenham in 1987: the name was given to it by later managers who used the system. Having had several requests for a description of the format, the procedure will be described here for the record. It is somewhat complicated, but, in this particular tournament, the players have only one game of doubles each day, so that managerial decisions can be taken overnight. The tournament has always been sociable rather than fiercely competitive and the overriding requirement is that each player must play each game with a different partner and should (as far as possible) play against different opponents.
The number of competitors must be a multiple of 4 and they are divided at the start into 2 equal groups, the low bisquers' and the 'high bisquers', in which groups they stay throughout. The competition is really a 'double Swiss' competition with a separate chart for each group.
The idea is that high bisquers who are being successful are partnered with low bisquers who are being (correspondingly) unsuccessful and vice versa. (The system could be adapted to cutthroat, competitive tournaments by partnering successful high bisquers with successful low bisquers, but that was not our purpose.)
On the following pages, the procedure will be illustrated up to the start of the fifth round in a competition with (the rather small number of) 16 players. (A larger number of players tends to produce fewer complications.)
The low bisquers are called A to H and the high bisquers S to Z in order of increasing handicap. The result 'AZ > BY' means that A playing with Z beats B playing with Y. The Swiss charts would be constructed to show the same details as the diagrams in Chapter 8. For clarity of explanation here, however, extraneous information has been suppressed and, for example, '3 E 4' simply means that E had 3 wins before that round and 4 wins after.
Although the existing tournament formats are adequate for most serious events, there are many opportunities for experimental modifications and combinations, from which the practice of management may ultimately benefit. This chapter looks at some possible variations in competition formats. Also, since few of us want to be serious all the time, there a few suggestions towards the end of the chapter that may liven up an informal weekend tournament, a club day, or an extra event during a week tournament.
There are various ways in which the standard formats described in previous chapters can be combined. Indeed, one such combination, Blocks and Play-off, was the subject of Chapter 5 and the possibility of a KO followed by a Hands ladder was discussed in Chapter 9. Another variation was used in the 1994 World Championship: here play in small blocks was followed by a large KO.
Before looking to see which combinations are reasonable to use and which are not, however, it is worth while standing back and considering the objectives of the various types of tournament.
The aim of any championship is to produce an undisputed winner and a KO is the simplest way of achieving this. It is a pressure tournament because you must keep winning to stay in. Its cousin, the Draw and Process, has only slightly less pressure: you have to continue winning in at least one of the lives to reach the final play-off for the crown.
The formats using additional Y and Z knockouts certainly provide extra play for all competitors and generate their own pressures, but they lead to lesser prizes. Only the winner of the X will feel a real champion.
For other tournaments, some prize or prizes are usually awarded to recognise the achievement of the players who have, in some sense, done 'best' during that competition. But most of the players will have entered so that they can have plenty of challenging play. They will certainly be hoping that they will play well and perhaps have success, but the enjoyment of the contest will be the main reward. It is to satisfy these demands that formats other than the KO have been developed. They do not normally require any automatic consolation event, but they themselves find application as a follow up to a KO.
Any Swiss competition is inaugurated with a fixed number of rounds assigned and has no merit unless it is played to a conclusion. Every player is involved from start to finish, and the Swiss is normally the complete tournament, without any subsequent competition. It is, however, quite possible to use a Swiss as a preliminary event to give all entrants a fixed number of games and for the best, say, 4 or 8 players to go forward to a KO for the prize(s). Conversely, a Swiss can certainly be used for a consolation competition following a KO, although it may then appear in its less formal incarnation as a Swizz, to be described later.
A Hands ladder (Egyptian) is already such a flexible format that, if it is the main competition, it is pointless to consider combining it with anything else afterwards. But it does, of course, provide an ideal framework for many subsidiary and extra events.
A single life KO can, therefore, be complemented by either a Swiss or Egyptian consolation event. The Draw & Process and XYZ formats, however, already include at least one additional life and so do not lend themselves to combination with another format.
Events that start with American blocks, however, need further consideration. At weekend tournaments, play is planned so that the separate blocks will be completed, but nothing else is usually offered. If, however, the blocks have been introduced to provide plenty of play during the preliminary stage of a contest that is required to produce an outright winner, some subsequent competition is required to achieve this. Either a Swiss or Egyptian continuation would be possible, but this is not an application for which either is well suited. A KO play-off is the ideal complement: it is exciting for spectators because of the pressure generated and all competitors will be satisfied because they had plenty of games earlier.
Many additional competitions will not be second stages of any major contest but just independent 'extra events'. The golden rule is simple: if there are people hanging around with no games assigned and you have lawns to spare, just invent an extra event for everyone to participate in - and appoint someone to take charge! An appropriate and popular alternative to a Hands ladder can be a one ball tournament (in some format).
One version of this interesting format was proposed by Nigel Aspinall in The Croquet Gazette 142 (December 1976), p 11, and responses, together with other variations suggested by Roger Bray, can be found in 143 (Spring 1977), p 6-8. Both articles have useful example charts.
A standard Y knockout only provides extra games for the first game losers from the main X competition. The new method offers an 'extended Y' that provides a second life for all losers in the X, up to and including the final. When both lives have been concluded, the winner of the second life challenges the winner of the first, but must beat that player twice to win the event. This ensures that no player will be eliminated from the competition until he or she has lost 2 games. In this respect, it resembles a Draw & Process (see Chapter 7), but the pairings in the second life are not determined in advance. As Roger Bray points out, there are various ways of arranging these, according to the relative importance the manager attaches to considerations such as delaying until as late a stage as possible any potential second encounter between 2 players who met in the X and being able to start games in the second life early in order to reduce possible blocking problems later. In the following descriptions, A means the first part of the event (equivalent to the X, or the Draw in a D&P) and B the second part (equivalent to the Y, or the Process in a D&P), while Rn means Round n.
An Automatic Two Life System, based on similar principles, is already an authorised format in New Zealand.
The British Open Championship is played as a best of three knockout. Competitors who lose either their first or second game in the Championship qualify for a Plate event (a bye or walk-over not counting as a win). This Association Plate competition is played as a Draw & Process. The problems of constructing the new Draw are similar to those met in compiling the first 2 rounds of the 'Double Elimination' above.
Consider first events with no byes, when the entry is a power of 2. For a 32 entry main event, there will be 24 players in the D&P: 16 will be first round losers and 8 will be second round losers. How should these 24 players be drawn? There are several ways.
The Round 2 losers from the championship are therefore split into top and bottom halves. The top half meet the bottom half of Round 1 losers and vice-versa (c.f. suggestion for the Z in Chapter 6).
Finally, the standard procedure described in Chapter 7 is used to produce the process, BUT each round is treated individually. If it were not, winners of one game from the main event would get put into the first round. The chart on the previous page shows a 24 entry Draw & Process derived from a 32 entry championship.
With byes, the picture gets more complex.
For method (1) without byes, the production of the Draw itself is straightforward. The main Draw is known, hence the number in the Draw for the consolation event is known (In the British Opens there are some additional entry and prohibition rules that complicate this.) However, when byes are involved, there are 'hypothetical' entries to consider. Suppose part of the main Draw looks like this.
We know that either Pugh or Barney will qualify and the loser of Dibble and Pugh/Barney will qualify. However, if Dibble wins, he has to play another round before we know if he qualifies or not. So the consolation Draw must contain entries which may or may not be used. The opponent of these entries gets a bye when they are not used.
For method (2), see 'Double Elimination' above.
For method (3), we have some problems! There are going to be players with zero wins in Round 2 of the Draw. Also, if you make Round 1 of the consolation directly from Round 1 of the main event, those who got byes will have them again, which is hardly fair. Altering the Draw will, however, mean that excessive delay can occur in starting Round 1. For practical purposes, therefore, method (3) will not work if there are byes (other than perhaps the odd one or two) in the main event.
With all consolation competitions for losers from the main event, managers are likely to be faced with time pressures. Often, it can be two or more days before the results of all matches are known. So, before you plan to use one of these formats, work out your 'worst case scenario'; that is, work out the longest delay that might occur. Having done this, see if it will be possible to finish the event, remembering that in some cases a marriage might be arranged - even if it is a shotgun affair!
The Swiss was used extensively as the format for a consolation event following a KO until the invention of the Egyptian. Players entering this type of competition are usually credited with all the wins and losses gained earlier during the main event. (The problem of players who have byes is discussed in 'A simultaneous Hands ladder' in Chapter 9.) So this Swiss is more like a parallel competition than a mere consolation event and its winner will gain as much kudos as the runner-up in the KO. Since, however, it was a subsidiary event, people often dropped out or were replaced by other players. This made it very difficult to keep to the rigid discipline demanded by the true Swiss. Hence this de facto format came to be called a Swizz (or Swiz).
The Swizz sticks to the basic tenets of the Swiss. The number of rounds is fixed and, at the top, some effort is made to ensure that players meet opponents with the same number of wins. In the middle and at the lower end, however, a considerable degree of flexibility exists, especially if someone has been waiting a long time and wants a game. Rounds may be played out of synchronisation and extra players may be inserted. Thus the winner feels that he or she has won with some merit, while the rest will have had a fair number of games, mostly against players whose current performance matches their own.
Another way of making a Swiss competition more flexible is to drop the constraint that each player must play the same number of games. The winner is the player with either the highest percentage of wins, or the highest number of net wins (that is, number of wins minus number of losses), according to what you decree at the start. This method has many of the attractive features of a Hands ladder (see Chapter 9).
If you choose this variation, a card should be kept for each player, showing for each match the lawn, the opponent, the result and the cumulative number of games played and games won. At the end of each day's play, you can produce a list of players with their current ratings, so that people can keep track of how everyone is doing. (A useful check against clerical errors is that the grand total of the games played should be twice that of the games won.)
This type of event was run at Hunstanton for a number of years. Players were arranged in American blocks of 6, according to handicap. After 2 days, competitors were rearranged into 2 Swiss competitions, Red and Blue. Red contained the top players from each block and Blue the bottom players. After 2 rounds, all 2 game winners from Blue went into Red and all 2 game losers from Red went into Blue.
By suitably shortening the games, if necessary, it is easy to complete in a single day the play in a Small Block (SB) containing either 3 or 4 players. Either SB requires 3 sessions of play (because, with a block of 3, one player is always sitting out).
If you have to manage, say, an informal club 2 day tournament, an SB format can be particularly convenient. To use the method to be described, however, you will require an entry of exactly 9 if you use blocks of 3 (giving a total of 4 games for everyone) or exactly 16 with blocks of 4 (6 games). On day 2, new SB are created by putting into the same block the players who were in positions 1, 2, 3,  in their respective blocks after the previous day's play.
A 3 day SB tournament will require an entry of 27 with blocks of 3 (6 games) or 64 with blocks of 4 (9 games) and so you must make sure that your lawn capacity is adequate for these numbers. On day 2, the 9 [or 16] block winners are put randomly into 3 [or 4] new SB, as are the players in positions 2, 3, . On the final day, further SB are created on similar principles. Note that this structure automatically ensures that each competitor plays every game against a different opponent; and it shares with a Swiss tournament the merit of pairing players who are having similar success rates.
An alternative procedure is to change the format after day 1 or day 2 into a KO, Swiss or larger blocks. After day 1 of a 16 entry blocks-of-4 tournament, for example, you have 4 firsts, 4 seconds, 4 thirds and 4 fourths to juggle with as you will!
In American Rules Croquet, there are severe time limits and few games finish with a peg out. The following method is used to produce an overall winner when there are two or more blocks. The top 5 players from all the blocks are listed in order from 1 to 5 (irrespective of their positions in their blocks) according to (1) their total number of wins, and, when there are ties in these, then (2) their net point score. If there is still a tie for places, a coin is spun. The 5th and 4th players then play each other; the winner plays the 3rd listed; the winner of that game plays the 2nd; and finally the winner of that match plays the 1st listed. The winner of the final match is the tournament winner. The number of listed players can vary according to the time available.
For a CA tournament, it is difficult to see any advantage in this procedure compared with a standard play-off among block winners and runners-up. The progressive play-off described requires 4 sessions of play to complete; whereas a standard one needs only 3 sessions with 3 or 4 blocks and 2 sessions with 2. But perhaps someone might think it worth trying, as a change, at one of their club days!
For a club competition that runs throughout the season, an alternative to a Hands ladder is a challenge ladder, a much older concept but one not suitable for tournaments.
Its rules are very simple. Initially all entrants are placed randomly, one below the other, on some sort of physical ladder. A magnetic board is ideal, but garden labels pushed into individual slots, or even name cards fixed with pins can be used. Players are then (usually) allowed to challenge anyone not more than 2 places above them, or perhaps 3 places with a large ladder. A newcomer enters the ladder by challenging someone in the lowest 2 [or 3] places. A challenge can only be made upwards and, it must be accepted within a specified time or an automatic win is given. Special rules may be needed to cover, for instance, holidays or periods when tournaments are being held.
If the challenge is unsuccessful, the players retain their positions; if it succeeds, the winner takes the loser's place on the ladder. But the manager must specify in the competition conditions whether they just change places (leaving any intervening name plate(s) unmoved), or whether the loser now takes the position immediately below that of the victor, with the necessary adjustment to any player(s) in between. The winner is the person at the top of the ladder on some prescribed date at the end of the season.
The biggest problem with a challenge ladder is persuading people to continue playing on it. It needs a manager who chases players who have done nothing for a long time. A rule that is worth considering is the removal or demotion of competitors who have not played at all for a certain time.
The rainbow is an interesting alternative to a challenge ladder. It was devised by Richard and Brian Wainman and has been in use during the winter at Cheltenham for several years. A board is constructed that is suitable for holding the players' names (e.g. a magnetic or cork board). On this a large rainbow is painted or made from cloth. All players start on the outside colour, the objective being to reach the inside colour. The usual rule is that players are only allowed to play someone in their own colour. If you win you go in one colour, if you lose you go out one (when this is possible). The big advantage to this is that there will usually be more players available to play one another. Because of this, you don't normally need penalties or time constraints on play. Also, anyone can join in at any time on the outside of the rainbow. Management of a rainbow is thus minimal.
The formats for these can be as various as your imagination can devise. One ball games are fun for all players, yet the tactics are not as trivial as newcomers suppose. They provide the beginner with useful practice ready for the day when an opponent pegs out one ball of each side - and for the day when the high bisquer has the courage to do the same!
The only point worth making here is that conventional bisques, however modified, do not provide very satisfactory compensation for different levels of croquet ability. A simple method that is easy to operate is to give less skilled players a starting advantage of a certain number of hoops. If you have a full range of handicaps, you should find the chart below a reasonable choice for your first venture; it can be modified as you gain experience.
The organisation of a tournament where considerable distances have to be travelled presents additional complications for the manager that do not appear in single location events. This chapter concentrates on these. Single meeting national events, e.g. North vs South, are not considered here, only events that take all season or several seasons to complete and involve many matches. Some of this chapter may also be of help to clubs running season-long tournaments of their own.
The most important thing with entries is to fix an 'enter by' date and stick to it. For a club tournament some flexibility after the Draw is done may be possible, but for a national tournament there are too many constraints to allow this.
It is also a very good idea to insist on payment with entry. It is often difficult to get an entry fee from a club or individual who has been knocked out in an early round.
The format will depend on a number of things. Some of these will be very similar to those for club events, while others are peculiar to national tournaments.
Usually you will have a fair idea of the entry, based on previous years. In this case a format will already exist and you will only need to decide whether to continue with it or not.
When you have a new event, it is advisable to do a telephone survey to get at least an idea of the entry. Having ascertained the entry size, use the information given in this and earlier chapters to see which format will best suit.
This is a very tricky subject. On a recent survey to find out the support for a new national team tournament, one question was: "How far would you be prepared to travel?"
The replies varied from 50 to 250 miles (80 to 400 km), showing that there is a wide variation in people's perception of 'a long way'. It is, however, quite certain that frequent trips of 200 miles or more are not going to be acceptable.
Nevertheless, clubs or individuals planning to play in national tournaments should not do so if they are going to object to playing away from their club when required to do so. Small entry team events, e.g. club 'advanced play' teams, will usually be run as KOs. This means that the Draw could well bring together the most distant teams in Round 1. Entrants should be made aware of this and be prepared to travel, not scratch when the Draw is made.
So, when planning your tournament, consider the worst travelling scenario and ask yourself if the participants would accept it. If you think that they would not and you still want to run the event, then consider subdividing your area.
For this, you divide the country/state into regions and allow regional winners to go forward to national/state finals. When defining the regions, (which are likely to remain substantially unchanged from year to year), you need to strike a balance between having too many entrants in a region, which means that teams may have long distances to travel during the early rounds, and having too few, which means that the same teams may often be drawn to play one another in the first round. The precise way that you implement the division will depend upon your entry and format, but here are a few tried and tested methods.
As we have seen, this can be quite complex, so allow yourself plenty of time with no distractions. It is a good idea to have someone to help you, writing down names and spotting errors. I bought a cheap children's lotto game to help draw out the numbers - it even has a board to put the numbers on!
Speed is usually of the essence in doing the Draw and getting it circulated. This is because the 'enter by' date will be close to the start of the season and your first round due date will also be early on. When you send out the Draw, include any extra instructions (see Appendix 12a). Also, you should include a list of contact names and telephone numbers so that entrants can arrange matches.
This is what causes more grey hairs to the manager than anything else! Except in a few fortunate areas of the world, the croquet season is limited. In all major croquet nations, it is crowded with events. So it is always a problem fitting league/team matches into an already crowded calendar. There are several methods but none of them work perfectly. If anyone can think of a foolproof method, please tell the authors and we will tell the world!
Method 1. Give the competitors carte blanche to arrange dates. This is what the competitors would like. Any manager who tries this will only do so once because he or she will have to sort out the mess.
Method 2. The manager fixes exact dates throughout the year. This is what the manager would like. It is, however, very inflexible. There will always be dates which neither team can make. Then the manager has to bend the rules or scratch both teams. Nevertheless, a league with lots of matches will need a format something like this in order to get all games played.
Method 3. The manager gives a choice of, say, three dates, and teams must agree on a preferred date with the manager arbitrating. This is better than methods 1 or 2 but can involve the manager in an awful amount of work and hassle. Suitable for very small KOs.
Method 4. For larger KOs, each round has a 'due date' by which that round must be completed. Teams have a free choice up to that date. This is a compromise between methods 1 & 2 and, like all compromises, contains problems from both. Teams will complain that the due date is too soon and "couldn't they have just one more week?", while captains will fail to get in touch until two weeks before the due date and then be unable to agree on a date.
If, despite your best efforts, two teams cannot agree, you will need to arbitrate. It will be better if you have given teams a written method for resolving disputes. Even if it doesn't stop them involving you, it should stop a lot of arguments about your final decision. Do not make a decision without hearing both sides. Try as far as possible to keep them talking to each other. If you have to make a decision, stick to it (but don't do as Don did once - make a decision without the tournament conditions in front of him and have to make an embarrassing reversal when he got home).
Holidays and (for KOs) which round it is, are the two major factors in your choice. It might seem at first that the round has no bearing - after all, all the games are separate. This is often not so. Some clubs share lawns while others do not have sufficient lawn space of their own and have to use another club. Also, some players play in several events, sometimes for different clubs. Add all these factors together, plus the fact that, despite your best efforts, you will occasionally have to allow a match to be played late, and you will see that early rounds should be allowed as much time as possible.
In many countries, the holiday season coincides with the middle of the croquet season, so as much time as possible should also be allowed during this period.
So, what we often have is a conflict. You must decide on the importance of each item and allocate any extra time accordingly. Note that, human nature being what it is, you must judge the effectiveness of your choice of dates not by maximum praise but by minimum moans!
This is a difficult thing to monitor because, apart from a natural desire to tell someone about it, or to find out who the next opponents are, there is not much incentive to ring the manager. All that you can do is chide those you know were tardy and hope they do better next time. Do give clear reporting instructions and make sure that there is a back-up if you are not available.
The author of this chapter (DLG) is currently the manager of a number of English national tournaments. The method used for these is a mixture of methods 2 & 4, having due dates for the intermediate rounds and a fixed date for the finals. Appendix 12a shows the letter sent out in 1994 to teams.
Stay uninvolved, stay calm, stay your hand. It is not easy to obey these instructions, but you will get into deep waters if you do not. This is especially true if you know or like/dislike the protagonists. Do hear all sides first and, if the matter is really serious, get things in writing.
Often just the act of getting all the information straight will solve things. At the end, you are the manager and you must make the decision. Unless you are overruled by a higher authority (and, in the case of serious decisions, make it clear if there is any appeal available), or new evidence makes your decision blatantly wrong, stay with the decision. I have had to make a number of decisions which have not been very nice, but those concerned accepted that I tried to act as fairly as I could.
Letter sent to team captains. Comments on the letter are shown in [italics and surrounded by curly brackets].
In Chapter 6, 'Knockouts and XYZ', byes were discussed. When there were two byes, you could either split them top and bottom, or they could both go at the bottom. For club tournaments and certainly for CA fixture tournaments, this second option is preferred as it stops players, once they have arrived, having to wait to play. In a national team tournament with rounds played on different dates and at different venues, it is better to split the byes. In this way, those teams who have to play in Round 1 and meet a bye in Round 2 will know, without reference to the manager, whom they play. As well as saving time on telephone calls, (yes, the result has to be sent in, but often this is posted or left on an answering machine), this method can speed up play in the early rounds.
An additional option which is available is to spread byes evenly throughout the Draw. There is not normally any special advantage to this in club events, but the rules for the Longman cup say that the first round should be regionalised. If all the byes were spread out top and bottom, it would mean that the regions in the middle would never get byes. The way to spread out the byes is successively to split them and the Draw, then, use the normal rules.
Example. An event with 12 entries has 4 byes. These byes would normally go 2 at the top and 2 at the bottom of a nominal 16 entry Draw (one that would have eight Round 1 pairings). This give byes for pairings 1, 2, 7 & 8.
By splitting the Draw and byes we have (top 8) 2 byes and 6 entries and (bottom 8) 2 byes and 6 entries. We now have 3 choices.
How far you go with distribution depends on your regionalisation. In the case of the Longman Cup, entries are regionalised to about 8 regions, so this is as far as the distribution goes.
The regions chosen were South West, South, London South, London North, East, Midlands, North East & North West. As always, the size of the chosen regions was a compromise between geographical area (distance to travel) and number of entrants in an area (danger of meeting the same opponents in the first round each year). Also there were the usual teams such as Edinburgh or Plymouth who are a long way from any other team.
Best laid plans Dept. The first year that Newport (Essex, an eastern club) entered, I put them in as Newport (Wales, in the west). Ah well!
In this chapter, we look at some of the things that can go wrong and what might be done about them. We wrote to a number of experienced managers, setting them problems. We asked them what they thought would be their decisions and when they would make them. Here are the questions and their replies. The authors are grateful to all of them for the interest they showed and also for the comments that some of them were able to make about earlier chapters.
Before you read what the experts say, have a go yourself and see if you agree with them. Remember, there is rarely a 'right' answer, so that two people may give differing but equally acceptable replies.
Ian Vincent, Nottingham, England.
P. S. Not related to the problems, but you may not be aware of the format I have used for the big handicap at the Nottingham week for the last few years, which seems to work well but which I've not come across elsewhere. I run it as an Egyptian, with eight people having the best scores at the end of the fourth day being drawn into a knockout to decide the winner and runner-up (the others continue in the Egyptian, as a consolation event). Compared with a more traditional knockout with an Egyptian consolation event, this gives great flexibility in the first four days, avoids people being knocked out too early, but gives a definite outcome and some finals for the last day.
Incidentally, my own preferred format for an Egyptian in a handicap, or level play field with not too large a disparity of standard, is to just decide it on percentage wins, rather than having a more complicated points system.
Richard Hilditch, Harrow, England
D. Freeman, Adelaide, Australia
Roger Wood, Bexhill, England
Christine & Colin Irwin, Bowdon, England
Here are the answers to your questions. As I am sure you knew when you devised them, in general there is insufficient data given for a clear cut answer. There are often peripheral circumstances which can affect lawn availability, there may be constraints on availability of lunches and so on.
This is a composite effort from Chris and me. (We discussed the questions a couple of times and I wrote out the answers, though somewhat expanded). In general we both take the view that as far as possible one should manage for the players' benefit, and should have respect and regard for their views, and be prepared to explain why unpopular decisions have been made. One reason why Chris is so popular as a manager with the top players is because she stands up for them with the organisers, she tries to run the best possible event for them and to ensure that all they have to do is concentrate on playing. As a result she can make potentially unpopular decisions and the players support her, because they trust her to do her best for them. No players, no event. I think sometimes some managers forget this. Mind you, players are not angels and some can be a real pain for the manager but some managers leave themselves open by not laying down ground rules - in part of the preserves and duties are morning coffee, lunchtime catering, afternoon tea, resetting hoops, arranging dinner this evening, finding a replacement for this egg shaped ball, knowing where everyone is to the nearest few yards at all times so that players don't have to make themselves available, the manager will just know where they are, etc. Lay out the ground rules before the event!
Before answering any of the questions we need to think about why everyone is at this venue for the week or weekend, as this can have a considerable influence on the manager's decision as to what to do. The decision made in a particular circumstance at a minor weekend event, or in the Egyptian or Swiss of an event might be very different from the decision made in the same circumstances in the Open Championship or a regional final of the All England Handicap for example. The main reason we play is for enjoyment and the manager should always bear this in mind even though other factors may ultimately override this consideration.
Peter Dorke, Ludlow, England.
Peter adopts a light-hearted approach to his replies, but there is much that is of value here -Ed
I am not sure that I regard myself as a sufficiently experienced manager to pronounce upon the organisation of tournaments but since you were kind enough to include me amongst such worthies, I have tried to make some comment on your 13 points.
In general, I would urge managers to be as flexible as possible but to stick to their original format whatever the objections of the players. Much tact may well be needed in dealing with malcontents and it is well to pre-empt possible strife, particularly over the vexed question of 'waiting for lawns' by planning your tournament in immense detail and revealing that detail to the mob from the very first, so that everyone understands both the problems and the methods you have employed to overcome them. The management that makes up the whole tournament as it goes along is bad management, which is why I personally favour the block system against either the K.O. or the Swiss or Egyptian, for in the block all games and all players are of equal importance. Nobody is left waiting because 'There's a game in the Main Event which has to go on first.' Managers must remember that croquet players are egotists and the Main Event is of no importance once they are knocked out of it. While I like the Egyptian for many reasons, I dislike the fact that it makes it easy for a player to drop out when he's had enough or it's too cold or there's a good programme on television or there's a good bridge game in the clubhouse.
The authors thank Brian Macmillan, former secretary of the CA, for the check-list for the Opens that forms the basis of the first section and Richard Hilditch, manager of the Opens for several years, for his article on playing statistics.
Although this chapter looks specifically at the Open Championships run by the English Croquet Association, many of the points made will be applicable to any major tournament. Certain aspects will be more important in some countries than others (e.g. travelling and accommodation in Australia).
A small working party should be formed by an appointed director which is responsible for formulating a plan to cover all aspects of the tournament. This will delegate staff for their various duties and ensure that the time scale is carried out
Note. Some aspects (like the venue) may already have been determined.
An important aspect of the championship is publicity. This includes not only writing reports and ringing results to the papers, but meeting press and VIPs. It also includes the provision of any daily information for the spectators; see section 4. The manager should be kept as free as possible from visitors and allowed to get on with the job of managing.
If the event is being sponsored, then a company or individual has taken the time to be interested in croquet. It is vital that their interest is not destroyed, or next year you won't have that sponsor. Appoint someone to liaise with the sponsor, making sure that they know what they are getting for their money (and that this is the same as what they expect for it). When they visit, the officer must be there to meet them, and be with them the whole time that they are there.
Sponsors may well provide clothing with their logo. There are two things to watch out for here.
4. Ground Manager
If not felt too onerous, this job could be split between the ROT and the publicity officers. The officer is to be responsible for score boards and sponsors' banners, for ensuring name plates are correct, for setting up prize presentation with secretary and for ensuring that balls and gauges are available for manager.
5. Billeting Officer
If one is needed, to be responsible for arranging accommodation and notifying players.
6. Entertainments Officer
If one is needed, to be responsible for arranging programme of entertainments, notifying players and officials, arranging sale of tickets with secretary.
7. Commercial Manager
Responsible for the selling of equipment, literature and programmes.
8. Working Party Secretary/Chairman
To have overall responsibility for ensuring that all designated officers have carried out their duties correctly and take necessary action if they have not.
This short report shows some statistical information which I collected during the running of the Open Championships at the Hurlingham Club. It is intended to help future managers in their planning.
The tournament had 48 entries in the singles, 22 pairs in the doubles and 31 entries in the plate (of 35 eligible players). The plate was drawn on the evening of the Tuesday (with 8 blank spaces, for further potential entrants) and was played Draw and Process, with double banking on lawns 5-10 on Wednesday and Thursday.
For the event, the following numbers of lawns were planned to be available on the 8 days (Saturday to Saturday inclusive):
6, 6, 9.6, 10, 10, 6, 6, 4;
with the understanding that 0.5 of a lawn would be available for members who booked in advance. Assuming a playing time of 10 am - 8 pm, this gives a total of 574 lawn hours.
In the event, the members used 15 lawn hours (5 sessions) making roughly 0.2 lawns per day. Bad weather lost another 14 lawn hours (over 2 days). Thus the total usability was 545 lawn hours.
In addition, double banking was planned on 2 days, adding 70 lawn hours and making a total of 615 lawn hours.
Adding up the total game times (as presented in section 3) gave 483 hours and hence a usage ratio of 78% (equivalent to a 6 pm end on each lawn).
Each match played was roughly timed, with no allowance being made for any meal breaks. The average match and game times are presented for each event, split by cricket pitch and front lawn and split into the first rounds and the rest.
In each category, the number of matches is given, with the average time per match and the average time per game in brackets. Times are given in hours and minutes. As an example, the first entry for doubles,
2 game matches in Rounds 1 + 2: 8 @ 5.24 (2.42),
means that there were 8 matches averaging 5 hours 24 minutes each (and hence half that per game)
All matches were played on lawns 1 - 6. 33% of the matches went to 3 games.
These are split into 3 categories, cricket pitch and the rest (lawns 1-6) by round number. Cricket pitch matches were all Rounds 1 and 2 except for one 3rd round match. A subtotal is given for the non-cricket pitch matches.
38% of the matches went to 3 games.
31 entries gave 61 games, less 1 walk-over awarded by the manager. The table is split as for singles.
The statistics basically confirm what everyone knows.
The following end of play times were recorded:
8.27, 7.57, 9.14, 9.47, 9.18, 8.20, 9.40 and 8.37.
These times have a mean of 8.55 pm.
In my planning for this event, I allowed for about 1.4 doubles matches per lawn per day, about 1.7 singles matches per lawn per day and 4 plate matches per lawn per day. These estimates proved to be pretty accurate.
The main planning problem is allowing for doubles/singles blocking. It is naive to make the potential blockers play early, since they will eventually be held up by their opponents who will be ready later! A more orderly end to the week can be achieved by playing even more doubles earlier in the week.
The authors thank Brian Storey, Christine Irwin and Chris Hudson for this 1994 World Championship report and information.
The 5th WORLD CROQUET CHAMPIONSHIP
The organising committee consisted of:
Director, Tournament Manager, Tournament Ground Manager, Press Officer, Garden Croquet Organiser, Ground Facilities Officer. Tournament Manager, Social Events Organiser, Press Liaison Officer.
The following officials were appointed: Tournament Manager, Tournament Referee and Assistant Championship Referee.
The Carden Park complex, set within 1,200 acres of a country estate, comprised a luxury hotel, with adjoining restaurant, leisure facilities and an eighteen hole championship golf course. It did not have any of the normal facilities associated with a croquet club.
All players were given discounts by the hotel. Practice facilities were available from 1pm on the day before the competition started and earlier with local croquet clubs.
Recommendation. Competitors should be provided with a list of calendar events in the host country for up to one month in advance of the Championship.
Players were asked to indicate their chosen method of transport to the nearest Air or Rail terminal where they would be collected and conveyed to Carden Park.
Towards the end of the event, foreign players and travelling partners were asked to indicate their chosen departure points.
Transportation to terminals was determined in the main by the number of foreign players still resident at the hotel complex. Some had chosen to depart the venue and tournament when knocked out of the event
Recommendation. All players, officials and travelling partners should be asked to stick to their notified arrangements where possible and also upon arrival notify the appointed transport manager of their departure date, time and terminal. The name of the designated Transport Manager should be circulated in the players' information packs.
The official programme showed players' profiles, block distribution and the Draw conditions. Details of the history of each competing player was requested from them together with an up to date photograph. Not all players obliged and archive photographs had to be used.
For the future, we took a large number of photographs of croquet 'action' plus portraits of players and officials. These can at least be used next year if nothing else is provided.
Recommendation. In future, programmes should have regard to the nationality of the host nation and also include the basic laws of croquet. Advertisements of different social functions, to be held during the Championship, should be incorporated within the programme for spectators and others.
It would also be useful to include details of all officials in attendance at the Tournament together with their designation and responsibilities. Items such as lost and found property, meal provision and other ancillary information could be considered for inclusion.
Players, tournament officials, other officials and stewards were given colour-coded badges with their designation and name upon them and asked to keep them on. Players were all sent conditions of entry which included dress requirements.
A problem arose regarding the wearing of black track suit trousers by some players. The need for a dress code is vital if sponsorship of the event is to be forthcoming, particularly from major sports goods manufacturers.
The Press and Ground Manager's Office consisted of one workstation space which was totally inadequate for its purpose. A portable office or touring caravan would have been useful.
The telephone facility provided was actually one used by Carden Park Administrative staff which created further confusion and a little local difficulty of placating the member of staff who had her phone 'hijacked' in her absence by another colleague.
Fax facilities were provided by the Hotel.
Computer facilities were provided by the Ground Manager who also managed an electronic display sign which was hired for the occasion.
The Carden Park Croquet lawns are situated upon one large flat area. Negotiations with them ensured that they provided 18 flag poles for the display of the flag of the nation of each competing player, plus the World Croquet Federation (WCF), English Croquet Association and the U.K. Union flag.
Four marquees were hired for the provision of shelter for spectators and two smaller shelters were erected for players. One marquee was erected for the use of the Tournament Manager and Referee. The low level of sponsorship of the event precluded the hire of personnel to erect and disassemble the marquees and this was done by the organising committee assisted by other willing volunteers.
At the entrance to Carden Park two large notices were displayed indicating the playing of the event. This was supplemented by another on the front of the Chester Town Hall.
Direction signs were posted upon nearby roads advertising the event by the Royal Automobile Club.
Each player was sent an information pack containing details of the competition and local places of interest. Upon arrival at the venue players were given another pack detailing further local information, including an event programme, their identification badge and free event badge or pin.
Recommendation. Tournament officials and other officials should be provided with the same packages prior to the start of the Championship.
Selection of players is a compromise between choosing the world's best players - who will normally only come from a few countries and allowing all countries to compete (this itself can be a problem if people disagree as to the definition of a country).
40 players were drawn into eight blocks of five with, as far as possible, a spread of abilities in each block, see section 12. The top four from each block were then entered in a best of 3 knockout stage. The semi-final and final were played best of 5.
It is important that sponsors and other dignitaries, invited to attend the final, be made aware of the uncertainty of the timing of the award ceremony.
It was noticeable that there was a lack of games to keep spectators attentive. Because of this, an 'ad hoc' consolation event was organised for those players who did not qualify from their respective block and those knocked out of the first round stage.
Recommendation. The WCF should consider organising the Championship to allow all players continued competitive interest in the Championship.
The 8 times 5 block format gave everyone a guaranteed 4 games and allowed an entry of 40. The previous year a 4 times 8 blocks were used. This restricted the entries to 32 but allowed 7 games in the block. Opinions from players were mixed on the preferred format.
The player knocked out, i.e. the one placed 5th, was decided by the 'who beats whom' formula as used in the English CA Law book.
Any ties for 1st to 4th places were resolved by lot.
Depending on their block and their position in it, players were placed into the 32 entry KO. (The principles described in Chapter 6, 'Knockouts and XYZ' were used to ensure that, for example, block winners and runners-up did not meet early; also winners from one block met 4th place players from another - Ed.)
Recommendation. While the above format is quite fair, it can result in top players from the same country meeting in the first round. The manager should have the authority to alter the Draw to prevent this.
Considerable discussion took place within the organising committee of the best way of showing results or interim stages to players and spectators alike. We were very conscious that ideally we should show who was playing, with what coloured balls and on which lawn. With sufficient sponsorship, lawn boards showing this information would have been made, but this was denied us.
An alternative solution was evolved. An electronic moving message board was hired. Originally sited to show the information across the lawns, it quickly became apparent it was less effective than when tested.
Although the characters were legible for a considerable distance from straight in front of it, they were not if viewed from any significant angle, so the board was moved to allow seated spectators to view the information.
In the blocks it was impossible to keep the information up to date because the computer ran both the message board and the printed results service. As the latter was deemed more important this meant the moving message board was often ignored although it did advertise the earlier matches of the day and other ancillary matters. The board we hired was therefore only a qualified success. It did come into its own in the later rounds although it is known that some spectators were unaware of it at all.
A wooden master score board 9 feet high by 8 feet wide was made. The Ground Manager tried to update this within ten minutes of matches finishing. In the main this was easily achieved. Space on the board allowed the advertising of the daily playing schedule to players and spectators and ancillary matters. The updated scores were laminated to provide a professional result and protection from inclement weather.
Everything used at the Championship had to be provided either by the English C.A., the sponsors or individual members of the organising team.
Immediately before the event the Championship Balls were tested for shape and size.
Recommendation. For a major Championship of this type, bounce testing is considered essential and delivery of the balls should be made in sufficient time to ensure that this is carried out.
An early policy decision taken with Carden Park was to mow all the lawns each morning. This required the removal of all the lawn settings and ball stops.
Originally the placement of the hoops were identified by use of a coring device. However it became clear to the referees that this actually increased the likelihood of movement of the hoops during the Championship. Consequently the hoop holes were driven by a pronging device. This was particularly useful on the friable turf surface of the lawns and led to greater rigidity of the hoops during the event. It was decided that after each match, and, where requested by players, after each game in a best of 'n' series, the hoops be checked for rigidity and clearance by the Tournament Referees. This procedure was provided to best meet the exacting requirements of such a Championship.
On the eve of the Championship, the Lord Mayor of Chester hosted a civic reception. Each player had one day free in the first three days.
Arranged prior to the event was a river trip on the River Dee which was eventually enjoyed by over 60 players, friends and officials plus a late afternoon visit to Peckforton Castle, the ancestral home of Lord Tollemache who did much to promote the game in the U.K. earlier in the century.
At the end of the Championship a dinner was held, hosted by the WCF. Many VIPs attended.
Each evening a press release was prepared and circulated, together with the day's results, by the Press Officer. Circulation was by Fax and by phone.
Local T.V. stations covered the event.
Local and National radio coverage was good.
Regular phone calls were received from various U.K. based news agencies asking for interviews with players.
Attempts had been made to interest U.K. based and International Teletext operators and Cable News Network (CNN), but without success.
Recommendation. A dedicated fax facility, with photocopier and two phones, one with a broadcasted number for incoming calls and one for outgoing calls, plus two computer terminals and one printer be installed in the Office accommodation mentioned before.
In addition the designated Press Officer should make contact with players in the Championship to ensure that all means of media coverage in their local area are managed in a comprehensive and professional manner.
An International event such as this requires local persons with linguistic ability.
The future use of Teletext or Internet Services should be encouraged. Early contact should be made by the organisers of the Championship to attempt to ensure that these world-wide facilities are available for use.
Clubs were asked to provide volunteer stewards for each day. They policed the area, ensuring spectator discipline, dealt with sponsors' advertising, collected scores from the manager and a myriad of other tasks. The use of stewards for the event was invaluable.
Sponsors' boards were mounted along the back of the playing area with the result that they were available to be read by spectators and also catch the eye of television and other media.
Recommendation. In future, such advertising boards, should be secured to a wooden 'A-type' frame which would allow them to be more easily managed.
Scaffolding and seats provided by Carden Park, fronted the two main lawns in use throughout the Championship, but they were uncovered. Luckily rain only fell on one half day. Toilet facilities were provided by easy access to the main building of the complex. Refreshments were not easily available. Carden Park lost a great opportunity to feed and water a somewhat captive audience.
The English C.A. provided a shop selling mallets, equipment, clothing, books and mementos. The shop was staffed by Stewards and others. Other private manufacturers were encouraged to sell their wares in the shop with a commission on sales going to the C.A.
The taking of photographs provided income for the event. This not only included taking photographs of players and officials but also of the grounds, spectators and others. Periodicals also commissioned the official photographer to take their photos for eventual publication later in the year.
The provision of a shop for this purpose is considered essential. Reflecting the 'tented village' aspect of other major sporting occasions it became somewhat of a focal point for spectators and players alike. As the majority of materials sold are of Anglo-Saxon origin, regard must be made to the nationality of the host nation and the requirement of English speaking personnel to be on hand to assist, if necessary.
Recommendation. Law books, for example, should be available in a variety of different languages reflecting the current membership of the WCF and be available for purchase.
National periodical publications should be approached to enlist in sponsorship of the event by commissioning photograph sales.
During the event one player sustained a back injury which eventually required physiotherapy. Unfortunately, local doctors and qualified physiotherapists were unavailable, which led to delay in treatment.
Recommendation. The Championship organisers should ensure that suitably qualified medical practitioners of differing types are available for emergency call during the tournament.
The organisers have drawn up the following schedule of minimum standards which they consider should apply to all future WCF events so that nations bidding to host an event will know what is required of them. Note, they are minimum standards and should, where possible, be exceeded.
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