Tom Armstrong

World Croquet Federation

Hall of Fame

Tom Armstrong

Inducted: 2006

Tom Armstrong has worked tirelessly since 1965 to promote croquet in Australia, particularly in South Australia.

After viewing the success of the England Mac Robertson Shield side in Australia in 1969, Tom decided to introduce croquet to students at several Adelaide secondary schools.  A regular weekly inter-school competition began involving up to 100 teenagers.  From this competition, ten new players joined croquet clubs with several continuing on to win various tournaments.

Tom was responsible for players such as Neil Spooner, Barrie Chambers, Mark Prater, Bill Smith and many other state and national representatives joining the ranks of croquet players.

For many years Tom and his wife Jean would travel to Queensland in the winter months to coach and assist with the recruiting of players for Maryborough and Bundaberg.

Tom has given his time freely to anyone who took the slightest interest in the sport of croquet. The folklore at Brighton in Adelaide\'s southern suburbs says that nobody who stopped to peer over the fence at the local club ever escaped the smooth-talking Tom Armstrong.  As far as the number of players introduced to croquet by Tom, the number is well into the thousands.  Many were short term players, but many more were to become long-term members at various clubs.

Ashley Heenan

World Croquet Federation

Hall of Fame

Ashley Heenan OBE

Born: 1925

Died: 2004

Inducted: 2006

Ashley Heenan was the first President of the World Croquet Federation and a leading figure in New Zealand croquet for over 40 years.

Born in 1925, Ashley was schooled in Wellington and attended Victoria University, prior to two years’ study at the Royal College of Music in London.  He had joined the New Zealand Broadcasting Service at the age of 17 and returned there in 1951 working with touring overseas artists for the NZBS Concert Section.  He worked as Music Assistant to two conductors of the National Orchestra, later becoming the first Musical Director of the Orchestral Trainees, a job he retained for over 20 years.  This group was renamed Schola Musica - and many an experienced orchestral player emerged from its ranks.

During a busy administrative life, Ashley Heenan was able to sustain his own urge to compose.  Much of his early output was film music, frequently with an indigenous flavour.  Most would agree that his musical score for Baxter’s Jack Winter’s Dream was his most significant.  But it was part of a large list of compositions.

Ashley lived almost his entire life in Wellington, but his influence radiated widely.  He conducted the NZ National Youth Orchestra on a tour of Britain and the Far East; for more than a decade he headed the NZ Composers’ Foundation; he was New Zealand’s first Writer-Director of the Australasian Performing Rights Association; and, shortly before his death, he saw the publication of God Defend New Zealand: a history of the national anthem. This acclaimed and highly readable work was, perhaps surprisingly, the first substantial account of the history of the country’s national anthem to appear in the 125 years since its composition.

His services to music were recognised with honours from the NZ Phonographic Industry, as well as the Citation for Outstanding Services from the NZ Composers’ Association and the granting of an OBE in 1983 from Her Majesty the Queen.

Given the above, it is hardly a surprise that his other interests included the collection of first editions of Tchaikovsky and Bernard Shaw.  However, apart from his croquet, he had even wider interests, namely as a qualified pilot and a rugby referee.

Ashley Heenan’s croquet career lasted over 44 years. He won his first title - the New Zealand National Tournament - in 1945.  As a young boy, he attracted wide publicity to croquet at a time when youth in the sport was quite unique.  His victory in the NZ Opens of 1946 was featured with a full front-page photo in the Wellington Sports Post.

He won the NZ Open Championship on four further occasions, in 1948, 1958, 1959 and 1964, a record only excelled by Arthur Ross and not exceeded until 1977 by his own pupil John Prince.  In 1958, he had the rare distinction of winning in all four events of the NZ Championships for which he was eligible.  In 1959, he was again finalist in all four events, and won three.

His lifelong relationship with Arthur Ross, who was also his father-in-law, had a significant influence on the direction followed by New Zealand croquet between 1945 and 1964.  Between them, they engineered the tactics that won the 1950 MacRobertson Shield for New Zealand.

However, after that his international career was somewhat restricted by the demands of his musical career and he was unavailable for the tour of England in 1956.  His standing as a player was such that Maurice Reckitt recorded in the Gazette his opinion that his unavailability was the difference between NZ winning or losing the MacRobertson Shield.

During this period, Ashley published his own highly successful magazine, The Croquet World, and was invited by the NZCC to be editor of the flagging New Zealand Croquet Gazette, then on the verge of demise.  He was editor from 1957 to 1961, when he became NZ Referee, a position he also filled with distinction.

In 1957, he was appointed to a constitutional revision committee of the NZCC that made several innovative recommendations that were consequently adopted.  In 1960, as chairman of the NZ Laws Re-Draft Committee, he spent a week in Sydney with Ian Baillieu, working on the finalised draft of the proposed new laws.  Baillieu later acknowledged the part Ashley played in resolving the seemingly insuperable differences between the CA and NZCC to produce the laws as we know them today.

In 1963, he was appointed Captain of the NZ MacRobertson team, but was forced to withdraw when awarded a UNESCO Travelling Fellowship.  On returning from his tour, he played in the 1964 NZ Open Championships, winning the Open and, with his protege John Prince, the Doubles Championship.

The demands of music saw him withdraw from the national scene and, until 1979, his croquet was limited to local club and association events.  Following the death of Arthur Ross, and with some persuasive encouragement from John Prince, he once again began competing in national tournaments.

In 1979, he embarked on what virtually became a second career in croquet.  In that year, he was elected editor of the NZ Gazette for a second five-year term.  In 1984, he became a North Island Vice-President and, in 1985, he was appointed to the role of NZCC President.  He retired from this office before completing his term, feeling that the incoming President should have a year in office before the 1990 MacRobertson Tour and that the new constitution should come into effect with a fresh hand on the helm.

During his period of office, he saw reform of handicapping, laws and the constitution of the NZCC.  He established relations with the Assembly of Sport, the Hilary Commission and initiated new ventures into international sport.  His interests in International Croquet contributed to closer relations with Australia, England and the USA.

In 1986, he managed the NZ MacRobertson visit to England, where the team accorded him the honour of playing in the last test.  It was on this visit that the proposed World Croquet Federation project was initiated.  In July 1989, he was unanimously elected the first President of the newly-formed WCF, the nomination appropriately being put forward by his life-long and close friend, John Solomon.

The measure of his wide interest in the game can in part be found in the list of trophies he has presented the NZCC through the years.  He also designed the NZ Champion Pocket and Medal.  During the 1950s and 60s he spent much time touring the country, often in company with Arthur Ross, and, later, the young players John Prince and Tony Stephens in order to play exhibition games and give demonstrations and coaching lessons.

As with music, he brought to New Zealand and to world croquet a sense of purpose that it sorely needed.


Ashley Heenan’s playing record
 
New Zealand Championships
Open Championship:        (5) 1946, 1948, 1958, 1959, 1964
Men’s Championship        (4) 1946, 1951, 1958, 1959

Rhys Thomas

World Croquet Federation

Hall of Fame

Rhys Thomas

Inducted: 2014

Rhys Thomas has worked diligently in numerous aspects of croquet for many years, particularly concentrating his efforts towards establishing and developing the USCA’s role in the international croquet community.

Rhys first discovered American six wicket croquet in Aspen, Colorado, in the summer of 1981.  Seven years later, ensconced in Hollywood, he discovered the manicured lawns of the Beverly Hills Croquet Club in Roxbury Park.  Learning quickly under the tutelage of National Seniors champion, C.B. Smith, Rhys rose to championship caliber, launching a long career playing, managing and promoting croquet events, both nationally and internationally.

Rhys was a member of two USCA Solomon Trophy teams and represented the United States at five World Championships, both WCF and WCC.  He was also the coach and manager of the 1996 USA MacRobertson Shield Team.  That year, he relinquished his USA team eligibility to accept the chairmanship of the USCA’s selection committee, a position he held until 2003, when he was appointed chair of the USCA’s International Committee.

Between 1996 and 2011, Rhys worked with others to improve USA’s performance in international croquet competition.  This included the creation of the Selection Eights, inspired by Jerry Stark and dedicated to W. Ellery McClatchy.  Throughout that period of time, Rhys also acted as the United States representative to the World Croquet Federation, serving on the WCF Management Committee from 2003 to 2011.  In 2005, he was instrumental in establishing the WCF Hall of Fame.

Among his most important international achievements, Rhys lobbied tirelessly on behalf of the USCA for equal representation and improved player allocations at all WCF World Championships.  This resulted in a deepening of the USA player pool and directly contributed to the first USA test match victories in the MacRobertson Shield.  The culmination of these efforts came in 2009 when a USA team defeated Great Britain to win the Solomon Trophy for the first time in croquet history.  This was a home victory at Mission Hills in California but USA repeated this feat in 2011 in England.

Domestically, Rhys has managed four USCA National Championships, in American and Association rules.  In 1997, he organized and managed the Solomon Trophy at Sherwood Country Club, where he served as Director of Croquet for 17 years.  In 2003, Rhys helped organize the first MacRobertson Shield held on United States soil and served as the Tournament Referee.  He is also a USCA National Class I Referee.

Notably, Rhys’ volunteer management accomplishments were achieved while he played at the highest level of championship croquet and worked full time as a professional writer.  He is the author of one published non-fiction book, three unpublished novels, numerous newspaper articles, several screenplays, and hundreds of hours of documentary films for which he has garnered a handful of awards, including an Emmy nomination.

Creina Dawson

World Croquet Federation

Hall of Fame

Creina Dawson

Inducted: 2014

Creina Dawson has been one of Australia’s most prominent players, administrators and general contributors over the last forty years.

As a croquet player, Creina has achieved outstanding results at local, State, National and International level.  She has won the Association Croquet Women’s Singles in Australia, England and New Zealand and won the Australian National Golf Croquet Handicap Singles in 2008. 

Creina has represented Australia in the Trans-Tasman Test Series against New Zealand on six occasions.  Five were in the Women’s Trans-Tasman Tests held from 1988 to 1997 and the sixth was in 2004.

At State level, she is a Player Life Member of the South Australian Croquet Association by virtue of being an Association Croquet State Team member on at least ten occasions.  Since the inception of the Golf Croquet Interstate Shield, Creina has represented South Australia on five occasions.

As an administrator, Creina served as the ACA Events Manager and Vice-President before becoming President of the Australian Croquet Association from 2003 to 2005.  She also took on the role of ACA Secretary for part of 2005 to 2006.  Creina has served on numerous committees over the years, including National Handicapping Committee and has organized and participated in the Jean Armstrong Shield, which is a competition attracting twelve women players from all states and New Zealand, since its inception in 1998.

At club level, Creina has always been a willing mentor for new club players and makes herself available at all times for Brighton Club’s inter-club local competition teams in both Association and Golf Croquet.  Her croquet career is an excellent example of all-round achievement and a major contribution to the games of croquet.

 

David Maugham

World Croquet Federation

Hall of Fame

David Maugham

Born: 1969

Inducted: 2014

profile photo

David learnt the game as a teenager from his father, Ian, and made his tournament debut in 1987.  He improved steadily over the next two years and then kickstarted his playing career by winning the 1989 Chairman’s Salver and the 1990 President’s Cup, giving an early indication of his prowess in the double round robin format and gaining a place in the top ranks of English croquet that he has held ever since.

David was a founder member of the GB Under-21 squad which also included Robert Fulford and Chris Clarke.  These three went on to form the foundation of successful GB MacRobertson Shield teams for over 20 years.  A particular highlight of David’s MacRobertson career was his defeat of Toby Garrison in the decisive 21st match in the 11-10 victory over New Zealand in 2000.

He has since gone on to win the President’s Cup a further four times, most recently in 2016, the Men’s Championship four times, including three victories from 2015 to 2017, and the Open Championship in 2005.  Internationally, he achieved three victories in the Sonoma-Cutrer World Championship.  However, his most impressive individual tally is in the four English Regional Championships.  His record of twelve Eastern, ten Northern, six Western and four Southern Championships since 1992 seems unlikely to be rivalled.

Administratively David is perhaps most visible as a regular manager of the Open Championship but also served for many years as the Chairman of the CA Association Croquet Selection Committee and more recently the on the CA Tournament Committee.

However, it is as a national team representative that David is peerless.  With 23 appearances, many as captain, he has played in more than twice as many Home Internationals matches for England than anyone else.  David also has eight Solomon Trophy appearances for GB to add to his record twelve appearances in the Maugham Salver.  In 2014, he made his seventh appearance in the MacRobertson Shield in which he played his 100th match, 71 of them victorious.  He made his eighth appearance in 2017 which is the second-highest ever achieved (shared with Robert Fulford and Stephen Mulliner and only behind John Prince with nine).  He is second on the all-time victory list only to Robert Fulford.  It is this dedication to team events which has underpinned British and English success for more than twenty years that deserves particular recognition.

Updated August 2017