Robert Fulford (croquet player)

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Robert Fulford (born 1969) is a leading English croquet player who has dominated the sport since the turn of the 1990s.

Life and career[edit]

Born in Colchester, England, he started to play croquet at his local school at the age of 15. Fulford has a light attitude towards the game, often travelling from cheap hotel or homes of local croquet players to the next because he only makes about £8000 a year from the sport. One tournament yielded him a lawnmower.

He is an alumnus of the University of Durham, where amongst some of his friends he had the nickname 'fluffy'

He supplements his sporting career by working for a stone merchants in Thurrock in Essex. Robert has become a CPA [chartered public accountant] and it is not clear what effect, if any, this will have upon his sporting pursuits.

Robert also coaches croquet, particularly in Australia and the Chattooga Club in North Carolina. Robert has made croquet videos with Australian croquet expert Kevin Brereton in which Robert teaches both basic and advanced break tactics. He has won the world championship 5 times:[1]

  • 1990 at Hurlingham Club, England
  • 1992 in Newport, USA
  • 1994 at Carden Park, Cheshire, England
  • 1997 at Moorabinda Croquet Club, Bunbury, Western Australia
  • 2002 in Wellington, New Zealand

Fulford has also won the President’s Cup eleven times (1989, 1998, 1999, 2001, 2002, 2006, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012), the Open Championship eleven times (1991, 1992, 1996, 1998, 2003, 2004, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2015 and 2015) and the Men's Championship four times (1990, 1998, 2006, 2011).[2]

Career statistics[edit]

Major tournament performance timeline[edit]

Tournament 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000
World Championship 4R* W SF W W F W
Open Championship 2R 1R 4R* F W W QF SF F W SF W F SF
Men's Championship A QF SF W A A A A A A SF W A A
Presidents' Cup 5= 6 W 2 4= 2= 5= A A A 3= W W A
Win-Loss 1-1 2-2 5-2 13-1 8-1 10-0 2-1 8-1 9-2 6-0 12-2 10-0 4-1 3-1


Tournament 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 SR W–L Win %
World Championship F* W F SF 3R 3R 3R A 5 / 14 45 - 9 83.3
Open Championship F* A W W 2R W W W SF QF F F QF W W A F 11 / 29 106 - 18 85.5
Men's Championship F A F 2R A W A A A A W A A A A A A 4 / 10 32 - 6 84.2
Presidents' Cup W W 3= 2 5= W 4= W W W W W 6= 2 A 2 2= 11 / 26
Win-Loss 8-2 5-0 8-1 5-1 5-2 9-0 5-0 8-1 4-2 2-1 8-1 4-2 2-2 4-0 4-0 0-0 3-1 20 / 54 183-33 84.7

The 1989 and 2001 World and Open Championships were combined events.

Major Championship Finals: 39 (25 titles, 14 runners-up)[edit]

Outcome Year Championship Opponent Score
Runner-up 1990 NZ Championship Joe Hogan -26tp -17tp
Winner 1990 Men's Championship Stephen Mulliner +26tp +7tp -6tp +14
Runner-up 1990 Open Championship Stephen Mulliner -23 -24tp
Winner 1990 World Championship Mark Saurin +26 +24tp
Winner 1991 Open Championship Chris Clarke +14otp +26tp -8 +26tp
Winner 1992 World Championship John Walters -5tp +4tp +12tp
Winner 1992 Open Championship Stephen Mulliner +26tp -14otp +14 -12tpo +26tp
Winner 1993 NZ Championship Bob Jackson +21tp +12
Winner 1994 Australian Championship Rohan Carter +24tp +3
Winner 1994 World Championship Chris Clarke -12tpo +12tp +18tp +13
Runner-up 1995 NZ Championship Bob Jackson -26 -26
Runner-up 1995 World Championship Chris Clarke -18tp +12tpo -26tp +26tp -26
Runner-up 1995 Open Championship Reg Bamford -24tp -26tp +26tp +26tp -26tp
Winner 1996 Open Championship Aaron Westerby +24tp -26tp +26tp -13tpo +26tp
Winner 1997 World Championship Stephen Mulliner +17 -3tpo +9otp +11otp
Winner 1990 Men's Championship Phil Cordingley +4 +14tp +24
Winner 1998 Open Championship Jacques Fournier +26tp +22tp +25tp +26tp
Runner-up 1999 Open Championship Reg Bamford -26tp +26tp +26tp -26tp -26tp
Winner 2000 NZ Championship Chris Clarke +26tp +26tp
Runner-up 2001 Men's Championship Reg Bamford -3 +8tp -8 +20tp -17qnp
Runner-up 2001 World Championship Reg Bamford +16tp -17sxp +2 -26sxp -26qp
Winner 2002 World Championship Toby Garrison +26tp +26tp -17tp +15tp
Runner-up 2003 Men's Championship Pete Trimmer -16tp -18tp -26tp
Winner 2003 Open Championship Reg Bamford +26tp +12 +18tp
Winner 2004 Open Championship Pete Trimmer +26tp -26tp -18tp +16 +26tp
Winner 2005 NZ Championship Ronan McInerney +26tp +26
Runner-up 2005 World Championship Reg Bamford -17tp -26sxp -17sxp
Winner 2006 NZ Championship Paul Skinley +26sxp +25sxp +26tp
Winner 2006 Men's Championship Jack Wicks +26tp +26tp +26tp
Winner 2006 Open Championship Reg Bamford -2qp +25sxp +26qnp -8sxp +1
Winner 2007 Open Championship Reg Bamford +26tp +25sxp -16tp +26sxp
Runner-up 2008 NZ Championship Rutger Beijderwellen -26qp -17tp +26 -26tp
Winner 2008 Open Championship Samir Patel +16qp +17 +26tp
Winner 2011 Men's Championship Paddy Chapman -25tp +20tp +26tp +4
Runner-up 2011 Open Championship Reg Bamford +18tp -26sxp -17 -26sxp
Runner-up 2012 Open Championship Reg Bamford -25sxp +14tp -24sxp -24sxp
Winner 2014 Open Championship Reg Bamford +16 +5qp +18qp
Winner 2015 Open Championship Paddy Chapman +20 +7
Runner-up 2017 Open Championship Reg Bamford +25sxp, +3, -20sxp, -26sxp, -19sxp

[2]

Style[edit]

Fulford's playing style includes the ability to play a range of shots. His tactic of peeling an opponent's ball through hoop 1 makes a triple peel as hard as possible for the opponent. His sextuple peels are also more frequent than those of any other player. Robert Fulford uses an Irish grip [rather like a golf grip] and employs "casting" [swinging mallet over the ball] about three times before each shot. He has strong wrists which makes the Irish grip work for him without it causing the R.S.I. that the grip is sometimes blamed for. In fact, Robert admits that he has quite a wrist-dominated technique which contradicts most coaching manuals that advise minimal wrist involvement.

World Championship Results[edit]

Fulford has played in the following World Championships:[1]

  • 1989: Round 4: (lost to John Prince +26tp, -17, -26tp)
  • 1990: won (beat Mark Saurin +26, +24tp)
  • 1991: S/F (lost to John Walters -14otp, -26tp)
  • 1992: won (beat John Walters -5tp, +4tp, +12tp)
  • 1994: won (beat Chris Clarke -12tpo, +12tp, +18tp, +13)
  • 1995: runner-up (lost to Chris Clarke -18tp, +12tpo, -26tp, +26tp, -26)
  • 1997: won (beat Stephen Mulliner +17, -3tpo, +9otp, +11otp)
  • 2001: runner-up (lost to Reg Bamford +16tp, -17sxp, +3, -26sxp, -26qp)
  • 2002: won (beat Toby Garrison +26tp, +26tp, -17tp, +15tp)
  • 2005: runner-up (lost to Reg Bamford -17tp, -26sxp, -17sxp)
  • 2008: S/F (lost to Chris Clarke +26tp, +26tp, -11tpo, -17, -26)
  • 2009: Round 3: (lost to Ben Rothman -14, -15tp, -17)
  • 2012: Round 3: (lost to Marcus Evans +26tp, -20tp, +26sxp, -3tp, -25qnp)
  • 2013: Round 3: (lost to Andrew Johnston +17tp, +12tp, -26, -15, -15)

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b WCF World Championship
  2. ^ a b "Croquet Records". Retrieved 8 August 2015.

External links[edit]

  • [1] The Croquet Records site