History of the competition

Author’s Note

The first parts of this article, through the 1979 Series, are adapted from The History of Croquet by D.M.C. Prichard.


Test Match Croquet began in 1925, when the Victorian Croquet Association sent a team of four players to England to contest an international croquet match. The Australian self-made millionaire Sir MacPherson Robertson (see The man behind the Shield) sponsored the event and presented the trophy, to be known as The MacRobertson Shield. The 1925 Series was something of a mismatch, the visiting team not uniformly representative of Australia’s strongest players, and England won easily.

After the war

World War II put croquet and the Shield into abeyance, and it was not until 1950/1 that the competition resumed in a two-way contest, with an English team travelling to New Zealand. England’s team was a mixed bunch, and New Zealand won the Shield for the first time, two test matches to one. In 1956 New Zealand travelled to England, where the host team won all three tests.

The modern era

In the 1979 test matches in New Zealand, the standard of play at the “MacRob” reached a new high, exemplified by New Zealand player Paul Skinley’s sextuple peel in the final test match. Also including legendary players Bob Jackson, John Prince and Joe Hogan, the home team dominated the Series to finally break Great Britain’s streak.

America joins in

The United States was admitted to the competition at the 1993 Series in Australia. While struggling against the top two teams, and failing to win any tests, Team USA scored respectably against the host team. Great Britain & Ireland won all three of their preliminary nine-match tests, and then won the deciding test against New Zealand 17-3.

The 2000 Series

Great Britain retained the Shield at Christchurch in 2000, extending their current streak to four consecutive MacRobertson Shield wins. But the win came only after a dramatic final showdown against New Zealand.