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MacRobertson Shield 2017

Joseph Hogan

Gisborne, New Zealand

Joseph Hogan Portrait

Read a recent (15 April 2017) article about Joe titled A Comeback for the Ages in the Gisborne Herald.

Joe came to croquet along with a group of teenagers in the Gisborne area in the 1970s.  The group was tutored and encouraged in the sport by Mr and Mrs R A Clarke, parents of Richard and Judith, who all played at the Barry Club.  The entire group became good players but for personal reasons they did not pursue the sport in adulthood – that is with the major exception of Joe Hogan.  Joe, Judith and Richard Clarke reached the dizzy standards asked for being a member of the MacRobertson Shield team.  Judith was deemed too young to play at the age of 14 in 1974 and her interest in the sport waned.  Richard played for New Zealand in 1982 but has since also been lost to the game.

Joe became a builder then was destined for the priesthood, training towards that vocation while playing croquet at national and international level.  He was ordained but found the monastic life was not for him and he chose to leave the priesthood and return to carpentry.  In 1991-92 Joe met and married Robyn MacKenzie and they have three children – Sam, Mary and Matthew.  Joe developed his building skills into a qualified teaching career, spending 12 years at a college and the Technical Institute in Gisborne  In 2015 he has returned to building.

During the late 1970s and 1980s Joe was a major force to be reckoned with on the lawn and vied with Bob Jackson, in 1986 and 1988 and then with Robert Fulford in 1990 to win his three Open Singles titles.  On the other side of the world, he won the British Open Singles, beating Bob Jackson for the title in 1986 and Mark Avery in 1989, the year he also won the British Open doubles partnering Bob Jackson.  In February 1990, he held the World Croquet Federation Championships singles, the British and New Zealand open singles, and the British and New Zealand open doubles titles (both of the latter with Bob Jackson).  At the same time he held the NZ Men’s and Mixed Doubles titles.  He partnered Bob to win 9 NZ Doubles Championships between 1979 and 1990 and also won the title with Aaron Westerby in 1991.

Joe has chosen to concentrate on his family in recent years but he does come forward at times with little practice but much success.  When the WCF Association Croquet World Championships were held in New Zealand for the first time, in Wellington in 2002, Joe entered the qualification tournament and was successful in gaining entry to the Championship.  He then qualified from his block, and defeated the World number 3 in straight games in the knock-out before losing in the last 16 to Ronan McInerney of Ireland.  Joe qualified for consideration for the MacRobertson Shield team in 2010.  He won the Heenan Plate in 2013 on the occasion of the centenary of the Open Championships in Christchurch, the only time since he began competing in 1978 that he had qualified to play in the Plate.

Joe wishes to acknowledge with gratitude the many people who have influenced his game over the years.  Two in particular stand out for him: first, the ever-consistent Bob Jackson, who he had to either get past or partner to achieve title successes.  Secondly, in terms of the attitude and tactics to be used in Test Matches, Roger Murfitt of Christchurch.  Roger and Joe successfully held the number 3 test doubles combination for NZ in the 1979, ’82, ’86 and the beginning of the 1990 MacRobertson Test series.  Joe considers Roger has one of the best tactical minds for Test croquet.

Joe has an interesting marionette style of walking around the lawns to develop his concentration, but his croquet stokes are a great fluid contrast.  He is a precision player – a skill which has not deserted him despite years of non-competitive play.

[from Croquet New Zealand]