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Croquet Fact Sheet

The Annapolis Cup Croquet Match

Stats

With the 2017 victory, St. John’s has won the Annapolis Cup 28 out of 35 matches; the Midshipmen have taken the trophy seven times. (See Victories below.)

History

According to legend, the rivalry began in 1982 when the commandant of the U.S. Naval Academy was speaking with St. John’s freshman Kevin Heyburn and remarked that the Midshipmen could beat the Johnnies in any sport. “What about croquet?” was the Johnnies retort. He later proposed the match to a group of Midshipmen in the interest of fostering better relations between the schools.

The Trophy

The Annapolis Cup, which has been housed everywhere from the Little Campus (now Galway Bay) to a storage closet to the front window of 49 West in Annapolis, is now kept by the victors.

Attire

The Midshipmen wear crisp, U.S. Croquet Association croquet whites, along with a team tie, varying from year to year. The Johnnie uniform changes every year, revealed only minutes before each match. Past years have included camouflage, tuxedoes, Viking clothing, kilts, and even imitation USNA Crackerjacks. Several Plebes in dress mess uniforms serve the players refreshments.

United States Croquet Association Collegiate National Championships: Both the St. John’s and the Naval Academy teams compete in the United States Croquet Association Collegiate National Championships. 

Traditions

In preparation for the match, both St. John’s and the Naval Academy play the Ginger Cove Croquet Team, from the Ginger Cove retirement community. They have met a few weeks prior to the St. John’s match each year since 1992. The day before the match, the Johnnies have lunch with the Midshipmen at the Academy mess hall, where the Imperial Wicket for the Johnnies formally challenges the Midshipmen to a match. The match opens with music. The St. John’s Freshman Chorus sings and the Naval Academy Trident Brass band plays. The Johnnies emerge in their surprise uniforms. At 1 p.m., the ceremonial first ball is struck.

Etiquette

Courtesy and good sportsmanship are expected of all players. No players may throw a mallet or hit a ball in protest or anger. No trash talk is allowed.

How the game is played: The game played at the annual match is nine-wicket croquet. A full-size croquet court is a rectangle 100 feet long and 50 feet wide. Nine metal wickets and two wooden stakes are arranged in a double diamond pattern. The object of the game is to advance the balls through the course by hitting them with a mallet, scoring a point for each wicket and stake made in the correct order and direction. The winner is the first side to score 14 wicket points and 2 stake points for each of its balls. Teams can also win bonus points by scoring a wicket or stake or by hitting another ball. For the Annapolis Cup, each side has 10 players divided into two-person teams.

Victories

2017 - Johnnies

2016 - Johnnies

2015 - Johnnies

2014 - Midshipmen

2013 - Midshipmen

2012 - Johnnies

2011 - Johnnies

2010 - Johnnies

2009 - Johnnies

2008 - Johnnies

2007 - Johnnies

2006 - Johnnies

2005 - Midshipmen

2004 - Johnnies

2003 - Johnnies

2002 - Johnnies

2001 - Midshipmen

2000 - Johnnies

1999 - Johnnies

1998 - Johnnies

1997 - Johnnies

1996 - Johnnies

1995 - Johnnies

1994 - Johnnies

1993 - Johnnies

1992 - Johnnies

1991 - Midshipmen

1990 - Johnnies

1989 - Johnnies

1988 - Johnnies

1987 - Midshipmen

1986 - Johnnies

1985 - Midshipmen

1984 - Johnnies

1983 - Johnnies