Alain Giraud has competed in five croquet world championships competing in Asia, Europe and North America – and his passion for the sport is rooted in Huddersfield.

Having grown up in the town, Alain and his family set up the Huddersfield Croquet Club over 30 years ago. Alain first started playing the sport competitively at the age of 11. He is now 51 and has competed all over the world in individual events and also represented England and Great Britain. 

The 18th World Championship of Association Croquet has just been held at Hurlingham where Alain made the quarter-finals, the furthest he’s reached in the competition. He has previously won the Secondary Plate tournament, though, in 2020 for those players knocked out in the early stages of the main competition. 

Alain said: “I started playing with a croquet set that my great grandmother owned. By the time I got to 11 I was playing competitively.

“Me, my mum and brother were looking for a club to play at but instead of joining one we just decided to start our own and that has gone on to grow into what Huddersfield Croquet Club is today with around 20 to 40 regular players.

“My involvement in the club is only fleeting now because I moved away. I gave up croquet whilst at university and in fact only got into it again a decade ago. However I do love playing. It’s a fantastic sport.” 

Alain Giraud: Photo by: Andrew Moss

Alain loves to be competitive and said: “When things are going well and the game is going how you want it to, they call it ‘flow’ and I like getting into a flow.

“The sport is very competitive and I like that. The main countries that play are the UK, United States, New Zealand, Australia and South Africa. In recent times, though, Spain have become a big international player and have had many more people take it up. 

“Croquet is an amateur sport and so will always struggle against the bigger sports but it’s good so many people play it. 

“I always enjoy representing my country in the sport and will look forward to hopefully doing that in the future.”