Six Hawke's Bay players will compete in the New Zealand Open Croquet Championships Centenary tournament, which starts on Saturday and continues until the following Thursday in Christchurch.
Te Mata's Tony Stephens, Hastings' John Prince, Marewa's Steve Jones, and the Gisborne trio of Mike Crashley, Paul Stuart and Joe Hogan will be among a record entry of 76 in the open singles and 36 doubles pairings. Players from Australia, England, the US and Canada will give the event an international flavour.
Top form from Kiwi players could see them gain MacRobertson Shield test series selection later in the season. This shield has been contested since 1925 but was not played between 1940-50 because of the war.
It was originally contested between New Zealand, Australia and Great Britain but in 1993 the triangular test became a quadrangular event with the inclusion of the US. Played every four years, the series will next be played in New Zealand during December and January, with the first test in in Christchurch, the second in Hawke's Bay and the third in Mount Maunganui.
Stephens, at the age of 16, won four New Zealand titles - the open singles, open doubles, men's championship singles and handicap singles.
Prince has won the New Zealand Open singles title on eight occasions and is also an experienced MacRobertson Shield player.
Jones has won the New Zealand Open and won the Sonoma-Cutrer (US) world championship.