About the author

David AppletonFor 27 years David Appleton was a medical statistician at Newcastle University and wrote or helped write books with titles like Designing a Clinical Trial and Cell Proliferation in the Gastrointestinal Tract. Sometimes he remembered he had trained as a mathematician and wrote papers such as The use of statistical convolutions to evaluate integrals. Such catchy titles helped him accumulate various letters – MA, DSc (Edin), MSc, PhD (Ncle), FSS, CStat, MBCS, Hon MRCR, FRCPath – after his name, although he has never been sure in which order they should appear. However, in his early 50s he decided that was quite enough, and in any case he was beginning to think that the papers which had given him most pleasure were about croquet: a paper about tournament formats had appeared in The Statistician in 1995 and a survey of croquet injuries in the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine two years later. So he changed course. David had discovered croquet in 1985 and had greatly enjoyed creating The Lighter Side of Serious Croquet (ISBN 0-9520246-1-6). He proceeded to publish Poems to Enjoy (ISBN 0-9520246-2-4) – under a pseudonym but the poems were well enough received that he is now prepared to come clean – and followed that up with Poems by James and John W Paxton, Engine-keepers at Newbattle Colliery (ISBN 0-9520246-4-0), the result of undertaking another degree – MLitt (Ncle) – in an attempt to balance those scientific ones. He has since added DipMus (Open) but thinks he has now completed his collection.


Scottish croquet history seemed a logical next topic as David had played the game for 25 years and had been chairman, treasurer and coaching officer of the SCA. He also represented his country many times, being competent enough to perform triple peels in the Home Internationals and the World Championship, as well as for the SCA against the CA, the CA of Ireland and the Welsh CA. All told he played at 72 venues in 14 countries. He won the Scottish Masters and the Chairman’s Rosebowl but only succeeded in being the runner-up (twice) in the Scottish Open Championship. He is resigned to the fact that he won’t win it now. During a visit to Australia in the early 1990s David launched a disobedient boomerang with so much force that he gave himself a hiatus hernia; this has caused increasing breathlessness and he can no longer play a full day's croquet.