As a player he has been a member of the South Australian state team and in 1995 was ranked as number 2 on the official ACA National Ranking List, with a handicap of 2 (or -4 overseas). His main achievement, he says, was to defeat world champion Robert Fulford in the 1995 Australian Open Championship when he happened to catch Robert on one of his rare bad days and on an indifferent lawn.
Although he still competes in state and national events, his energies are currently directed more toward coaching (his main interest) and the laws.
Riches is a nationally accredited level 2 coach, and is expected to soon become Australian croquet's first level 3 coach in croquet. Australia's educational system, at all levels, takes more seriously than most other countries specialized and advanced studies in athletics and coaching. As a product of Australia's National Coaching Accreditation Scheme - which embraces tennis, golf, basketball, baseball, and virtually all the organized sports, including croquet - Riches has studied alongside some of the biggest names in Australian mainstream sports in advanced lecture series in the "Sports General" curriculum.
John has published several booklets on various aspects of the game,
including technique, tactics, strategy, refereeing, laws interpretation
and the mental approach to the game. He publishes within South Australia
a Coaching Newsletter which is becoming much sought after in other
states, and is a regular contributor to state and national croquet magazines
and newsletters. He is Croquet World's Special Corresponsent
in Australia. He is the author of a number of coaching booklets,
including Croquet Technique, Croquet Coaching: Error Correction,
Lessons in Tactics, Croquet: Next Break Strategy, Croquet: The Mental Approach, and Croquet: Finer Points.
John Riches was appointed in late 1997 National Coach of the Australian