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Croquet (french: croquet; ( UK) or ( US)) is a
sport Sport pertains to any form of Competition, competitive physical activity or game that aims to use, maintain or improve physical ability and Skill, skills while providing enjoyment to participants and, in some cases, entertainment to spectato ...

sport
that involves hitting wooden or plastic
ball A ball is a round object (usually spherical of a sphere A sphere (from Greek language, Greek —, "globe, ball") is a geometrical object in three-dimensional space Three-dimensional space (also: 3-space or, rarely, tri-dimensional s ...

ball
s with a mallet through hoops (often called "wickets" in the United States) embedded in a grass playing court. Its international
governing body A governing body is a group of people that has the authority to exercise governance Governance is all the processes of interactions be they through the laws Law is a system of rules created and law enforcement, enforced through social o ...
is the
World Croquet Federation The World Croquet Federation (WCF) encourages, promotes and develops the recognised versions of the game of croquet Croquet (french: croquet; ( UK) or ( US)) is a sport Sport pertains to any form of Competition, competitive physical ac ...
.


Variations

There are several variations of croquet currently played, differing in the scoring systems, order of shots, and layout (particularly in social games where play must be adapted to smaller-than-standard playing courts). Two forms of the game, association croquet and golf croquet, have rules that are agreed upon internationally and are played in many countries around the world. The United States has its own set of rules for domestic games.
Gateball is a mallet team sport inspired by croquet Croquet (french: croquet; ( UK) or ( US)) is a sport Sport pertains to any form of Competition, competitive physical activity or game that aims to use, maintain or improve physical ability an ...
, a sport that originated in Japan under the influence of croquet, is played mainly in
East
East
and
Southeast Asia Southeast Asia, also spelled South East Asia and South-East Asia, and also known as Southeastern Asia or SEA, is the geographical United Nations geoscheme for Asia#South-eastern Asia, southeastern subregion of Asia, consisting of the regions ...

Southeast Asia
and
the Americas The Americas (also collectively called America) is a landmass comprising the totality of North North is one of the four compass points or cardinal directions. It is the opposite of south and is perpendicular to East and West. ''North'' ...
, and can also be regarded as a croquet variant. As well as club-level games, there are regular world championships and international matches between croquet-playing countries. The sport has particularly strong followings in the UK, US, New Zealand and Australia; every four years, these countries play the MacRobertson Shield tournament. Many other countries also play. The current world rankings show England in top place for association croquet, followed by Australia in second place, New Zealand in third place, with the United States in fourth position; the same four countries appear in the top six of the golf croquet league table, below Egypt in top position, and with Spain at number six. Croquet is popularly believed to be viciously competitive. This may derive from the fact that (unlike in golf) players will often attempt to move their opponents' balls to unfavourable positions. However, purely negative play is rarely a winning strategy: successful players (in all versions other than golf croquet) will use all four balls to set up a break for themselves, rather than simply making the game as difficult as possible for their opponents. At championship-standard association croquet, players can often make all 26 points (13 for each ball) in two turns. Croquet was an event at the
1900 Summer Olympics The 1900 Summer Olympics (french: Les Jeux olympiques d'été de 1900), today officially known as the Games of the II Olympiad, was an international multi-sport event A multi-sport event is an organized sporting Sporting may refer to: *Sport, ...
.
Roque Roque is an United States, American variant of croquet played on a hard, smooth surface. Popular in the first quarter of the 20th century and billed "the Game of the Century" by its enthusiasts, it was an Roque at the 1904 Summer Olympics, Olympi ...

Roque
, an American variation on croquet, was an event at the
1904 Summer Olympics The 1904 Summer Olympics, officially known as the Games of the III Olympiad, was an international multi-sport event A multi-sport event is an organized sporting Sporting may refer to: *Sport, recreational games and play *Sporting (neighborhood ...
. Beginning in 1894 Spalding Athletic Library issued official rules (with illustrations) as adopted by the National American Croquet Association.


Association

Association croquet is the name of an advanced game of croquet, played at all levels up to international level. It involves four balls teamed in pairs, with both balls going through every hoop for one pair to win. The game's distinguishing feature is the "croquet" shot: when certain balls hit other balls, extra shots are allowed. The six hoops are arranged three at each end of the court, with a centre peg. One side takes the black and blue balls, the other takes red and yellow. At each turn, players can choose to play with either of their balls for that turn. At the start of a turn, the player plays a stroke. If the player either hits the ball through the correct hoop ("runs" the hoop), or hits another ball (a "roquet"), the turn continues. Following a roquet, the player picks up his or her own ball and puts it down next to the ball that it hit. The next shot is played with the two balls touching: this is the "croquet stroke" from which the game takes its name. By varying the speed and angle at which the mallet hits the striker's ball, a good player can control the final position of both balls: the horizontal angle determines how far the balls diverge in direction, while the vertical angle and the amount of follow-through determine the relative distance that the two balls travel. After the croquet stroke, the player plays a "continuation" stroke, during which the player may again attempt to make a roquet or run a hoop. Each of the other three balls may be roqueted once in a turn before a hoop is run, after which they become available to be roqueted again. The winner of the game is the team who completes the set circuit of six hoops (and then back again the other way), with both balls, and then strikes the centre peg (making a total of 13 points per ball = 26). Good players may make "s" or "s" of several hoops in a single turn. The best players may take a ball round a full circuit in one turn. "Advanced play" (a variant of association play for expert players) gives penalties to a player who runs certain hoops in a turn, to allow the opponent a chance of getting back into the game; feats of skill such as triple peels or better, in which the partner ball (or occasionally an opponent ball) is caused to run a number of hoops in a turn by the striker's ball, help avoid these penalties. A handicap system ("bisques") provides less experienced players a chance of winning against more formidable opponents. Players of all ages and both sexes compete on level terms. The World Championships are organised by the
World Croquet Federation The World Croquet Federation (WCF) encourages, promotes and develops the recognised versions of the game of croquet Croquet (french: croquet; ( UK) or ( US)) is a sport Sport pertains to any form of Competition, competitive physical ac ...
(WCF) and usually take place every two or three years. The 2020 championships took place in Melbourne, Australia; the winner was Reg Bamford. The current Women's Association Croquet World Champion (2015) is Miranda Chapman of England. The Australian team won the last
MacRobertson International Croquet Shield The MacRobertson International Croquet Shield is the premier croquet team event in the world. It is currently competed for by Australia, England, New Zealand and the United States. It is known affectionately as the ''MacRob'' or just the ''Mac' ...
tournament, which is the major international test tour trophy in association croquet. It is contested every three to four years between Australia, England, the United States and New Zealand. Historically the British have been the dominant force, winning 14 out of the 22 times that the event has been held. In individual competition, the UK is often divided by subnational country (England, Scotland and
Wales Wales ( cy, Cymru ) is a Countries of the United Kingdom, country that is part of the United Kingdom. It is bordered by England to the Wales–England border, east, the Irish Sea to the north and west, and the Bristol Channel to the south. It ...

Wales
), while Northern Ireland joins with the Republic in an All Ireland association (as it does in several other sports). The world's top 10 association croquet players as of December 2020 were Robert Fletcher (Australia), Reg Bamford (South Africa), Robert Fulford (England), Paddy Chapman (New Zealand), Matthew Essick (USA), Jonathan Kirby (Scotland), Simon Hockey (Australia), Malcolm Fletcher (Australia), Edward Wilson (Australia),
Stephen Mulliner Stephen Mulliner is an English international croquet player. He won the AC British Open Championship in 1988, 1990, and 2000; the GC British Open Championship in 2000, 2001, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2016 and 2020; the European Golf Croquet champions ...
(England). Unlike most sports, men and women compete and are ranked together. Three women have won the British Open Championship:
Lily GowerLily Gower, birth name Lilias Mary Gower (5 October 1877 — 29 July 1959) was a Welsh Welsh may refer to: Related to Wales * Welsh, referring or related to Wales * Welsh language, a Brittonic Celtic language of the Indo-European language famil ...
in 1905, Dorothy Steel in 1925, 1933, 1935 and 1936, and Hope Rotherham in 1960. While male players are in the majority at club level in the UK, the opposite is the case in Australia and New Zealand. The governing body in England is The
Croquet Association The Croquet Association, which was formed as the United All England Croquet Association in 1897, is the national governing body for the sport of croquet in England. Until 1974 the association was responsible for croquet in the whole of the Unite ...
, which has been the driving force of the development of the game. The laws and rules are now maintained by the
World Croquet Federation The World Croquet Federation (WCF) encourages, promotes and develops the recognised versions of the game of croquet Croquet (french: croquet; ( UK) or ( US)) is a sport Sport pertains to any form of Competition, competitive physical ac ...
.


Golf

In golf croquet, a hoop is won by the first ball to go through each hoop. Unlike association croquet, there are no additional turns for hitting other balls. Each player takes a stroke in turn, each trying to hit a ball through the same hoop. The sequence of play is blue, red, black, yellow. Blue and black balls play against red and yellow. When a hoop is won, the sequence of play continues as before. The winner of the game is the player/team who wins the most hoops. Golf croquet is the fastest-growing version of the game, owing largely to its simplicity and competitiveness. There is an especially large interest in competitive success by players in
Egypt Egypt ( ar, مِصر, Miṣr), officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, is a transcontinental country This is a list of countries located on more than one continent A continent is one of several large landmasses. Generally identi ...

Egypt
. Golf croquet is easier to learn and play, but requires strategic skills and accurate play. In comparison with association croquet, play is faster and balls are more likely to be lifted off the ground. In April 2013, Reg Bamford of
South Africa South Africa, officially the Republic of South Africa (RSA), is the southernmost country in Africa. With over 60 million people, it is the world's 23rd-most populous nation and covers an area of . South Africa has three capital citie ...

South Africa
beat Ahmed Nasr of Egypt in the final of the Golf Croquet World Championship in Cairo, becoming the first person to simultaneously hold the title in both association croquet and golf croquet. As of 2020, the Golf Croquet World Champion was
Ben Rothman Ben Rothman is, as of May 2012, the number one ranked Association croquet player in North America. After focusing his life towards the game in 2007, he has become a formidable force and a player to beat in serious competition around the world. Ov ...
(USA) and the Women's Golf Croquet World Champion was Soha Mostafa (Egypt). In 2018, two international championships open to both sexes were won by women: in May,
Rachel Gee Rachel () was a Bible, Biblical figure, the favorite of Jacob's two wife, wives, and the mother of Joseph (Hebrew Bible), Joseph and Benjamin, two of the twelve progenitors of the tribes of Israel. Rachel's father was Laban (Bible), Laban. Her ol ...
of
England England is a Countries of the United Kingdom, country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Wales to its west and Scotland to its north. The Irish Sea lies northwest of England and the Celtic Sea to the southwest. E ...

England
beat Pierre Beaudry to win the European Golf Croquet championship, and in October, Hanan Rashad of
Egypt Egypt ( ar, مِصر, Miṣr), officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, is a transcontinental country This is a list of countries located on more than one continent A continent is one of several large landmasses. Generally identi ...

Egypt
beat Yasser Fathy (also from Egypt) to win the World over-50s Golf Croquet championship.


Garden

Garden croquet is widely played in the UK. The rules are easy to learn and the game can be played on lawns of almost any size, but usually around by . The rules are similar to those described above for Association Croquet with three major differences: # The starting point for all balls is a spot in from the boundary directly in front of hoop 1. # If a striker's ball goes off, there is no penalty, it comes back on and the turn continues. # In a croquet stroke, the croqueted ball does not have to move when the striker's ball is struck. This version of the game is easy for beginners to learn. The main Garden Croquet Club in the UK is the Bygrave Croquet Club which is a private club with five lawns. Other clubs also use garden croquet as an introduction to the game, notably the Hampstead Heath Croquet Club and the Watford Croquet Club.


American six-wicket

The American-rules version of croquet, another six-hoop game, is the dominant version of the game in the United States and is also widely played in
Canada Canada is a country in the northern part of North America North America is a continent A continent is any of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention rather than any strict criteria, ...

Canada
. It is governed by the
United States Croquet AssociationImage:USCALogo.png, rightThe United States Croquet Association (USCA) fosters croquet in all its forms, from the familiar nine-wicket croquet game to the modern sport of six-wicket croquet. There are USCA-affiliated clubs and tournaments across the U ...
. Its genesis is mostly in association croquet, but it differs in a number of important ways that reflect the home-grown traditions of American "backyard" croquet. Two of the most notable differences are that the balls are always played in the same sequence (blue, red, black, yellow) throughout the game, and that a ball's "deadness" on other balls is carried over from turn to turn until the ball has been "cleared" by scoring its next hoop. A Deadness Board is used to keep track of deadness on all four balls. Tactics are simplified on the one hand by the strict sequence of play, and complicated on the other hand by the continuation of deadness. A further difference is the more restrictive boundary-line rules of American croquet. In the American game, roqueting a ball out of bounds or running a hoop out of bounds causes the turn to end, and balls that go out of bounds are replaced only from the boundary rather than as in association croquet. "Attacking" balls on the boundary line to bring them into play is thus far more challenging.


Nine-wicket

Nine-wicket croquet, sometimes called "backyard croquet", is played mainly in Canada and the United States, and is the game most recreational players in those countries call simply "croquet". In this version of croquet, there are nine wickets, two stakes, and up to six balls. The course is arranged in a double-diamond pattern, with one stake at each end of the course. Players start at one stake, navigate one side of the double diamond, hit the turning stake, then navigate the opposite side of the double diamond and hit the starting stake to end. If playing individually (''Cutthroat''), the first player to stake out is the winner. In partnership play, all members of a team must stake out, and a player might choose to avoid staking out (becoming a ''Rover'') in order to help a lagging teammate. Each time a ball is roqueted, the striker gets two bonus shots. For the first bonus shot, the player has four options: * From a mallet-head distance or less away from the ball that was hit ("taking a mallet-head") * From a position in contact with the ball that was hit, with the striker ball, held steady by the striker's foot or hand (a "foot shot" or "hand shot") * From a position in contact with the ball that was hit, with the striker ball not held by foot or hand (a "croquet shot") * From where the striker ball stopped after the roquet. The second bonus shot ("continuation shot") is an ordinary shot played from where the striker ball came to rest. An alternate endgame is "poison": in this variant, a player who has scored the last wicket but not hit the starting stake becomes a "poison ball", which may eliminate other balls from the game by roqueting them. A non-poison ball that roquets a poison ball has the normal options. A poison ball that hits a stake or passes through any wicket (possibly by the action of a non-poison player) is eliminated. The last person remaining is the winner.


Ricochet

This version of the game was invented by John Riches of
Adelaide, Australia Adelaide ( ) is the List of Australian capital cities, capital city of the state of South Australia, and the List of cities in Australia by population, fifth-most populous city of Australia. The demonym is used to denote the city and the resi ...
with help from Tom Armstrong in the 1980s. The game can be played by up to six people and is very easy to learn. For this reason it is often used as a stepping stone to association croquet. Ricochet has similar rules to association and garden croquet, except that when a ball is roqueted, the striker's ball remains live and two free shots are earned. This enables strikers to play their ball near to another opponent's ball and ricochet that too thus earning two more free shots. Running a hoop earns one free shot.


One-Ball

One-ball croquet has become popular in recent years as a way of bringing AC (association) and GC (golf) players together. The rules are essentially those of association croquet, except that each player/team has only one ball rather than two. This makes it very hard to create a break, which leads to more interactive play.


History

The oldest document to bear the word ''croquet'' with a description of the modern game is the set of rules registered by
Isaac SprattIsaac Spratt (1799 – 1876) was a London London is the capital city, capital and List of urban areas in the United Kingdom, largest city of England and the United Kingdom. The city stands on the River Thames in the south-east of England, at th ...
in November 1856 with the Stationers' Company in
London London is the capital Capital most commonly refers to: * Capital letter Letter case (or just case) is the distinction between the letters that are in larger uppercase or capitals (or more formally ''majuscule'') and smaller lowerc ...

London
. This record is now in the
Public Record Office The Public Record Office (abbreviated as PRO, pronounced as three letters and referred to as ''the'' PRO), Chancery Lane Chancery Lane is a one-way street situated in the Wards of the City of London, ward of Farringdon Without in the C ...
. In 1868, the first croquet all-comers meet was held at
Moreton-in-Marsh Moreton-in-Marsh is a small market town A market town is a European Human settlement, settlement that obtained by custom or royal charter, in the Middle Ages, the right to host market (place), markets (market right), which distinguished i ...
,
Gloucestershire Gloucestershire ( abbreviated Glos) is a county A county is a geographical region of a country used for administrative or other purposesChambers Dictionary The ''Chambers Dictionary'' (''TCD'') was first published by William Chamber ...

Gloucestershire
and in the same year the All England Croquet Club was formed at
Wimbledon, London Wimbledon is a district and town of southwest London, England, southwest of the centre of London at Charing Cross; it is the main commercial centre of the London Borough of Merton. Wimbledon had a population of 68,187 in 2011 which includes t ...
. Regardless when and by what route it reached the
British Isles The British Isles are a group of islands in the North Atlantic off the north-western coast of continental Europe Continental Europe or mainland Europe is the contiguous continent A continent is any of several large landmasse ...

British Isles
and the
British colonies Within the British Empire, a Crown colony or royal colony was a colony In political science, a colony is a territory subject to a form of foreign rule. Though dominated by the foreign colonizers, colonies remain separate from the administ ...

British colonies
in its recognizable form, croquet is, like
golf Golf is a club-and-ball sport Sport pertains to any form of competitive Competition is a rivalry A rivalry is the state of two people or groups engaging in a lasting competitive relationship. Rivalry is the "against each other" ...

golf
,
pall-mall Pall-mall, paille-maille, palle-maille, pell-mell, or palle-malle (, or ) is a that was mostly played in the 16th and 17th centuries, a precursor to . History Related to (also known as lawn billiards or trucks in ) and similar games, pall-ma ...
,
trucco 300px, Two gentlemen play trucco while an elegant company dines in a gazebo. English, early 17th century. Trucco (also called trucks, troco,''Oxford English Dictionary The ''Oxford English Dictionary'' (''OED'') is the principal historical d ...
, and
kolven Kolven (verb; or noun: kolf) is a game originating from the Netherlands ) , national_anthem = ( en, "William of Nassau") , image_map = EU-Netherlands.svg , map_caption = , image_map2 = BES isl ...

kolven
, among the later forms of
ground billiards Ground billiards is a modern term for a family of medieval European s, the original names of which are mostly unknown, played with a long-handled (the '), wooden , a hoop (the ''pass''), and an upright skittle or pin (the ''king''). The game, w ...
, which as a class have been popular in Western Europe back to at least the
Late Middle Ages The Late Middle Ages or Late Medieval Period was the period Period may refer to: Common uses * Era, a length or span of time * Full stop (or period), a punctuation mark Arts, entertainment, and media * Period (music), a concept in musical com ...
, with roots in
classical antiquity Classical antiquity (also the classical era, classical period or classical age) is the period of cultural history History (from Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, ...
, including sometimes the use of arches and pegs along with
balls A ball A ball is a round object (usually spherical, but can sometimes be ovoid An oval (from Latin ''ovum'', "egg") is a closed curve in a plane which resembles the outline of an egg. The term is not very specific, but in some areas ( p ...
and
mallet A mallet is a tool used for imparting force on another object, often made of rubber Rubber, also called India rubber, latex, Amazonian rubber, ''caucho'', or ''caoutchouc'', as initially produced, consists of polymer A polym ...

mallet
s or other striking sticks (some more akin to modern
field hockey Field hockey is a team sport A team sport includes any sport Sport pertains to any form of Competition, competitive physical activity or game that aims to use, maintain or improve physical ability and skills while providing enjoym ...

field hockey
sticks). By the 12th century, a team ball game called ' or ', akin to a chaotic version of hockey or football (depending on whether sticks were used), was regularly played in France and southern Britain between villages or parishes; it was attested in
Cornwall Cornwall (; kw, Kernow ) is a historic county and ceremonial county The counties and areas for the purposes of the lieutenancies, also referred to as the lieutenancy areas of England and informally known as ceremonial counties, are ar ...

Cornwall
as early as 1283. In the book ''Queen of Games: The History of Croquet'', Nicky Smith presents two theories of the origin of the modern game of croquet, which took England by storm in the 1860s and then spread overseas.


First origin theory

The first explanation is that the ancestral game was introduced to
Britain Britain usually refers to: * United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,Usage is mixed. The Guardian' and Telegraph' use Britain as a synonym for the United ...

Britain
from
France France (), officially the French Republic (french: link=no, République française), is a transcontinental country This is a list of countries located on more than one continent A continent is one of several large landmasses ...

France
during the 1660–1685 reign of Charles II of England, Scotland and Ireland, and was played under the name of ' (among other spellings, today usually ''pall-mall''), derived ultimately from Latin words for 'ball and mallet' (the latter also found in the name of the earlier French game, '). This was the explanation given in the ninth edition of ''
Encyclopædia Britannica The (Latin for "British Encyclopaedia") is a general knowledge English-language encyclopaedia which is now published exclusively as an online encyclopedia, online encyclopaedia. It was formerly published by Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., ...
'', dated 1877. In his 1801 book ''The Sports and Pastimes of the People of England'', Joseph Strutt described the way pall-mall was played in England at the time:
"Pale-maille is a game wherein a round ball is struck with a mallet through a high arch of iron, which he that can do at the fewest blows, or at the number agreed upon, wins. It is to be observed, that there are two of these arches, that is one at either end of the alley. The game of mall was a fashionable amusement in the reign of Charles the Second, and the walk in Saint James's Park, now called the Mall, received its name from having been appropriated to the purpose of playing at mall, where Charles himself and his courtiers frequently exercised themselves in the practice of this pastime."
While the name ''pall-mall'' and various games bearing this name also appeared elsewhere (France and Italy), the description above suggests that the croquet-like games in particular were popular in England by the early 17th century. Some other
early modern The early modern period of modern history Human history, or world history, is the narrative of 's past. It is understood through , , , and , and since the , from and s. Humanity's written history was preceded by its , beginning with ...
sources refer to pall-mall being played over a large distance (as in golf); however, an image in Strutt's 1801 book shows a croquet-like
ground billiards Ground billiards is a modern term for a family of medieval European s, the original names of which are mostly unknown, played with a long-handled (the '), wooden , a hoop (the ''pass''), and an upright skittle or pin (the ''king''). The game, w ...
game (balls on ground, hoop, bats, and peg) being played over a , garden-sized distance. The image's caption describes the game as "a curious ancient pastime", confirming that croquet games were not new in early-19th-century England. In
Samuel Johnson Samuel Johnson (18 September 1709  – 13 December 1784), often called Dr Johnson, was an English writer who made lasting contributions as a poet, playwright, essayist, moralist, critic A critic is a person who communicates an asse ...
's 1755 dictionary, his definition of "pall-mall" clearly describes a game with similarities to modern croquet: "A play in which the ball is struck with a mallet through an iron ring". However, there is no evidence that pall-mall involved the croquet stroke which is the distinguishing characteristic of the modern game.


Second origin theory

The second theory is that the rules of the modern game of croquet arrived from
Ireland Ireland ( ; ga, Éire ; Ulster Scots dialect, Ulster-Scots: ) is an island in the Atlantic Ocean, North Atlantic. It is separated from Great Britain to its east by the North Channel (Great Britain and Ireland), North Channel, the Irish Sea ...

Ireland
during the 1850s, perhaps after being brought there from
Brittany Brittany (; french: link=no, Bretagne ; br, Breizh, or ; Gallo: ''Bertaèyn'' ) is a peninsula A peninsula ( la, paeninsula from ' "almost" and ' "island") is a landform surrounded by water on most of its border while being connected to ...
, where a similar game was played on the beaches. Regular contact between Ireland and France had continued since the
Norman invasion of Ireland The Anglo-Norman invasion of Ireland took place during the late 12th century, when Anglo-Normans gradually conquered and acquired large swathes of land from the Irish, which the Kingdom of England then claimed sovereignty over. At the time, Gael ...
in 1169. By no later than the early 15th century, the game ' (itself ancestral to pall-mall and perhaps to indoor
billiards Cue sports (sometimes written cuesports), also known as billiard sports, are a wide variety of generally played with a , which is used to strike s and thereby cause them to move around a -covered bounded by elastic bumpers known as . Histor ...

billiards
) was popular in France, including in the courts of
Henry II Henry II may refer to: Kings *Henry II of England (1133–89), reigned from 1154 *Henry II of Jerusalem and Cyprus (1271–1324), reigned from 1285; king of Jerusalem in name only from 1291 *Henry II of Castile (1334–79), reigned 1366–67 and ...
in the 16th century and
Louis XIV Louis XIV (Louis Dieudonné; 5 September 16381 September 1715), also known as Louis the Great () or the Sun King (), was King of France from 14 May 1643 until his death in 1715. His reign of 72 years and 110 days is the List of longest-reigning mo ...

Louis XIV
of the 17th. At least one version of it, ' ('wheel') was a multi-ball lawn game. Records show a game called "crookey", similar to croquet, being played at
Castlebellingham Castlebellingham () is a village and townland in County Louth, Ireland Ireland (; ga, Éire ; Ulster Scots dialect, Ulster-Scots: ) is an island in the North Atlantic Ocean, North Atlantic. It is separated from Great Britain to its east by ...
in County Louth, Ireland, in 1834, which was introduced to
Galway Galway ( ; ga, Gaillimh, ) is a in the , in the of . It is the of , which is named after it. It lies on the between and , and is the on the island of Ireland and the , with a population at the 2016 Census of 79,934. Located near an ...

Galway
in 1835 and played on the bishop's palace garden, and in the same year to the genteel Dublin suburb of Kingstown (today
Dún Laoghaire Dún Laoghaire ( , ) is a suburban coastal town in the traditional county of County Dublin, Dublin in Ireland. It is the county town of Dún Laoghaire–Rathdown, one of the three authorities that replaced the old Dublin County Council. Th ...

Dún Laoghaire
) where it was first spelt as "croquet". There is, however, no pre-1858 Irish document that describes the way game was played, in particular, there is no reference to the distinctive croquet stroke, which is described above under "Variations: Association". The noted croquet historian Dr Prior, in his book of 1872, makes the categoric statement "One thing only is certain: it is from Ireland that croquet came to England and it was on the lawn of the late Lord Lonsdale that it was first played in this country." This was about 1851. John Jaques apparently claimed in a letter to Arthur Lillie in 1873 that he had himself seen the game played in Ireland, writing "I made the implements and published directions (such as they were) before Mr. Spratt entioned aboveintroduced the subject to me." Whatever the truth of the matter, Jaques certainly played an important role in popularising the game, producing editions of the rules in 1857, 1860, and 1864.


Heyday and decline

Croquet became highly popular as a social pastime in England during the 1860s. It was enthusiastically adopted and promoted by the
Earl of Essex Earl of Essex is a title in the Peerage of England The Peerage of England comprises all peerages created in the Kingdom of England before the Act of Union 1707, Act of Union in 1707. In that year, the Peerages of England and Peerage of Sc ...
who held lavish croquet parties at
Cassiobury House Cassiobury House was a English country house, country house in Cassiobury Park, Watford, England. It was the family seat, ancestral seat of the Earl of Essex, Earls of Essex. Originally a Tudor building, dating from 1546 for Sir Richard Morrison, ...
, his stately home in
Watford Watford () is a large town and borough A borough is an administrative division in various English language, English-speaking countries. In principle, the term ''borough'' designates a self-governing walled town, although in practice, officia ...

Watford
,
Hertfordshire Hertfordshire (; often abbreviated Herts) is one of the home counties in southern England England is a that is part of the . It shares land borders with to its west and to its north. The lies northwest of England and the to the s ...

Hertfordshire
, and the Earl even launched his own ''Cassiobury'' brand croquet set. By 1867, Jaques had printed 65,000 copies of his ''Laws and Regulations'' of the game. It quickly spread to other countries, including
Australia Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a Sovereign state, sovereign country comprising the mainland of the Australia (continent), Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous List of islands of Australia, sma ...

Australia
,
Canada Canada is a country in the northern part of North America North America is a continent A continent is any of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention rather than any strict criteria, ...

Canada
,
New Zealand New Zealand ( mi, Aotearoa ''Aotearoa'' (; commonly pronounced by English English usually refers to: * English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken in History of Anglo-Saxon Engl ...

New Zealand
,
South Africa South Africa, officially the Republic of South Africa (RSA), is the southernmost country in Africa. With over 60 million people, it is the world's 23rd-most populous nation and covers an area of . South Africa has three capital citie ...

South Africa
, and the
United States The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) or America, is a country Continental United States, primarily located in North America. It consists of 50 U.S. state, states, a Washington, D.C., ...

United States
. No doubt one of the attractions was that the game could be played by both sexes; this also ensured a certain amount of adverse comment. It is no coincidence that the game became popular at the same time as the cylinder
lawn mower A lawn mower (also known as a mower, grass cutter or lawnmower) is a machine utilizing one or more revolving blades to cut a grass surface to an even height. The height of the cut grass may be fixed by the design of the mower, but generally is ...

lawn mower
, since croquet can only be played well on a lawn that is flat and finely-cut. By the late 1870s, however, croquet had been eclipsed by another fashionable game,
lawn tennis Tennis is a racket sport Racket sports are game with separate sliding drawer, from 1390–1353 BC, made of glazed faience, dimensions: 5.5 × 7.7 × 21 cm, in the Brooklyn Museum (New York City) '', 1560, Pieter Brueg ...

lawn tennis
, and many of the newly created croquet clubs, including the All England Club at Wimbledon, converted some or all of their lawns into
tennis court A tennis court is the venue where the sport of tennis is played. It is a firm rectangular surface with a low net stretched across the centre. The same surface can be used to play both Types of tennis match, doubles and singles matches. A variet ...

tennis court
s. There was a revival in the 1890s, but from then onwards, croquet was always a minority sport, with national individual participation amounting to a few thousand players. The
All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club The All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, also known as the All England Club, based at Church Road, Wimbledon, London, England, is a private members' club. It is best known as the venue for the Wimbledon Championships The Championships, ...
still has a croquet lawn, but has not hosted any significant tournaments. The English headquarters for the game is now in
Cheltenham Cheltenham () is a large spa town and borough on the edge of the Cotswolds in the county of Gloucestershire, England. Cheltenham became known as a health and holiday spa town resort following the discovery of mineral springs in 1716, and claims ...

Cheltenham
. The earliest known reference to croquet in Scotland is the booklet ''The Game of Croquet, its Laws and Regulations'' which was published in the mid-1860s for the proprietor of Eglinton Castle, the
Earl of Eglinton File:Eglintoncastle1876.jpg, The Eglinton Tournament Bridge and Eglinton Castle in 1876 Earl of Eglinton is a title in the Peerage of Scotland.Some authorities spell the title as Earl of Eglintoun . It was created by James IV of Scotland in 150 ...
. On the page facing the title page is a picture of Eglinton Castle with a game of "croquet" in full swing. The croquet lawn existed on the northern terrace, between
Eglinton Castle Eglinton Castle was a large Gothic castellated mansion in Kilwinning, North Ayrshire, Scotland Scotland ( sco, Scotland, gd, Alba ) is a Countries of the United Kingdom, country that is part of the United Kingdom. Covering the northern thi ...
and the Lugton Water. The 13th Earl developed a variation on croquet named Captain Moreton's Eglinton Castle croquet, which had small bells on the eight hoops "to ring the changes", two pegs, a double hoop with a bell and two tunnels for the ball to pass through. In 1865 the 'Rules of the Eglinton Castle and Cassiobury Croquet' was published by
Edmund Routledge Edmund Routledge (30 January 1843 – 25 August 1899), was a British publisher of boys' magazines and an author of books about sports. Early life Edmund Routledge was born in London on 30 January 1843, the second son of George Routledge George ...
. Several incomplete sets of this form of croquet are known to exist, and one complete set is still used for demonstration games in the West of Scotland.


Glossary of terms

* Backward ball: The ball of a side that has scored fewer hoops (compare with 'forward ball'). * Ball-in-hand: A ball that the striker can pick up to change its position, for example: *# any ball when it leaves the court has to be replaced on the yard-line *# the striker's ball after making a roquet must be placed in contact with the roqueted ball *# the striker's ball when the striker is entitled to a lift.

', 7th Edition, World Croquet Federation.
* Ball in play: A ball after it has been played into the game, which is not a ball in hand or pegged out. * Baulk: An imaginary line on which a ball is placed for its first shot in the game, or when taking a lift. The A-baulk coincides with the western half of the yard line along the south boundary; the B-baulk occupies the eastern half of the north boundary yard line. * Bisque, half-bisque A bisque is a free turn in a handicap match. A half-bisque is a restricted handicap turn in which no point may be scored. * Break down: To end a turn by making a mistake. * Continuation stroke: Either the bonus stroke played after running a hoop in order or the second bonus stroke played after making a roquet. * Croquet stroke: A stroke taken after making a roquet, in which the striker's ball and the roqueted ball are placed together in contact. * Double tap: A fault in which the mallet makes more than one audible sound when it strikes the ball. * Forward ball: The ball of a side that has scored more hoops (compare with 'backward ball'). * Hoop: Metal U-shaped gate pushed into ground. (Also called a wicket in the US, which is of the same etymology as
wicket gate (Avignon Avignon (, ; ; oc, Avinhon, label=Provençal dialect, Provençal or , ; la, Avenio) is the Prefectures in France, prefecture of the Vaucluse Departments of France, department in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur Regions of France, re ...
). * Leave: The position of the balls after a successful break, in which the striker is able to leave the balls placed so as to make life as difficult as possible for the opponent. * Lift: A turn in which the player is entitled to remove the ball from its current position and play instead from either baulk line. A lift is permitted when a ball has been placed by the opponent in a position where it is wired from all other balls, and also in advanced play when the opponent has completed a break that includes hoops 1-back or 4-back. * Object ball: A ball which is going to be rushed. * Peg out: To cause a rover ball to strike the peg and conclude its active involvement in the game. * Peel: To send a ball other than the striker's ball through its target hoop. * Pioneer: A ball placed in a strategic position near the striker's next-but-one or next-but-two hoop, to assist in running that hoop later in the break. * Primary colours or first colours: The main croquet ball colours used which are blue, red, black and yellow (in order of play). One player or team plays blue and black, the other red and yellow. * Push: A fault when the mallet pushes the striker's ball, rather than making a clean strike. * Roquet: (Second syllable rhymes with "play".) When the striker's ball hits a ball that he is entitled to then take a croquet shot with. At the start of a turn, the striker is entitled to roquet all the other three balls once. Once the striker's ball goes through its target hoop, it is again entitled to roquet the other balls once. * Rover ball: A ball that has run all 12 hoops and can be pegged out. * Rover hoop: The last hoop, indicated by a red top bar. The first hoop has a blue top. * Run a hoop: To send the striker's ball through a hoop. If the hoop is the hoop in order for the striker's ball, the striker earns a bonus stroke. * Rush: A roquet when the roqueted ball is sent to a specific position on the court, such as the next hoop for the striker's ball or close to a ball that the striker wishes to roquet next. * Scatter shot: A continuation stroke used to hit a ball which may not be roqueted in order to send it to a less dangerous position. * Secondary colours or second colours; also known as alternate colours: The colours of the balls used in the second game played on the same court in double-banking: green, pink, brown and white (in order of play). Green and brown versus pink and white, are played by the same player or pair. * Sextuple peel (SXP): To peel the partner ball through its last six hoops in the course of a single turn. Very few players have achieved this feat, but it is being seen increasingly at championship level. * Tice: A ball sent to a location that will entice an opponent to shoot at it but miss. * Triple peel (TP): To send a ball other than the striker's ball through its last three hoops, and then peg it out. See also Triple Peel, A variant is the Triple Peel on Opponent (TPO), where the peelee is the opponent's ball rather than the partner ball. The significance of this manoeuvre is that in advanced play, making a break that includes the tenth hoop (called 4-back) is penalized by granting the opponent a lift (entitling him to take the next shot from either baulk line). Therefore, many breaks stop voluntarily with three hoops and the peg still to run. * Wired: When a hoop or the peg impedes the path of a striker's ball, or the swing of the mallet. A player will often endeavour to finish a turn with the opponent's balls wired from each other. * Yard line: An imaginary line from the boundary. Balls that go off the boundary are generally replaced on the yard line (but if this happens on a croquet stroke, the turn ends).


In art and literature

The way croquet is depicted in paintings and books says much about popular perceptions of the game, though little about the reality of modern play. * In 1868 a song titled ''Croquet'' (essentially anonymous: by M.B.C.S and W.O.F.) was included in a popular song book by W. O. Perkins, ''The Golden Robin'' (Pub. Oliver Ditson & Company, New York). ("Upon the smoothly shaven lawn, Beneath the skies of May, Oh, boys and girls, this merry morn, Come out and play Croquet ..."); there are four full verses. *
Winslow Homer Winslow Homer (February 24, 1836 – September 29, 1910) was an American landscape painter and printmaker, best known for his marine subjects. He is considered one of the foremost painters in 19th-century America and a preeminent figure in A ...

Winslow Homer
,
Édouard Manet Édouard Manet (, , ; 23 January 1832 – 30 April 1883) was a French modernist painter. He was one of the first 19th-century artists to paint modern life, and a pivotal figure in the transition from realism (arts), Realism to Impressionis ...

Édouard Manet
, and
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all have paintings titled ''The Croquet Game.'' *
Norman Rockwell Norman Percevel Rockwell (February 3, 1894 – November 8, 1978) was an American painter and illustrator. His works have a broad popular appeal in the United States for their reflection of American culture The culture of the United States ...
often depicted the game, including in his painting ''Croquet.'' *
Edward Gorey Edward St. John Gorey (February 22, 1925 – April 15, 2000) was an Americans, American writer, Tony Award-winning costume designer, and artist noted for his illustrated books. His characteristic pen-and-ink drawings often depict vaguely uns ...
's '''' features illustrations of the main characters playing with croquet mallets. * Croquet is popular pastime of
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's ''
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'' characters. *
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wrote '' The Croquet Player'' which uses croquet as a metaphor for the way in which people confront the very problem of their own existence. *
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Lewis Carroll
featured a
nonsense Nonsense is a communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share") is the act of developing Semantics, meaning among Subject (philosophy), entities or Organization, groups through the use of sufficiently mutually under ...
version of the game in the popular children's novel ''
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland ''Alice's Adventures in Wonderland'' (commonly shortened to ''Alice in Wonderland'') is an 1865 English novel, novel by English author Lewis Carroll (the pseudonym of Charles Dodgson). It tells of a young girl named Alice (Alice's Adventures i ...
'': a hedgehog was used as the ball, a flamingo as the mallet, and playing cards as the hoops. * In the ''
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'' series of novels, notably '' Something Rotten'', Jasper Fforde depicts an Parallel universe (fiction), alternative world in which croquet is a brutal mass spectator sport. * The cover of the 1971 Genesis (band), Genesis album ''Nursery Cryme'' shows Cynthia, a character in the song "Musical Box" holding a croquet mallet with a few heads on the playing field including another character of the song Henry's head that she removed with said mallet. * In Stephen King, Stephen King's 1977 novel ''The Shining (novel), The Shining'', the main character, Jack Torrance, uses a croquet mallet to chase and attack the other characters. The The Shining (miniseries), 1997 miniseries features the use of croquet however, Stanley Kubrick's The Shining (film), 1980 film adaptation uses a fire axe instead. * In the 1980s geography game ''Where in the World Is Carmen Sandiego? (1985 video game), Where in the World Is Carmen Sandiego?'', one of the characters, Fast Eddie B, is described as a "world class croquet player", and two other gang members, Ihor Ihorovich and Scar Graynolt, also play the sport. * In the 1988 film ''Heathers'', Winona Ryder and her friends, the Heathers, are depicted as playing croquet, though at the beginning, the Heathers are playing croquet to hit someone on the head. Croquet mallets also feature in the publicity posters for ''Heathers: The Musical''. * Croquet is featured prominently in the music video for "I'm Not Okay (I Promise)" by My Chemical Romance. * Croquet is featured in the novel ''The Grapes of Wrath, Grapes of Wrath'' by John Steinbeck wherein the Joads stay at the government camp in Weedpatch, Ca.


Clubs

About 200 croquet clubs across the United States are members of the United States Croquet Association. Many colleges have croquet clubs as well, such as The University of Virginia, The University of Chicago, Pennsylvania State University, Bates College, State University of New York at New Paltz, SUNY New Paltz, Harvard University, and Dartmouth College. Notably, St. John's College (Annapolis/Santa Fe), St. John's College and the US Naval Academy engage in a yearly match in Annapolis, Maryland. Both schools also compete at the collegiate level and the rivalry continues to be an Annapolis tradition, attracting thousands of spectators each April. In England and Wales, there are around 170 clubs affiliated with the Croquet Association. The
All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club The All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, also known as the All England Club, based at Church Road, Wimbledon, London, England, is a private members' club. It is best known as the venue for the Wimbledon Championships The Championships, ...
at Wimbledon is famous for its lawn tennis tournament, but retains an active croquet section. There are also clubs in many universities and colleges, with an annual Varsity match being played between Oxford and Cambridge. With over 1800 participants, the 2011 Oxford University "Cuppers" (inter-college) tournament claimed to be not only the largest croquet tournament ever, but the largest sporting event in the university's history.


See also

* Croquet Hall of Fame * Extreme croquet * Jaques of London * Intercollegiate sports team champions#Croquet, US intercollegiate croquet champions *
Roque Roque is an United States, American variant of croquet played on a hard, smooth surface. Popular in the first quarter of the 20th century and billed "the Game of the Century" by its enthusiasts, it was an Roque at the 1904 Summer Olympics, Olympi ...

Roque
* Woodball


References


External links


A Synopsis of the Laws of Association Croquet
from Oxford Croquet
Synopsis of American Croquet
from the
United States Croquet AssociationImage:USCALogo.png, rightThe United States Croquet Association (USCA) fosters croquet in all its forms, from the familiar nine-wicket croquet game to the modern sport of six-wicket croquet. There are USCA-affiliated clubs and tournaments across the U ...

The official rules of Backyard Croquet
(nine-wicket layout), from th
United States Croquet Association

Official Rules of Garden Croquet
(British six-hoop garden croquet)
Croquet Rules and Regulations
from ''Croquet.com''
The Croquet Association Jargon List

Arkley Croquet Collection
– An exceptional selection of paintings, cartoons and photographs depicting the game of croquet, from UBC Library Digital Collections
Checklist of Croquet Books and Pamphlets, 1853 to 2002
{{Authority control Croquet, Former Summer Olympic sports Lawn games Sports originating in England Sports originating in the United Kingdom