Croquet Sport; History, Game Types, Equipment & Skills

Croquet is a glorious game in the truest sense. It offers aesthetic delight and immense recreation. Here is a comprehensive guide on the game of Croquet that incorporates brief history, game types, equipment review, croquet setup, basic terms and complete players guide in all.

Croquet History, Game Types, Equipment, Court Setup, 6/9 Wicket Croquet, Basic Terminology | A Complete Guide

A game called paille maille was played in 14thcentury France with mallets, balls and hoops, but Croquet, as we know it, was played in Ireland in the 1830s, then made popular by English aristocrats in the 1850s.

The game swept Britain and became the focus of many fashionable and lavish social events. Contributing to its appeal was the fact that Croquet was the first sport that Victorian women could “properly” participate in with men.

The All England Croquet Club (which would become the all England Croquet and Tennis Club) was established at Wimbledon in 1865.

Britain had its first champion, Walter Jones-Whitmore, two years later. In the 1870s the game reached the height of its popularity.

Croquet Sport, Hisotry, Equipment & Objectives-Croquet Sport

However, by the turn of the century, not only had tennis captured the attention of many sports enthusiasts, Croquet had fallen from grace.

This togetherness of the sexes may have been too much for chaste Victorians.
This game has its own governing body namely; the Croquet Association, based in England.

Object of  Game

The basic object of the game is to beat one’s opponent by outscoring him. To achieve this purpose, a player has to be the first to hit his ball through all the hoops or wickets, and to stakes around the court in the correct order, and in the correct direction on his turn.

It is not only to get the ball through a series of hoops but to prevent the opponent’s ball from going through.

Variants of Croquet Sport

1. Golf Croquet

It is the shorter game that everyone knows and loves. It includes the exquisite pleasure of hitting your opponent’s ball into the shrubbery. Each hoop is won or lost as if it were a golf hole.

2. Association Croquet

Association Croquet on the other hand, is a technical sport requiring tactical ability and the building of breaks – a sort of snooker on the grass – that is largely incomprehensible to the new spectator.

It is quite unfortunate that many Association players are against the popularization of golf Croquet, which is visually more exciting.

3. Garden Croquet

This game is played at global as well as individual levels. Most of the people all around the world play this game casually in their own gardens.

Equipment Needed to Play

For playing this game you need two stakes, a mallet, 4 balls and 9 wickets.

a. Croquet Stakes

The stakes are made from wood. They are color coded with blue, red, black and yellow. They are fixed at each end of the court at a distance of 6 feet from the boundary. Each game starts with one stake and ends at other stake.

b. Mallet for Croquet

A mallet is a hammer like equipment that a player uses to strike the ball. A Croquet mallet is a wooden tool which weighs 2 to 3 pounds and is 24 to 36 inches in length. It has 12 inches square or round head to propel the ball and it also has a handle to offer a proper grip to the player.

c. Croquet Balls

Four colored composite balls are required to play Croquet. Their color is red ,blue, black and yellow. The balls are 3.58 inches in diameter and 16 ounces in weight.

d. Croquet Wickets

Lastly, you need 9 iron hoops (aka wickets). They are fixed roughly 12 inches high and 4 inches wide. The width of all the wickets has to be uniform throughout the court so that the balls can pass through them.

The wickets are called so because they are fixed into the ground, and these are what balls go through to score points, and score bonus points to continue your round.

6/9 Wickets Croquet

There are two different setups of the Croquet court. One, that is predominately used, has 9 wickets and 2 stakes fixed on the lawn. Other, that is less used, has 6 wickets and 1 stake on the court.

The court with 9 wickets is larger than 6 wickets’. It holds 9 wickets and 2 stakes in a pattern that goes like; having two stakes at each end of the court, then the first two wickets with 6 ft distance form the stakes and each other, after that there are two wickets on the sides of the court at 16 ft distance from the second wicket, and then there is a central wicket exactly 36 ft from the second wicket. Thus, it makes one half of the court and the other half is exactly the same.

The court with 6 wickets is smaller. The pattern of 6 wickets’ court is different and it goes like; firstly there are 2 wickets at the side of the court, then there is one wicket between first two wickets, but it is towards the center of the court but not exactly in the center, then there is the only stake that is fixed in the center of the court. The other half of the court also has the same pattern.

Croquet Setup

The court of Croquet is set up in a way that can hold either 6 wickets or 9 wickets. The court has to be grassy and the wickets can be fixed into its surface easily. To set up a larger court of 9 wickets, you have to follow the following pattern:

  • Find a grassy lawn of 100 feet length and 50 feet width.
  • Pick up 9 wickets, 2 stakes and a hammer or your mallet.
  • Start form one side of the court, and go on setting up the wickets at specific distances.
  • First of all fix a stake, in the middle, that must be 6 feet inside from the outer boundary. Each stake has to be at each side of the court.
  • Then, fix the first wicket, in the line of the stake, at a distance of 6 ft from the stake.
  • Now fix the second wicket that should also be 6 feet away from the first wicket. It should also be in the line of the stake.
  • Then fix two wickets at the sides of the court. These wicket should be at a distance of 16 ft form the second wicket but not in the line of the stake.
  • And after that, fix the fifth wicket in the center of the court. This wicket should be at 32 ft distance from the second wicket. This is how the first half of the court is set up.
  • Now, follow the same set up pattern for the other half of the court.

Croquet Setup for 6 Wickets

On the other hand, to set up court of 6 wickets, you have to follow the following pattern:

  • Find a grassy rectangular court. It has to be smooth and even.
  • Take 6 wickets and 1 stake.
  • First of all fix two wickets at the sides of the court. One wicket should be on the right side and the other on the left.
  • Now place a wicket in the middle at some distance from the first two wickets. The third wicket should not be in the center of the court.
  • Then, set up the only stake in the center of the court.
  • Now, follow the same pattern to set up the remaining three wickets. That’s it.

Croquet Terminology;  Basic terms of Croquet

1. Approach Shot

This is the shot that brings the wayward ball back in the scoring position.

2. Ball-In-Hand

A ball that has to be moved, replaced or re-positioned for some legal reasons.

3. Bisque

A Bisque is generally a replayed or an extra shot that a player avails.

4. Condone

When a player fails to claim a fault committed by his opponent in a given period of time.

5. Continuation Shot

The shot that a player earns after scoring a wicket. This continues as long as the player keeps on scoring points.

6. Croquet Shoot

The first shots of a two bonus strokes. This is the result of a Croquet.

7. Croqueted Ball

When the player plays his croquet shot, the ball being hit becomes croqueted ball.

8. Cross Wire

To prevent the balls from being hit by the balls of opponent. To do so, balls are position on the other side of the wickets or stake.

9. Deadness

When a ball being roqueted once, stands near the wicket. It becomes dead until the striker played a shot.

10. Double Tap

When a player hits his ball twice mistakenly, it becomes double tap.

11. Hampered

When a ball, wicket or stake hinders a normal swing of the striker, it becomes a hampered stroke.

12. Hoop Or Wicket

Hoops or wickets are the same things. They are fixed on the court so that the ball can pass through them and the players can score points.

13. Irish Peel

This is a special stroke which sends two balls through the wicket in only one attempt.

14. Out Of Bounds

A ball is considered out of bounds if it crosses the boundaries of the court.

15. Peg

This is the central wicket on the court of 9 wickets.

16. Stake

A stake is like a pole. It is fixed at each end of the court.

17. Roquet

A roquet is earned when a player’s ball hits another ball on the court.

Conclusion

The croquet is a truly marvelous game that enlist all the elements of joy, wonder, aspiration and achievement.

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