Croquet – what’s that?

We recently watched the movie ‘The Theory of Everything’. The movie was a great way to understand how one man’s life had played out against all odds. My parents had come along and on the way back we could not stop my father from talking about croquet, a game he had played while in England.


Croquet shots: “Wired.” A palpable “catch.” by UBC Library Digitization C

A lot of people might ask ‘what’s that’? It’s a game, albeit an old one. It was super popular in England around the 1860s and then spread, so far in fact, that we have it even in America. It’s origins are obscure – maybe from an old ball and mallet game from France called pall-mall  or from Ireland’s crookey.

Wherever the game came from it was so popular that it spread to many of the Anglophone countries, with slight variations in rules.

The American version

The game is governed by the United States Croquet Association. Two sides play this game. One side plays the blue and black balls while the other side plays red and yellow. One can play a singles or a doubles game. The lawn (dimensions as well as the grass length is fixed) has six wickets and a stake. The teams compete to move the heavy plastic balls through the wickets in a particular order and into the stake at the center. A 3 foot tall mallet is used to strike the ball. The entire set of rules can be looked up here.

Increasing popularity

To increase the popularity of this game which has no gender and age bias, new rules have been introduced. It is also being promoted as a game which helps people stay fit in a gentle way.


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