What follows is a very basic introduction to the game.
Croquet is one of the finest outdoor sports, it is a friendly game that's relatively easy to understand and fun to play. It requires only one basic skill, that of propelling a ball with a degree of accuracy.
The principal difference between croquet and most other outdoor sports in that croquet requires delicacy and skill, rather than speed or strength. It also requires tactical ability and forward planning rather than quick reflexes.
Think of the tactics as being akin to a board game such as chess and the accuracy being akin to a pastime such as snooker but with the delightful added bonus of both fresh air and leisurely exercise.
The game is played by both sexes on equal terms and thanks to a comprehensive handicapping system players of vastly different ability can play on level terms.
Croquet comes in two distinct variations of the game in the UK, namely Association and Golf. Both versions of the game being played with four different coloured balls; blue, red, black and yellow.
Both types of croquet can be played as either a singles game or as a doubles match.
To win an Association Croquet game a side must play both its balls through an 'obstacle course' of twelve hoops in a fixed order, and then complete the game by hitting a central peg with each ball.
The court, or lawn as it is more generally referred, measures some 35 yards by 28 yards (32 x 25.6m) so this is no small task. Each player hits the ball once in each
turn. However, if the ball goes through a hoop or hits another ball then the player earns additional strokes, which results in a series of fascinating tactics. And may then provide a succession of
plays as in a snooker break. In addition the balls may be hit in a variety of different ways to produce vastly different effects, and so practice is required to understand and master all these
variations. That said, the game is enormous fun no matter what level you have attained.
Golf Croquet is the simpler game and takes a shorter time to both learn and play. As in Association Croquet the blue and black balls compete against the red and yellow balls as either a singles or doubles match.
In Golf Croquet however the turns are limited to one stroke per player, and only one ball is knocked through each successive hoop and thus wins that particular hoop. Each hoop is played in sequence and the team that scores the most hoops wins.
Golf Croquet is sometimes used as an introduction to croquet before moving on to the more technical Association Croquet, but is also a fascinating game in its own right.
At Enfield our newer members tend to build up their skills by playing Golf croquet and then progress to the slightly more complex and even more tactical Association
croquet once they feel confident in their own ability.
What follows are some useful links if you wish to know more about the game of croquet:
History of Croquet
No one is quite 100% sure about the history but the story will be in here somewhere.
There's quite a bit to it and it's probably easier to learn by actually playing.
Golf croquet is the quicker of the two croquet options to both learn and play.