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A Simple Synopsis of Croquet

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The game can be played by any number of players up to four, the partner balls being Blue and Black and Red and Yellow. With three players, one of the players plays both balls for his side.


The six hoops and the winning peg are set out on the lawn in accordance with the diagram below, and the order of running the hoops is as shown on the diagram.


The first side to get both of their balls through the six hoops twice in the order marked on the diagram and hit the peg is the winner


The game starts by all balls, commencing with blue, being played in the sequence shown on the central peg, from anywhere on the “A” or “B” baulk lines. When all balls are in play the side but not necessarily the colour of the side continue to play alternatively. For instance it might be advantageous for Blue to play several of the turns for his side in succession.


A turn may consist of a single stroke, but extra strokes are earned by:


(1) Running a hoop; i.e. going through it


(2) Causing one’s ball to hit another ball. This is called making a roquet. The player then places his own ball in contact with the roqueted ball and “takes croquet” (i.e. by hitting his own ball sends both balls to desired positions)


(3) After taking croquet

            Note – These terms are pronounced “rokay” and “crokay”.


A player may roquet all the other balls during his turn, but may not roquet the same ball again in that turn unless he has meantime run his hoop.


If a player fails to run his hoop or hit another ball his turn ends.


If a player runs his hoop and in the same stroke hits a ball he takes croquet but does not get a second extra stroke for having run the hoop.


A ball has run its hoop when, having entered from the correct side it cannot be touched by a straight edge placed against that side of the hoop.


Clips coloured to match the balls are placed on the hoops or peg to indicate the next point for the ball. The clips are placed on the top of the hoop for the first six hoops, and on the side for the second circuit. 


Any ball which is sent off court, is placed a yard inside the boundary (on the yard line) nearest to where it went off. Any ball lying between the boundary and the yard line, expect the players own ball, is also replaced on the yard line. The yard line is marked by the small wooden peg’s, positioned one yard from each corner flag.


As the principle of “Taking Croquet” becomes apparent, all kinds of tactical moves will reveal themselves, and it is possible by clever positioning first to run a hoop then hit and “Take Croquet” from each of the other balls in turn sending then to appropriate positions on the lawn, and then, by running the next hoop in its right order to continue the turn for a long time.


After “Taking Croquet” from a ball one more stroke is allowed, and this can be used:


(A) To improve one’s position;


(B) To “Roquet” another ball;


(C) To go through the next hoop


A point to remember when playing as partners is that when one of the partners has passed through the last hoop (12th or Rover) he should not strike the winning peg and render his ball “dead” but should go back to a strategic position from which he can either harass the opponents balls or can help his partner by making his ball available to him for “taking croquet”. A ball roving about in this way is called a Rover and is the most useful asset to a partner who is some hoops behind. For this reason it follows that if there is a Rover ball of each side they will try by means of a croquet stroke to drive the opposing Rover on to the winning peg. (Only a Rover can peg out a Rover). As either ball can play the turn for its side when one ball is pegged out the remaining ball plays every turn for the side. This is only one of many more tactical strategies of the game, and a much wider treatise on this aspect of the game will be found in a book published in collaboration with The Croquet Association, ‘Croquet’ know the game ISBN 0-7136-5620-4. This short introduction to the game, will enable the beginner to master the general principles involved, and the finer tactical play with become apparent later.


A shorter form of the game entitles Golf Croquet, dispenses with “Taking Croquet” altogether, and only the hoops are run in their order, but once a hoop has been run by any ball, all other balls are then aimed at the next hoop, and do not all have to go through every hoop as in the longer game.


A player does not have an extra turn when he has been through a hoop; and although he is allowed to take a shot at an opponent’s ball with his own, if he succeeds in hitting it and perhaps knocking it out of position in front of a hoop, his turn then finishes and he does not pick up his own ball and “Take Croquet” from it.


As all hoops are not necessarily run by every ball in this version of the game, each player must keep an accurate record of the number of hoops he has scored. If there is equality after the Rover hoop has been made the third hoop is again contested. The winning Peg is not used in Golf Croquet. Each hoop counts one point.

For more detail and variation on the game please visit:


Croquet association

Croquet Oxford