Association Croquet - The Game and How it is Played
Association croquet is a challenging and intriguing sport requiring tactical ability, judgment and skill rather than strength and fast reflexes. And to dispel the myth that croquet is a vicious game of hitting your opponent's balls into the shrubbery, any ball leaving the lawn is immediately brought back on to the 'yard' line. The game is played as singles or doubles but in either case the blue and black balls always play against the red and yellow balls. In singles, each player uses both balls, in doubles one each.
Playing Your Turn
At the beginning of a turn a player has only one stroke but, depending on what he does, he may gain extra strokes. If his ball hits another ball it is called a 'roquet' and this gives the right to take 'croquet', the stroke that is unique to the game of Association Croquet and where the fun really begins
The croquet stroke is played immediately following a roquet. The 'striker's ball' is picked-up and placed in contact with the ball just roqueted and two further strokes are now permitted. First, the player in play [the striker] may strike his ball in any direction desired but must ensure the other ball moves. Both balls should remain on the court, if the other ball goes off the lawn the turn ends. But, if all is well the striker may now have a 'continuation' shot. The croquet stroke is the most exciting stroke in the game and can be played in numerous ways to control both balls. By varying the angle at which striker's ball is hit nd the degree of force and the follow-through applied a skilful player can send both balls to very accurate destinations which then enables a 'break' to continue i.e. just like snooker.
Building a Break is made possible by earning these extra strokes. At the beginning of a turn striker may roquet the other three balls and take croquet from them just once but, the moment a hoop is run in order, striker may, once again roquet all three balls. Thus it is possible to run several hoops in one turn. Skilful players often run all twelve hoops in one turn; they may even manage to send their partner ball through some of its hoops. This is called 'peeling' and forms an important part of the Advanced form of the game.
More Advanced Play?
The Aim of the Game
The object of the game is to make both balls of one side pass through all the hoops in order and then hit the peg before the opponent's. The first hoop has a blue top and the last, 12th, hoop to be run, known as 'rover' has a red top. After the sixth hoop, is run the six hoops are run in the reverse direction; hence they are named 'one-back, two-back', etc. until the 'penultimate' hoop and finally rover. See diagram for the route. Coloured clips are placed on the hoops to remind players (and show spectators) which hoop has to be run next. They are placed on top for the first time through, on the side for the return journey.
Prefer A Video Explanation?
As with so many things the written explanation is far more complex sounding that the actuality, so you may find Basingstoke Club's introductory video of interest [c12mins]. Yes the game needs some practice and skill development, but it is an enthralling game. For more information see the Croquet Association website or contact us.
Starting the Game
To begin a game the balls are played onto the lawn one at a time alternately by each side, from either A or B baulk (see diagram). After that the side can choose which ball to play during each turn.