Camerton & Peasedown Croquet Club

... friendly, welcoming and inclusive

An Outline of the Game

Croquet is played on a lawn of dimensions 35 x 28 yards. Almost all croquet is played on completely flat, closely-mown fine grass (similar to bowls). Artificial surfaces, such as 'Astro-turf' or cinder, and indoor carpets are rare.

There are six cast-iron hoops set firmly into the ground, and a peg. The layout never varies. Balls, four to a game, each weigh one pound and have a diameter which, in top-class competition, is only 1/32" less than the inside width of a hoop.

Mallets typically weigh three pounds. Modern materials improve their durability and balance, but substantial change to their playing characteristics through design is banned.

There are two main variants of the game played in the UK: Golf Croquet and Association Croquet (International Rules). In Golf Croquet  the objective of each player is to get his ball(s) though each hoop first. When the first hoop is scored all players move on to the second hoop, and so on. Each turn comprises only one stroke. The merit of Golf Croquet is simplicity and an analogy between it and 'Association Croquet' is like that between draughts and chess. Interestingly, the nation most adept at Golf Croquet is Egypt. Cairo's many clubs play floodlit croquet in front of sizeable spectator crowds.

A Brief History

The origins of croquet are obscure. However, it is known that the sport was introduced to England from Ireland in the 1830s.

In the latter part of the 19th century and early 20th century it grew very rapidly in popularity, being an agreeable pastime for the upper classes, while being played on equal terms by men and women, the old and the young.

When lawn tennis took off croquet declined in popularity and a large proportion of courts were turned over to the new game. Indeed, the dimension of a tennis court owes itself to two fitting snugly within the area of one croquet court.

At the height of its popularity croquet spread throughout the British Empire and this laid the foundations of the game's strongest supporters being within the present Commonwealth.

Between the 1920s and the 1960s croquet was in decline. However, since then, an increase in leisure time (especially among the retired) and successful attempts to market the game have led to a surge of interest worldwide.

In particular, it is now very egalitarian. Indeed, it is a relatively inexpensive sport and has appeal to a wide range of abilities. In the past 20 years far more young people have taken up croquet and players between the ages of about 25 to 45 form the backbone of international competition. For a sport in which men and women compete on equal terms, croquet has always been a sport where women have played alongside men at the highest levels. Indeed, there was once a famous Australian test team composed entirely of ladies. For a reason difficult to fully explain, while now women still make up about a half of all club players, a much smaller proportion are represented now at the highest levels.