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Objective: Each player or team has to try and get the balls from the starting point, which can be anywhere on the baulk-line (the white line as marked above) through all six hoops in the set order in both directions, and then hit the peg with both of them.

The game is played between two sides as singles (one player against another) or doubles (two players against another two players). Each player or pair has two coloured balls. Black and blue always play against red and yellow.

In doubles, each pair has two balls (one ball each) and so decide before starting which player will play with which ball. The balls are hit with mallets, which look like wooden hammers with solid box-like ends. The handles are usually long enough for the mallet to be swung at the ball without the player bending.

To start the game, a coin is tossed. The winner of the toss will choose either to start first or second, or which balls to play with. The loser of the toss takes the remaining option.

Each side takes alternate turns. The side to play has the choice of which ball to play first, but then that order must be maintained throughout the turn (note that this is the turn only, not the whole game). In doubles, the player who been assigned to that ball must play the turn.

The game is won when one player or pair reaches 26 points - 12 hoop points (2 points per hoop) and 2 peg points (one point with each ball).


The court itself measures 32 x 25.6 metres (35 x 28 yards). The actual area in which play takes place is marked by the yard-line, so called because it is one yard inside the boundary line (the total court area).

The yard-line is not marked as a line, but instead by the corner flag and pegs on each corner where the line would otherwise be. The area between the boundary lines and the yard lines is called the yard line area.

The peg is placed in the centre. Hoop 5 is red-topped and is called the rover. This is because it is the last hoop. It is placed 6.4 metres (7 yards) south of the peg. Another hoop is set 6.4 metres (7 yards) north of the peg. The hoops are set in line with the openings pointing to the north and south.

The other four hoops are placed in each corner, 6.4 metres (7 yards) away from the two nearest edges of the court. In the south-west corner, the hoop is blue-topped. Coloured flags are also placed in the corners, blue in the first corner, red in the second, black in the third, and yellow in the fourth.

The order of balls through hoops would be as such in relation to the diagram above.
1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - peg - 2 - 1 - 4 - 3 - 6 - 5 ( 5 is the rover hoop).


Extra strokes are allowed in a turn after a roquet, which is the term for a ball hitting another ball. After this a 'continuation stroke' can be played. The idea of a roquet is to get your opponents balls into an awkward position to reduce their chances of pegging out quickly.

After 'running the hoop', the term used for when the ball has been played through the hoop. Again, a continuation stroke is playable after this.

A player can only roquet and take croquet once only from each of the three balls in one turn, unless they can get their ball through the hoop in order, then they are allowed to roquet again.

When a roquet has been made, the strikers ball is known as a ball in hand. It can be lifted up and placed in any position as long as it maintains contact with the ball which has been roqueted (hit).

The player may then take croquet from it - play a shot and send the two balls in any direction. This is used to either advance both balls of one side, or to advance one ball of one side while putting one ball of the opposing side in a awkward position.

Croquet strokes

Drive - a powerful stroke where the croqueted ball goes about three times further than the ball which was struck

Roll - both balls go about the same distance

Split - the balls go in different directions

Stop shot - the croqueted ball goes relatively further and the striker's ball goes a relatively less distance than in a drive

Take off - the strikers ball goes a fairly long distance, and the croqueted ball barely moves

When a turn ends

The turn ends if a player does not a) make the ball go through a hoop, or b) make a roquet.

A turn also ends during a stroke if the croqueted (hit) ball goes off the court, or the players ball goes off the court, unless it first made a roquet or scored a hoop on the way out.

The turn also ends if the wrong ball is played, or the ball is not moved.

The turn does not end if a ball is roqueted off the court, or if that players' ball goes off the court after making a hoop or a roquet. Note - a ball is off court when it touches the white line, it does not have to cross it to be considered off.

If any balls go into the yard line area or off the court, they must all be put back on the yard line opposite the place where they went into the yard line area or off the court, before the next stroke of the turn.

This does not apply after running the hoop or if the player is to play that ball, it can be played from where the ball lies as long as the turn has not ended for another reason.


When playing competitive croquet, there will be a system of handicaps in place to offer concessions to less able players so that it balances competition with stronger players.

A bisque is the word used for an extra turn given to the player with a greater handicap. In singles play, one bisque is given for each unit of difference between the handicaps of the two players.

For example, Player A has a handicap of 5, while Player B has a handicap of 3. Player would receive two bisques (extra turns).

In doubles half a bisque is given for each unit of difference between the combined handicaps of the two sides. For example a difference of 4 becomes 2, 3 becomes 1 and a half.

A half-bisque earns an extra turn but no point can be scored by either side during that turn. A bisque can be taken at the end of any turn at any time throughout the game. The same ball is used for the bisque turn as was for the normal turn.

Variations of croquet

Golf croquet

Instead of actually hitting the peg, the object is to run hoops. Each side (singles or doubles) plays one stroke only. The opposing sides are blue and black against red and yellow. The side to score first take the point from that hoop, and play changes to the next hoop.

The balls are played in order of colour. There is no selction of which colour balls to play. The course starts from the north baulk, and the hoops run from one to rover.

The stick or peg stays where it is, but it is not used for points. If the sides are equal after the last hoop, then hoop 3 is played again to decide. A longer course of eighteen hoops, the last six again after the twelfth can be played.

The ball must always be played as if to go through the hoop. Playing to gain a strategic advantage is not allowed. The ball must go through the hoop entirely to score. If an opponents ball is put through the hoop by a player, it is the opponents ball which gets the point.

A player gets one bisque for every three they would have got in regular croquet in a 13-hoop game, and 50% more in a 19-hoop game.

Short croquet

The court dimensions for this are 21.9 x 14.6 metres (24 x 16 yards). The course consists of the first six hoops and then the peg must be struck with both balls. This makes it a 14 point game.

The rover hoop is placed 5.48 metres (6 yards) north of the peg, with hoop 5 placed (4 yards) south of the peg. The other four hoops are placed four yards in from the boundary on each corner.

There is also a variation of short croquet, played to 18 points. This only applies to singles.

Either both balls start at the fifth hoop, or one ball starts at the first hoop, the other starts at hoop 4 as on the diagram above.


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