HISTORY OF CROQUET
The origins of croquet are a little cloudy. The game dates back to the turn of the 19th century. Some say the game developed from the French game paille-maille, or Pall Mall (pronounced /ˌpæl ˈmæl/, meaning chaotic), others believe it was a game of French countrymen. Irish tourists then brought the game to the British Isles. Croquet gained popularity during the second half of the 19th century, and you may be familiar with movies, or literature examples that prove how important it was for honorable citizens to be able to play the game.
Croquet was also featured during the 1900 Olympics in Paris as an official sport. The interwar period is generally considered to be the golden age of croquet.
After WWII, the game spread among the lower class. Queen Elizabeth II became the patron of the British Croquet Association and soon the world learned about a number of star croquet players Since the 1990’s the game has spread all around the world including the Czech Republic.
THE BASICS OF THE GAME
Croquet is basically a race between two sides (two players, or two pairs of players) each of whom has a pair of balls. They play on a court or a lawn in the garden. The course consists of hoops through which each ball must pass. Each ball must be knocked against the peg at the end of the route. The first side to peg-out both its balls is the winner.
THREE TYPES OF CROQUET
Croquet is an umbrella term for three completely different games.
Garden croquet – nine or ten wide hoops, light wooden balls smaller in diameter, relatively short mallets with a tiny head. It can be played on any kind of surface.
Association croquet (international croquet) – it is played on carefully cut lawns. Oftentimes the court is so flat that its quality exceeds the best golf courses. There are six rather narrow hoops and one peg. The game is played with plastic balls that weigh about 0.5 kg and the mallets that weigh up to 2 kg.
Golf croquet – the equipment is similar to the equipment used for the association croquet. However, unlike association croquet, there are no additional turns for hitting other balls. The main idea here is to hit a ball through the hoops. This form of croquet is faster, players spend less time waiting, as they take turns one after another. The game is becoming more and more popular nowadays.
CROQUET IS NOT CRICKET
When pronounced, croquet and cricket sound almost the same, but they are two completely different sports. Cricket is a bat-and-ball game played between two teams of twelve players on an oval field. There are about 120 million cricket players all around the globe, which makes cricket the second most popular sport in the world.