Croquet Information Centre

Croquet Information Centre

The History of Croquet  

Croquet seems to have started life like so many of our modern games with the Romans and their game of Paganica. Paganica was a skill based pass time which was played in the country side. The game involved hitting a ball with a stick at pre-designated trees within a set area.

The winner claimed victory by being the player who could hit the most trees with the least stokes.

The game paganica later branched off in to two family lines one of which used holes in the ground rather than trees (golf) and the other used hoops or wickets and was became known as Palle-Maille.

Palle-Maille seems to have become most popular in towns and villages where space, trees or space to dig holes must have been in short supply. We believe that the sport know as Croquet came from France and seems to come from the peasant's version of the game where a shepherd crook (Croc) was used in place of a stick more traditionally used. The Croc later became the mallets we are now familiar with in the modern game.

Palle-Maille was popular throughout France and was later introduced into Ireland in the 1800's. Records show that the game was being played regularly after 1852 in Ireland and seems to have moved into England shortly after this.

The game of Palle-Maille moved into England in the early part of the 19th century and was publicized and promoted in its modern form of Croquet.

In 1868 The All England Croquet Club was formed. The Croquet Association currently have 176 Croquet Clubs registered in England. Most clubs have an average of 55 players, playing the tournament standard game regularly and with many domestic gardens and Hotels sporting a croquet lawns the game has never been more popular.

The game itself has changed little of the years and Croquet Setsremain pretty standard in their equipment. In recent years we have seen new versions of the game such as Croqkick, a football version of the traditional game and new Family croquets sets which have appeared over the last few years.

Croquet pits each player against the others and there are no team versions of the sport.

The game is a simple matter of pushing your ball through the hoops in the correct order then on to the winning post quicker than you opponents. There are now many different versions of the game and tactics and strategies make this a challenging and competitive

About Croquet Balls 

Garden Games Croquet Sets have been designed with the player in mind we have a range of balls to meet most players needs.

The smallest Croquet set we have is the Lawn Croquet set. The Lawn Set comes with a 6.5oz painted wooden ball. The balls are 7.5cm in diameter and come in first colours (red, Yellow, Black and Blue) in the set but, second colours (Brown, Green, White and Pink) are available to purchase.

Garden Games Lawn Croquet Set Second Colour Balls

The balls are primarily designed to be use by children and their lightweight nature and smaller than standard size reflect this.

Next we have the Cottage and Longworth Croquet Sets. The set was designed with Adult players to use in their gardens and so has smaller 12oz wooden painted first colour balls that are 9.2cm in Diameter. Again second colour sets are available to purchase.

Garden Games Cottage / Longworth Croquet Set Balls in First and second colours

Wooden balls are nice to play with but, are very much designed to be use on a recreational basis and are not competition standard. Variations in the wood make the balls impossible to grade at tournament level. Wooden balls are lovely to use in the garden and a nice set will last you for a long time, however over time you may find that the paint flakes off and the balls can look worn.

Garden Games Limited offer replacements for all out Croquet Sets and have recently launched a range of 12oz composite balls. These balls offer the durability of surface and the ball will play in a more controlled manner, however the smaller weight means that it can be used to replace balls in sets that are fragile or indeed not full size adult sets where the mallet may suffer should a full 16oz ball be used.

Garden Games 12 oz Composite ball (blue Shown)

Wooden balls are not used in the Townsend or Hurlingham Croquet sets, where a composite plastic 16oz ball is used. These balls are completion size and weight however they have not been tested by the Equipment Committee of the Croquet Association.

Garden Games Townsend 16oz Composite Croquet Balls as found in the Hurlinghams and Townsend Croquet Sets

Composite balls offer a fantastic controlled level of play and a hard wearing and beautiful look that will last for many generations. If you are looking at playing in a championship level or with a club the balls used have to pass a strict certification against regulations which govern the size weight and bounce of the balls used in tournaments.

They are as follows - (this information should be used for reference only)

The Championship Ball

(Specification for balls is given in Imperial measurements; however I have also shown metric for reference only.)

The ball diameter must be greater 3 19/32 and must not exceed 3 21/32 inches (91.3mm up to 92.9mm in metric -approx).

The variation in ball diameter size can be no more than 1/32 inch (0.8mm) and variation in the diameter of the balls in a complete set must not differ by more than 3/64 inch (1.2mm).

The ball when dropped from a height of 60inchs (152cm) onto a steel plate,1 inch thick (25mm) and set in concrete, must rebound to a height of no less that 31 inches (787mm) and not more than 37 inches.

The rebound height will be taken by taking an average of eighteen drops.

Each ball dropped will be dropped three times onto each of the poles and the four node areas that appear in the milling pattern on the ball.

The rebound height on a set to be used together during play must not differ by more than 2 inches (51mm).

All championship balls are milled in the same pattern, this must consist of two orthogonal sets of grooves and the width of the grooves must be less that the width of the sections left untouched. Each ball must weigh 16 oz or 460.7 grammes.

The Rules of Croquet  


The object of the game is to race around the circuit of hoops as shown in the diagram below with each player trying
to manoeuvre both their own and their opponent's balls to win points.

Careful positioning of the balls at the end of each turn can restrict their opponent's chances of gaining points for themselves.

Croquet is played with four balls; Black and Blue (cool) versus Red and Yellow (hots).

The first side to get both of their balls through the 6 hoops twice in the order marked on the diagram and hit the peg is the winner.

Once a ball has completed the circuit and hit the peg (pegged out) it is removed from the game.

The side which first completes this course with both balls wins.


A hoop point is scored when a ball passes right through each hoop (runs a hoop) from the correct direction and in the correct order.

The point is scored whether the ball is struck directly with the mallet or with another ball.

On running the hoop the striker gets an extra stroke - a continuation stroke.

If the striker's ball causes another ball to run that ball's next hoop (peeling) it's player gains a point but does NOT gain a continuation stroke.

To win 26 points are required - 12 hoops points and 1 peg point for EACH ball.


The croquet court should be laid out on a grass area measuring 35 by 28 yards and should be laid out according to the diagram below -
Diagram showing the Layout of a Croquet Lawn.

Clips coloured to match the balls (Red, Blue, Yellow and Black) are placed on the hoops to indicate the nexts point for each ball.

The clips are placed on the top of the hoop for the first 6 hoops, and on the side for the balls second circuit.

The Game starts with the the toss of a coin.

The winner can make one of two choices; whether they take the lead and play first or which pair of balls they will play with.

If they take the lead their opponent's has the choice of balls and vice versa.

Each side then take alternative turns.

Each player starts by playing their Croquet balls into the court from the starting lines (baulk lines).

Once the four balls are on the court each side chooses which of its two balls it shall play in turn.

A turn consists initially of one stroke only, but extra strokes can be earned in two ways:

1) If the players ball runs its next hoop, they are entitled to another stroke.
2) If the players ball hits another ball (makes roquet), they place their own ball in contact with the displaced ball and then
strike their own ball so that the other ball moves (takes croquet).

The player is then entitled to one further continuation stroke.

During each turn the player may roquet and then take croquet from each of the other three balls once, however, each time
their ball runs its next hoop they may roquet the other balls once more.

This enables the player to run many hoops in and one turn (making a break). A turn ends when a player has made all the strokes to which he is entitled, or if a ball is sent off the court in a croquet shot, or if a fault is committed.

After each shot, any ball which has been 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, except the players own ball, is also replaced on the yard line.

When a ball has scored its last hoop point (become a rover) it can score the peg point either by the player directly hitting it
on to the peg or by being hit on to the peg by another rover ball.

Once the Peg point has been scored the ball is then removed from the court.