Garden Croquet in England - 6 wickets

by Paul Bennett · 25 July 2019

Std 2: best standard for rough lawn play as found in typical backyards.
Std 2: best standard for rough lawn play as found in typical backyards. Photo by Paul Bennett

I have asked “Are 9-wicket croquet sets are still available in England?”, and my contacts across the pond have informed me that “Garden croquet sets are sold as introductions to 6 wicket croquet”.

The Croquet Association, now located at the Cheltenham croquet club, sells Garden Croquet Sets, which include a center peg, 6 croquet hoops (wickets are used in the game of cricket and hoops are used in the game of croquet) and four mallets. Mallets no longer use rubber at the end of face. They are generally made of wood, brass or a composite resin.

Garden mallets cost between 25 and 85 pounds each. Garden croquet sets cost between 95 and 1450 pounds. The greatest difference between the value of the sets lies within the quality of the mallets, the balls and the croquet hoops. The best quality will come closer to the standards of championship play found at nearby croquet clubs and parks. Players find the better equipment useful for practicing shots and skills at home when unable to make it down to their local croquet club.
The Croquet Association

The 9-wicket game was abandoned by the British in the mid 19th century when they found that the game could be made a bit more challenging and interactive by reconfiguring the court into a more square configuration placing the hoops around a central peg. The first four hoops are played in a clockwise order requiring balls travel completely around the outer 4 corner hoops, then the 2 middle hoops are made by traveling up through the middle of the court. The last 6 hoops are done by traveling in a counter clockwise manner around the 4 outer hoops and then finish by traveling down through the middle two last hoops.

Whenever a player falls (fails to completely run the court), usually the court is left abandoned in such a way that the opponent can take quick advantage of the situation and begin its campaign around the court through its hoops.

Playing on long grass, however, presents just as many challenges to the British player as it does to the American players. It is not always easy to get good rushes from a spot on the court to a distant one. Players need to develop skills at rushing balls and making good split shots just as they do in championship 6-wicket croquet.

Parties are fun in the backyard and croquet can be enjoyed probably with any configuration of hoops that you choose. Do not worry if you do not have room for 9-wickets, try 6, or maybe only 4. I find that I can only manage 4 hoops in my tiny backyard.

No excuse … try it out and remember … HAVE FUN!

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