Croquet a game for everyone

Play suspended: Happy players in happier times at the Narooma Croquet Club.

Play suspended: Happy players in happier times at the Narooma Croquet Club.

While croquet competition is temporarily inactive it's time for a reflective look at the game. The modern game of croquet is reputed to have started in Ireland in the 1830s and was taken to England during the 1850s.

"It became an instant success, one reason being because it provided the first opportunity for women to participate in an outdoor sport on an equal basis with men," according to Dr Ian Plummer of Oxford Croquet.

An insight into how the sport was promoted at the time is provided by an extract from "How to play Croquet", dated 1878, as follows: "It comes as an outdoor sport for the men, ladies, misses, and even little children - for the rich and for the poor, the strong and the weak, easily learned, and always intensely interesting and attractive to all".

Croquet in NSW has a proud history, from its first tournament between seven founding clubs at the Sydney Cricket Ground in 1906, to the now 70 clubs in 2020 throughout the State. Croquet provides an opportunity to engage in an inclusive, rewarding and competitive sport.

Participants range from social players to International representatives. Croquet and mallet sports prides itself on the welcoming and nurturing culture within its clubs and the wider croquet family, plus with positive engagement with their local community. Croquet NSW acknowledges the original owners, past, present and emerging of the lands on which we play. (An extract from the Strategic Plan of Croquet NSW)

"Golf Croquet" is played with a mallet over a course of 6 repeated hoops, using 4 coloured balls, one point being scored for the first ball through each hoop, circulating the hoops until one team (doubles, one ball per player) or one player (singles, two balls per player) scores 7 points.

Tactics of the game involve getting close enough to the hoop to score, playing a ball to block your opponent's ball, and knocking an opponent's ball out of a scoring position. So it is more complex than making a putt in golf and is more like the tactics used in billiards.