Mallet, Balls and Gilet – The Official Rules of Croquet

Croquet with Gilet

Indian Summer Approaching

Just in case we are in danger of being the beneficiaries of an Indian Summer, we at Guiillotine England HQ decided we should share with you some helpful tips about the wonderful game of croquet. As avid players and life long fans fo the beautiful game we want to ensure you have as much fun playing croquet as we do. We also believe that we are the unofficial sportswear providers to the after lunch croquet association, the gilet being the perfect match for a spot of mallet and ball. There are of course many ways to play so here are the official rules according to the national governing body for the sport of Croquet in England, The Croquet Association. We will follow up further down with our own versions and rule alterations.

The Official Rules

The game of croquet involves four players each with a coloured plastic or wooden ball. Players take it in turns to hit the balls with the mallet through a series of hoops placed strategically around the croquet lawn. There is a multicoloured stake in the centre of the court called the “peg” when the all hoops have been run through in the correct order a player hits the peg with their ball to complete the game and their ball is removed. The first team/pair to finish/win the game. 

Contrary to popular belief you need to complete 12 hoops before pegging as opposed to most families we know who only complete one circuit of the course. If you go the whole hog and have all the kit you can keep your audience up to date and keep an eye on progress by pegging your colour on the next hoop to be played. On the first circuit of the court you put your peg on the crown of the hoop. Second time round you put your peg on the shoulder of the hoop. 

Croquet map

What makes it more fun

If like us you enjoy a bit of competition then croquet is your game. Although often seen as a gentle game for after lunch, we find inter family rivalries come to the fore and the chance to smash your oponent off the park is not to be missed. 

There are two ways to get an extra shot:

  1. When your ball passes through a hoop, you get another shot.
  2. If you hit another players ball (Roquet), you can pick your ball up and place it next to theirs and hit it in any direction you want. You also get another shot after this. You can however only do this once to each ball between your hoops. So beware not to leave your ball near another player who has yet to croquet you. 

If your ball leaves the agreed court area it will be placed a yard inside the boundary level with where it left the court. 

The finish

To finish the game you need to pass your ball through 12 hoops in the correct order, you then need to peg your ball by hitting the centre peg. This can be done by direct hit or another player hitting you onto the peg.

Alternative croquet games and rules

As mentioned above there are many variations and rules that can be also known as “House Rules”. Here are some of our favourites.

Get back to the start

There is no mention of sending a ball back to the start in the official rules of croquet. We play that if your ball is pegged before the final hoop you have to go back to the start. Often the cause for family rifts that last until the next glass of rose or a new game is declared.

Banking croquet

Banking croquet is an alternative form of the game that requires players to play as individuals. They rack up a score each time they pass through a hoop with the intention of collecting 10 points by passing through ten hoops. Once they have ten or more points they can bank them by hitting the peg. You then start collecting again until the next ten points collected and bank again. The goal might be 30 points. 

What makes this more fun is that if you hit another player you collect their points and add them to your own. You can only hit someone between hoops and not repeat the hit until through the next hoop. It may sound easy but once you have 15 points you will be chased by the other three balls mercilessly as they try to take your points. Once they have stolen your points they can’t peg until they have been through a further hoop. I hope you get the idea, it is not a version of croquet for the faint hearted.

Do you have your own version of the game or specific rules tied to a garden feature. We would love to hear them so we can enhance our own lawn sports. 

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