Croquet is a sport that involves hitting plastic or wooden balls with a mallet through hoops (often called "wickets" in the United States) embedded in a grass playing court.
There are several variations of croquet currently played, differing in the scoring systems, order of shots, and layout (particularly in social games where play must be adapted to smaller-than-standard playing courts). Two forms of the game, association croquet and golf croquet, have rules that are agreed internationally and are played in many countries around the world. The United States has its own set of rules for domestic games. Gateball, a sport originated in Japan under the influence of croquet, is played mainly in East and Southeast Asia and the Americas and can also be regarded as a croquet variant.
As well as club-level games, there are regular world championships and international matches between croquet-playing countries. The sport has particularly strong followings in the UK, US, New Zealand and Australia; every four years, these countries play the MacRobertson Shield tournament. Many other countries also play. The current world rankings show England in top place for association croquet, followed by Australia and New Zealand sharing second place, with the United States in fourth position; the same four countries appear in the top six of the golf croquet league table, below Egypt in top position, and with South Africa at number five.
Croquet is popularly believed to be viciously competitive. This may derive from the fact that (unlike in golf) players will often attempt to move their opponents' balls to unfavourable positions. However, purely negative play is rarely a winning strategy: successful players (in all versions other than golf croquet) will use all four balls to set up a break for themselves, rather than simply making the game as difficult as possible for their opponents. At championship-standard association croquet, players can often make all 26 points (13 for each ball) in two turns.
Croquet was an event at the 1900 Summer Olympics. Roque, an American variation on croquet, was an event at the 1904 Summer Olympics.
Source: Croquet from Wikipedia
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