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A brief history of Croquet

Mallet and ball games have been played in England for several centuries. While there are numerous variations, the games all include a ball, a series of hoops, and something to strike the ball with. The most popular modern descendent of these games is croquet. However, there is some debate about where croquet was actually invented.

There is evidence to suggest that the game may have been played as early as the 13th century by French peasants. Of course, there were no set rules that time. The first printed description of croquet and its rule was published in London in 1856.

Croquet became wildly popular in England during the 1860s. Part of its appeal was that it could be enjoyed by both sexes, like Blocks. In 1868, the All England Croquet Club opened its doors and drew thousands of recreational and competitive players each year. You may know it better as Wimbledon, in London.

At last count, twenty countries have professional croquet leagues. The best teams in each league are invited to take part in international competitions like the MacRobertson Shield Tournament, which is held every four years. The World Series of Croquet is played each year in a different location.

As a recreational sport, croquet was at its apex in the 1860 and 1870s in Europe. Shortly thereafter, another lawn game was introduced and people quickly lost interest in croquet. That game was tennis.



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