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Croquet

Croquet is a recreational game and, latterly, a competitive sport that involves hitting wooden or plastic balls with a mallet through hoops embedded into the grass playing arena.

The game was apparently invented in Ireland in the 1830s and taken to England as a pastime of the aristocracy in the 1850s. It made its way to the United States, Australia, and France, and whilst never hugely popular has continued to maintain a following.

There are several variations of croquet 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 fields). The main competitive variations played in the UK are golf croquet, where each player takes turns trying to hit a ball through the same hoop, the winner being the player who manages to hit the ball through the most hoops first, and association croquet, where players can take multiple shots in one turn provided while they either a) hit the ball through another hoop, or b) hit another ball. In association croquet, the winner is the player who hits a ball through all hoops and a special ending "pin" also embedded in the ground. There are other variations popular in other croquet-playing nations.

As well as club-level games, there are regular world championships and international matches between croquet-playing countries.

Some people consider croquet to be viciously competitive. The game is depicted being played in the cult film, Heathers.



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