Missing link found, in Norway!
During a visit of The President of the Croquet Association of Norway to Strandpromenaden Krokketklubb, Lillestroem, The Croquet Society found out that the players at the court in Lillestroem played a version of croquet which must be a missing link: A missing link between Association Croquet and 9-wicket croquet.
The players said they believed their fathers for generations had played according to the same rules and they believed they had learnt it from English railway workers around 1850.
The court is very much the same as in Croquet, Norwegian Standard or American 9-wicket, but the surface is hard sand, not grass. The equipment is short mallets held by only one hand, and small balls.
The Croquet Society thinks that 1850 is too early. Croquet is considered entering into Norway around 1860. In 1850 it became known in England, but not among the workers, though it quickly became very popular. Then it seems that it has always been played with long mallets in Britain. However a club in Glasgow have been found that played it on gravel with short mallets using one hand only. On the other hand a picture from the last half of 1800 from Bjoerkelangen, in the vicinity of Lillestroem, shows that they used long mallets too.
The Croquet Society believes the one-hand-croquet to have originated in Denmark. They have got 6000 players still playing it. From Denmark it spread up the south-west coast of Norway with seamen.
But watching the game at Lillestroem one has to confess that it resembled very much Association Croquet in tactics. It could be the missing link or Olde English still alive and kicking, being played in the good old Kingdom of Norway!!