Windsor, California Such Splendor On the Grass

From the roquet to the bisque, the pass roll to the triple peel, croquet is a game whose time has come -- until you're "three-ball dead"

Allan Cleland's nose grazes the grass as he stoops to draw an imaginary line between his ball and the wicket in the final round of the Sonoma-Cutrer Vineyards' version of the World Croquet Championship on May 19. Ireland's Simon Williams, who the day before had been doing a fingertip push-up to calculate a similar shot, anticipates that Cleland will attempt a triple peel and, incidentally, not stain his immaculate summer whites. Australia's Cleland, like 23 of the other best players from Ireland, England, New Zealand, Canada, Australia and the U.S., has come to what some consider the best croquet court in...