Inviting discussion on points of etiquette, conduct and the laws, with particular emphasis on helping improving players.

Etiquette (GC)

Section 14 of the rules describes fifteen ways Etiquette can be broken. Although many are very unlikely to occur, I suggest all members take time to have a quick look at all of them.

However a couple are worth remembering because they may crop up in every game:

  • Item (4): disturbs other players during the match by talking, making noises, standing or moving in front of the striker.
  • Item(11); except with the permission of an opponent or referee, attempts to perform a physical test to determine whether a point has been scored or may be scored.

Posted by Alan Morton (Referee), 2nd October 2017

Cleaning the ball (GC)

If you wish to clean the ball it is best to ensure you have your opponents permission else a non striking fault will be committed.

GC Rule 12(a)(2) refers to this.

Posted by Alan Morton (Referee), 2nd October 2017

GC Double Tap Guidance for Players and Referees

Appendix B of the rules says:
Rule 13(a)(6) provides that a fault is committed in a double tap.

High speed photography has shown if two balls are close together (up to 4mm) before a stroke is played along the line of their centres, an actual double tap is unlikely because the mallet and striker's ball will probably still be in contact when the first ball hits the second ball. It is impossible for a referee to detect reliably a double tap in such situations.

Accordingly, Rule 13(a)(8) resolves this problem by making it a fault if the mallet is in contact with a ball that is in contact with another ball (unless the two balls started in contact). All strokes involving a mallet being driven into balls 4mm or less apart will constitute a fault under either of these sub-rules. For separations above 4mm, where contact is made along the line of centres, a double tap will have occurred if the ratio of front ball travel to back ball travel does not exceed 8:1, measured from the point of contact.

Playing the stroke at an angle, causing the balls to separate in a split, will reduce the likelihood of a double tap.

Posted by Alan Morton (Referee), 2nd October 2017

Double hit in croquet stroke

Law 28 (a) 7A says it is a fault if : In a croquet stroke, or continuation stroke when the striker's ball is touching another ball, allows the mallet to contact the striker's ball visibly more than once;

Note the word 'visibly'. This was introduced when it was discovered the impossibility of hitting the strikers ball just once on a microscopic level.

The commentary explains: "Visibly" means capable of being seen by someone with normal eyesight standing in a good position to observe the stroke. It is not necessary that such an observer was in place for the stroke to be a fault, only that the multiple contact would have been seen if there was. It is not enough, for this sub-law, for the hypothetical observer to deduce that there must have been multiple contacts by analysing the physical behaviour of the mallet and balls.

Posted by Peter Wilson (Referee), 20th August 2015

Hitting the corner peg

When a ball hits a corner peg as it leaves the lawn it does not necessarilly mean that it should be replaced as a corner ball. The ball must be replaced at the point where it first began to cross the edge of the court. This can be a considerable distance from the corner. For example when shooting from the corner one spot, hitting the South corner peg of corner two full on would mean that the ball began to cross the boundary a long way South of the corner. If you were to hit the peg with the right hand side of the ball then it would have left the court even further from the corner.

Pegs should be placed so that they just touch the inside of the boundary line.

Posted by Peter Wilson (Referee), 20th May 2013

Law 45: ADVANCED PLAY IN SHORTENED GAMES

Shortened games are described in Law 44. Law 45 modifies them for Advanced play. It is important to note that the only shortened games where there can be a contact given are the 22 point game and the special 14 point game. In all the other variations Law 36(b) is specifically excluded.

Posted by Peter Wilson (Referee), 22nd August 2012

Unknown Roquet

A player making a roquet, believes it to be a scatter shot and quits the lawn. The oncoming striker plays. No redress: Striker quit the lawn in the belief their turn has ended.

Posted by Don Williamson (Referee), 1st July 2012

GC moving balls

LAW 9 INTERFERENCE explains what happens if a moving ball is affected by a moving ball from another game: Any balls moved are replaced and the shot replayed. But if the final position of the ball is not in doubt then it is placed where it would have stopped.
Also worth noting that no points can be scored because of an interference.

Posted by Alan Morton (GC Referee), 22nd June 2012

GC Law 12

Non Striking Fault Ruling:

The provisions of Law 12(b) shall not apply to a striker during the period between when the striker's mallet makes first contact with the striker's ball and when the striker leaves his stance under control.

What this means is that damage to the court caused by the striker's ball during the striking period shall not be penalised as a fault. The striking period is defined under Law 13 (a).

Posted by Alan Morton (GC Referee), 27th March 2012

Testing a hoop point

Law 47(c)(4) states striker must consult the adversary before testing, otherwise than by an unaided ocular test, whether a ball has scored a hoop point, is in position to score a hoop point, is off the court or is entitled to a wiring lift.

Conduct reminder: Never run your mallet down the hoop to test if a ball is through

Also see Ball At Rest below.

Posted by Peter Wilson (Referee), 4th July 2010

Ball at Rest

Obviously the position of a ball in the game is where it comes to rest. This is critical for wiring lifts and determining if a hoop point has been scored. The laws state that a ball has come to rest when it has stopped moving and remained still for 5 seconds. If a ball moves after this period the striker should replace it.

Law 6 (b)(5) states: A ball in a critical position is deemed to have come to rest only when its position has apparently remained unchanged for at least 5 seconds. If, in addition, its position needs to be tested it is deemed to have come to rest only when its position has been agreed or adjudicated upon.

So if striker wants a test then the test is carried out where the ball actually is unless both sides can agree on its position before it moved.

Posted by Liz Wilson (Referee), 4th July 2010

When not to Forestall

Players sometimes are confused when to forestall play. Typically when an error is about to happen, there is little time to find out, so players should be aware of the laws in order to be ready when called upon to forestall.

All you need to remember is that you do not forestall when you see that your opponent is about to:

  • run a wrong hoop; or
  • play a wrong ball; or
  • purport to take croquet from a dead ball.
  • In all other cases you MUST forestall.

    But, I hear you ask, what is the best etiquette when you do decide to forestall?

    Law 23d states: The adversary should forestall play between strokes and, unless the issue concerns the stroke about to be played, must not forestall play after a stroke has started and before it has been played.

    Posted by Peter Wilson (Referee), 4th June 2010

    adjusting the peg

    I witnessed a game between beginners where, having been cross wired at the peg, the striker asked his opponent if he could straighten the peg. His opponent, having recalled reading in the laws 'at any time during the game either player is entitled to require that a leaning peg be straightened' said yes. Several referees stepped in to say this was incorrect and the peg should not be adjusted at that point.

    To get to the true meaning of Law 3(a)(3) you must read it all: Subject to Law 53(a) (regulations for tournaments), at any time during the game either player is entitled to require that a leaning peg be straightened. Such a request is treated as forestalling play for the purposes of Law 23(d). Any test required for the purpose of Law 13 must be carried out before any adjustment is carried out. Following any such adjustment, the position of the balls must be adjusted if necessary to ensure that the striker gains no advantage thereby (see also Law 15(b)(6)).

    This can lead to complex situations, but the key words to remember are the striker gains no advantage thereby.

    In practice in all critical instances (i.e. wiring lifts, hampered shots, or simply being able to hit another ball) the peg is left where it is until the critical situation is changed when it may be straightened.

    If you are double banked you should always consider the state of the other game before adjusting the peg.

    Posted by Peter Wilson (Referee), 23rd May 2010

    Golf - Ball to Foot

    In the final of the Midgeland an incident occurred where the non striker touched a moving ball with his foot. The tournament manager was called upon and made the correct decision, but some doubt remained among several spectators. Full of Christmas spirit the Webmeister has consulted FCM Abdul on this point.
    Abdul writes:

    Let us say Striker plays Black ball. It touches the opponents feet. The opponent has committed a non-striking fault. The Black ball is placed where it was likely to stop. The opponent loses the turn which would have played the Yellow ball in sequence; and, the game would continue with the striker playing the Blue ball.

    The Tournament Manager was spot on.

    Posted by Webmeister, 18th December 2009

    Unsolicited Advice

    My earlier post of 7th September 2006 (below) discussed when a spectator can or should intervene in a game when something has gone wrong. But spectators should also not offer advice during a game. For example consider a game played under Advanced rules. The scores are tied with the first point scored winning the game. Reminding one player that they can simply peg their ball out to win even when there is no other Rover ball is giving them unsolicited advice and must not be done. But what can you do if this actually happens? The spectator is not bound by the Laws! The answer is Law 50(a). This says... a player is not entitled to receive advice from anyone, except his partner in doubles play and should not take advantage of unsolicited information or advice.

    Meaning if you receive unsolicited advice during a game you must not act upon it or use it in any way to gain an advantage. So in the peg out example you would need to avoid the line of play that leads to a one ball peg out and try to figure out what you would be trying to do if you had not heard the advice.

    Posted by Peter Wilson (Referee) 27th August 2009

    Ref or umpire?

    When playing a shot in which a fault may be committed you must call for a referee by raising the mallet vertically above your head. However in the following circumstances all that is required is an umpire.

    ON CALL: To decide whether:
    1. a ball hits another ball; or
    2. a ball is moved or shaken; or
    3. a ball hits the peg.
    ON APPEAL. To decide whether:
    4. a ball has run a hoop in order or is in position to do so; or
    5. a ball is off the court.

    On call means they are asked to judge an event that is about to happen and on appeal to judge an event that has happened.

    To call for an umpire raise the mallet horizontally above your head.

    Unless specifically identified otherwise by the Tournament Referee, all players entered into the tournament [2011 amendment now adds: who have played in at lease three tournaments] will be deemed to be appointed Umpires by the Tournament Referee. In fact most players on appeal prefer to call for a referee than an umpire because referees will have received training in methods for testing these cases.

    Although most referees will be happy to act as an umpire on call providing they have not had a long walk or interrupted their break to do so, you should try to find an umpire for these jobs before calling for a referee.

    August 2008, Amended by Peter Wilson (Referee) 27th March 2011

    Bisque after wrong ball

    You probably know that if, during a break, you play the wrong ball this will result in the balls going back and end your turn. You may also recall that after that you can take a bisque. As usual in a bisque turn you must continue with the ball you were (supposed to be!) playing but what happens if you play the wrong ball at the start of a non-bisque turn? Can you take a bisque? The answer is yes! Law 37(f) says: If the striker plays a wrong ball in the first stroke of a non-bisque turn and the error is rectified, he may then play a half-bisque or bisque with either ball of his side that could lawfully have been played in the first stroke of the turn.

    Posted by Peter Wilson (Referee) 4th July 2008

    HANDY SUMMARY

    Martin French has put together a one-page summary of the Limits of Claims, outcomes and consequences of errors and interference reflecting the changes recently made. This document may be viewed here.

    Posted by Peter Wilson (Referee) 22nd April 2008

    AMENDMENTS TO THE 6TH EDITION OF THE LAWS

    Although the amendments are quite extensive the bulk of the changes relate to infrequently visited areas of the laws where a referee would normally be called in any case.

    My top three changes every player should know are:

  • FOOT SLIDING:
    Sliding the mallet along the foot and using it as a guide is now a fault.
  • CANNONS IN THE LAWN:
    Groups of balls can now be formed without one being on the yard line.
  • REPLACEMENT AFTER A FAULT:
    In handicap games when a fault is committed the first step is for the non striker to decide if the balls are to be replaced or not. Only when the position of the balls has been decided does the striker decide to take [or not to take] a bisque.
  • Posted by Peter Wilson (Referee) 8th March 2008

    WIRED BALLS

    Leaving aside claims for lifts on the basis of impaired backswings, many players when considering if two balls are wired from each other will state 'I must be able to hit both sides of the ball or I have a lift'.

    While this is basically correct the actual wording of Law 13 c) 1. states A ball ("the relevant ball") is wired from another ball ("the target ball") if any part of a hoop or the peg would impede the direct course of any part of the relevant ball towards any part of the target ball.

    Notice the law states direct line and consequently the referee should not make allowances for any slopes on the lawn when determining the lift. Also note that it is only the peg or hoop which are considered. Other balls do not prevent a player 'seeing both sides' of another ball.

    Posted by Peter Wilson (Referee) 18th July 2007

    CROQUET STROKE - BALL OFF COURT

    I have seen some confusion about how the game is to continue when, in a croquet stroke, the striker sends the croquet ball off the court while the strikers ball runs its hoop in order.

    Law 20 (c) states the striker's turn ends if he sends off the court:
    a) the croqueted ball, unless it is pegged out in the stroke;
    b) the striker's ball, unless it makes a roquet or scores a hoop point for itself in the stroke.

    This shows that the correct way to continue the game is to score the hoop and the turn ends.

    Posted by Liz Wilson (Referee) 11th June 2007

    CHANGING MALLETS

    It is interesting to compare the laws between the disciplines.

    Laws of Association Croquet section B. e) MALLETS

    6. CHANGING A MALLET... A mallet may not be exchanged for another during a turn unless it suffers accidental damage which significantly affects its use.

    Laws of Golf Croquet LAW 3 - EQUIPMENT

    d) ... A mallet shall not be changed during a game, unless it has suffered damage affecting its use in the game, and if so changed may not be used again in that game.

    Posted by Alan Morton (Golf Captain) 21st may 2007

    TOUCHING A BALL WITH THE MALLET

    There have been several incidents in matches where players did not appreciate the danger of committing the fault of touching another ball with the mallet during a shot.

    Laws of Association Croquet 28. DEFINITIONS OF FAULTS (12)

    Laws of Golf Croquet 13 - STRIKING FAULTS (11).

    The most common position where this fault occurs is where there is a ball impeding the backswing. If you wish to play such a shot you must call for a referee. Sometimes in such hampered positions avoiding the touching fault leads to making a different fault such as prolonged contact or a double tap.

    The fault can also turn up in thin take offs where the croqueted ball is only shaken or not moved very far. The danger is, as the mallet follows through, the back end of it twists towards the croqueted ball grazing it.

    Watch out when playing forcing croquet shots around hoops. Take care the croqueted ball does not bounces back and hit the mallet.

    Posted by Alan Morton (Golf Captain) 21st may 2007

    SPECTATOR REFEREE

    In the environment of teaching Croquet it is often necessary to correct errors as they occur during the game.

    However, during tournament play it is vital that spectators only offer their observations according to the Tournament Regulations.

    TR(R5) is a lengthy and exacting list putting a big demand on the average spectator, so in tournament practice most spectators who see something wrong discreetly consult other spectators to confirm their intervention will be correct.

    Unless a spectator is absolutely certain of their actions then the best course of action is to do nothing.

    The TR(R5) list of when a spectator can intervene is as follows:

  • ERRORS To ensure that play is lawfully continued after an error is claimed or admitted.
  • ERRONEOUS INFORMATION. If he hears a player giving erroneous information on the Laws to his adversary.
  • BALL WRONGLY REMOVED. In a handicap game if a ball is wrongly removed from the game.
  • VOLUNTEER INFORMATION. To volunteer relevant information to a Referee On Appeal.
  • BECOME IN CHARGE. To apply to the Tournament Referee to be placed in charge of a game. If so appointed after he has observed that a particular error has been committed, he may not act in respect of that error or draw attention to a misplaced clip until the error has been claimed or admitted or the limit of claims has passed.


  • Posted by Peter Wilson (Referee) 7th September 2006

    MISCELLANEOUS LAWS OF CONDUCT

    Law 51(a) states ... The adversary must not interrupt, distract, interfere with or offer advice to the striker...

    This law is often broken, albeit inadvertently, as a player walks off the lawn and speaks to the oncoming player as their paths cross (typically to explain what they have just done wrong etc).

    It is important to remember that when your turn ends your opponent immediately becomes the striker and so should not be disturbed.

    In tournament play, when your turn ends do not initiate a conversation as you leave the lawn, however if the striker speaks first then there is no problem in replying.

    Posted by Peter Wilson (Referee) 4th September 2006

    REPLACEMENT OF A BALL oN THE YARD-LINE

    Law 12(e) states ... The striker must replace balls on the yard-line with his back to the court...

    I have recently seen this law frequently broken at several tournaments I have refereed in. Perhaps this is because as we are taught to play Croquet we are not subject to the full set of laws from the very beginning.

    After all, at that time there are many more important things to get right such as when to bring a ball on never mind how to do it!

    As time goes by perhaps we never have this law explained to us.

    The reason behind the law is all to do with wiring balls or not wiring balls. Replacing a ball with your back to the court is not only sticking to the rules but good etiquette as you show to your opponent there is no chance of you taking advantage of any sighting as you replace the ball.

    Posted by Peter Wilson (Referee) 30th August 2006