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Croquet Jargon

This page lists croquet abbreviations and croquet jargon used in croquet scoring and descriptions of play, including match reports.

Symbols - A - B - C - D - E - F - G - H - I - J - K - L - M - N - O - P - Q - R - S - T - U - V - W - X - Y - Z - Numbers

For a list of Golf Croquet terms approved by the Coaching Committee, refer to the Golf Croquet Jargon page in the GC Coaching section.



Parentheses are used to indicate who completed a peeling turn in a doubles match: Death & Maugham beat Patel & Kibble +7TPO(M) means that Maugham completed the triple peel on his opponent's ball.



Association Croquet

Advanced Play

This is the most commonly played variation of association croquet, identified by lifts at 1-back and 4-back. It is commonly mistakenly used interchangeably with level play, but advanced is strictly a variation from ordinary level play (See Law 39). By default, Advanced is level-play, but it can be played as Advanced Handicap.


(Acronym) "At Manager's Discretion" or "As Manager Decides" meaning that the part of a tournament so designated will be arranged as the manager sees fit, and may not be notified to entrants before the event.

Aggressive [third turn] spread

See Ducks

Alternate Stroke

A way of playing AC doubles where the pair take each stroke in turn, see Law 48 onwards. It is rapidly increasing in popularity and is particularly good when playing handicap with a high-low handicap pair.


Opening intended to discourage a second-turn Duffer tice - the first ball is played to a few yards off the East boundary so that in turn three if a Duffer tice is hit, the striker can get behind it easily for a rush to hoop one for a third-turn break.

Aspinall Peel A term used to describe a peel attempt that is made (generally from an acute angle) with the intention of initially jawsing the peelee. As part of the same stroke, the striker's ball continues to re-strike the peelee and complete the peel by cannoning it through the hoop
Aunt Emma A player who appears more concerned with preventing their opponent from making progress, rather than trying to progress themselves. Generally considered to be a dull way to play the game, the approach involves keeping the opponent separated and avoiding risks


B-Spread A B-Class player's attempt at a D-Spread, usually with the peg ball able to hit its partner with an 8-10 yard shot. B-Class players often don't realise that an OSL is both better and easier to achieve if the peg ball is not near position before running the final hoop.
Backward Ball The ball of a side that has made fewer hoops than the other
Baulk (line)

One of the two lines from which balls are played into the game. "A baulk" runs from Corner I to the middle of South Boundary, whilst "B Baulk" runs from Corner III to the middle of North Boundary.

Blob (Accidentally) failing a hoop, with the ball remaining in the jaws
Block (GC) To position a ball to obstruct the path of another (usually an opponent's ball)
Box, in the

A ball in the box is a pegged-out ball no longer in play - used to describe a clip position: John is 6 and box, Sam is peg and 4.

Bray Slice A stroke attributed to Roger Bray (England test team 1969) where the mallet is swung at an angle to the line of the intended ball travel. The face remains pointing along that line and hits the ball with a glancing blow. The usual use is to run a close angled hoop without double-tapping because the mallet gets out of the way of the ball.

Break Down
Broke Down

Ending a turn (break) not under control - usually be sticking in a hoop (blob) or missing a short roquet
Burridge Swiss

An alternative format to block play that avoids games towards the end of the block may be dead (i.e. the result is inconsequential) or half-dead (i.e. the result matters only to one player).

The format dispenses with blocks and instead has one large Swiss. This is run fairly strictly, but with some flexibility (e.g. to deal with an odd number of players and to reduce wait time). Define a known number of rounds and a qualification level - i.e. X wins from Y games. As soon as someone has X wins, they qualify and drop out. As soon as someone cannot reach X wins in the number of rounds remaining, they non-qualify and also drop out. Thus, all games are fully "live" (i.e. they matter to both players), everyone gets at least Y-X games, and you get approximately half the field qualifying for the knockout in a defined number of rounds, with no need for any tie-breaks.

It is now usually used with the first few rounds pre-drawn, so that a player may know their first few (often 6) opponents. Players are selected by a computer algorithm from the entire field (i.e. not within a specific block) in order to provide an equal average strength of opponents.


C- The C- prefix is sometimes used to indicate a corner. So C2 is Corner 2.

(AC) A croquet stroke where the act of taking croquet moves three or four balls, not just the usual two.

(GC) To deflect one ball off another with the objective of moving a third ball or scoring a hoop.

CB Croqueted Ball
CD Critical Distance
Centre Line The line on the lawn passing through hoop 5, the peg and hoop 6, extrapolated to North and South boundary
Chinese Wiring A leave such that if the obvious shot offered is taken and missed, the opponent is likely to be wired


This is the term for a roquet made inadvertently on a croquet shot (typically a long take-off). In the early 1980s in Cambridge, the university players at Sidney Sussex would often watch weaker players in college matches. "We were once watching a quite weak pair from Christ's college who were playing one of our pairs, they had brought along some supporters too. During this match one of the Christ's players played one or two take-offs that ended up hitting the ball being taken off to. This elicited rapturous cheers from their supporters much to the amusement of the watching experts, hence the birth of the term."
Clear, Clearance

To remove (an opponent's) ball, usually from its position of tactical advantage. (Also hit away)

Combination (Combo)

A (rare) peg-out attempt (with a low success rate) in which a croqueted ball is used to promote a peg ball onto the peg. This is most commonly attempted at the end of a peeling break when a rush back to the peg cannot be obtained.

A YouTube video shows Robert Lowe completing a combination peg-out during the plate event at the 2009 World Championship. A commentator remarked, "Well, after three less-than-brilliant shots (failing the jump, poor placing of black from the stop shot, and poor placing of yellow from the rush), I think most of us would be delighted to achieve the peg-out."

Contact Leave A leave made having conceded a contact, designed to make life difficult for your opponent as a higher priority than giving yourself opportunity. A common leave places balls in corners 2 and 4, with the other balls placed near the middle of East and West boundaries.

Croquet Player

Critical Distance The distance at which a player would expect to hit 50% of roquet attempts. For most players, this is in the region of 7 yards, but the top players when on form can have critical distances in excess of 13 yards.
Cross-Peg As for cross-wire, but around the peg rather than a hoop
Cross-Wire Two balls that are wired from each other, usually while close to the same hoop. This can be deliberate or accidental
Crush A commonly used term that does not appear in the Laws but is taken to mean the striker causing a ball to be in contact with the mallet and hoop or peg at the same time (unless the stroke is being played away from the hoop or peg). Such a stroke is more likely to be a multiple-contact fault.
Crunch (up) To beat someone decisively and quickly, generally +26tp, and often with no more than 6 turns in the game
Cut rush To rush another ball at an angle. The objective being the resting place of either or both balls


Dambuster (GC) A jump shot over a long distance requiring two or more bounces of the ball (also double bounce shot)
Dead ground The area of the court within which one ball is wired from another
Death Roll A shot to peel Penult with the striker's ball going to near (or to leave a rush on) the pioneer for either 2-back or 3-back. Played to complete the Penult peel without the need for a straight or standard delayed double peel, it has acquired this name due to its ability to bring an early end to the break, often without further hoops being made.
Deem To decline to take a stroke to which the striker is entitled
Defensive Spread

See Dream Leave


A peeling break where the peels are made behind the easiest schedule. (Compare Delayed Triple with Standard Triple)

Delayed Double (peel) A double peel where Penult is peeled before making 4-back, and Rover is peeled straight. This is a standard manoeuvre, most commonly seen as the conclusion to standard triple peels where the first peel jawses, or to complete a delayed triple.
Delayed Triple (peel) A triple peel where the first peel (of 4-back) is made later than immediately after hoop 3 (cf. Standard Triple). Instead, it is made later, typically before hoop 6 or 1-back.

Diagonal Spread Leave

A leave on the East boundary, with a rush into court. One opponent ball is placed near hoop 2, generally south-west of it, with the other by the peg. The peg ball is wired by the peg from the ball at hoop 2, and the shot from the peg ball is hampered, by the peg, from the shot at the balls on EB. (See also B-Spread)

Dream Leave


Refers to more than one game being played concurrently on one court, each game using differently coloured sets of balls, which are ignored by every other game on the court. See the GC Rules or AC Laws for details.


See Mallet Drag

Dream Leave

At the end of the third turn of the game either with all the clips still on hoop 1 or after making a break to 4-back: a leave with a rush from the maximum-distance position on the EB to a ball near the maximum-distance position on the west boundary, often on the yard line. So-called because the opponent must play with the 4th ball, leaving the other three balls in such positions that the striker could only dream of, with an easy start if the opponent misses, and a quite difficult start for the opponent should they hit (since they are unlikely to get such a good rush to the ball on E boundary).

If this leave is created after a third turn break to 4-back, the rush usually is laid with the opponent's ball, resulting in an easy start for a standard triple peel, since the natural line of play will send partner (and peelee) to 4-back. (This is also known as a defensive [3rd turn] spread; compare with also three ducks.)

Dolly rush An easy rush - a straight rush with the two balls less than a foot or so apart
Double (target) A target of more than one ball such that a player will choose to shoot at the group of balls, rather than just one
Double bounce shot (GC) See Dambuster

Another term for pull, but also see mallet drag


See Diagonal Spread Leave

Ducks More commonly known as the three ducks, this is a third turn leave, most commonly left after a third turn break to 4-back, in which all three balls are left near the maximum length distance on W boundary in a line ("three ducks in a row") towards the peg. This leaves the opponent a choice of long (near maximum length), and a standard TP regardless of which shot they take. The leave is normally left such that the player's hoop 1 ball will hit the opponent's ball first; this ensures that the peelee automatically ends up at hoop 3 (or 4-back) for the peel).
Duffer tice A tice positioned, usually a yard or so North, and a touch East, of Hoop 6, laid on the second turn of the game. A Duffer tice may be laid several yards from the described position. The opening is named after Duff Matthews.


E East
East When standing on the boundary between hoops 1 and 4 looking into court, you are stood on South boundary, looking North. East boundary is to your Right.
EB East Boundary
Enemy Ball One of the balls belonging to the out-player


Fingered off
Finger lift

This refers to playing a lift or contact turn where the balls lie. Probably named during the 1979 test series in NZ, possibly by William Prichard. The players wanted to distinguish between a player forgetting that he had a lift or deliberately electing to play the balls where they lay. They decided to invent the international sign of raising the index finger of the right hand in the direction of the opponent (and possibly crowd) to indicate that the lift was not forgotten. By extension, two fingers can be used for a contact not taken or three for a lift taken instead of a contact. Quite a number of players will be careful to use the finger regularly.
Forward Ball The ball of a side that has made more hoops than the other
Forward Rush A rush, usually immediately after running a hoop, in the direction of play; e.g. a rush after running hoop 1 towards hoop 2.
First Colours The normal set of balls (Blue, Red, Black and Yellow). See also Second Colours.
Full Roll A croquet stroke in which the two balls go the same distance in more or less the same direction
Furniture A collective term for the lawn equipment (hoops and peg). Most generally used when a shot accidentally hit one of these items, or if they are in the way of the right shot. (e.g. "I wanted to send red to near hoop 3, but there was lots of furniture in the way".)



Golf Croquet

Grievous Used to describe pegging out a roqueted ball by rushing it onto the peg and therefore not being able to take croquet from it (usually to peg-out the striker's ball to win)


Half Jump A jump shot that drives both the striker ball and an obstruction ball through a hoop
Half Roll A croquet stroke in which the balls travel more or less in the same direction and Striker's ball goes about half as far as the croqueted ball.
Hampered (Stroke) A shot where the striker's normal stance and/or swing is hindered by a hoop, the peg or another ball
Handicap Play

Allows the higher handicap player to take extra turns (AC bisques) or extra strokes (GC) to make the contest an even chance of a win for either side. In doubles AC, either player of a side may use the side's bisques, in GC the extra strokes belong to a player.

Hard Banana A stroke intending to make a roquet but as a result of a mistaken belief that there is a slope on the lawn is aimed away from the target ball, and misses when the ball travels in the straight line. Named after the 2017 MacRobertson shield after such a stroke by Ben Rothman who exclaimed (loudly and repeatedly) "but it was a hard banana".
Heap corner Your balls joined 1 yard on either side of a corner, so you don't have any useful rush
Henshaw Playing a shot (often a lift shot) roughly parallel to the boundary that is sufficiently off-target that it goes off the boundary before it reaches the target balls. Named after George Henshaw, who played with a very narrow (1" wide) aluminium mallet, so consequently mis-hit quite regularly.
Hilditched This refers to getting hampered (Chinese snooker) by another ball, classically after doing a complex cannon in the middle of the lawn or a delicate peel. Named after Richard Hilditch.
Hit Away

(GC) See Clear

Hogan error Creating a double on a lift shot and then going through the middle of it
Hogan roll The big roll from corner 4 sending the striker's ball to 2 and the other ball to 3. Named after Joe Hogan.
Horizontal Spread

A leave similar to a diagonal spread leave (DSL), but with the balls arranged across the lawn East-West, rather than across the diagonal


I, II, III, IV Roman numerals are often used for corner numbers in game descriptions. Each corner is numbered by its nearest hoop.
In-Off (GC) Scoring a hoop by bouncing off another ball
International Sign

See Fingered

Irish Grip A mallet grip in which the mallet is held symmetrically by both hands near the top of the mallet shaft, with palms facing forward (away from the player.
Irish (Peel) A stroke that attempts to peel one ball, while the striker's ball runs (or jawses) in the same hoop


Jam, Jammed (ball) A ball is jammed in a hoop if touches both uprights of a hoop simultaneously. See the laws of AC or rules of GC for a detailed definition.

The area of a hoop between the uprights. Used as a verb to indicate the placement of a ball in a hoop (generally either the striker's ball (deliberately - otherwise, see blob), or a peelee).

Jenkins Error Taking a long lift shot on a slow lawn when you are unable to hit the striker's ball as far as the target ball. Named after Roger Jenkins who did this during the Opens on a rain-soaked lawn, after witnessing another player do exactly the same thing a few moments earlier.
Jump shot A shot where the ball is hit hard into the ground, causing it to jump up, usually to jump over another ball or even a hoop or peg, or to score a difficult angled hoop.


K Black (ball)



How the balls are intentionally arranged by the striker at the end of his turn. In Advanced Play Association Croquet a number of standard leaves used by most players have evolved (e.g. see MSL, Spread).

Lift Hoop

A hoop (1-back and 4-back) which when run (in advanced play) concedes a lift to your opponent who can then choose to play their turn by playing either of their balls from a baulk line.

Level (play)

Playing without taking handicaps into account - there are no extra turns (AC bisques) or extra strokes (GC). The Laws and Rules describe level-play and then add handicapping as a variation. Often mistakenly used to mean AC Advanced play.


Mallet Drag

An occasionally used term (most commonly in Australia) to refer to what is usually called pull on the striker's ball in a split-shot. The intent is to distinguish it from the pull on the croqueted ball, since proponents claim that the two effects are in fact different and can be separately controlled.

Mangler The Manager
Marianas Trench Martin Murray explains: "Nice to see [during the 2007 Home Internationals] the "Marianas Trench" actually filled with water to its full depth of 2 inches (measured with a croquet ball). the Marianas Trench, named after the deepest point in the world's oceans, is a trench at Wrest Park running between the line of hoops 1 & 2 and the west boundary on lawns 1, 3 & 5. In 1976 it made approaching hoop 2 on lawn 5 from the east impossible, since the ball, once moving, would not stop until it was 3 yards west of hoop 2, i.e. in the bottom of the trench.", but caveats "Nothing in the above message should be taken as reflecting on the lawn quality at Wrest Park."
Mat "left it on the mat" - i.e. under-hit a shot
Maugham error Doing all the peels of a TP (or SxP...) and then breaking down on the four-ball break. David Maugham comments: "I think I'm probably the only person to have one in an SxP, certainly the only one in a test match. It was named after doing it twice in one test match (against Australia) in 1996."
Maugham Standard (Leave)


Maximum-distance position The position on the East boundary that is the maximum possible distance from both A-baulk and B-Baulk. It offers a 19.5-yard shot from corner 3 and from the end of A-baulk nearest to corner 4. There is a symmetrical position on the West boundary.

To McCullough ones partner ball is to put it somewhere that eliminates any risk of being tempted into a peeling break. Usually, this refers to sending partner (for 4-back) as a pioneer at 3-back thus rendering the straight triple all but impossible. (A variation is to ensure that when making hoop 2 off partner, you get a rush pointing West.) John McCullough did indeed tend to the defensive, and the number of times his 4-back ball ended up as the 3-back pioneer was such that the only believable explanation was that he was trying to engineer an excuse for not trying the 4-back peel straight.


A Maugham Standard Leave. Enhancement of the NSL with the hoop 2 ball on the wire of hoop 2, not rushable to hoop 1 (and can be hit from some distance whilst remaining at hoop 2). Commonly used by David Maugham.

Murray Control A hoop stroke hit at pace that only runs the hoop by a short distance (due to hitting wires lots of times), often leaving a near-perfect rush. Named after Martin Murray.


N North
NB North Boundary
Nestle (GC) Synonymous with "to jaws" but also used to describe placing a ball close to an opponent's to make it difficult to play without faulting.
North When standing on the boundary between hoops 1 and 4 looking into court, you are stood on the South boundary, looking North.

New Standard Leave. A leave with an opponent ball on the east wire of 4 with a rush into the lawn from (near) the EB maximum distance position. The other opponent ball is near hoop 2.

Nudge When roqueting a ball, to push it a short distance to a more favourable position from which to take croquet. The ball may be nudged somewhat left, somewhat right, or forward. The purpose of a nudge is to make a small but telling improvement in position.


-O the -O suffix is used to indicate a peeling break of any size, but carried out on the opponent (see TPO). In these breaks, the striker's ball need not be pegged out (but sometimes is).
O- A losing peeling break on the opponent (see OTP). The O- prefix is used for losing peeling breaks of all sizes, so an OQP is a losing Quadruple Peel on the Opponent.
Offside (GC) Describes balls that, when a hoop is scored, are resting beyond the halfway line between the hoop scored and the next hoop in order.

Old Standard Leave

A leave, no longer regularly used by design except in an emergency, where the striker is laid up in (or near) corner 4. Opponent's balls are placed near (but not on) the boundary near hoop 2 and slightly North of and well East of the peg. When it was used as the standard leave, striker often POPed partner to 2, thus making a standard TP easy from a missed shot. Only superseded by the D-Spread and NSL because they lengthen the lift shots available.
One-Ball A variation of Association croquet where each side has only one ball. Also used to refer to an end-game where one or more balls have been pegged out (typically after a TPO).

See Old Standard Leave


A triple peel on the opponent, but failing to win the game (see TPO)


Octuple Peel

Octuple Peel

As for Sextuple Peel, but the last eight hoops


Ordinary (play) See Level (play)



To place a ball in a particularly inconvenient position, usually, tight up against a hoop upright. e.g. "I was trying to send a ball from corner IV to hoop 2, but parked it against hoop 4".

Pass Roll A croquet stroke that is intended to send both the striker's ball and the croqueted ball in a similar direction, but where the striker's ball travels significantly further.
Pawn Brokers A three-ball target at which the striker can shoot, generally with the centre ball of that target being closer than the other two balls. Hence the striker can aim at the middle, nearer ball, and stand a good chance of hitting one of the others if this target is narrowly missed. Named due to the target's resemblance to the traditional symbol for Pawn Brokers.
Peel Scoring a hoop-point for a ball other than the striker's ball by putting it through its next hoop while playing a turn with another ball.
Peelee A ball that the striker is attempting to peel
Peg-out pegging-out Scoring the peg point for a ball and thus removing it from the game - or scoring one or more peg points to win the game. You can peg-out your opponent's ball, or peg-out both your balls to win!


The eleventh (penultimate) hoop
Pirie Poke A shot invented by John Riches and Dr. Vern Potter while playing at Port Pirie in South Australia. It involves hitting the striker's ball forward by swinging the mallet backward (yes, it is indeed possible!), and is used when running a hoop with a ball that is in contact with a hoop-leg and at a very acute angle.
Plummer For croquet, the speed of a lawn is defined as the time in seconds taken for a croquet ball to travel the full length of a standard court when it just comes to rest on the far boundary. On a fast lawn a relatively gentle shot will be adequate for the full traverse, so a fast lawn corresponds to a longer time of transit. The measure, in seconds, is often replaced with the "Plummer", after Ian Plummer promoted its use, so an "11-second lawn" is often referred to as an "11 Plummer lawn".
Polarity The property of a leave that gives importance to precisely which balls occupy the opponent's ball positions. For example, if a leave makes an opponent think that one ball is better to play with than the other, then making that ball their forward ball is better than if it were their backward ball (and thus the ball they would otherwise prefer to play with).
Polo Taking a shot at a near-perfect double target, but somehow finding a way of going through the gap between the balls. See also Hogan error.
Portwood To pester the tournament manager for another game
Position (GC) go for or take position: To position the striker's ball in a position of tactical advantage, usually threatening to run the hoop.
Position A

Used as a general term to describe a position in which a ball has finished and is the worst possible place. For example, the Worse than death position.

POP Peel on Opponent. Peeling an opponent's ball through hoop 1 (and possibly 2 and 3 as well) is a tactic that makes it more difficult for the opponent to complete a peeling turn (e.g. TP) later in the game.

The primary set of balls are Red, Yellow, Blue and Black

Promote To cause a ball other than the striker's ball (and usually partner ball) to move to an advantageous position.

In a croquet stroke played as a straight stop shot, the croqueted ball will travel along the line of the centres of the balls involved in the croquet stroke if a stop shot is played. If however a wide split roll is tried it will be found that both balls deviate from their intended trajectories and both curve in slightly towards the aiming line. This is called pull.

Pull is due to spin about a vertical axis being imparted to the balls as they rub past each other in the croquet shot. This spin acts against the grass and causes the balls to arc. The rougher the balls the better they mesh together and acquire spin in the croquet stroke. Pull also varies with the weather (temperature and humidity), the type of balls and lawn conditions (dry or wet grass, length and type of grass). Unfortunately, it is up to experience as to how much to aim off for given conditions. Therefore deeply milled balls, long or heavy grass and a long path will maximise the effects of pull. It is claimed that pull is most noticeable on roll shots at 45 degrees.

Some players claim an effect known as negative pull, generally in pass-rolls at around 30-degree split, but others deny this.



Quintuple Peel (5 peels)


Quadruple Peel (4 peels)

Quadruple Peel

As for triple peel, but for the last four hoops


R Red

To Riggall someone is to peg them out or to Riggall one off is to peg-out ones own ball. Named after Leslie Riggall, a late South African who wrote on the disadvantages of pegging-out one ball when its partner ball has not yet finished the course of hoops. The then editor of The Croquet Gazette decided to give the letter prominence by printing it on the front page of The Croquet Gazette and so it was a talking point, and the name stuck.


Referee of Tournament; more formally the Tournament Referee

Rover (ball) A ball that has run the last hoop becomes a Rover ball
Rover (hoop) The twelfth (and last) hoop. Can also refer to the 6th hoop in a 14-point game.

To cause another ball to move to a position of tactical advantage - in AC restricted to when a roquet is made (otherwise it is a scatter shot)


S South

A prefix used to indicate a peeling break in which each peel is made just before the striker's ball makes the same hoop for itself. (e.g. STP: Straight Triple Peel).

SA See Super-Advanced
SB South Boundary; Striker's Ball

Short Croquet

Scatter A stroke played similar to a roquet/rush, but on a dead ball. This is generally only played when something has gone wrong (e.g. you've misapproached a hoop), and an attempt is made to 'scatter' the balls in the final stroke of the turn in an attempt to prevent your opponent from having an easy start.
Scratch Scratch-Player: a player who has a zero (scratch) handicap

Second Colours

The alternative set of coloured balls (Green & Brown v Pink & White). See also First Colours.
Sextuple Peel A break to the peg during which another ball is peeled through its last six hoops and then both balls pegged out.
Short Croquet

A variation of AC played on a half-size lawn as a 14-point game with an extra wiring law and low-handicap players being obliged to make peels before they may peg out. It's great fun and quick to play and is described in the Laws.

Single Ball Stroke A stroke with only one ball involved - e.g. shooting and running a hoop. It is often remarked (in jest) that some people are good at single ball strokes because they are not good at croquet strokes (and so end up having to run long hoops and long roquets in the middle of a break).
Skinley error Hitting the outside ball on a lift, rushing it to the SB making it very difficult to get a rush on the ball left on the boundary.
Solomon Bisque A variation on a normal (extra turn) bisque, in which the player is permitted to replay the stroke. This can be a useful coaching aid.
Solomon Grip The grip used by John Solomon where the mallet is held symmetrically by both hands at the top of the mallet shaft with knuckles facing forward away from the player. It allows for a much more upright stance.
South When standing on the boundary between hoops 1 and 4 looking into court, you are standing on the South boundary, looking North.
(a) Southern A position in which there is no shot you can play that can stop your opponent from inevitably winning on the next turn. Typically the opponent is for peg and peg, and you propped up on your hoop (having failed it) so you have no hope of running your hoop or hitting the opponent's ball. Named after Collin Southern after a position against Robert Fulford.
Southern Cross (leave)

Generally made when the striker attempts to set up a cross-pegged leave spread, but fails to wire the opponent's balls across the peg, so leaves one of his own balls on the east border and the other on the west border, usually near the 2nd corner.

Spooner error Hitting the ball on one side of the lawn on the lift shot (e.g. the ball by hoop 2), then taking off to the other balls on the other side of the lawn and either taking-off short and missing, or taking off the lawn.

Usually, a Diagonal Spread leave; but for third-turn leaves see Aggressive Spread (or Ducks) or Defensive Spread (or Dream Leave)


A split shot is a croquet stroke sending both balls (usually some distance) at an angle of much less than 90 degrees. For example, he split from near hoop to hoop 3 going to the pioneer at hoop 2; means the stroke was played from near hoop 1, croqueted ball went to hoop 3 and striker's ball went to hoop 2.

Squeeze A leave typically used by the single-ball player in a pegged-out game. They take position to run their (odd-numbered) hoop, with a wired (or sometimes distant but open) ball as reception ball and a second opponent ball near their next hoop. If the opponent takes either shot and misses, a three-ball break is conceded; if a shot is declined, a 2-ball break opportunity is available. It is most common after a TPO, where the contact turn finishes with the single-ball player in front of hoop 1 having rolled-up from the east boundary ball sending it peg-high between hoops 1 and 2, leaving the other ball in corner II.
Standard- A prefix used on any peeling break where the peels are done according to a schedule, generally the earliest conventional opportunity for each peel. (See standard triple for an example).
Standard Grip The traditional croquet grip, with one hand holding the top of the mallet, with knuckles facing forward (away from the player). The other hand holds the mallet lower down, with the palm facing forward.
Standard Triple (Peel) A triple peel where the 4-back peel is performed just after making hoop 3, Penult is peeled just after making hoop 6. Rover is peeled on the way to the 3-back pioneer.

A Straight Triple Peel

Straight Used to describe a croquet stroke in which the croqueted ball and the striker's ball are both sent in the same direction (but not necessarily the same distance).

A prefix used to indicate a peeling break in which a peel is made just before the striker's ball makes the same hoop for itself. Can apply to one or more peels (E.g. Straight Triple Peel).

Straight Triple (Peel)

A Triple Peel in which each peel is completed just before the striker makes the same hoop

Stun shot (GC) To hit away another ball from a very short distance with the objective of striker's ball stopping close to the starting point of the target ball.

A variant of AC intended to resolve a perceived lack of interactivity at the highest levels of the game, particularly when played in relatively easy conditions. Having been pioneered in England, it is now defined in the Laws. There are two facets:

  • A third lift hoop, with an additional penalty for running all three lift hoops before partner has run any of them conceding a lift to any position in the lawn
  • The first stroke of the game must hit a hoop, pass through a hoop, hit the peg or leave the lawn, making the Supershot opening less playable, and thus reducing the value of winning the toss (and then choosing to play first).
Supershot An opening where the player of turn one plays a ball to the middle of the lawn, generally to the east of the centre line, between 5 and the peg. The idea is that wherever their opponent goes, the player threatens to hit and complete a break on the third turn of the game. Also used to describe a player whose shooting is of sufficient standard to justify this opening as a routine one.
Swiss Block

A method of organising a tournament where the players are listed in order of the number of games won and paired for their next game with a player on a similar number of wins. With a sufficient number of rounds, the list order becomes that of how well the players played. Whilst a fair method, a significant disadvantage is that a round cannot be scheduled until the previous round is complete. A Flexible Swiss uses the basic idea but schedules games more quickly from players waiting to play, the winner being the one on the best ratio of wins to games played.

Swiss Gambit 'Intentionally' losing one's first game in a Swiss block to get into the 'easier' half
SxP Sextuple Peel



Used to indicate a score in a game that finished on time: Kibble beat Patel +10t means no one pegged out both balls and Kibble scored 10 more hoops than Patel when the game ended due to its allotted time expiring. See the Regulations in the Tournaments section for an explanation of timed games.

Take-Off A croquet stroke where striker's ball travels much further than the croqueted ball (at right angles to the line of centres of the balls placed for the stroke). A thick take-off moves the croqueted ball much further than a thin take-off (where it hardly moves).

A leave with a rush laid near corner 3, and the opponent cross-wired around hoop 1. Also used to describe the subsequent (approx. 33-yard) shot. Used to give the maximum possible length of shot.

Keith Aiton (eye-witness) writes: During the 1990 NZ Open Doubles Championship at the United Club in Christchurch, Bob Jackson and Joe Hogan (then World Champion Doubles Pair) were playing. The Legend says that in order to avoid having a bye, two of the ladies who were there to prepare tea were persuaded to make up the numbers; they were not in fact tea ladies, but were mistaken for them. Joe laid up an octuple for Bob and the shot hit was from hoop 3 to a yard south of hoop 5. The first shot was hit, but no hoops made so Joe made the leave again and the other "tea lady" hit. I have rarely heard bigger cheers at a croquet tournament.

Third Colours

Rarely used set of ball colours: Turquoise & Burgundy v Orange & Gray
Three Ducks

See Ducks

TP Triple Peel
TPO A winning Triple Peel on Opponent
Triple Peel A break to the peg during which another ball is peeled through its last three hoops and then pegged out. In a triple peel on partner the striker's ball is also pegged out, thus winning the game (a TP). In a triple peel on the opponent (TPO or OTP), the striker's ball may or may not be pegged out.
Trundle Moving a ball from one place to another usually with the side of the mallet. While trundling is not mentioned in the Rules, it is a time-honoured practice: using a mallet to move (trundle) a ball into position for a stroke.


U Blue (Ball)


Variation B This variation introduced a lift hoop at 4-back, and was developed in response to ordinary level play becoming repetitive since it was too easy for a player with the innings to keep it. The lift gave the out-player additional opportunities to hit in. The details of variation A have been lost to history.
Vertical Spread A leave where the opponent's balls are left near Rover and Penult. Classically, the two opponent's balls are cross-wired by the peg, and the shot at them from either baulk line (assuming a lift is being conceded) is shielded by hoops 5 and 6 respectively. The striker's balls are joined on either East or West boundary.


W West

Walter off

This means to turn down a shot in favour of a more defensive choice. In the first instance, it referred to refusing a relatively simple hoop and returning to partner. Thus originally it was somewhat derogatory. Now it can be used where the decision would be seen as sensible by most people. It is named for John Walters who did this a few times when he was already a very strong player.
WB West Boundary
WCF World Croquet Federation

See Jam

West When standing on the boundary between hoops 1 and 4 looking into court, you are stood on the South boundary looking North. West boundary is to your left.


This refers to a shot that is too short. It is not related to Wharrad turns. Originally it was applied to take-offs. It was named for Lionel Wharrad playing at Southwick on a pretty slow lawn. He was taking off from corner 2 to corner 4 and just reached hoop 4, he Waltered off the shot (see above) and returned to partner in corner 2. The opponent did nothing and Lionel repeated his take-off, this time he just got past the peg.
Wharrad Turn Lionel Wharrad suggested an alternative method for concluding timed games from the normal tournament regulation. After, say, 2hrs of play, "time" is called and the players are each given 'n' more turns (often 6 each). These turns are the Wharrad Turns. Their principal benefit is that they discourage 'time management' by a player playing deliberately slowly to deprive the opponent of the opportunity of playing (and winning) before Time occurs. While still fairly rare, their use is sufficiently common for them to be defined in the Croquet England Tournament Regulations.
Whichelo Variation

This variation proposed a lift at 1-back, in addition to the conventional (at the time) single lift hoop at 4-back. This subsequently became the normal form of play and is now known simply as Advanced Play, and codified in Law 39.


This refers to rushing a pioneer into position rather than using a croquet stroke to place it. One of the University players at Cambridge in the early 1980s was a Guy Willock. He was of a reasonable B class standard. He had learnt his game away from the other good players. Despite encouragement that it was more accurate to use a croquet stroke he continued his habit of using rushes to put out his pioneers, hence the name.
Wired Unable to hit any other ball due to hoops or pegs being in the way. Defined in detail within the laws. Also describes a position where a ball is blocked from a target by an obstacle, such as a hoop or the peg (e.g. "yellow is wired from blue by hoop 2").
Worse than Death This is when a pioneer is rushed to the horrible position about 2 inches dead behind a hoop from where it is very difficult to take-off to easy hoop position. Believed to have been coined by someone down-under.
Wylie Peel An attempt to rush a peelee directly to its hoop after making a hoop for the striker's ball, then attempt the peel while getting a rush on a second ball. The presence of a conventional pioneer at the next hoop for striker's ball makes this a low-risk peel attempt. It is named after Keith Wylie who pioneered this, particularly for Penult after 1-back and Rover after 3-back.


XP Cross-Pegged
XW Cross-Wired


Y Yellow (ball)


Z-Event A (usually optional) consolation event run at many tournaments, either for players knocked out of both the main event and the consolation event, or for players who find themselves with some spare time between rounds.


I, II, III, IV Roman numerals are often used in game descriptions for corner numbers. Each corner is numbered by its nearest hoop.
1b, 2b, 3b, 4b Hoops 1-back (7), 2-back (8), 3-back (9), 4-back (10)
14-point (14-pt), 18-pt, 22-pt

AC variations, collectively known as shortened games (Law 51). They are played exactly as the full (26-pt) game except with fewer hoops to be run by starting at a later hoop, finishing at an earlier hoop, or advancing the partner clip immediately the first hoop is run. Handicaps are adjusted and in doubles, the number of allowed partner-ball peels adjusted - see Law 53.


A GC variation: "GC is a contest for the best of 7, 13 or 19 points", though generally only 13-point is played. See Rule 1.4

2-4 leave

An MSL, although the hoop 2 ball is not always so precise

2bb, 3bb, 4bb Two-, Three- or Four-Ball Break
3 ducks

See Ducks


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