CA Logo
CA Logo

Official Rulings on the Laws of Croquet ( ORLC) 6th Edition ( June 2002, Superseded 2008)

Please note that this document has been replaced with the 6th Edition of the Laws.


Section A

1. Principal Function Of ORLC And Responsibility For The Laws Of Association Croquet
2. Background
3. Additional Function
4. Structure
5. Revision Timetable
6. Changes log

Section B

Summary Of Principal Changes From The Fifth Edition
1. Overview

Section C

Official Rulings

Draft Rulings

Possible Amendments

1. An Outline Of The Game
2. The Court
3. Equipment And Accessories
4. Start And End Of A Game And Turn
5. A Stroke And The Striking Period
6. States Of A Ball
7. Outside Agencies
8. The Start Of A Game
9. Election Of Striker's Ball
10. Ball Off The Court
11. Ball In The Yard-Line Area
12. Replacement Of A Ball Off The Court Or In The Yard-Line Area0
13. Wiring Lift
14. Hoop Point
15. Peg Point
16. Roquet
17. Hoop And Roquet Situations
18. Consequences Of A Roquet
19. Placing Balls For A Croquet Stroke
20. Croquet Stroke
21. Continuation Stroke
22. General Principles (Errors)
23. Forestalling Play
24. Compound Errors
25. Playing When Not Entitled To Do So
26. Playing A Wrong Ball
27. Playing When A Ball Is Misplaced
28. Faults
29. General Principles
30. Balls Wrongly Removed Or Not Removed From The Game
31. Misplaced Clips And Misleading Information
32. Playing When Forestalled
33. Interference With The Position Of A Ball
34. Interference With The Playing Of A Stroke
35. Miscellaneous Interference
36. Optional Lift Or Contact
37. Bisques
38. Pegging Out In Handicap Games
39. Restoration Of Bisques
40. General
41. Ordinary Doubles Play
42. Advanced Doubles Play
43. Handicap Doubles Play
44. Shortened Games
45. Advanced Play In Shortened Games
46. Handicap Play In Shortened Games
47. The State Of The Game
48. Referees Of The Game
49. Expedition In Play
50. Advice And Aids
51. Miscellaneous Laws Of Conduct
52. Double-Banked Games
53. Tournament And Match Play
54. Local Laws
55. Overriding Law

Official Rulings on the Laws of Croquet

June, 2002 edition

Copyright © 2001, 2002 The Croquet Association on behalf of itself and the Australian Croquet Association, Croquet New Zealand and the United States Croquet Association All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means; electronic, electrostatic, magnetic tape, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior permission of the Croquet Association.

This document may be reproduced by individuals for their own use.


  1. Introduction, revision timetable and changes
  2. Summary of principal changes from the 5th (1989) edition
  3. Official Rulings
  4. Commentary

Section A


1. Principal Function of ORLC and Responsibility for the Laws of Association Croquet

1.1 The principal function of the Official Rulings on the Laws of Croquet ('ORLC') is to act as the official repository of rulings made by the International Laws Committee ('ILC') with the approval and on behalf of the governing bodies of croquet in Australia, England, New Zealand and the United States of America ('the Four Governing Bodies' or '4GB').

1.2 The ILC consists of four individuals each of whom is nominated by one of the 4GB. At the time of writing (November 2000), the 4GB have joint responsibility for the administration of the laws of Association Croquet. While it is contemplated that at some point in the future that responsibility might pass to the World Croquet Federation, that step has not yet occurred and would require the unanimous agreement of the 4GB before it could occur.

1.3 The individuals nominated to the ILC are currently:


They are indebted to Stephen Mulliner, who edited the new edition of the laws and wrote the initial draft of this document.

2. Background

2.1 Official Rulings first appeared in 1990 as a result of a decision of an International Laws Meeting held in 1990 in Christchurch, New Zealand. It was agreed that some recent changes made to the Laws had proved to cause as many problems of interpretation as they aimed to solve. It was recognised that questions of laws interpretation would sometimes give rise to differences of opinion. It was therefore desirable that the official interpretation in such cases should be made known.

2.2 Following prompting from members of the Australian Laws Committee in the mid-1990s, it was agreed to produce a new edition of the Laws. The main goals of the 6th Edition were:

2.2.1 to improve the organisation and transparency of the Laws;

2.2.2 to deal with situations not covered by the 5th Edition;

2.2.3 to simplify the treatment of errors and interference with play; and

2.2.4 to provide a comprehensive Index.

2.3 The 6th Edition was published in August 2000 and came into force from 1 September 2000. Although a key goal has been to make the Laws more transparent so that one reading of the relevant law(s) should be sufficient to answer any given query, it is inevitable that from time to time players and referees will encounter situations for which the Laws do not appear to provide a clear-cut answer. It is hoped that most such cases, when communicated through national laws committees to the ILC, will be shown to be capable of easy resolution and will merit inclusion in ORLC only as examples of how a particular law operates in the relevant circumstances.

2.4 However, it is possible that more serious differences of interpretation will arise which will demand an authoritative ruling on which interpretation is to be followed in future. Such decisions will have the status of Official Rulings and will appear in ORLC. It is for this reason that ORLC is made a mandatory source of reference by Law 55(a).

3. Additional Function

3.1 A further useful function of ORLC is to act as a commentary on the Laws. Croquet players and referees have been familiar with Prichard's Commentary on the Laws of Croquet (revised in 1988 by Bill Lamb) and with Graeme Roberts' Referees Handbook. Both would have required extensive updating to accommodate the 6th Edition and it makes good sense to use ORLC instead which might otherwise be a rather slim volume in its early months and years.

3.2 The 6th Edition does not need as much commentary as the earlier editions because it has been designed to be more transparent and more has been spelt out. As suggested above, in the great majority of cases the solution to an issue should be apparent from one reading of the Laws, aided by reference to the comprehensive Index. Nonetheless, there are areas, such as the error laws (Laws 22 to 28), which have already generated debate. This has ensured that ORLC already contains some substantive material on first publication.

4. Structure of the Laws

Although the provision of an index should make it easier to find the law on a particular matter, the contents pages still repay study as they reveal the structure of the laws. They are divided into four numbered parts, which are in turn sub-divided into lettered sections.

Part 1 provides an outline of the game, followed by the laws relating to the court and equipment and a set of definitions of terms used throughout the laws.

Part 2 is the core of the laws, giving the laws of ordinary single play. Section 2A describes the game as it should be played; Section 2B deals with errors and Section 2C deals with other forms of interference with play.

Part 3 deals with other forms of play: Advanced, Handicap, Doubles and Shortened games.

Part 4 specifies the conduct of the players and ends with the overriding law, which governs interpretation.

5. Revision Timetable

It is intended to revise this document as required in the light of comments received and to deal with any further issues arising from play under the new Laws. Comments should be sent to one of the representatives named above, or can be e-mailed to the discussion list

6. Changes Log

This section gives a log of significant changes since previous editions of this document. The ILC is grateful to those who took the trouble to submit comments.

June 2002

A.1.3 Merv Dunkley replaced by Max Hooper
C.1 Status of ruling on Law 6(f) upgraded; draft amendments added.
C.2 New draft rulings added on 5(a), 5(d) , 6(a), 37(e), 39(a)(3), Schedule of Bisques.
C.3 New section for possible amendments to simplify the laws.
D.1.1 Amplified to note that balls from other games are outside agencies.
D.3.4.1 Statement that I-shaped mallet heads permitted added.
D.4.3.3 Expanded to cover implicit permission.
D.5.2 and D.5.3 are new text to expand on the meaning of Law 5(a).
D.6.1.3 Minor change in wording.
D.17 Introduction expanded to note meaning of "completes the running" and other clarifications.
D.19.3 New paragraph about dead-ball cannons.
D.19.6 Clarification of pressure permitted to keep balls together.
D.23.2 Additional clarification of 23(b) added.
D.27.2 Policy reason for exception for 28(a)(8) from 27(b) added.
D.28.11 Slight clarification.
D.28.18 Revised to clarify deliberate damage fault.
D.28.19.1 Statement that adversary cannot change his mind added.
D.28.20 Additional example added at end.
D.32.3 Additional statement added about limit of claims for playing when forestalled.
D.37.2 Reference to ruling on Law 4(e) added.
D.37.4 New paragraph referring to draft ruling on 37(e).
D.37.6.4 Wording slightly more explicit.
D.37.6.5 New paragraph dealing with failure by the striker to comply with 37(h).
D.44. Reference to 44(a)(4) corrected to 44(b)(4).
D.48.5,6 New paragraphs dealing with Law 48(d).

August 2001

A. Draft status removed.
C. Status of draft rulings upgraded and new draft ruling on Law 6(f) added.
D.1 Some things only defined in Law 1 added.
D.2.1 Implication of boundary definition added.
D.3.2.2 Carrots should not interfere added.
D.3.4.1 A mallet can have only one pair of end faces added.
D.4.3.5 New paragraph about timed games added.
D.5.1 New paragraph about adjacent balls added.
D.5.4 Clarification that an aborted stroke does not have to be reattempted added.
D.5.5 Clarification of deliberately missing for the purpose of deeming added.
D.6.1.e New example of ball not at rest added.
D.6.4.1,2 Definition of a yard-line ball in relation to cannons added.
D.8.3 Contact may only be taken from a ball in play added.
D.8.4 Example corrected (in the earlier one, Y could have been validly played).
D.14.3 Example changed (to avoid the issue of whether a fault is a consequence of a stroke) and enlarged to cover the case of the ball being affected by subsequent play.
D.25.1.2 Absence of LOC for Law 32 added.
D.26.1 Analogy with compound errors added.
D.27.1.2 Forestalling and nature of errors added.
D.27.4 Continuation strokes with balls in contact added.
D.28.9,11,20 Subsequent contacts with other than the end face added.
D.28.19 Adversary may have balls replaced to examine their position added.
D.37.5.3 Procedure after a fault in a handicap game changed.
D.39.2 Bisques restored need not have been used for running hoops out of order added.
D.52 Changed to reflect normal practice of asking the striker of the other game for permission.

May 2001

Draft for consultation.


Section B

Summary of Principal Changes From the Fifth Edition

1. Overview

The 6th Edition contains very few substantive changes. Those that have been made are unlikely to occur frequently. Accordingly, the game of Association Croquet as it has been known since 1961 has not changed in any material respect. The principal change is that the Laws have been designed to be more user-friendly and that becoming a referee should be easier than before.

[the rest of this section already exists as the Introduction to the Laws.]

Section C

1. Official Rulings

The following rulings have been made by the ILC and should be regarded as definitive under Law 55(a). It is intended to incorporate them when the laws are next amended. Drafts for amendments to be proposed to do so are given in italics after each ruling.

4(e) For handicap play, reference is made to Law 37, but this does not explicitly state how Law 4(e) should be modified for handicap play, when the following turn is a bisque or half-bisque turn. It should be interpreted by modifying it as follows when applied to this case:

(a) delete 'with the adversary as striker'
(b) delete 'and clips'
(c) replace (2) by '(2) the striker, having indicated his intention to take a half-bisque or bisque (see Law 37(d)), plays a stroke.'

Insert at end of Law 37(c):

"(4) A turn after which the striker could take a half-bisque or bisque ends as defined by Law 4(e)(1), except that the clips do not have to be positioned. The remainder of Law 4(e) applies only when the striker has indicated his intention not to do so under Law 37(d)(3)."

Insert "(4)" before the last sentence of 37(d)(3) and after it insert:

"If he does so, and the error is discovered before the striker has quit the court, the error is rectified
and the striker then chooses whether or not to play a half-bisque or bisque."

Add to the end of Law 25(b):

"(but see Law 37(d)(4) for handicap play)".

5(e) "Interrupts the swing" should be interpreted to include "deviates the mallet from its intended path so that it passes over or to the side of the striker's ball"; it is not necessary to bring the mallet to rest before it reaches the striker's ball to abort a stroke. If the stroke is aborted successfully, the striker does not have to attempt the same stroke again.

Replace 5(e) by:

If the striker deliberately and successfully changes the swing so that no stroke is played under Law 5(d), the stroke and striking period are deemed not to have started and the striker does not lose his entitlement to play a stroke.

6(c)(4) "Replaced on the court" should be interpreted to include "left in a misplaced position on the court at the start of the next stroke" to avoid such misplaced balls being treated as outside agencies.

Insert after "replaced on the court" in 6(c)(4):

", or is left in a misplaced position on the court at the start of the next stroke,"

6(f) The definition of a yard-line ball should be extended to include a ball placed on a baulk-line at the start of the game or after being lifted.

Insert after "replaced on the yard-line" in 6(f):

"or placed on a baulk-line"

13(b)(1)(A) 'that he is deemed to have played' should be interpreted as though it read 'that he played or is deemed to have played', so as to include cases where strokes are played under Law 5(d) but in which the striker's ball is not moved or shaken.

Insert before "is deemed to have played" in 13(b)(1)(A):

"played or "

16(c)(1) 'If the striker plays the first stroke of his turn by taking croquet' should be interpreted as giving the striker choice as to which ball he elects as the striker's ball, and its position if he is entitled to a lift, until he plays a stroke (see Laws 9(b) and 19(c)), not a choice as to whether or not that stroke should be a croquet stroke, if it is played with the ball he finally elects as the striker's ball in contact with another ball.

Replace 16(c)(1) by:

(1) if the striker plays the first stroke of a turn with a ball of his side that:
(A) is in contact with another ball; or
(B) is placed in contact with another ball under Law 8(b) (start of game) or Law 13 (wiring lift) (or
Law 36 (optional lift and contact in advanced play))

22(e) For handicap play, this law should be interpreted as though 'adversary's' was omitted if the next turn is a half-bisque or bisque turn.

Delete "adversary's" from Law 22(e).

28(d) "Is caused by" should be interpreted so as to exclude cases where the striker's ball has made contact with a hoop, another ball, or (except in (2)), the peg, since one of the events specified. Thus a stroke in which the striker's ball makes a roquet, bounces off a hoop, and back onto the mallet, is a fault, but one in which it bounces off a hoop then makes a roquet before the mallet hits it is not. "Law 16(b)" should be interpreted as including "Law 17"; the distinction is between balls actually roqueted and those deemed to have been roqueted under Law 16(c).

In Law 28(d), replace "is caused by" by "is the immediate consequence of" and replace
"(1)a ball roqueted under Law 16(b)" by "(1)interference by a ball roqueted under Laws 16(b) or 17"

34(c) "Divot" should be interpreted to include isolated damage to the surface of the court by animals, birds, machinery, installation of sprinkler systems, vandals and other discrete, rather than gradually operating, causes.

In Law 34(c), after "or peg hole" insert ", an isolated area of damage caused other than by play" and
insert "or fitting not level with the surface of the court" after "root".

2. Draft Rulings

The following rulings are proposed and should be treated as guidance until confirmed, amended or deleted in a future edition:

5(a) Law 5(a) contains the phrase "with the intention of hitting a ball". This is intended to imply that the striker must aim to hit a specific, rather than any, ball and it is this ball that is referred to as "the ball" in 5(c) and 5(d)(2) and 5(f). It is the physical ball that the striker is aiming to hit, not the ball that he should be striking, if he addressing the wrong ball. For a stroke to be played, the ball must be a ball in play, or one of the balls that has yet to be played into the game, rather than an outside agency. Thus aiming to hit with the mallet a double-banked or stray ball on the court does not constitute a stroke.

Replace first sentence of Law 5(a) by:

A stroke is an attempt by the striker to hit a specific ball with the mallet he is holding and any consequences thereof. Such action only counts as a stroke if the striker intends it to be a stroke of his turn (see Law 1(e)) and the ball is in play or has yet to be played into the game.

5(d) In (2), "misses" should be interpreted to include "does not reach".

In 5(d)(2), after "misses" insert:

"or does not reach"

6(a) A wrong ball mistakenly played in the first four turns also becomes a ball in play, even though it could be interpreted as not being covered by the reference to Law 8(a).

In 6(a), after "Law 8(b)", insert ", even if it belongs to the other side,"

37(e) This law is the equivalent of 4(e)(2) for handicap play, and thus should also cover cases where the striker plays a bisque with the balls misplaced, e.g. incorrectly leaving his ball in the yard-line area (otherwise it could be argued that the bisque had not been validly taken as the previous turn had not ended). The bisque is validly played, though the error of playing with the balls misplaced will have been committed (Law 27(i)).

Insert at end of first sentence of 37(e):

"and correctly positioned the balls".

39(a)(3) This law, as drafted, would appear to allow a striker who had frittered bisques away since last running a hoop in order to get them reinstated by running one out of order. It was only intended to apply to the case where a hoop was run out of order some time ago, and bisques have been taken to "score" subsequent hoops. A deliberate attempt to get bisques reinstated by having a hoop point cancelled should be dealt with under Law 55(b)(1). The proposed amendment would also avoid reinstating bisques used between running the last point in order and the first one out of order for purposes other than running hoops with the striker's ball, but this is a change of law that can only be implemented by an amendment, not a ruling.

In 39(a)(3), replace "after the last point in order was scored for that ball" by "after the first hoop to have been run out of order with that ball".

Schedule of Bisques Some of the figures in the column for 18pt games were mis-transcribed from the corresponding schedule in the 5th edition in at least some copies of the 6th Edition. The ones that may need to be corrected are:

Full game 18pt game
10 ½ 7½
11 1/4 8
14 9½
20 14

3. Possible Amendments

The following are drafts of possible amendments, either to simplify the laws or cover points which have arisen since they were last revised, which are published for discussion. No decision has yet been taken about the merits of these.

5 There has been much discussion about the definition of a stroke in the 6th edition of the laws and several rulings have already been issued on it (see above). This is a proposal to consolidate those into a new definition, that would also remove the apparent recursion in the current one. Additional simplification would be gained by removing the option of deeming a stroke played by deliberately missing the ball (as opposed to declaring the intention), which we believe is rarely if ever taken, as this avoids confusion with deliberately interrupting the swing for the purpose of aborting an attempt to play a stroke. It would also clarify that "striking" a ball from another game does not count as a stroke, as only an attempt to hit a ball that could be played into the game would count.

Replace 5(a)-(b) and (d)-(f) inclusive by (retaining (c) and (g)-(i) unchanged):


(a) A STROKE A stroke is an attempt by the striker to hit, with a mallet, a specific ball that, if struck, would be in play (see Laws 6(a) and 6(c)), and any consequences thereof. A stroke must not be commenced until the preceding stroke has ended if the outcome of either stroke could be affected thereby (see Law 33 for interference with a moving ball).

(b) THE STRIKING PERIOD The striking period is the period during which the striker is actively engaged in playing a stroke and is the only period during which a fault under Law 28(a) can be committed.

(d) WHEN A STROKE IS PLAYED A stroke is played when, during the striking period, the first of the following occurs:
(1) any contact between the mallet and the ball; or
(2) subject to Law 5(e), the forward motion of the mallet ceases; or
(3) a fault is committed.

(e) ABORTING A STROKE The striker may attempt to abort a stroke by deliberately altering the path of the mallet so as to avoid hitting a ball during the striking period or committing a fault. If he succeeds in doing so, it is deemed that the stroke was not started.

(f) DEEMING A STROKE PLAYED The striker may deem a stroke played and so end his turn by informing his adversary. If the striker plays neither of his balls during a turn, he must state which of his balls is deemed to have been played so that he is then responsible for the position of that ball."

6(h) Allow in-court cannons, to avoid dependence on the precise definition of yard-line balls

Replace 6(h) by:

"A 3-ball group is formed by one ball being in contact with two other balls. A four-ball group is formed by the fourth ball being in contact with a three-ball group."

Delete "striker's" from 14(d)(4).

17(a) With no intended change of meaning, replace 17(a) by:

(a) HOOP AND ROQUET If, during a stroke and subject to Laws 17(b)(1), the striker's ball both completes the running of a hoop in order, as defined in Law 14(c), and hits a ball that, at the start of the stroke, was clear of the hoop on the non-playing side, whether or not it was live and irrespective of the actual order of events, it is deemed that:
(1) the hoop point is scored by the striker's ball and the other balls become live before the impact; and so
(2) subject to Laws 16(b)(1) and (2), a roquet is also made under Law 16(b).

28(a)(1) Extend this fault to cover deliberately sliding the mallet against the foot (an accidental impact between mallet and foot would not be a fault), which is starting to be used to good effect when trying to avoid hitting a hoop upright before the ball:

Replace 28(a)(1) by:

" (1) touches the head of the mallet with his hand or deliberately slides it against his foot;"

37(h) Remove exemption from option to replace balls after a fault if a bisque is taken.

Delete 37(h) and cross-reference to it in 28(b)(2).


Section D


The Commentary on any Law should be read with the text of the relevant Law to hand as the text is not repeated in full within the Commentary. The purpose of a Commentary is not to restate the Law in different words. Instead, it is to explain its purpose and underlying principle, using examples when helpful, and to draw attention to any less obvious points.

List of abbreviations


B, R, K and Y:

Blue, Red, Black and Yellow
the player of B and K
the player of R and Y
croqueted ball
other ball
roqueted ball
striker's ball
erroneous stroke
official ruling

Part 1: Introduction

Section A: An Outline of the Game


1.1 This law is strictly introductory and its provisions are wholly subject to the detailed laws that follow it. It is therefore never correct to justify anything by reference to Law 1 alone if the matter is covered elsewhere. This law does, however, define (in 1(b)) which balls belong to the game and partner each other (balls belonging to a double banked game are outside agencies, under Law 7) and (in 1(d)) the Striker, as the player whose turn it is. The other player is referred to as the
Adversary, though this is only implicitly defined in Law 4(e). Law 1(e) also presents a succinct summary of the structure of the game and the striker's entitlements at the start of every turn.

1.2 Note that extra strokes are earned one at a time (see Law 1(e)). Making a roquet earns the striker the right only to play a croquet stroke. If he does that successfully, then he earns the right to play a continuation stroke. The statement that making a roquet earns the right to two extra strokes is strictly incorrect.

Section B: The Court and Equipment


2.1 This is straightforward. Law 2(a) deals with the standard court and Law 2(b) with variations and imperfections. The final sentence of Law 2(b)(1) states that the actual boundary is an abstraction defined by the physical marking on the court. It is a compromise between the obvious, but impractical, definitions of being a straight line between the corners or of being the fractal edge of the actual marking. "Vicinity" is left to the judgement of the referee, but will typically be taken as the length of the straight edge used to test whether a ball is on or off the court.; the definition is intended to regularise the use of such a test and requires that small areas where the marking material has missed or spilled should be ignored. If mallets are placed either side of the ball, it is better to place them on the inner side of the boundary and look to see if the ball protrudes between them, rather than place them over the white line and look for a gap.

2.2 Law 2(b)(2) deals with cord (string) boundaries and invokes Law 35(d) if such a boundary is disturbed. The situation envisaged in Law 2(b)(3) is where three balls have been replaced at different points on the yard-line and the striker, intending to roquet the middle one, finds that the one behind it is visible. Once adjusted, balls moved into court are not replaced, so to avoid anomalies it is better to move either the striker's ball or one that needs to be moved towards the boundary instead.

2.3 Players should check that they are happy with the locations of the hoops and the peg and the boundaries before they start a game because Law 2(b)(5) deems that they will have accepted them as correct by starting the game. Only gross errors ('material discrepancies') such as a missing peg or hoop or a location wrong by a substantial amount may then be remedied under Law 55. Contrast this with the treatment of a misaligned peg or hoop (see Law 3(a)(3) and 3(b)(3)).


3.1 The peg (Law 3(a))

3.1.1 The peg extension is not part of the peg for the purposes of scoring a peg point but neither is it an outside agency when attached to the peg (see Law 3(a)(2)).

3.1.2 It is commonplace for a peg in soft ground or in a large peg hole to be knocked away from the vertical by the impact of a ball. This causes a breach of Law 3(a)(1), which requires the peg to be vertical at all times. Accordingly either player may request that a leaning peg be straightened at any time.

3.1.3 However, Law 3(a)(3) directs that the striker is not allowed to gain an advantage from having the peg straightened. Thus, if the striker lays an imperfect cross-peg and notices that straightening the peg would improve the cross-peg, the referee should check how much of each ball can be seen by the other before straightening the peg. He must then adjust the position of either (or both) balls to ensure that they have the same size of target as before. The referee should also be aware of the positions of the uninvolved balls and should ensure that adjusting either of the cross-pegged balls does not inadvertently create or destroy a wired position.

3.1.4 The reference to the striker is deliberate. The adversary is able to require that the peg be straightened to his advantage provided that he does so when he is still the adversary. In practice, this will occur only when he sees the striker has laid a cross-peg when the peg is leaning. However, if he delays calling attention to the leaning peg until he has become the striker, he will still be able the have the peg straightened but the balls will be adjusted as necessary to ensure that he gains no advantage thereby. Thus he will not be able to engineer a larger target or a wired position that did not exist before the peg was straightened. If a wiring lift is claimed, the test must be carried out before the peg is straightened.

3.1.5 The reference to Law 53(a) and the Regulations for Tournaments allows the regulations to specify that requests to have a peg corrected should not be made in time-limited games unless the correction will be material to the course of the game. This prevents Law 3(a)(3) being abused by an unscrupulous player who wishes to use up time.

3.1.6 GB readers should note that CA Tournament Regulation R2(h) to some extent overrides the provisions of Laws 3(a)(3) and 3(b)(3). It distinguishes between resetting after a material change to the setting (usually caused by double bankers), which either player can request and following which no adjustment of balls is made (because they would have been positioned before the setting changed), and other corrections, which can only be requested by the striker but with adjustment of the balls to ensure he gains no advantage. This avoids the situation discussed under 3.1.4 above, which was felt by the CALC to violate the principle that players should not benefit from having equipment reset when balls have been critically positioned with it mis-set (c.f. 3.2.3. below), which helps to reduce the number of requests to reset equipment and hence the effort, delays and possible effect on double-banked games resulting from them.

3.2 The hoops (Law 3(b))

3.2.1 Note the reference in Law 3(b)(1) to Law 53(b) for tournament and match play to permit the use of hoops narrower than 3¾ inches.

3.2.2 Note the tolerance of ±½ inch in the height of the hoop, which is to allow hoops to be firmed up by knocking them into the ground as a tournament proceeds. However, a player is entitled to expect that hoops will be set so that their carrots do not protrude significantly above the ground, as otherwise they would not comply with the requirements for the uprights in Law 3(b)(1).

3.2.3 Only the striker is entitled to ask that a misaligned hoop be corrected. Misalignment usually means that it is leaning towards the north or south but may include leaning to the east or west or being twisted in the ground. However, the striker is not allowed to gain any advantage from the option that the law grants. Any wiring test or tests whether a ball has scored a hoop point or is in the jaws must be carried out before a hoop is adjusted. If the striker asks for a hoop to be correctly aligned after playing a hoop approach, the position of the striker's ball should be adjusted to ensure that he faces a hoop stroke of equal difficulty after the hoop has been corrected.

3.3 The balls (Law 3(c))

3.3.1 It is important that the balls in a set should have effectively identical rebound characteristics and the Tournament Referee should, if possible, check that this is so before a tournament starts, at least to the extent of ensuring that sets with different characteristics have not got mixed up.

3.3.2 Temporary removal of a ball between strokes is permitted and does not constitute interference (see Law 33(a)) provided that the position of the ball is accurately marked beforehand and the ball is carefully replaced.

3.3.3 Note that the striker may gain no advantage by temporary removal when preparing for a peel because he must ensure that the rotational alignment of the intended peelee is preserved. In practice, the striker should avoid temporary removal of the peelee unless really necessary. There is no need to place a mark on the peelee to indicate its rotational alignment (although its position must obviously be carefully marked before it is lifted as stated in 3.3.2 above). It should just be lifted carefully and not rotated while it is being held or wiped.

3.4 The mallet (Law 3(e))

3.4.1 The basic requirements are that a mallet must have essentially identical playing characteristics irrespective of which end of the head is used, must not offer a significant playing advantage over a traditional all-wood mallet and must not carry artificial aids (see Law 3(e)(1) to (4)). This rules out mallets with different materials or weightings in the construction of each end of the head, off-centre shafts, shafts that are not vertical below the top grip or mallets adorned with laser gun-sights, mirrors and any other products of fertile imaginations and long winter evenings. It is implicit in the definition that the head has only one pair of end-faces, thus use of the sides, or a hexagonal head, is not permitted. Heads with an I-shaped cross-section are permitted under the current law.

3.4.2 Croquet has followed golf in banning grips or shafts that are moulded to the shape of the player's hands (see Law 3(e)(2)). This is an area that is being monitored as some players are using shafts or grips with protrusions that are designed to improve the stability of the hands on the shaft while not strictly being moulded to every last contour of the hand or hands. While this is uncontroversial in respect of the bottom grip (used to assist the playing of roll strokes), there is an argument that shooting should not be helped by what amounts to an artificial aid. This requirement is relaxed for the benefit of bona fide disabled players provided that they gain no advantage over a player without the relevant disability using a normal shaft (see Law 3(e)(5)).

3.4.3 Mallets may be changed between turns but not within a turn unless the original mallet has suffered damage affecting use. The governing principle is that the striker should not gain any advantage. Law 55 may occasionally be needed. An adversary suddenly realised that his mallet was being used, accidentally and without permission, by the striker who was in the middle of a promising break. He was indignant and demanded the return of his property forthwith. Common sense, via Law 55, indicated that the mallet should immediately be returned, but that the striker should be permitted to continue with his own mallet, as it is clear that the striker would not gain an advantage by the change.

Section C: Definitions


4.1 A game starts when the first stroke is played (see Law 5(d)). This includes a stroke that is deemed to be played. In time-limited games, the clock should start when the relevant event occurs, usually when the mallet hits the ball.

4.2 A game does not end until the players have both quit the court (or started another game on it) and agreed which side has won. Note that there is no requirement that the agreement be correct. Of course, almost always, the players do agree correctly who has won but time-limited games can occasionally give rise to confusion between players who cannot add up. If the players agree incorrectly that A has won and quit the court, the game has ended with that result. In the even rarer case when each player quits the court in the belief that he has won (or lost) the game, no agreement has been reached and the game has not ended. If the time-limit has expired, no further play will be possible unless the scores were actually level (subject to the possibility of time being restored if an interference has occurred and Law 53(g)(2)(B) applies) but the game will end only when the players have worked out the true result. Reporting the result to the manager will cause the confusion to be discovered.

4.3 Note that one turn starts as soon as the preceding turn ends and that there are two distinct definitions of when that moment occurs.

4.3.1 In the normal course of events (see Law 4(e)(1)), a turn ends when the last stroke of the turn has been played and the balls and clips have then been correctly positioned (e.g. after replacing balls on the yard-line and placing clips on the correct hoops). This definition does not depend on whether the striker has quitted the court.

4.3.2 The second definition (see Law 4(e)(2)) deals with two other cases. The first is where the striker incorrectly thinks that his turn has ended (e.g. he has forgotten that he is entitled to another stroke). This definition of end of turn requires both that the striker quits the court in the belief that his turn has ended (not just to visit the pavilion!) and that the adversary then plays a stroke (see Law 4(e)(2)(A)). The order is important.

Example: Consider a case where Roy takes off with R too hard but makes a glancing roquet on B in the stroke before R leaves the court. Roy assumes wrongly that his turn has ended and replaces R on the yard-line. Before Roy has had time to quit the court, the impatient Bob steps on and roquets Y with K. If Roy now quits the court but realises his mistake before Bob plays a second stroke, Roy can forestall Bob and resume his own turn after replacing all the balls correctly under Law 25(b).

4.3.3 The second case is where the striker volunteers permission for or, having been asked, allows his adversary to get on with the game while he goes to retrieve a ball that must be replaced on the yard-line. The adversary has no grounds for grievance if, having assumed that the striker will not mind rather than having been given permission, he hits a long roquet and is then required by the striker to replay. However, if the players have come to a tacit understanding that permission is implicitly granted then the ex-striker cannot withdraw it retrospectively.

4.3.4 For handicap play, note that Law 4(e) must be modified as specified in the ruling on this law in Section C. The striker does not need to replace the clips before taking a bisque. He should replace the balls, in particular the striker's ball if it is in the yard-line area, but if he does not the bisque is validly taken, by analogy with 37(e).

4.3.5 In time limited games, tournament regulations specify that, for the sole purpose of determining who is in play when time expires, a turn ends and the next turn simultaneously begins when the striker plays the last stroke of his turn. This is to give a more precise definition than Law 4(e) (which may depend on when a ball comes to rest) and avoids an undignified scramble to replace balls and clips.


5.1 See the draft ruling on Law 5(a) in section C above. Although it is normally obvious which ball the striker is intending to hit, a referee should ask him to nominate which he is intending to play if two balls are very close together and fault him if he hits the other. In 5(d)(1), 5(e) and 5(g), however, the context demands that "ball" or "a ball" should be interpreted to mean "any ball".

5.2 There are two policy reasons why a "stroke" in which the striker aims to hit a ball that does not belong to his game is regarded as a nullity, rather than a case of playing the wrong ball. The first is that, in the common case where a double-banked ball is being addressed, it is desirable that the adversary should be able to forestall, to prevent disruption to the other game, and the players in the
other game cannot reasonably be prevented from drawing attention to the irregularity! The second is that it seems reasonable that colour blind players should not be penalised if they are confused by the presence of additional balls. The legal reason is that only a ball in play may influence the game (Law 6(a)); other balls are outside agencies (Law 7(a)).

5.3 The apparently self-referential definition of a stroke ("A stroke is ... for the purpose of playing a stroke") is to distinguish strokes from other occasions when a player hits a ball with his mallet,
e.g. to retrieve it, lift it, or knock it back to his opponent. "For the purpose of playing a stroke"
refers back to the definition of a turn (see Law 1(e)) as consisting of one or more strokes.

5.4 It is lawful to play a stroke before the previous stroke has ended provided that neither stroke 'could be affected thereby'. This is most likely to happen when the striker has played a stop shot and plays the continuation stroke before the croqueted ball has come to rest. If the continuation stroke is played as a rush that sends the roqueted ball near to the still-moving croqueted ball, the adversary would strictly be entitled to forestall and demand that the stroke be replayed under Law 55.

5.5 Note that accidentally hitting the striker's ball during casting over the ball does not constitute a stroke. A stroke and the striking period do not begin until the mallet has passed the SB on the final backswing (see Law 5(c)). Such an accidental contact is covered by Law 5(f), constitutes interference by the striker and Law 33(a) therefore applies.

5.6 A stroke is played if the striker accidentally fails to make contact with the SB (plays an air shot) (see Law 5(d)(2)). The term 'miss' includes cases where the mallet fails to reach the ball, as well as those where it goes past the side or over the top of it (see the ruling in Section C). However, a stroke is not played if the striker deliberately checks or diverts the mallet and succeeds in avoiding hitting any ball with it or committing a fault (see Law 5(e) and the ruling on it). It is up to the referee to decide which applies.

5.6.1 'Interrupts' should be interpreted as a continuous process, which must start before the striker is aware that he has missed, or will irrevocably miss, the SB, and which ends when he regains control of his mallet and stance at the end of his aborted swing. The phrase 'and the mallet does not touch a ball' is there for emphasis; it is already implied by 'before it has been played'. A claim that a croquet stroke cannot be aborted in this way, because the fault of failing to move the croqueted ball would be committed, should be rejected because to accept it would mean that all croquet strokes should be treated as being faults, and thus played, the instant the striking period began! A fault under Law 28(a)(14) can only be an effect, rather than a cause, of a stroke being played.

5.6.2 After a stroke has been aborted in this way, the striker is not required to repeat the stroke he was attempting, but can change his mind about what stroke to play, including which ball to play if he has not already elected one. It is as though he had never started the aborted stroke.

5.7 The striker can deem a stroke to have been played without it having been started, either by telling the adversary or by deliberately missing with the intention of deeming the stroke played. The former method is preferred because the latter could be difficult to distinguish between it and missing with the intention of aborting a stroke, or just practising the swing; deliberately missing as a way of deeming a stroke may therefore be removed when the laws are next amended. If the stroke is deemed, the turn ends and, if the striker has deemed the first stroke of a turn, he must nominate which ball is the SB so that he becomes responsible for its position if he was not already responsible. This obligation also arises if the striker plays an enemy ball in the first stroke of a turn and the error is discovered before the limit of claims and is rectified. He has not elected a striker's ball in accordance with Law 9 and so must nominate one of his balls.

5.8 There are now three possible endings for the striking period.

5.8.1 The faults covered by Laws 28(a)(1), (2) and (3) (types of illegal contact between body and mallet) cannot now be committed if they occur after the end of the swing used to play the stroke.

5.8.2 Should the striker play a second stroke without quitting the stance he used to play the previous stroke, perhaps when approaching and running a hoop from very close range, the striking period for the first stroke ends when the first stroke ends or when the second stroke starts, whichever is the earlier.

5.8.3 In all other cases, the traditional rule applies that the striking period ends when the striker 'quits his stance under control'. This is a matter for the referee to decide and is intended to penalise a striker who plays a stroke in such a way that a ball is likely to rebound onto his mallet or clothing and, to avoid this, jumps out of the way and lands or falls on yet another ball.


6.1 Ball at rest (Law 6(b))

6.1.1 A ball becomes a ball at rest when it appears to stop moving. Physicists may tell us that all matter is in a state of constant motion but in croquet this test depends on the human eye. Because croquet is mainly played outdoors on grass, it is possible for balls to move apparently spontaneously, sometimes considerable distances, under the influence of gravity, wind or compressed grass blades. However, in most cases, the final position of a ball is not of critical importance and so the test need not be applied with excessive attention to micro-movements. In short, the striker can normally play his next stroke as soon as the SB appears to have stopped moving on fairly casual inspection.

6.1.2 However, there are occasions when more care is needed and they occur when a ball may have come to rest in a 'critical position', as defined in Law 6(d). This is any position to which a minor change could materially affect future play, such as determining if a turn ends or a point is scored or a ball is wired.

6.1.3 In fact, the Laws create two categories of critical position, namely 'critical but not testable' and 'critical and testable'. The latter are listed in Law 48(c)(4) and, in relation to whether a ball has come to rest, are restricted to cases when a ball may or may not:

(1) have scored a hoop point; or
(2) be in position to score a hoop point (or, by analogy, affect whether a hoop and/or roquet may be made); or
(3) be off the court.

(entitlement to a wiring lift, which is also mentioned in 48(c)(4), is not applicable as the test can only be made at the start of a turn under 13(e)(1)).

These testable positions have to be agreed by the players or tested by a referee and the ball is deemed not to come to rest until the test has been carried out. Critical but not testable positions are subject to the less onerous requirement that the position of the relevant ball must appear to remain unchanged for at least 5 seconds. If it moves after that, it is replaced.

To see how this should be applied in practice, consider the following situations:

(a) On a fast lawn with a significant slope, the striker's ball comes up the slope, then rolls straight back down again to end some distance away. Although physics would tell us that its velocity must have instantaneously fallen to zero when it reversed direction, this is not sufficient to satisfy 6(b)(4) so it is not replaced in the higher position.

(b) The striker's ball just staggers through its hoop and appears to stop having clearly run it. However, the striker notices that it almost immediately starts to creep back and does so for 15 seconds, by which time it is back in the jaws. It is not replaced as it had not remained stationary in a critical position for the required 5 seconds.

(c) The striker's ball just staggers though its hoop, apparently stopping in a position where the striker thinks it has run the hoop, but is not certain. He asks his adversary to have a look (as there is no referee in sight), but before he can get there the ball has fallen back into the hoop. It was in a critical position which needed a test which had not yet been conducted, so it is not replaced.

(d) As in (c), but this time the striker is more confident and, out of courtesy, asks the adversary if he wants to look. The adversary is happy to trust the striker's judgement, so resumes reading. While sizing up his next shot, the ball then falls back into the hoop. In this case, the earlier position had been agreed, so it is deemed to have come to rest and is replaced there under Law 33(c).

(e) The striker's ball just staggers through its hoop, apparently stopping in a position in which it has clearly run it, but leaving an awkward hampered shot. The striker starts to examine his options, but the ball rolls back into the jaws. A referee should ask him whether the ball had stopped moving and, if so, whether 5 seconds had elapsed since then. The ball should only be replaced in the position where it had run the hoop if the striker is confident of both.

(f) The striker's ball just staggers through its hoop, apparently stopping in a position in which it has clearly run it, but leaving an awkward hampered shot. The striker summons a referee to watch the shot, but before the referee arrives the ball rolls back into the jaws. Although the ball was in a critical position, as a small change to its position would affect the difficulty of the hampered shot, it had been stationary for long enough. Furthermore, it did not need to be tested, as it had clearly run the hoop, so it is replaced in the position it was in before the referee was called.

(g) After a poor hoop stroke, Roy replays his swing, then replaces his clip on the hoop and walks off the court. Bob comes on and looks to see whether the ball can run the hoop next time, only to find that it is now through. After checking with Roy that it had moved since he last saw it, the ball is replaced where Roy believed it had stopped, and Bob plays the first stroke of his turn, as the situation is the same as (e): the ball was in a position that was critical but did not need to be tested. Law 4(e)(1) had therefore been satisfied and Roy's turn had ended.

6.2 Ball in hand (see Law 6(c))

Note that a ball in hand is also an outside agency. OR6(c) is to ensure that failing to take croquet when required to do is covered, as intended, by 27(f), rather than being treated as a case of striking an outside agency!

6.3 Live and dead balls

6.3.1 These terms have been re-introduced to avoid using cumbersome terms like 'ball that may not be roqueted'. It is lawful to cause the SB to hit a dead ball but that does not constitute a roquet and no further stroke is earned as a result, however the SB can go on to roquet a live ball or score a point. Obviously, if the SB makes a roquet on a live ball and, in the same stroke, hits a dead ball, the contact with the dead ball does not deprive the striker of the croquet stroke he earned by roqueting the live ball.

6.3.2 If the SB comes to rest in contact with a dead ball after a croquet stroke, the striker is entitled to play the SB as it lies in the continuation stroke. This includes playing away from the dead ball or playing into it so that the stroke has the appearance of a croquet stroke. What the striker must not do is to adjust the SB around the dead ball before playing the stroke. This would constitute the error of purporting to take croquet from a dead ball (see Law 27(d)) and would end the turn. This fate does not preclude the striker from temporarily removing either under Law 3(c)(2) to wipe it, but he would be well advised to have a good reason for doing so (such as a large blob of mud on the ball) and to inform the adversary first.

6.4 Groups of balls (Law 6(h))

6.4.1 A cannon (see Law 19(b)) depends on the existence of a group of balls and that in turn depends on at least one of the balls being a yard-line ball. A yard-line ball is defined in 6(f) as a ball replaced on the yard-line; under the ruling on 6(f) (see Section C) this should be taken to include balls placed on a baulk-line at the start of the game or after being lifted.

6.4.2 Note that the SB may not be used as the sole link with the yard-line unless the situation occurs at the start of a turn. This means that if the striker is entitled to a lift, he can create a 3-ball group by placing the SB in contact with one of two touching balls which are both just off a baulk-line. In contrast, if the SB scores 2-back and goes off the court so that it has to be replaced in contact with one of two touching balls which are both just off the A-baulk, the striker must take croquet from that ball without re-arranging the balls for a cannon.

6.4.3 Note also that the SB can never be used to bridge a gap between two yard-line balls that are one ball diameter or less apart. This is because Law 19(a) requires the SB to be placed in contact with the roqueted ball and no other.

6.4.4 Nor can the moveable cannon ball can be used to bridge a gap to create a 4-ball cannon where there is a 3-ball group with a fourth ball close, but not in contact with it. The cannon ball can legally be placed in contact with the 4th ball, but a 4-ball group does not result because Law 19(b) only refers to placing the SB and thus the fourth ball may not be moved.


7.1 Weather is not an outside agency in croquet in order to prevent claims for replays of missed roquets due to gusts of wind or squalls of rain. Weather should not be confused with its results. Flash floods and dollops of snow falling onto the court (admittedly rare in a summer game but not unknown to hardy croquet players in Scotland) would constitute outside agencies. However, it is possible for a ball at rest to be moved by gravity, wind or a combination of the two. Such a ball must be replaced (see Law 33(c)).

7.2 Loose impediments are also not outside agencies in croquet to prevent claims for replays of missed roquets due to deflections caused by pebbles, twigs or acorns on the court surface. The exceptional circumstances referred to in Law 7(b) would cover a case where a handful of pebbles is thrown onto the court, perhaps hitting the striker after he has started the stroke or interfering with the path of the striker's ball during the stroke.

Part 2: Ordinary Singles Play

Section A: General Laws of Play


8.1 Choices of lead or colours may not be revoked once made.

8.2 Bisques may be played before all the balls have been played into the game (see Law 37(c)(2)) although it will only seldom be tactically wise to do so.

8.3 In the first four ordinary (i.e. non-bisque) turns, the balls must be played into the game from the baulk-lines. The only exception relates to advanced play when the player of the second or third turn scores 4-back and so concedes a contact. The contact may be taken from any ball that has been played into the game and not pegged out (see Law 36(d)).

8.4 See Law 26(b) for the situation when a player cannot play the correct ball and the game must be re-started. Note this does not occur if the balls are played into the game in the order R (wrong), B (wrong), Y (wrong), because the limit of claims for the error in the 1st turn has not been reached, whether or not K is wrongly played. If the errors are discovered before a correct ball is played, the error in the 1st turn is rectified by removing all the balls and placing B or K in baulk, then Roy plays the 2nd turn.


9.1 Placing a ball for a croquet stroke is no longer a form of election of either SB or RB. There are only two ways of electing the SB, namely lifting it (under Laws 13 or 36) or playing a stroke with it. Likewise, no election of the RB takes place until a stroke is played (see Laws16(d) and 19(c)).

9.2 Lifting a ball only serves to elect it as the SB if two conditions are met, namely:

9.2.1 that it is a ball of the striker's side; and

9.2.2 that the striker is entitled to a lift under either Laws 13 or 36 (see Law 9(b)(1)).

Lifting an enemy ball or lifting a ball of one's own side in the absence of a lift is an interference and Law 33 applies. If the mistake is not noticed before a stroke is played, it will result in an error being committed under either Law 26 (wrong ball) or Law 27(h) (lifting a ball when not entitled to do so).

9.3 A ball may be 'lifted' by moving it in any way that differs from playing a stroke. Trundling using the side of the mallet is lawful (but may not do the varnish much good!). So is trundling using the face of the mallet but it is only safe to do if the action is obviously different from that used to play a stroke.


10.1 The boundary should be imagined as an invisible vertical wall that touches the inside of the boundary marking. It does not matter if the lawn surface is not flat at the relevant point.

10.2 A ball goes off the court as soon as it touches the imaginary wall and it does not matter if it then rolls back inside the boundary. In rare cases, the adversary may claim that a ball approached the boundary, either perpendicularly or at a shallow angle, and then fell back or curved back into court before coming to rest. If the ball is found to be only just in court when tested, this claim may have merit. However, it should only be granted if the same effect can be demonstrated repeatedly in tests conducted by the referee.

10.3 It should be noted that a ball that hits a corner peg should not necessarily be replaced on the corner spot. If the ball hits the corner peg a glancing blow, it should be withdrawn back along its line of travel to find the point at which it first touched the inner edge of the boundary marking. The extreme case would occur when a ball on the Corner 1 spot is struck towards Corner 2 and just touches the out-court side of the southern corner peg. This ball should be replaced 13 feet south of Corner 2!

10.4 The striker should always take care to observe precisely where balls go off the court. If there is a possibility of a cannon, such as shooting from B-baulk at two East boundary balls, the striker should have the outcome watched, usually by asking the adversary to stand near the target balls.


If the SB comes to rest in the yard-line area, it only becomes a ball in hand at the end of the last stroke of the turn. This can lead to confusion in handicap play where some players are unsure whether the SB has to be replaced on the yard-line before playing the first stroke of the bisque turn. The answer is that the bisque turn is a separate turn and the SB must be replaced on the yard-line before the new turn can be started.


12.1 Law 12(b) refers to direct and indirect interference with replacement. Direct interference occurs when a ball (X) that has gone off the court (or come to rest in the yard-line area) cannot be replaced on the point on the yard-line closest to where it went off the court (or lay inside the yard-line area) because of the presence of another ball (Y) on or close to the yard-line. X must therefore be replaced in contact with Y on either side as the striker chooses.

12.2 Indirect interference occurs when a third ball (Z) lies sufficiently close to Y to prevent the striker replacing X on that side of Y. He is now entitled to replace X on the yard-line in contact with either Y or Z.

12.3 The law has been deliberately simplified in the 6th Edition by omitting the special provisions in the 5th Edition for replacing balls in or near corners. Hence, if Roy shoots with R from the end of A-baulk at B in C4 and misses, he will normally place R on the W side of B to minimise the target for Bob. If Bob now likewise shoots with K at R and misses, he is now entitled to place K in contact with either B or R. Bob may be expected to place K in contact with R so that he only gives a single-ball target for Y. Under the previous Laws, Bob would have been obliged to place K in contact with B, thus presenting Roy with a two-ball target.


13.1 Note the ruling on 13(b)(1)(A) that ensures that the striker always becomes responsible for the position of the striker's ball in a stroke. Note also that a player is always responsible for the position of a ball replaced following rectification of an error committed by him (see Law 13(b)(1)(C)). However, he is not necessarily responsible for the position of a ball replaced following the correction of certain interferences (see Law 13(b)(2)). The reason is that correction of an interference involves deeming play not to have occurred.

13.2 A ball is wired if it has to pass through a hoop to hit the target ball, no matter how close to the hoop it is. It does not matter that it might be able to miss the target ball on either side without touching a wire (see the reference to 'including the jaws' in Law 13(c)(1)).

13.3 However, the swing of the mallet is not impeded simply because part of the head would enter the jaws of a hoop before contacting the relevant ball in order to drive it freely towards the target ball (see the reference to 'excluding the jaws' in Law 13(c)(2)).

13.4 If the striker claims that a ball is wired by virtue of an impeded swing, the referee must ensure that the position is tested with the mallet the claimant was using in the turn before the turn in which the allegedly wired ball was positioned by the claimant's adversary (see Law 13(d)). This removes the temptation to carry a second, wide-faced mallet for use only in these situations.

13.5 Note that in the marginal case where the referee can detect no curvature in the line joining the relevant ball and the two test balls, the striker is entitled to a lift (see Law 13(e)(2)).

13.6 Law 13(f) has been added to provide explicit guidance as to the three consequences of lifting a ball in accordance with Law 13(a)(2), namely that:

13.6.1 such lifting constitutes a valid and irrevocable election of the SB for that turn under Law 9(b)(1);

13.6.2 the striker is obliged to play the ball from an unoccupied point on either baulk-line and may not play it from where it originally lay (unless that happened to be on a baulk-line); and

13.6.3 the striker remains free to change the position on either baulk-line from which he wishes to play the SB until he actually plays a stroke.


14.1 Ball in a hoop

14.1.1 Note that a ball halfway through its hoop in order does not always lose the right to complete the running in a subsequent stroke simply because it becomes a ball in hand. Laws 6(c)(1) to (3) list all the instances in which a ball can become a ball in hand but only five are relevant to the situation of a ball half-way through a hoop (Laws 6(c)(1)(A), (C) and (D) and Laws 6(c)(2)(A) and (B)).

14.1.2 Only Law 6(c)(1)(C) (placing the ball for a croquet stroke as specified in Law 14(d)(4)(A)) and Law 6(c)(2)(A) (lifting the ball under Law 13 or 36 as specified in Law 14(d)(4)(B)) cause it to lose its right to complete the running. Note that 14(d)(4)(A) carefully prevents the striker trying to keep position to run the hoop with the striker's ball by playing a croquet stroke from where the balls lie.

14.1.3 If a ball in a hoop becomes in hand for the other reasons, namely temporary removal under Law 3(c)(2) (see Law 6(c)(1)(A)) or replacement following rectification of an error or correction of an interference (see Law 6(c)(1)(D)), then it can complete the running from the position in which it is replaced.

14.2 Ball entering back of hoop

14.2.1 If a ball enters a hoop in order from the non-playing side, it cannot score the hoop point in that stroke, even if it reaches a point on the playing side where it is visibly clear of the jaws before returning through the hoop and finally coming to rest at a point where it has apparently scored the hoop. The governing principles are that dynamic situations are too difficult to judge reliably and that all such situations should be treated alike.

14.2.2 If a ball enters its hoop in order from the non-playing side and comes to rest within the jaws but in a position where it does not break the plane of the non-playing side (see the first illustration in Diagram 3 in the Laws) then it can score the hoop point in a subsequent stroke. This is analogous to the situation where the striker roquets a ball into the jaws of the hoop and the SB, when placed for the croquet stroke, is within the jaws but does not break the plane of the non-playing side so that the SB can score the hoop point in the croquet stroke or a subsequent stroke.

14.3 Law 14(e) refers to a ball being peeled as a consequence of a stroke. This means that if the striker accidentally kicks a ball through a hoop while taking up his stance and this was noticed before the ball was subsequently affected by play, the point is not scored and the ball must be replaced under Law 33(d). If this was not noticed before the ball was affected by play, it is treated under Law 27(i)(2) as though the position to which it had been kicked was lawful, but this change of lawful position was not a consequence of a stroke, so the ball must begin to run the hoop again.


15.1 If the SB is a rover, it may cause another rover to be pegged out through the agency of another ball (see Law 15(a)(2)). The same principle applies in Law 15(b)(4). However, if the SB is not a rover and causes a rover to hit the peg or to hit another rover ball onto the peg, that ball is not pegged out in either situation.

15.2 A ball that is pegged out does not disappear at the moment of pegging out. It remains a ball in play until the end of that stroke (see Laws 6(a) and 15(c)). It is therefore able to cause other balls to move and score points as a consequence of that stroke.

15.3 It is now lawful to delay removing a pegged out ball from the court if the striker is about to peg out the striker's ball in the following stroke and the pegged out ball is unlikely to interfere. This legitimises a common practice.


16.1 All hoop and roquet situations are now dealt with in Law 17. Hence Law 16(b) is now concerned solely with actual roquet situations which do not involve the SB passing through its hoop in order.

16.2 Law 16(b) is phrased deliberately widely to encompass all forms of contact between the SB and a live ball. Thus a roquet is made if:

16.2.1 the SB croquets a ball into a live ball which then rebounds off a hoop and hits the SB; or

16.2.2 the SB croquets a ball onto the peg so that a ball resting against the peg is propelled into the path of the SB.

16.3 Law 16(c) has been expanded to spell out all the situations in which a roquet may be deemed to be made. There are five:

16.3.1 the most obvious is when the striker starts a turn by electing a ball that is already in contact with another ball (see Law 16(c)(1)(A)) (and does not choose to lift it if he is entitled to do so under Law 36). Note the ruling that he has no choice but to take croquet if he does so elect, and that Laws 18(b) and 19(a,d) give him power to arrange the balls in anticipation of doing so, but that 19(c) does not commit him until the stroke is played.

16.3.2 almost as obvious is when the striker starts a turn by lifting a ball and lawfully placing it in contact with another ball (see Law 16(c)(1)(B)). In the start of game and Law 13 and Law 36 lift situations, the other ball must either be on a baulk-line or so close to it that a ball placed on the baulk-line can touch it. In practice, it is usually tactically better to create a rush rather than taking croquet immediately. In the Law 36 contact situation, the other ball can be anywhere on the lawn.

16.3.3 the next most common situation is when the SB runs a hoop off the boundary so that it must therefore be replaced on the yard-line under Law 12. If the hoop has been run at an angle, it is possible for the SB to have left the court directly behind a yard-line (or near yard-line) ball and must therefore be replaced in contact with it (see Law 16(c)(2)(B)).

16.3.4 the fourth situation is a fairly rare bird and occurs when the striker plays an Irish peel (a croquet stroke in which both the SB and the CB pass through a hoop) or a half-jump through a hoop and the SB comes to rest in contact with the CB or the ball that was half-jumped (see Law 16(c)(2)(C)).

16.3.5 the fifth and last situation is a much rarer bird and occurs when the striker plays a croquet stroke which, either accidentally or by design, causes the croqueted ball to hit a third ball (X) so that X leaves the court or enters the yard-line area and must be replaced on the yard-line under Law 12. If the SB has come to rest, almost certainly unintentionally, on or near the yard-line, it is possible that X will have to be replaced in contact with it (see Law 16(c)(2)(A)).

16.4 Law 16(d) is the law that makes a group of balls important.

16.4.1 Once a group has been formed and a roquet may be deemed to be made on one ball in the group, it may instead be deemed to be made on any other live ball in the group. This can provide the striker with valuable tactical flexibility, particularly in setting up a peeling break. The striker must proceed by playing a cannon (see Law 19(b)).

Example: B is on the corner spot of Corner 1 and K is in contact with it on the West boundary. Roy has a lift and places R in contact with B to create a 3-ball group. He may now treat K as the RB if he wishes.

16.4.2 Note that this right does not apply in the case of an actual roquet, when the striker rushes a live ball behind another live ball on the yard-line. Although a 3-ball group will be formed when the RB is replaced on the yard-line in contact with the other ball and the SB is placed in contact with the RB, the striker cannot change the identity of the RB. However, he must proceed by playing a cannon (see Law 19(b)) and will gain the usual tactical advantages that accrue therefrom.


17.1 This law provides a comprehensive treatment of all cases where the SB hits a ball in the same stroke as it completes the running of a hoop in order. Completing the running is defined in Law 14(c), which requires that the ball not only leaves the playing side of the hoop but does not re-enter it and remain there when it comes to rest. Thus Law 17 does not cover a case in which the SB passes through its hoop, hits a ball, and then rolls back into a position where it has not run it. If so and the ball it hit was live, a roquet will have been made but the hoop will not have been scored.

Providing that the SB does complete the running, there are five situations (assuming that there is only one OB):

17.2 Object Ball Well Behind the Hoop

17.2.1 If the SB completes the running of a hoop and then hits a ball, it is a simple case of hoop followed by actual roquet (see Law 17(a)(1)). It obviously does not matter whether the RB was 6 inches beyond the hoop or 25 yards beyond.

17.3 Object Ball Just Behind the Hoop

17.3.1 If the SB starts to run the hoop, then hits a ball which was clear of the non-playing side before the start of the stroke, and then completes the running, strict logic would demand that a roquet was made, but no hoop was scored, if the Object Ball was live before the stroke started.

17.3.2 However, the physical situation described above conceals a difficult marginal case, namely where the Object Ball is only just less than a ball diameter beyond the plane of the playing side and the hoop stroke is played with jump. How can a referee be certain that the back of the SB did not clear the plane of the playing side (and thus complete the running) before the front of the SB made its first contact with the OB'

17.3.3 In order to avoid presenting referees with such a difficult dynamic question, the policy of the law is to simplify matters in favour of the striker. Hence, provided that the Object Ball is clear of the plane of the non-playing side before the stroke starts (which is a static question that a referee can determine before the stroke is played) and the SB finally completes the running (which is a static question that a referee can determine after the stroke has ended), the contact between SB and Object Ball is deemed to occur after the hoop point has been scored. Hence, the analysis is deemed to be identical to 17.2 above (see Law 17(a)(2)).

17.4 Live Object Ball in a Hoop

17.4.1 If the Object Ball is in the jaws of the hoop, i.e. not clear of the plane of the non-playing side, when the stroke starts, the striker may wish to jump it in order to score the hoop point. This can present the same dynamic question as detailed in 17.3.2, namely whether the first contact between SB and Object Ball occurred before or after the SB completed the running.

17.4.2 If the first contact occurs before the SB completes the running and the Object Ball was live, the analysis would be roquet and no hoop. If the first contact occurred afterwards, the analysis would be hoop followed by roquet. How is a referee able to tell what goes on between the hoop uprights'

17.4.3 The policy of the law is again to simply matters by deeming that all such contacts with a live ball, irrespective of when they occur, are treated as roquet and no hoop (see Law 17(b)(1)).

17.5 Dead Object Ball in a Hoop

17.5.1 If the Object Ball is dead in the situation discussed in 17.4, a similar issue arises. The policy adopted is again to simplify matters by deeming that all contacts during the stroke with a dead ball in the jaws are ignored so that the analysis is hoop and no roquet (see Law 17(b)(2)).

17.5.2 This continues the policy adopted in the 5th Edition. This gives the striker a tactical bonus when trying to complete a straight rover peel. If the peelee sticks in rover, the striker can half-jump it in the knowledge that any subsequent contacts between SB and peelee, which happen quite often, do not count as roquets and hence will not impede his chances of pegging out the peelee.

17.5.3 The only exception is when the SB and Object Ball come to rest in contact with each other when a roquet is deemed to have been made (see Law 16(c)(2)(C) referred to by Law 17(c)).

17.6 Irish Peel

17.6.1 The last situation is the Irish peel position. Here the striker plays a croquet stroke (usually but not always a roll) in which both SB and CB are sent through the hoop in the same stroke. The CB is treated in the same way as a dead Object Ball (see 17.5 above) and no later contacts between SB and CB in the stroke count as a roquet (see Law 17(b)(3)).

17.6.2 The same exception applies if the SB and CB come to rest in contact (see Law 16(c)(2)(C) referred to by Law 17(c)).

17.6.3 The same analysis applies in the infrequent case of a continuation stroke played with the SB and Object Ball in contact. This usually occurs after a failed Irish peel when the striker has had the good fortune to have the SB end up in contact with the CB and with the centres of the balls lined up so that another Irish peel can be played which will send the SB through the hoop. In such cases the striker must not make the fatal error of adjusting the SB in contact with the CB before playing the continuation stroke as this is penalised by end of turn under Law 27(d).

17.7 Multiple Obs

17.7.1 If the SB hits more than one Object Ball in the stroke and 17(b)(1) applies to one and 17(a) to the other, then the former overrides the latter and the hoop is not scored. If only one of 17(a) or 17(b)
apply, then the ball roqueted is determined by laws Law 16(b)(1) and (2).


This law is declaratory and needs no comment, other than to note that 18(b) applies in anticipation of the stroke being played in the case of roquets deemed under 16(c)(1), where the striker is not committed to his election of the SB and RB until he actually plays the stroke.


19.1 Note the requirement in Law 19(a) and (b) that balls must be placed on the ground. This was introduced many years ago. A leading Australian player had rushed a ball into hoop 1 when the only remaining live ball was near hoop 2. Nothing daunted, he carefully balanced the SB on top of the RB and played it from there. The authorities obviously took a dim view of such Antipodean ingenuity.

19.2 Law 19(b) sets out the correct procedure for playing a cannon. The position of the RB is sacred and it should not be moved. If it is moved, it must be replaced. Note that the SB and the 3rd ball ('cannon ball') must not touch. If they do, the striker commits the error of purporting to take croquet from the 3rd ball. Usually it will be live, Law 27(e) will apply and the striker will be required to replay correctly. But should it happen to be dead, the turn ends under Law 27(d). The same applies in a 4-ball cannon, although there is nothing to stop the striker placing the 4th ball in contact with both the RB and the 3rd ball if he wishes. Normally, the 4th ball is placed in contact with the 3rd ball so that it will travel towards the next hoop when the stroke is played.

19.3 If the striker creates a cannon in which the third ball is dead, the stroke should be watched by a referee. With most arrangements of the balls, the striker may hit the striker's ball a second time, or maintain contact with it, after it has hit the dead ball. That would be a fault, since the contact with the dead ball would not be a roquet (see the discussion at D28.11). With some arrangements, such a fault would be unavoidable.
If the striker does not call a referee, the adversary should exercise his right to do so.

19.4 Law 19(c) restates the principle shared with Law 9(b) and Law 16(d), namely that there is no election of any ball until a stroke is played. The only exception relates to the possibility of the election of the SB by lifting a ball under Law 9(b)(1).

19.5 Law 19(d) is required to make sense of Laws 19(a) and (b) in situations where the first stroke of a turn is a croquet stroke or a cannon. This is a consequence of the principle referred to in 19.3 because, before the first stroke of the turn is played, no election of any ball has occurred.

19.6 Note the requirement in Law 19(f) that, when attempting a peel, the rotational alignment of the RB must be preserved. This prevents the striker from minimising pull when using balls with noticeable unmilled spots on the surface. However, it is lawful for the striker to seek to minimise pull by aligning the SB so that its least milled spot is in contact with the RB.

19.7 Law 19(f) allows for the use of reasonable pressure on the balls to get them to stay in contact for the croquet stroke, but this does not extend to creating depressions that will affect the subsequent motion of the balls. Raising a nap on the turf to apply the necessary lateral force, or making a slight depression at a point between where the two balls are to be placed, is usually more effective than treading on the balls in their intended position. On difficult ground, the law permits the use of grass clippings or similar material to ensure that SB and RB remain in contact while the croquet stroke is played. Similar material is that which will hold the balls in position without affecting the course of either ball.


This law needs no comment, save to draw attention to Law 20(a) which clarifies the correct usage of the expression 'taking croquet'. It is correct to refer to the SB taking croquet from a particular ball or to refer to the striker taking croquet. It is incorrect to refer to the SB taking croquet without specifying the identity of the croqueted ball. It is acceptable to refer to the striker taking croquet with [X] from [Y].


This law has been re-organised in the 6th Edition to give separate treatment to two different concepts, namely the requirement to take croquet immediately, if a roquet is made in either a hoop stroke or a croquet stroke, and the non-cumulative nature of continuation strokes.

Section B: Errors in Play


22.1 The distinction between errors and interferences should be understood. Errors are mistakes that involve playing a stroke incorrectly in some way; a fault is a specific type of error. Interferences are irregularities or mistakes of a different nature (see 29 for a fuller analysis of interferences).

22.2 There have been three important background changes to the treatment of errors in the 6th Edition. First, strokes in error are no longer deemed not to have occurred. Second, restricted remedies have been discarded. Third, the term 'condoning' has been discarded.

22.3 If an error is discovered within its limit of claims, the consequence is that it is 'rectified'. This means that the game is restored to its state immediately before the first stroke in error was played. This entails replacing the balls and the clips. Whether the striker remains in play or his turn ends depends on the nature of the error. Note the exception in relation to faults, but not other errors, where the adversary can elect to have the balls left as they lay after the fault was committed (see 28.3 below).

22.4 When replacing balls to rectify an error, note the distinction in Law 22(d)(1) between faults, which require exact replacement, and other errors, which may leave the offender with a choice. Note also that the lawful position may be some distance from where the ball was actually played, e.g. if the striker sends the croqueted ball off in a cannon, but does not notice until after playing a croquet stroke which he was not entitled to, the SB must be placed where it came to rest after the cannon, rather than in contact with the ball it roqueted.

22.5 The limit of claims for fatal errors is generally the first stroke of the adversary's next turn and that for less serious ones is the next stroke but one of the striker's turn, (or first stroke of the adversary's turn if the striker's turn doesn't last that long!. In handicap play, there is a ruling that replaces this by the first stroke of the bisque turn if a half-bisque or bisque is taken). The exceptions are faults, which though fatal are treated like minor errors in this respect, and miscellaneous cases of misplacement, which must be forestalled before they occur.

22.6 Law 22(f)(1) lays down the principle that, if an error is not discovered until after its limit of claims, it is ignored and the balls and clips are not replaced. There are two important exceptions:

22.6.1 The reference to Law 40(d) expresses a fundamental principle of doubles play that each player should play his own ball and that a strong player should not be able to mask his partner's weaknesses by scoring points directly for his ball. In handicap doubles play, the same principle operates to limit the number of peels to four. Accordingly, if he should play his partner's ball in error and thereby appear to score a point in order for that ball or to score a fifth peel in handicap play, these apparent points are ignored if the error is discovered at any time before the end of the game.

22.6.2 Law 22(f)(2) states that a peg point may not be scored for any ball when striking an enemy ball. This prevents Bob, when playing R, a rover, from pegging it out by hitting it onto the peg or from pegging out B, also a rover, in what he thinks is a croquet stroke. If this form of wrong ball is committed and is discovered at any time before the end of the game, Law 30 applies and the game is restored to its position before the unlawful peg out occurred. This will also allow rectification of the wrong ball error that led to the peg-out.

22.7 Law 22(g) confirms the common sense point that the earliest irregularity, error or interference, discovered together, is dealt with.


23.1 Definition

23.1.1 In the 5th Edition, forestalling was dealt with as a sub-law, somewhat meagre treatment for a sensitive aspect of the game. It now merits a law to itself and Law 23(a) provides a definition designed to provide an objective test of whether or not the adversary has been successful in forestalling. The definition contains three significant elements.

23.1.1 The adversary must be acting in the discharge of his duties as a referee, usually to inform the striker that he has committed an error or interference or that he is about to play a questionable stroke without having it watched. If he merely wishes to draw the striker's attention to the physical attractions of the local scenery, human or otherwise, he is not forestalling and the striker will not offend Law 32 if he ignores him.

23.1.2 The request need not begin with the words 'Please stop play' and it is more usual to begin with the striker's name. The striker should get short shrift from a referee if he argues that he was entitled to ignore the calling of his name because that in itself was not a request to cease play.

23.1.3 The request must be made loudly enough to be heard by a striker with normal hearing. It will therefore depend on the physical circumstances but not on the abilities of the striker. More volume will be required in a gale or under the flight-path of a low-flying jet but not because the striker is hard of hearing. It may still be necessary to run onto the court and stand in front of a stone-deaf player to get him to stop play but the adversary is entitled to ask that play be taken back to where he would have been able to forestall an unhandicapped striker by normal means.

23.2 When not to forestall (1)

Law 23(b) sets out the fatal errors that policy demands should NOT be forestalled in advance. Purporting to take croquet from a dead ball (Law 27(d)) has been added to attempting to run a wrong hoop (which is likely to lead to a breach of Law 25) and playing a wrong ball (Law 26). The reason for the policy is to avoid bad blood because, if the adversary was under the normal duty to forestall in advance but failed to do so, the reason could either be genuine failure to notice or deliberate blindness so as not to warn the striker and thus gain the innings. Human nature being what it is, some strikers would assume the less honourable reason and relationships would be strained. The prohibition on forestalling when a fatal error may be imminent exists even if a minor error has occurred. It applies only to these unconditionally fatal errors, not to other errors, even if the striker's turn may end for some other reason if they are left unforestalled.

23.3 When not to forestall (2)

Law 23(d) governs the timing of the forestalling request. The policy is that the adversary should interrupt the striker between strokes so that there is no danger of putting him off. In particular, there should be no profit to the adversary in forestalling half-way through a stroke for trivial reasons, such as a ball unconnected with the stroke being misplaced by 1 mm. In such circumstances, if the striker is so affected by the interruption that he sticks in a hoop, he is likely to get a replay under Law 34(a). However, Law 23(d) does admit of emergencies, such as realising that an important limit of claims will expire if the mallet hits the ball or that the striker is about to be hit from another game. Then you can bellow 'X, stop!' fortissimo without reservations.

23.4 When to forestall

Law 23(c) sets out when the adversary is obliged to forestall, subject of course to Law 23(b) (see 23.2 above) and, as to timing, to Law 23(d) (see 23.3 above):

23.4.1 in order to have a questionable stroke watched by a referee;

23.4.2 to warn the striker that an interference or non-fatal error is about to occur;

23.4.3 to warn the striker that he has not played all the strokes to which he is entitled, typically when he appears to be unaware that he has made a roquet or that he is entitled to a continuation stroke; and

23.4.4 to ensure that the clips are properly placed.

23.5 Why forestall'

The policy reason for requiring the adversary to forestall in other circumstances, notwithstanding that it may be to his disadvantage (see Law 48(b)), is that both players have a duty to ensure that the game is played according to the Laws and it is generally easier, and less likely to cause disputes, to sort out problems before, or as soon as possible after, they arise, rather than some time later.


24.1 Law 24(a) sets out the rules of priority for applying the error laws and requires no comment. An error which has passed its limit of claims is ignored so Law 24(b) rather states the obvious.

24.2 Note that if any part of Law 27 is the first applicable law, it contains, in Law 27(a), its own statement of how its sub-laws should be applied.


25.1 Law 25(a)

25.1.1 This sub-law deals with the striker's error of playing a stroke when he has not earned the right to do so in the previous stroke. The usual reason is running a wrong hoop. The 'hoop stroke' is a lawful continuation stroke in itself but does not give the striker a further continuation stroke under Law 21. Another situation is where the striker roquets and takes croquet from all three balls, starting with the partner ball, and then returns to near the partner ball in the third croquet stroke and hits it again. If he then purports to take croquet from the partner ball, he is playing when not entitled and the balls should be replaced in the positions they occupied after the partner ball was hit for the second time.

25.1.2 Playing after the adversary has forestalled play is no longer treated as an error. Instead it is a form of interference with the game by the striker and is dealt with under Law 32. Note that it is quite possible that, once the matter has been settled, the striker will be able to resume his innings and replay the stroke or strokes that he played after he was forestalled. There is no limit of claims specified for this interference, but a referee acting under Law 55 would be likely to rule by analogy with that for Law 25.

25.1.3 Note that there is no longer a 'restricted remedy' for Law 25. If the striker's error is not discovered until after the adversary has played a stroke, it is ignored and any points the striker made in order for any ball during his strokes in error are counted. The reason for this is to avoid serious disruption to the game if the error comes to light (possibly because of some unguarded comment by a spectator) many turns later.

25.2 Law 25(b) deals with the case where the adversary starts his turn too quickly, typically by wrongly assuming that he can play before the striker has finished replacing balls on the yard-line.


26.1 The wrong ball law is now much shorter. Law 26(a)(1) deals with the basic error. The limit of claims will be the same as it always has been, namely the first stroke of the adversary's next turn, in all cases where the adversary plays a correct ball. The new wording 'before the first stroke of the next turn ' to be started by playing a correct ball' is designed to cover cases when both players get confused and play an enemy ball for a number of turns. Then, discovery of such a sequence within the limit of claims of the last such error results in the game being taken back to its last lawful position. The situation is analogous to the treatment of compound errors under Law 24, though that law was clearly not drafted with this situation in mind.

26.2 Law 26(b) covers a sequence of play (wrong-correct-correct) to which Law 26(a)(1) does not apply yet which leaves the player of the fourth turn unable to play a lawful stroke because both balls of his side have already been played into the game. The only remedy is to restart the game and restore any bisques that may have been played (see Law 39(a)(2)). See 8.4 for a related example where 26(b) does not apply.

26.3 Law 26(c) provides a pragmatic solution when the players accidentally exchange colours from the start of the game and do not realise their error until after the first stroke of the fifth turn - perhaps not until one is about to win. It makes more sense to endorse the swap and let the players carry on.


27.1 General

27.1.1 The law relating to playing with a ball misplaced probably received more attention than any other in the preparation of the 6th Edition. The result is a law that looks complicated because it attempts to provide a comprehensive solution to the full range of possibilities, some of which are likely to be rare. However, in respect of the most common situations, Law 27 provides simpler answers than offered by the 5th edition.

27.1.2 No error can be committed under this law unless the striker actually plays a stroke with a ball misplaced. Law 27(a) starts by requiring the adversary to forestall (unless the striker is about to commit a fatal error, see Law 23(b)) if he observes that the striker is about to commit such an error, as it is easier to sort things out before rather than afterwards, then goes on to
state how the remaining sub-laws should be applied if the error is not prevented.

27.1.3 Note that in cases where Law 27 may appear to apply, the stroke may have to be replayed under Law 33 if the misplacement was due to interference by the adversary or an outside agency (typically a double banker).

27.1.4 However, in the case where the incoming striker finds two, typically yard-line, balls in a different position (touching or just apart) than his adversary thought he had left them in, and takes croquet or a rush accordingly, the interaction between Laws 27 and 33 leads to uncertainty, because it is impossible to tell whether the adversary misplaced them, or they subsequently moved apart. Problems will be avoided if the player whose turn has ended tells the incoming striker whether or not the balls should be in contact or, failing which, the incoming striker checks the position, but, if not, Law 55 should be invoked to ensure that neither player is seriously disadvantaged by the breakdown in communication.

27.2 Law 27(b) tackles the inadequate treatment in the 5th Edition of situations where balls accidentally fall into contact or fall apart during the stroke. Now the striker's intent is taken into account to determine the appropriate treatment of the stroke in such circumstances. Thus, if the SB and the CB move apart as the croquet stroke is being played, the nature of the stroke does not change and the laws applicable to croquet strokes still apply, including the requirement that the striker must move or shake the CB. The exception for Law 28(a)(8) is important. If the balls part sufficiently in a croquet stroke so that the mallet hits the SB more than once, a fault is still committed. This may seem harsh if the double tap was genuinely the result of the balls falling apart, but if it were not a fault then a striker who committed a double tap in a croquet stroke could always claim that they had, and the referee would have no way of knowing. The latest research suggests that a parting of 2 mm or less will NOT lead to a double tap.

27.3 Law 27(c) introduces a new term, 'purporting to take croquet'. Purporting to do something means giving the appearance of doing something without actually doing it. Taking croquet involves the SB and the RB as required by Law 20. Taking croquet from the wrong ball is a contradiction in terms because, if the RB is not involved, one is not taking croquet. Hence the need for the new term as one may 'purport' to take croquet from anything.

27.4 Law 27(d)

27.4.1 Law 27(d) deals with the first of three mutually exclusive errors (the others are dealt with in Law 27(e) and (f)) and creates a new fatal error of purporting to take croquet from a dead ball. The striker can gain a significant advantage if he takes croquet twice from the same ball between hoops, such as being able to rescue a much delayed peeling break. What is worse, the error may well not be noticed until long after the normal two stroke limit of claims. Justice can only be done if the limit of claims is extended to the first stroke of the adversary's next turn. This in turn requires that the error be made fatal as otherwise the unscrupulous would be tempted to 'remember' such an error many strokes ago when confronted with the imminent demise of a break.

27.4.2 Since the error is made only if the stroke is played with the balls misplaced, the striker can recover if he incorrectly moves the SB before playing a continuation stroke when it is in contact with another ball. He should notify the adversary of the problem, replace the SB accurately where it was at the end of the previous stroke and get his adversary's agreement that the replacement is satisfactory. Similarly, in the rare case where a ball in the yard-line area is replaced in contact with the SB before a continuation stroke is played, no error is committed (provided that the SB is left in the position where it came to rest), as no ball is misplaced.

27.5 Law 27(e)

27.5.1 Law 27(e) covers both the old 'taking croquet from the wrong ball' and 'taking croquet when not entitled to' and is limited to live ball situations. In respect of the former, it is shorn of the interchange option for the adversary which was capable to giving rise to some insoluble logical nightmares. It applies whenever the striker has made a roquet and then attempted to take croquet from a live ball other than the RB.

27.5.2 If the error is discovered before the LOC, it is rectified so the balls and clips will be replaced in their lawful positions before the first stroke in error. In addition, the stroke or strokes in error must be analysed to see if a turn-ending event occurred. If it did, the striker's turn ends (see Law 27(j)). This represents a change from the 5th edition when only a fault in either stroke in error would end the striker's turn.

27.5.3 Usually, this error is noticed immediately or not at all. However, if the error is noticed after the LOC, it is necessary for the Laws to state how liveness and deadness have been affected. The answer is that the live ball involved in the purported croquet stroke is deemed to be dead and the ball actually roqueted remains live and can be roqueted again before the next hoop point is scored for the SB.

27.6 Law 27(f) is largely unchanged from the 5th Edition and deals with the case when the striker makes a roquet but fails to appreciate the fact. Instead of taking croquet as required, he plays another stroke (e.g. attempts to roquet the same ball again or another ball or attempts to run a hoop). However, note that his turn will end if he misses the attempted roquet or fails the hoop in the stroke in error.

27.7 Laws 27(g) and (h) provide a more meaningful limit of claims for two related forms of playing with a ball misplaced, namely failing to play a ball from baulk and lifting a ball when not entitled to do so. The adversary now has two strokes, like every other significant non-fatal error, in which to react. Note "materially" in Law 27(g) to prevent (unverifiable) claims from the adversary after a successful lift shot or from the striker after an unsuccessful one, that the lift shot must be replayed because it was taken from a position 1mm off the baulk line.

27.8 Law 27(i) is the sweep-up sub-law which covers all other cases. The reference in Law 27(i)(1) to 'fails to forestall play' means 'fails to forestall play before the stroke is played'. Note that Law 27(i)(2) disapplies Law 33 (interference with the position of a ball) if subsequent play affects the position of a misplaced ball. The game continues as if the misplaced ball legally occupied the position it was in.

27.9 Law 27(j) ensures that if the commission of a non-fatal error (those dealt with in Laws 27(e) to (h)) is discovered before its LOC, it cannot shield the striker from any fatal consequences of either ES1 or, if there is one, ES2. The operative principle is that ES1 should be exposed to the effect of the Laws as if it had not contained the feature that caused it to offend Law 27. Similarly, ES2, if there is one, should also be exposed to the effect of the Laws as if ES1 had not contained the said feature. Law 27(j) achieves this by determining a lawful equivalent for ES1, namely by making use of the appropriate answer provided in Laws 27(e)(2) to (h)(2) to a different question, namely how is play to proceed when a non-fatal error is discovered after the LOC' Once the lawful equivalent of ES1 has been established, the only remaining question is whether any turn-ending event, as listed in Law 4(d), would have occurred had the striker not committed the error being rectified. Another way of considering this is to apply 27(e-h)(2) to play while an error remains unrectified, not just if it is discovered after its limit of claims.

27.10 If the striker purports to take croquet from a live ball in ES1 and the error is discovered within the LOC, the lawful equivalent of ES1 used by Law 27(j) to determine whether the striker's turn should end is a croquet stroke in which the live ball is the CB. The second sentence of Law 27(j) spells this out for the sake of clarity because this is expected to be the most common playing situation involving Law 27(j) that will be encountered by players and referees.

27.10.1 If the error is discovered immediately after ES1, the striker's turn will end if, in that stroke:

  1. either ball was sent off the court as specified in Law 20 (Law 4(d)(2)); or
  2. the striker's ball, being already a rover, hit the peg (Law 4(d)(3)); or
  3. the striker's ball, being already a rover, hit another rover which then hit the peg (Law 4(d)(3)); or
  4. a fault was committed including failing to shake the live ball (Law 4(d)(7))

27.10.2 If the error is discovered immediately after ES2, the striker's turn will end:

  1. if any of the reasons listed in 27.10.1 applied to ES1; or
  2. if the SB made a roquet in ES1 and took croquet in ES2, if any of the reasons listed in 27.10.1 applied to ES2; or
  3. if the SB did not make a roquet in ES1, the striker failed to make a roquet or score a hoop point in order for the SB in ES2 (Law 4(d)(1)); or
  4. if the striker's ball, being already a rover, hit the peg in ES2 (Law 4(d)(3)); or
  5. if the striker's ball, being already a rover, hit another rover in ES2 which then hit the peg (Law 4(d)(3)); or
  6. a wrong ball was played , a fault was committed, or the striker purported to take croquet from a dead ball.

27.10.3 If Bob plays B, roquets K, purports to take croquet from Y (ES1) and then, under the misapprehension that he roqueted R in that stroke, purports to take croquet from R (ES2), at which point his errors are discovered, he will be entitled to resume his turn by taking croquet from K after his initial error is rectified. The second error is within the limit of claims of the first one, and hence ignored except for the purpose of 27(j). When applying this, ES1 is treated as though B roqueted Y, not K, and thus as a valid croquet stroke, entitling Bob to play the continuation stroke ES2. In this stroke, a further error was committed, but this is treated as though he had roqueted R in ES1, and thus, on this analysis, he would be entitled to a continuation stroke and so nothing fatal has happened to end his turn.

27.11 If the striker fails to take croquet when required to do so in ES1 and the error is discovered within the LOC, the lawful equivalent of ES1 used by Law 27(j) to determine whether the striker's turn should end is whatever ES1 would have been if the preceding stroke had not been a roquet but the striker had remained entitled to play ES1. Typically, ES1 is a single ball stroke which the striker intends to be a roquet because he did not notice that he had made a roquet in the preceding stroke.

27.11.1 If the error is discovered immediately after ES1, the striker's turn will end if, in that stroke:

  1. neither a roquet was made nor a hoop point was scored in order for the SB (Law 4(d)(1)); or
  2. the striker's ball, being already a rover, hit the peg in ES1 (Law 4(d)(3)); or
  3. the striker's ball, being already a rover, hit another rover which then hit the peg (Law 4(d)(3)); or
  4. he committed a fault.

27.11.2 If the error is discovered immediately after ES2, the striker's turn will end if any of the reasons listed in 27.11.1 applied to either ES1 or ES2, except that only (b) or (d) apply to ES2 if a roquet was made in ES1.


28.1 An internet survey conducted in 1999 revealed, unsurprisingly, that faults represented the most frequent category of error committed by players and which gave referees the most exercise. It follows that Law 28 would have a natural claim to a detailed commentary anyway. However, the preparation of the 6th Edition presented the ILRC with an opportunity to re-organise the law, simplify some definitions without intending any substantive change and extend the adversary's remedy. Accordingly, in view of the practical importance of faults, each of the 15 faults will be discussed separately.

28.2 Law 28(a) - the definitions of the faults

As a precursor, it is worth noting that, as an aid to memorising them, the faults have been slightly re-organised into four distinct groups.

28.2.1 (1) to (5) deal with unlawful methods of using the mallet.

28.2.2 (6) to (10) deal with unlawful contacts between mallet and ball.

28.2.3 (11) to (13) deal with unlawful movements of balls, whether by mallet or the striker's body or clothes.

28.2.4 (14) and (15) are the specialised sub-laws - croquet strokes and substantial damage.

28.3 Several of the faults are not commented upon. However, it should always be borne in mind that no fault can be committed outside the striking period (see Law 5(h) and 5.5 above). The period within which a fault can be committed has been shortened in respect of Laws 28(a)(1) to (3) so that it ends at the end of the swing of the mallet and does not depend on the striker quitting his stance under control.

28.4 Law 28(a)(1)

'touches the head of the mallet with his hand'

No comment required.

28.5 Law 28(a)(2)

'rests the shaft of the mallet or a hand or arm on the ground or an outside agency'

The words 'or an outside agency' have been added in the 6th Edition to counter any bright ideas of placing the law book (or anything else) under the shaft etc to circumvent the law. Note, however, that a hoop is not an outside agency and thus it is legal to rest the shaft of the mallet on or against a hoop. Note also that a hand brushing along the grass in a horizontal sweep shot is not a fault because it is not 'resting on the ground'.

28.6 Law 28(a)(3)

'rests the shaft of the mallet or a hand or arm directly connected with the stroke against any part of his legs or feet'

No comment required.

28.7 Law 28(a)(4)

'moves the striker's ball other than by striking it with the mallet audibly and distinctly'

This has been slightly reworded to cover more clearly any ball movement brought about by anything other than a traditional stroke. Hitting a ball from the vertical and then sliding the mallet round the surface so that it can be pushed round an upright or another ball offends this sub-law - despite what some ingenious players may think!

28.8 Law 28(a)(5)

'causes or attempts to cause the mallet to strike the striker's ball by kicking, hitting, dropping or throwing the mallet'

'Dropping' and 'throwing' have been added to prohibit letting go of the mallet completely. Strokes that involve holding on to the top of the shaft while dropping the head are not faults under this sub-law.

28.9 Law 28(a)(6)

'strikes the striker's ball with any part of the mallet other than an end face of the head, either:

  1. deliberately; or
  2. accidentally in a stroke which requires special care because of the proximity of a hoop or the peg or another ball'

This sub-law deals with 'hampered' strokes although that term no longer appears in the Laws. Hampering by a hoop occurs frequently after a hoop is run by too little and the risk is that the SB will be hit with the bevelled edge in the continuation stroke.

Hampering by a ball is less common and the reference to the proximity of another ball never means the CB in an ordinary croquet stroke. The culprit is usually a ball that is uninvolved with the stroke about to be played but which is sufficiently close to the path of the mallet or the striker's stance to pose a real risk of a fault under Law 28(a)(8), (12) or (13).

Cannons are another source of hampered strokes although there is no hard and fast rule because it depends on how the cannon is arranged. A good example of a cannon which does require special care is the three-balls-in-a-line cannon played with split so that the SB travels to the fourth ball. The cannon ball will prevent the CB from moving and there is a risk of the side of the mallet glancing the CB. A mishit in which the SB is not struck cleanly with the playing face in this situation should definitely be faulted.

This fault only applies to the first impact between the mallet and the ball struck: see Law 28(a)(8) and the exemptions in 28(d) for subsequent contacts.

28.10 Law 28(a)(7)

'subject to Law 28(d), maintains contact between the mallet and the striker's ball for an appreciable period when the striker's ball is not in contact with any other ball or after the striker's ball has hit another ball'

This sub-law has been simplified without any intent to change its substance. The principal target of this fault is 'shepherding', namely guiding the SB with the mallet in a hoop approach after the balls have parted contact.

Note the exemptions provided by Law 28(d) for roquets and pegging-out. A very short rush, i.e. less than 2 inches (5 cm), can lead on occasion to the SB being 'carried' forward by the mallet after the contact between SB and RB. A similar effect can be achieved during pegging out, whether in the croquet stroke or a single ball stroke. In all cases, the policy of the Laws is not to penalise these accidents which are often unavoidable consequences of an essentially excellent previous stroke.

However, a scatter shot, where the SB lies very close to but not in contact with a dead ball, does not benefit from this exemption, and these are also faults under this or the following sub-law.

28.11 Law 28(a)(8)

'subject to Law 28(d), strikes the striker's ball more than once in the same stroke or allows the striker's ball to retouch the mallet'

This is the 'double-tap' fault which has been married in the 6th Edition to the 'retouching' fault. Note again the exemptions provided by Law 28(d) for roquets and pegging-out. Unless exempted, the fault is made if the subsequent contact is with any part of the mallet, not just the end-face.

The striker may cause the mallet to hit the striker's ball twice or more if another ball is nearby and a stroke is played along the line joining the centres of the two balls. If the striker follows through, a multiple impact is certain in a shot played firmly if the separation is less than about 5 cm, and may occur (depending on the strength of the shot and the degree of follow through) if the separation is two or even three times as great. The likelihood of a multiple impact may be reduced if the striker stops the mallet on impact or plays at an angle to the line of centres, so that the striker's ball rebounds to the side. A multiple impact is a fault in a scatter shot or a dead-ball cannon.

Experiments with physical apparatus have shown that many, if not most, croquet strokes involve multiple contacts between mallet and ball that are not perceptible to unaided human observers. Such strokes should not be declared to be faults (otherwise the game as we know it would be unplayable). However, it is correct to deduce that a close scatter shot is a fault under this or the previous clause if the SB moves a significant distance after a near full-on impact with the scattered ball.

28.12 Law 28(a)(9)

'strikes the striker's ball so as to cause it to touch a hoop upright or, unless the striker's ball is pegged out in the stroke, the peg when in contact with the mallet'

This is the classic crush stroke but it is more difficult to commit than many referees seem to believe. Professor Stan Hall demonstrated that a croquet ball remains in contact with a mallet end-face for a very short time, and somewhat paradoxically, does so for longer in gentle shots. In any event, the longest distance that mallet and ball will travel in contact with each other is about 1 cm (less than 0.5 inches). Note that this does NOT mean that any ball within 1 cm from an upright is therefore a candidate for a crush. The distance that matters is that between the impact points on (a) the ball's circumference and (b) the upright's circumference. In practice, unless the striker is so incompetent as to drive the SB almost straight at the upright (in which case he will double tap anyway), this means that the nearest point of the ball must be within 1-2 mm of the upright before there is any real chance of a crush.

28.13 Law 28(a)(10)

'strikes the striker's ball when it lies in contact with a hoop upright or, unless the striker's ball is pegged out in the stroke, the peg otherwise than in a direction away therefrom'

This is the easiest way to commit a crush but should only occur if the striker is ignorant of basic physics or tries to play close to the forbidden line and the referee believes he transgressed it.

28.14 Law 28(a)(11)

'moves or shakes a ball at rest by hitting a hoop or the peg with the mallet or with any part of his body or clothes'

The main instances are:

  1. hitting a hoop or the peg in the backswing when a ball is in contact with it;
  2. treading on a ball while trying to avoid a rebounding SB; and
  3. over-balancing after a vigorous crouch roll stroke and falling onto another ball.

28.15 Law 28(a)(12)

'touches any ball, other than the striker's ball, with the mallet'

No comment required.

28.16 Law 28(a)(13)

'touches any ball with any part of his body or clothes'

Note the definition of 'clothes' in Law 28(c)(1). This includes a clip, so woe betide the striker whose clip falls off his pocket and hits a ball during the striking period.

28.17 Law 28(a)(14)

'in a croquet stroke, plays away from or fails to move or shake the croqueted ball'

Note that a fault is committed if the striker plays away from the CB even though it moves or shakes, as it may well do if it was 'leaning' against the SB.

28.18 Law 28(a)(15)

'deliberately plays a stroke in a manner in which the mallet is likely to and does cause substantial damage to the court'

This sub-law has led to considerable international interpretative debate. The Antipodeans traditionally have been tougher on strikers (at one time the UK interpretation was that a fault could only be given if the player had previously caused damage in a similar stroke), but a consensus is emerging that any stroke in which the mallet causes substantial damage should be faulted, unless the striker can reasonably claim that the damage was due to an accidental mishit (caused, for example, by a gust of wind or hitting his ankle) in an otherwise normal stroke. In particular, any stroke in which the mallet is swung at a steeper angle than normal (e.g. a jump shot or certain styles of playing roll strokes), or in which the striker is at risk of over extending himself (e.g. huge croquet strokes on slow lawns) should be faulted if substantial damage was caused by the mallet, even if, as is probable, the striker was anxious to avoid it.

Note that the damage must actually occur, be substantial (as defined in Law 28(c)(2)) and must be directly caused by the mallet. Jump shots played on soft or sand-based courts in which only the ball causes damage to the court cannot be faulted (though a club whose groundsman was threatening mutiny could apply for a local law prohibiting them under Law 54).

The original target of the sub-law was the so-called 'axe-hammer' stroke used by an Australian test player to play hard angled reverse hammer shots without fear of crushing. He achieved this by the simple expedient of burying the leading edge of the mallet in the turf.

The sub-law has been applied in the UK from time to time. A former leading player, who is still very good, once played almost all his croquet strokes with a follow through that ended with the bottom edge of the rear face being dropped on the ground, thereby leaving a trail of small dents in the surface of the court. The application of the law had the desired effect.

28.19 Law 28(b) sets out the remedy which is now more severe than under the old Laws. No point can be scored as the result of a fault discovered before the limit of claims. In addition, the adversary has the right to choose whether the balls should be left in the positions they arrived at as a result of the fault or be replaced in the positions they occupied before the fault. This removes any point to leaving a foot close to a hoop when trying to jump an angled hoop from a position that is wired from an enemy ball on the far side of the hoop and eases the conscience of a striker who declares a ,marginal fault when replacement of the balls would be to his advantage. Note the reference to Law 37(h) which provides an exception in the case of handicap play when the striker decides to take a bisque (discussed in detail at 37.6 below).

28.19.1 If the positions to which the balls may be replaced is critical, it is reasonable for their positions after the first stroke in error to be marked and for them to be provisionally replaced, so that the adversary (who may have been denied a good view prior to the stroke being played by Laws 48(e) and 51(b)) may see their exact positions before making his decision. However, once he has announced his decision he cannot then change his mind.

28.20 Note the ruling on 28(d) in section C of this document. Note, too, that if subsequent contact between mallet and ball is exempted, the exemption applies to contact with any part of the mallet, not just the end-face. Thus it is not a fault if the SB jumps in making a roquet and is then hit by the shaft of the mallet, but it would be if it bounced off a hoop between making the roquet and being hit again by the mallet.

Section C: Interference with Play


29.1 It is important to grasp that errors and interferences are mutually exclusive and are therefore governed by different principles.

29.2 An error is a mistake made by the striker in the playing of a stroke (see 22 above for the analysis).

29.3 An interference can take one of three forms. It can be:

29.3.1 a mistake made by either player that involves something other than playing a stroke incorrectly; or

29.3.2 a disturbance of the game by an active factor unconnected with either player, otherwise known as an outside agency; or

29.3.3 a disturbance of the game by a passive factor unconnected with either player.

Note that Law 29(a) uses the term 'irregularity' as a collective noun for the mistakes and disturbances detailed above.

29.4 The mistakes referred to in 29.3.1 form two further categories:

29.4.1 Major interferences are dealt with under Laws 30 to 32. The limit of claims is the end of the game and they are corrected by deeming all strokes played after the interference not to have occurred.

29.4.2 Minor interferences are dealt with under Law 33 and result in balls becoming displaced by means other than the correct use of the striker's mallet. The limit of claims is either the next stroke (when a ball in motion has been affected) or until subsequent play has affected the relevant ball (when a ball at rest has been affected).


30.1 Note the important requirement in the first line of Law 30(a) that the game must have been affected before an interference can have occurred. This proviso will almost always apply only in the case when a ball has not been removed from the game after having been pegged out. It is designed to avoid time-wasting in cases where a pegged-out ball has not been thrown completely clear of the court or has rolled back into court. Providing that no-one has attempted to involve such a ball in subsequent play, there is no need to waste time by taking the game back to the point when the ball should have been properly removed from the court under Law 15(d).

30.2 It is just possible that the proviso can apply when a ball has been wrongly removed. However, this would require discovery of the wrong removal soon after the event and any intervening strokes to have been clearly unaffected by the presence or absence of the affected ball.

Example: Consider a handicap game in which B, R and K are for the peg and Y is for rover. Bob is laid up near Corner 1 with a difficult cut rush with B on K to the peg. Roy shoots with R at B and K from Corner 3 and hits the peg instead, bouncing off to near hoop 4. Roy forgets that he cannot peg out R until Y is a rover and knocks R off the court. Bob now rushes K accurately to the peg and pegs out K in the croquet stroke. Just as he is about to hit B onto the peg, Roy remembers that R should have remained on court. In these circumstances, a referee would be entitled to rule that R should be replaced but that Bob need not replay his turn and can continue with the peg out. Had R finished near the peg, perhaps in between the peg and where K came to rest, a different decision would be appropriate.

30.3 Law 30(b) enshrines a consequence of deeming all play following a major interference not to have occurred. The game is restored to its position immediately before the interference was committed and any limit of claims outstanding at that point in time becomes relevant again and any error then outstanding can be rectified. The same principle is applied in Laws 31(c) and 32(b).


31.1 This one of the laws (Law 50(a) is the other) that will demand Solomon-like powers of judgement from a referee. If a player claims that he has been misled into a line of play that he would not otherwise have adopted, the referee must listen to the claim and come to his own opinion as to its credibility. In general, the further back in time the misleading event is claimed to have been, the more convincing the evidence must be. While no hard and fast rule should be laid down, one would expect few claims to be allowed if they are based on having been misled more than two turns ago. The referee should also note the line of play adopted after a replay has been granted. It should be substantively different from the original and not just a minor variation designed to get a second bite at the cherry.

31.2 The most potent historic claim one can imagine is from the player who has just learned from his adversary that, early in the game while the player was absent, the adversary accidentally peeled one of the player's balls but forgot to move the clip to the next hoop.

31.3 Law 31(c) performs the same function as Laws 30(b) and 32(b).

31.4 Note that the list of examples of lines of play in Law 31(d) is not exhaustive. The reference to Law 37(g) adds the decision whether or not to take a half-bisque or bisque.

31.5 Note that relief can now be obtained if a clip is misplaced by an outside agency (in practice, double bankers or a careless referee), but not if wrong information is provided by anyone other than the adversary. Note also that the adversary cannot force the striker to replay, even if he was misled, if he decides it is not in his interest to do so. However, if he does choose a replay, he can only replay from when he was first misled, not from some later time.


32.1 This is a new law which recognises the difference between the Law 25 error of playing a stroke which should not have been played at all (still called playing when not entitled to do so for the sake of familiarity) and that of playing a stroke at a time when play had been temporarily suspended (i.e. forestalled). It may well be that once the matter the adversary wished to raise has been settled, the striker will be able to resume his turn and replay the stroke or strokes he played after he was forestalled..

32.2 Law 32(b) performs the same function as Laws 30(b) and 31(c).

32.3 No limit of claims is defined for this interference, as in most circumstances the adversary will be immediately aware that the striker has carried on playing. However, in a case where the adversary is distracted or the striker has not offered the adversary the option of having the balls replaced after a fault and quickly taken a bisque, then the first stroke of the adversary's next turn would be an appropriate limit to impose when applying Law 55(b)(2), by analogy with Law 25(a).


33.1 Law 33(a) recognises the prior claim of Law 28 if the striker interferes with a ball during the striking period, thereby converting the interference into an error. There are three examples, dealt with by Laws 28(a)(11) to (13). However, if the interference is not noticed until after the fault limit of claims, Law 33 comes to the forefront again and allows the interference to be corrected, provided that the ball has not been affected by subsequent play (see Law 27(i)(2)). This sequence of events is not as unlikely as it may seem in play involving novices.

33.2 Law 33(b) deals with minor interferences by the adversary or outside agencies. Note that in the case of interference with a ball in motion, the remedy is a replay but it must be claimed before the next stroke is played. If a ball at rest is interfered with, it can be replaced correctly at any time in the game provided that it has not been affected by subsequent play (see Law 27(i)(2)).

33.3 Law 33(c) represents a compromise between the policy of not allowing weather to count as an outside agency (see 7 above) and allowing relief from the effects of high wind (as is common in Wellington, New Zealand) or torrential rain (as in Australia in 2000). Both are capable of moving balls at rest between strokes and such movement is treated as interference. As in Laws 33(a) and (b), if a ball at rest is interfered with, it should be replaced correctly as soon as its misplacement is discovered, provided that it has not been affected by subsequent play (see Law 27(i)(2)).

33.4 Law 33(d) should start with the words 'Subject to Law 27(i)(2),'.


34.1 Law 34(a) has the same cast as Law 33(b), namely the adversary and outside agencies, and is drawn widely enough to encompass the thrust of the first sentence of Law 33(b) and thereby apparently make it redundant. However, it is designed to deal with aspects of a stroke other than the position of a ball. It includes the striker being put off by the adversary forestalling at the wrong time, the adversary or someone else brushing past the striker as he swings, a projectile hitting the striker or a ball and all other accidents that might have a material effect on the outcome of the stroke.

34.2 Laws 34(b), (c) and (d) deal with passive disturbances to the game (see 29.3.3 above) and allow the striker suitable relief before he plays the next stroke. There is no other remedy available. Special damage may now be remedied by repair when appropriate. Note OR34(c) which widens the definition of it.

34.3 Law 34(e) ensures that the striker gains no unfair advantage from such relief. Note that a ball moved to maintain a positional relationship with the SB should be replaced as soon as it will no longer be affected by the striker's line of play, a deliberately wide term that reflects the difficulty of predicting how many strokes will be played in the vicinity of a ball so moved. Sometimes, such a ball will be affected by subsequent play before it has been replaced and, consistently with the principle set out in Law 27(i)(2), it ceases to be a candidate for replacement.


35.1 Law 35 lists four unconnected examples of interference with the smooth running of a game.

35.2 Law 35(b) deals with balls jamming in hoops. There are two distinct parts to this sub-law.

35.2.1 The first sentence is mandatory and requires that the hoop and ball be checked and the offender adjusted (if the hoop) or replaced (if the ball). It does not matter whether the jamming is instantaneous or the ball remains firmly wedged in the hoop. The point is that the equipment must be correct at all times and the jamming is evidence that something needs correction.

35.2.2 The second sentence offers the striker the option of a replay if a ball remains jammed in a hoop at the end of the stroke and his turn would not otherwise have ended. Hence, if the ball lingers in the hoop and then falls free, it is hard luck but there is no replay. It may seem odd to offer the striker the option of a replay as one would think that he would be bound to take it. The reason is to avoid penalising the striker in a case where the jammed ball is a long-distance peelee rather than the SB. It will do his peeling chances less harm to leave the peelee in a properly-adjusted hoop than to expect him to repeat a 20 yard peel!

35.3 The procedure governing a displaced boundary cord is common sense. It should be straightened as soon as the displacement is noticed unless to do so would affect the game. In those circumstances, it should be straightened as soon as the test or affected stroke has been completed.

Part 3: Other Forms of Play

Section A: Advanced Singles Play


36.1 This law remains unchanged in substance from the 5th Edition. Note the exemption provided by Law 36(d) if the striker is taking contact under Law 36(b)(2) in the first four turns of the game - in practice only the third and fourth turns are relevant. He is not bound by the requirements of Law 8(b) that such turns must be started from a baulk-line.

36.2 Law 36(e) has been added to provide explicit guidance as to the striker's choices in certain situations when he also has a lift or contact under Law 36. It serves a similar purpose to Law 13(f) in this respect (see 13.6 above) but offers the striker a wider range of choice in certain situations. These choices follow from the restriction placed on election of the SB under Law 9(b), namely that such election can only be made by lifting a ball that is not in contact with another ball or by playing a stroke.

36.3 Hence, if the striker lifts a ball of his side that is in contact with its partner ball, he does not elect it as the SB thereby and may replace it and elect the other ball of his side if he so wishes (see Law 36(e)(2)). If he lifts a ball in contact with an enemy ball, he is free to replace it and take croquet from that ball (see Law 36(e)(3)), but may not replace it and lift his other ball instead.

36.4 Having lifted a ball, the striker remains free to change the position on either baulk-line from which he wishes to play the SB until he actually plays a stroke (see Law 36(e)(4)). This is identical to the provision in Law 13(f)(2) (see 13.6.3. above).

Section B: Handicap Singles Play


37.1 The role of the half-bisque confuses some people. No point may be scored (though a ball may start to run its hoop) in a half-bisque turn which appears to limit its utility. However, this underrates its significance if used correctly.

37.1.1 If it is received on its own, it guarantees the innings at least once by allowing the striker to shoot at a boundary ball with impunity. The confidence given to the half-bisque receiver by this guarantee can often improve his shooting with the result that the half-bisque may be 'used' several times, much to the chagrin of the half-bisque giver.

37.1.2 If, as is more usual, it is received together with one or more bisques, it may be used as the first stage of setting out a break which is then commenced by using a bisque.

37.2 Law 37(c) repays attention. The only restrictions on a bisque-receiver's right to play a bisque or half-bisque that he possesses are:

37.2.1 in a time-limited game (see Law 53(g)(3)); and

37.2.2 when the SB has been pegged out.

Otherwise he can play it or them or some of them after any ordinary turn or bisque turn at any stage of the game. A modified definition of end of turn is required for this: see the ruling on Law 4(e) in Section C above. There is nothing to stop the striker in the first turn of the game from using every bisque he possesses one after the other. Not very wise, of course, but that is a different matter.

37.3 Law 37(d) governs the indication of intention to play a bisque or half-bisque. Note that if the bisque-receiver quits the court without comment, he has indicated that he does not intend to play a bisque or half-bisque and he may not change his mind (see Law 37(d)(3)). Note that leaving the court to retrieve a ball does not constitute quitting it. All that he needs to do to preserve his choice, perhaps while he comes off to don his waterproofs, is to inform his adversary before he quits the court that he has not yet decided.

37.4 Law 37(e) covers the case where the striker indicates his intention of playing a bisque and then does so before he has finished his previous turn. The adversary should forestall, but if he fails to do so the bisque is validly played. Note the ruling in Section C which extends this to the case where the striker wrongly leaves his ball in the yard-line area before taking a bisque.

37.5 The wording of Law 37(f): Law 37(a) requires that a bisque be played with the SB of the immediately preceding turn. However, this may cause a difficulty when a striker plays a wrong ball in the first stroke of a turn. In such a case, Law 37(f) permits the striker to play with either of his balls if he wishes to take a bisque after the error has been rectified. However, Law 37(f) also requires that the bisque must be played with a ball that 'could lawfully have been played in the first stroke of the turn'. There are three situations where the striker does not have a choice of balls, namely:

37.5.1 after the third or fourth turns of the game;

37.5.2 when the striker has already elected a ball as the striker's ball by lifting it under Law 13 (see Law 9(b)(1)); and

37.5.3 when one ball of his side has already been pegged out.

Otherwise, if the striker plays an enemy ball in the first stroke of a turn, he may play either of his balls if he decides to play a bisque. Law 43(b) contains the same principle (see 43.2 below).


  1. Bob plays B in turn 1, Roy plays R in turn 2 and Bob then plays B (or R or Y) in turn 3. The error is discovered and rectified. Bob is obliged to place K on an unoccupied spot on either baulk-line (see Law 26(a)(2). If Bob now wishes to play a bisque, he must play with K because K was the only ball that could lawfully have been played in stroke 1.
  2. Bob lifts B at the start of a turn when entitled to a lift under Law 13. He replaces it and plays K instead. The error is discovered and rectified, by replacing K and placing B anywhere in baulk. If Bob now wishes to play a bisque, he must play with B which has already been elected as the SB and therefore was the only ball that could lawfully have been played in stroke 1.
  3. Bob lifts B at the start of a turn under the misapprehension that he has a lift under Law 13. He replaces it and plays R instead. The error is discovered and rectified. If Bob now wishes to play a bisque, he may play with either B or K because B was not elected as the SB.
  4. Bob plays R in the first stroke of a turn at a stage in the game when Y and B have already been pegged out. The error is discovered and rectified. If Bob now wishes to play a bisque, he must play with K because it is the only ball of his side still in play and therefore the only ball that could lawfully have been played in stroke 1.

37.6 Law 37(h)

37.6.1 Law 37(h) has been added for the benefit of bisque receivers in response to the change in remedies for faults. Under Law 28(b)(2) the adversary is entitled to choose whether the balls should occupy their positions before the fault stroke or be left where they came to rest after that stroke. This option was felt to penalise excessively the high-handicap player who had faulted when running a hoop. It was anticipated that the adversary would elect to have the SB left in its position on the non-playing side of the hoop, thus in the worst case necessitating the use of two bisques by the striker if the turn was to be continued.

37.6.2 Law 37(h) removes the option if the striker decides to take a bisque to continue the turn after the fault has been declared. It directs and requires that any ball affected by the fault stroke be replaced in the position it occupied before the stroke was played.

37.6.3 The correct practice for referees in this situation is as follows. When called to watch a stroke in a handicap game, the referee should mark all balls capable of being affected in the usual way. If a fault is declared, the referee should remind the striker of his obligation to ask the adversary whether the balls should be replaced. If he does want them replaced, that is the end of the matter, but if not the referee must lurk to see if the striker then indicates his intention to take a bisque. If he does, the referee should inform him that the balls must be replaced to their position before the fault and should mark the current positions of the balls, in case the striker changes his mind. Both sets of markers should only be removed once the bisque has been taken, or the striker has indicated that he does not intend to take a bisque. The principle is that the striker is entitled to know whether or not the balls are to be replaced if he does not take a bisque before deciding whether or not he will do so.

37.6.4 Note that Law 37(h) does not apply if the striker elects to play a half-bisque. The exception to Law 28(b)(2) is intended to allow him to have a second attempt to run the hoop if that is what he wants. If scoring the hoop point is not his objective there is no need to deny the adversary his full rights under Law 28(b)(2) and the striker should ask him whether he wants the balls replaced or not.

37.6.5 If, after admitting to a fault, the striker takes a bisque without replacing the balls (or a half-bisque without offering the adversary the option) before the adversary has a chance to intervene, then he should be treated as playing while forestalled under Law 32.


38.1 If Bob takes croquet with B (for peg) from R (for peg) and plays a stroke that causes both R and B to hit the peg, both R and B are pegged out irrespective of the order in which they hit the peg because it is sufficient for R to be pegged out during the stroke in which B was pegged out. If those were the only balls left in the game, the winner would be the player whose ball hit the peg first, but with a net score of zero.

38.2 If Bob takes croquet with B (for peg) from K (for rover) and plays a stroke that causes first B to hit the peg and then K to be peeled through rover, B is pegged out because K became a rover during that stroke. There is no requirement that K becomes a rover before B is pegged out.


39.1 Law 39(a)(1)

Note that a bisque or half-bisque played is not restored in respect of the first stroke in error. Assume that Bob fails a hoop with B, takes a bisque and then plays K in error and then fails another hoop with K and takes three more bisques before the wrong ball error is discovered. Only three bisques are restored.

39.2 Law 39(a)(3)

Assume that Bob scores hoops 1 to 3 for B with the help of one bisque, then misses out hoop 4 and scores hoops 5 to 2-back using two more bisques. He then gives up the innings to Roy. In his next turn, Bob plays with K and takes three bisques. Later, he uses four more bisques to take B from 2-back to the peg. If Bob's omission of hoop 4 is discovered at any time before the end of the game, the B clip must be returned to hoop 4 and only the six bisques used for B after the omission are restored. In short, Bob loses eight hoops (plus one he never scored) but regains the bisques he used in scoring them. Note that bisques played with B in this example are restored even if the striker used them to attempt a peel or to lay up, rather than run a hoop out of order. However, the law is only intended to apply to cases where points were believed to have been scored but it is subsequently realised that they had not been: it is not possible to recover bisques used in fruitless attempts to make hoop 5 by deliberately omitting it and running hoop six instead!

39.3 Law 39(b)

If play is deemed not to have occurred, it is logical that any half-bisque or bisques taken during such play should be restored.

Section C: Doubles Play


Law 40(c) repays study. It is a fault if any ball touches the striker's partner or his mallet during the striking period unless this happens because the partner 'moves, picks up or arrests a ball that is not relevant to the stroke' under Laws 3(c)(2) (e.g. lifting a ball to prevent it being hit by a double banking ball), 15(c) (e.g. stopping a ball that has been pegged out) or 18(a)(2) (e.g. stopping the SB after it has made a roquet). The intention is to avoid penalising the striker's side for acts committed by his partner that have no bearing on the game.


No comment required.


No comment required.


43.1 It is not permitted to split a bisque into two half-bisques in handicap doubles play. Law 43(a) deliberately excludes Law 37(b)(1) but not Law 37(b)(2).

43.2 Law 37(a) requires that a bisque be played with the SB of the immediately preceding turn. However, this may cause a difficulty when a striker plays a wrong ball in the first stroke of a turn. In such a case, Law 43(b) permits either player of the side to take a bisque after the error has been rectified. However, Law 43(b) also requires that the bisque must be played by a player who 'could lawfully have played the first stroke of the turn'. There are three situations where only one member of a side complies with that requirement, namely:

43.2.1 after the third or fourth turns of the game;

43.2.2 when a ball of the side had already been elected as the striker's ball by being lifted under Law 13 (see Law 9(b)(1)); and

43.2.3 when one of the balls of the side has already been pegged out.

Otherwise, if the striker plays an enemy ball in the first stroke of a turn, he may play either of his balls if he decides to play a bisque. Law 37(f) contains the same principle (see 37.4 above).


  1. Boo plays B in turn 1, Ron plays R in turn 2 and Ken then plays B (or R or Y) in turn 3. The error is discovered and rectified. K must be placed on an unoccupied spot on either baulk-line (see Law 26(a)(2). If Boo and Ken now wish to play a bisque, Ken must play it because Ken was the only player who could lawfully have played stroke 1.
  2. Boo lifts K at the start of a turn when her side is entitled to a lift with K under Law 13. Boo then plays K from baulk. The error is discovered and rectified. If Boo and Ken now wish to play a bisque, Ken must play it because K has already been elected as the SB and therefore Ken was the only player who could lawfully have played stroke 1.
  3. Boo lifts K at the start of a turn under the misapprehension that her side is entitled to a lift. She replaces it and plays R instead. The error is discovered and rectified. If Boo and Ken now wish to play a bisque, either player may play because K was not elected as the SB.
  4. Boo plays R in the first stroke of a turn at a stage in the game when Y and B have already been pegged out. The error is discovered and rectified. If Boo and Ken now wish to play a bisque, Ken must play because K is the only ball of his side still in play and therefore only he could lawfully have played stroke 1.

43.3 If a player peels his partner through more than four hoops, the extra hoops are not scored and this fact can be discovered at any time before the end of the game. If the clip is advanced, it is misplaced and the adversaries may be entitled to a replay if they have been misled.

Section D: Shortened Games


Law 44(b)(4) describes the hoop 1 and 3-back variation. Note that in the case of an Irish peel or half-jump of both balls of a side through hoop 1, the law is generous to the striker. Hoop 1 is scored by the SB irrespective of the order in which the balls travel through the hoop.


Law 45(c) describes the modern form of shortened advanced game known colloquially as '14 point croquet'. Hoops 3 and 4 are the lift hoops and present the striker with three tactical choices.

45.1 scoring hoops 1 and 2 only, not conceding a lift and laying up with a ball in hoop 3 and the enemy balls cross-wired at hoops 1 or 4. The plan is to finish with a straight quadruple peel.

45.2 scoring hoops 1, 2 and 3, conceding a lift and laying up with a diagonal spread leave (own balls about 8-12 yards N of C4 with a rush towards the peg, one enemy ball SW of hoop 2, the other just SE of the peg, wired from its partner and hampered on the others). The plan is to finish with a delayed triple peel.

45.3 scoring four, five or six hoops, conceding contact and hoping to win by hitting the lift or some other shot or, if pegged out, hoping to win off the contact leave.


No comment required.

Part 4: Conduct of the Game

Section A: General Laws of Conduct


47.1 This requires little comment. The adversary is required to answer to the best of his ability any factual question about the state of the game. The list provided by Law 47(a) is deliberately detailed but it is not exhaustive. There may be other examples of questions about the state of the game.

47.2 If the adversary gives honest but erroneous information, the striker may be entitled to a replay under Law 31. If the adversary gives deliberately misleading information, this is cheating and subject to penalty under Law 55 up to and including disqualification.

47.3 The state of the game does not include information or advice about how to play a stroke. Neither does it include information or advice on the Laws or Regulations for Tournaments although the adversary is under a duty to provide information on the Laws and Regulations in his capacity as a joint referee of the game while he is so acting (see Law 48).


48.1 Note that a player is a referee of the game only while he is watching the game (see Law 48(a)(2)). While he is a referee of the game, he has all the powers, duties and rights of a referee on call or on appeal. This includes an obligation to explain the law to the striker if asked. However, if the adversary is absent from the game when the striker commits an error based on a misapprehension of the law, the striker has no redress as he could always have called another referee.

48.2 Law 48(b) imposes an unqualified duty on the striker, who is always a joint referee of the game, to announce any error or interference that 'he believes or suspects that he may have committed'. Note the word 'suspects'. The striker must cease play, at least temporarily, if he is at all unsure about the legitimacy of a stroke or whether he has played correctly. He should then consult with the adversary and obtain his agreement before resuming.

48.3 Perhaps the most frequent exercise of the striker's obligation lies in calling a referee to watch before he plays a questionable stroke. This is defined extensively in Law 48(d).

48.4 Law 48(b) imposes a similar duty on the adversary when acting as joint referee of the game. Note that the exercise of this duty is expressly subject to Law 23 (forestalling) and that, as a joint referee of the game, the adversary may be obliged to forestall play against his own interests.

48.5 Law 48(d) requires the striker to call a referee or consult the adversary if he is about to play a questionable stroke, and the adversary to forestall play if the striker does not. Note that the term questionable stroke includes not only one that may be a fault, but also one whose effect may be doubtful. It is only dynamic effects that are relevant (e.g. will the SB hit an Object Ball that could also move because it is near a hoop upright): you do not need to summon a referee every time you are uncertain whether you are going to run a hoop, because that can be determined statically afterwards! The amount of doubt necessary to make a stroke questionable is a matter of judgement, as every attempted roquet might result in just snicking the ball, and in the case of peg outs it is to some extent a matter of local custom. In some instances, it may be more appropriate to have a rush of a rover ball to the peg watched, rather than a subsequent short peg out. One case where this law should be invoked more often is when the striker is aiming at balls close together on the yard-line, or is aiming to rush a ball near to another on the yard-line, as a cannon may or may not result.

48.6 If the adversary fails to forestall play before what he should have recognised as a questionable stroke (Law 48(d)(3)), then he is debarred from claiming a fault afterwards, unless the facts are
not disputed. Thus, if he sees the striker aiming to hit a hampered shot by holding his mallet by the end of its head, he need not summon a referee (and thus alert the striker to his error) as he is in no doubt that it will be a fault, but if there is any dispute about the facts then his claim will fail.

48.7 Law 48(e) prohibits the adversary from following the striker round the court. If the adversary is concerned about the quality of some of the striker's strokes, typically croquet strokes, he should ask for a referee in charge to be appointed so that the referee can carry out the close quarters scrutiny.

48.8 Law 48(f) is based on common sense principles of fairness. It states that independent witnesses should not be consulted without the express permission of the other player. However, if one player refuses to allow a witness to be consulted, the correct procedure is for the other player to call a referee who, as referee on appeal, is empowered to consult any witnesses he wishes, even if one of the players objects. Law 48(f) contains the well-known phrase 'the positive opinion is generally to be preferred to the negative opinion'. It should be noted that this only extends to the question of whether or not a ball has been hit or has moved.


49.1 Expedition in play is one of the thornier issues that can surround time-limited games. Croquet is not an aerobic activity and there is no requirement that players should sprint between strokes (although some do!). A walk that is not obviously dawdling is quite sufficient.

49.2 However, once a player has arrived at the location of his next stroke, he is expected to play 'with reasonable despatch'. It is here that complaints usually arise when a player takes a seemingly interminable time to get ready to swing the mallet in earnest. Repeated false starts and restalkings can raise the blood pressure of even the most patient of adversaries.

49.3 A nine-hoop break with a leave consists of 70 strokes and can generally be completed in 12 to 25 minutes, giving an average time per stroke of between 10 and 20 seconds. In practice, a referee is unlikely to take action until the average duration rises to 30 seconds per stroke and should also be influenced by the tactical difficulties and lawn conditions that the striker faces. It may be argued that players differ greatly in their natural rhythms and that croquet is a game intended to be played with care. Nonetheless, if a time-limit is in operation, the adversary is entitled to consideration. It is also worthy of note that some extraordinary accelerations in the pace of play have been seen in apparently slow players when a slender lead has become a deficit.

49.4 Nonetheless, if the referee agrees that the striker is taking an unjustifiably long time, he is fully entitled to use Law 55 to end the turn at any time. Naturally, the striker should be warned first and have explained to him the basis on which the referee will act. A less radical solution may be found in summarily and publicly awarding extra time.


50.1 This law has been expanded in the 6th Edition to deal with the issues raised when a third party interferes with a game by announcing that an error has been committed which has hitherto been unnoticed by both players. Although subject to discussion in the preparation of the 6th Edition, the settled policy is that croquet is a private contest between the players and that a game should not be influenced by the eyes, ears or intelligence of other people.

50.2 The only exceptions are the partner in doubles play and a 'duly authorised referee', meaning one who is officiating in some proper role and not an onlooker who just happens to be a referee. There is a further exception if the adversary wrongly volunteers advice. Although the player is not entitled to ask for such advice, it would be unfair to prohibit him from doing something that he might well have decided to do anyway. The reason for prohibiting one player from giving advice to the other is simple. Such behaviour, even if well-intentioned, can be resented as patronising and overbearing. It can also be a form of gamesmanship which is simply psychological cheating.

50.3 Law 50(a)(1)

50.3.1 This deals with the case where a bystander goes up to a player (A) who believes his turn has just ended, and who has quitted the court, and tells him, but not his adversary (B), that he, A, committed an error in that turn. If B has already played his first stroke, the limit of claims of the error will definitely have passed and there is no problem and nothing for A to do anyway, save to rebuke the bystander politely for interfering.

50.3.2 However, if the first stroke of the new turn has not yet been played, it is possible that B will remember the error unaided before the limit of claims has passed. The policy underlying Law 50(a)(1) is to retain this possibility by requiring A to say and do nothing, recognising that A can no longer influence the position of the balls and clips. If B realises that A committed an error before playing his first stroke, all well and good. If he does not and plays the first stroke of his turn, the balance of the game will have been undisturbed. Again, the bystander should be politely rebuked.

50.4 Law 50(a)(2)

This deals with the case when the striker is still on court when a bystander interferes by informing him that he has committed an error. It recognises that the information from the bystander places the striker in an impossible position if it is correct and if the limit of claims has not passed. The only logical way of continuing the game is to cease play, rectify the error and then ask a referee to restore the balance of the game (see 50.7 below).

50.5 Law 50(a)(3)

50.5.1 This deals with the case when the striker is still on court when a bystander interferes by informing the adversary that the striker has committed an error. It recognises that the information from the bystander places the adversary in an impossible position if it is correct and if the limit of claims has not passed. How can he deal with subsequent strokes in error or if the striker commits a different error in consequence of the first error' The only logical way of continuing the game is to forestall play, rectify the error and then ask a referee to restore the balance of the game (see 50.7 below).

50.5.2 The difference between Law 50(a)(2) and (3) is the role of Law 23(b). If a bystander tells the adversary that the striker has committed a non-fatal error or is about to commit a fatal error when the adversary is already aware of the fact but has not forestalled because of Law 23(b), the bystander should be politely rebuked and adversary may continue as if the bystander had not spoken.

50.6 Law 50(a)(4)

This deals with the case when a bystander announces to either player that an interference has occurred, typically that a ball is misplaced. Again the only logical way of proceeding is to cease play or forestall, correct the interference and ask a referee to restore the balance of the game (see 50.7 below).

50.7 Law 50(a), final sentence

If the error is non-fatal (i.e. covered by Law 27(e) to (i)), no action is required other than rectification because the striker will retain the innings. However, if the error is fatal, rectification must be followed by the end of the striker's turn unless the referee decides that this would not be an appropriate outcome. This is only likely to be the case in the case of a fault committed by the striker that neither side had noticed before the spectator intervened nor, in the opinion of the referee, would have been likely to have noticed.

The other fatal errors have a long limit of claims and it will be difficult to be sure that the error would not have been noticed. In these cases, the underlying principle is that a referee must give a compromise decision under Law 55 that does not give the adversary the full benefit that would have accrued had he noticed the error or interference. This could mean requiring the adversary to start his turn by taking a lift shot at an arbitrarily placed ball.


Law 51(a) has been expanded to prohibit the offering of advice by the adversary to the striker. This is necessary for the reasons stated in 50.2 above.

Section B: Special Laws


This law sets out standard procedures to be followed for the smooth running of double-banked games on the same court. Note the requirement to get the permission of the players of the other game before marking a ball of that game. For a ball in a non-critical position, normal practice is to ask the striker and rely on him to tell his adversary if the ball has not been replaced by the end of his turn, but if the position may be critical to them both players should be consulted. A player intending to consult only the striker in the other game should, however, be careful. The position of a ball may not appear to be critical, but in fact it may be for wiring purposes and the striker in the other game may be unaware of the fact.


53.1 Law 53 imports the Regulations for Tournaments for tournaments and matches and empowers the advertised tournaments conditions to govern hoop dimensions (Law 53(b)) and impasses (Law 53(f)).

53.2 The main differences relate to the almost mandatory role of referees regarding questionable strokes, testing and repeated faults. Law 53(d) now explicitly gives both players the right to observe the referee conduct a test, providing that they do not get in the way, and to appeal if they believe that the referee is incorrectly applying the law by using an invalid procedure, but not if their observations differ from his.

53.3 Note that if two players want to use time-limits for a social game, they are entitled to treat it as a match and apply Law 53(g) accordingly.


No comment required.


55.1 For the first time in the history of Croquet, the Laws refer expressly to another source in cases of interpretative difficulty. It is to be hoped that these will be few in number but no-one can guarantee what the imagination of croquet players and the random accidents of the game may produce. Hence the reference to ORLC as a source of guidance and, where unavoidably necessary, an authoritative statement of the correct interpretation of a particular law.

55.2 Law 55(c) sets out a wide range of measures available to a referee in order that he may do justice. That is the overriding requirement. It should not be forgotten. Neither should it be forgotten that disqualification is the last resort. The aim of the lawmakers is to promote the playing of croquet and disqualification is a public humiliation which may well cause the recipient to leave the game for good. This is not to be desired but, nonetheless, the loss of a cheat is no loss at all.


For results, news, reports, corrections, updates, etc. see contact the CA. As an anti-spam measure when not logged-in, # replaces @ in email addresses - click on the link as usual to send an email.

The CA will not share your personal details with any other organisation and undertakes to keep them confidential as described in our Security, Privacy, and Cookie Policies and Information.