The Rules of Golf Croquet (5th Edition, 2018)
The Rules contained herein are the 5th Edition of the WCF Rules of Golf Croquet and are
Copyright © the World Croquet Federation (WCF).
The Rules were approved by the WCF Council on 8 July 2018 and were adopted by the Croquet Association for use in England from 1 March 2019.
From time to time, the WCF Golf Croquet Rules Committee may issue Official Rulings and Commentary in order to clarify certain rules based on practical experience.
Official Rulings and Commentary were published on 1 October 2018 and are shown in boxes at the appropriate position in the Rules set out below.
Previous editions of the WCF Rules of Golf Croquet were published in 2000, 2005, 2008 and 2013.
1. Outline of the Game
2. The Court
4. Outside Agencies and Accessories
5. The start
6. The Turn, Striking Period and Stroke
7. Scoring a Point
8. Offside Balls
10. Playing a Wrong Ball
12. Overlapping Play
13. Playing after Play has been Forestalled
14. Information, Advice and the Use of Markers
17. Double-Banked Games
18. Penalty Areas and Penalty Area Continuation
19. Handicap Play
The key message about the 5th Edition of the WCF Rules of Golf Croquet is that there have been no significant changes to how the game of Golf Croquet is played.
The WCF Golf Croquet Rules Committee had three objectives for the 5th Edition, namely, to make the Rules easier to use, to deal with situations that were omitted from previous editions and to improve the playing experience by removing inconveniences in a few areas.
Ease of Use
Numeric sub-paragraphing has been adopted so that Rule 2(a)(1) becomes Rule 2.1.1. In a few cases, when it has been necessary to use a further level of paragraphing, lower case letters are used, such as Rule 3.1.3(a).
The drafting of the 5th Edition has been made rigorously consistent so that references to a concept are always described using exactly the same words. A Glossary has been added at the front of the Rules to define some key terms and there is an Index at the back. In order to improve clarity and ease navigation, there are now 19 Rules divided into four parts instead of 16 Rules in a single list.
Part 1 (Introduction) includes Rules 1 to 4 and has very largely the same content as in the 4th Edition. The only differences relate to double-banked play and outside agencies. The rules regarding the former have been expanded and moved from Rule 1(h) to a new Rule 17. The definition of an outside agency has been moved from Rule 9 to Rule 4.1 so that the definition precedes later references to outside agencies.
Part 2 (General Rules of Play) includes Rules 5 to 8. Rules 5 to 7 serve the same purpose as in the 4th Edition with the addition of the definition of the striking period to Rule 6. The offside ball rule has been moved from Rule 10 to Rule 8 where it is more appropriately situated.
Part 3 (Irregularities) includes Rules 9 to 13 which cover Interference, Playing a Wrong Ball, Faults, Overlapping Play (which replaces Rules 6(e) and (f) in the 4th Edition) and Playing After Play has been Forestalled.
Part 4 (Other Matters) includes Rules 14 to 19 which cover Information, Advice and Use of Markers, Referees, Behaviour (previously entitled Etiquette), Double-Banked Games, Penalty Areas and Penalty Area Continuation and, lastly, an expanded rule on Handicap Play.
Situations Omitted From Previous Editions
When a player has to make a decision, the Rules now require that the decision be made promptly and cannot be changed. This applies in Rule 8 (Offside Balls), Rule 10 (Playing a Wrong Ball), Rule 11 (Faults) and Rule 19 (Handicap Play). The opponent is now also permitted to ask for a decision in such cases.
Rule 13 (Playing After Play has been Forestalled) has been added to give explicit guidance if this situation occurs.
Improving the Playing Experience
Rule 4 - Outside Agencies
A scoring clip is now not an outside agency when attached to a hoop, even when it belongs to another game. This means that a point scored in a jump shot which might have contacted a scoring clip on the way is valid. However, either side can require that a scoring clip is removed from a hoop before a stroke is played.
Rule 6 - Declaring a Stroke to Have been Played
Rule 6.3.3(c) now permits a player to leave a ball where it lies by declaring their stroke to have been played ("deemed"), as is the case in Association Croquet. This dispenses with the need to achieve the same result by playing a tiny stroke.
Rule 6 - Striking Period
Non-striking faults have been abolished. They served two distinct purposes in previous editions. One purpose was to penalise accidental contact with a ball by a player preparing to play a stroke. This purpose has been preserved by defining the start of the striking period as when the player takes up their stance and treating all such contacts after that time as striking faults, now referred to simply as "faults".
The other purpose of non-striking faults was to penalise accidental contact with a ball in other circumstances. These cases are rare and the penalty of losing the next stroke was felt to be unnecessarily harsh. In the 5th Edition, such incidents are treated as interference under Rule 9. The affected ball is replaced and there is no penalty.
Rule 6 - When a Ball Leaves the Court
A ball leaves the court when its edge (not its centre) touches the plane of the boundary line (the inner edge when the line is painted). This is the approach used in Association Croquet.
Rule 8 - Offside Balls
If Blue scores a hoop and Red is onside but Yellow is offside, Red can now be played before the owner of Blue and Black has given an offside direction about Yellow. The owner of an offside ball is now entitled to ask for a direction and the opposing side is obliged to reply promptly.
Penalty spots have been replaced by penalty areas. These are semi-circular areas with a radius of one yard centred on penalty spots D and E. A ball subject to an offside direction can be played from any point in the relevant penalty area.
Rule 10 - Playing a Wrong Ball
The wrong ball rule has historically created more confusion than any other rule. The 5th Edition has sought to simplify the rule while also providing an effective solution to the "gift hoop" problem. Accordingly, the "Replace and Replay" remedy now applies to all the standard wrong ball situations, including playing an opponent ball and the striker's partner playing the striker's ball in doubles. Previously, both of these errors attracted a penalty. This approach is intended to encourage players to forestall play immediately whenever they see that any type of wrong ball error is about to occur. This adopts the principle that prevention is better than cure and should also speed up play.
Having said that, the most common type of wrong ball is playing the partner ball instead of the striker's ball, especially in singles although it can also occur in doubles. Under the 4th edition, the only remedy was "Replace and Replay" and this could sometimes give rise to an unfortunate "gift hoop" situation. Consider the case where Bab plays Black into position for the next hoop when she should have played Blue and Ray does not notice and plays Red into position. Bab then plays Blue into position and Ray now realises that play has gone out of sequence. If Ray now forestalls and Replace and Replay is the only remedy, Blue has to be replaced and Bab will play Black next, being able to attempt the hoop without Ray having an opportunity to clear that ball with his second ball. Such a case is all the more annoying for Ray because Bab was the original culprit.
The 5th Edition addresses this situation by giving the non-offending side the right to choose either "Replace and Replay" or "Ball Swap". Choosing "Ball Swap" means that the offending side's last stroke stands, but their balls are "swapped", i.e. each placed in the position occupied by the other. The non-offender then plays the next stroke in the game with the partner ball of the ball they played last. In the above example, Ray could choose Ball Swap and have Blue and Black exchanged and then play Yellow and try to clear Blue from in front of the hoop. This is what would have happened if Bab had played Blue and Black correctly and therefore the remedy preserves the tactical balance of the situation.
The 5th Edition also provides a new solution for the rare situation when one side plays an opponent ball and the other side fails to notice and plays a stroke instead of invoking Replace and Replay. This stroke is bound to be unlawful and, if play is then stopped, Rule 10.5.4 provides a neutral solution in the form of a penalty area continuation in accordance with Rule 18.2.
Rule 11 - Faults
As noted above (see the comment on Rule 6), the striking period now begins when a player takes up their stance. If a fault is committed in a stroke that scores a point for an opponent ball, the point will count if the opponent chooses to leave the balls where they stopped.
Rule 16 - Behaviour
Referees have been given increased powers to deal with situations in the hopefully rare occasions when a player misbehaves during a game.
Rule 19 - Handicap Play
The allocation of extra strokes in handicap doubles has changed. They are no longer allocated to only one side. Now, the two highest handicapped players receive strokes, irrespective of whether they are on the same or opposite sides.
A fuller account of the differences between the 4th and 5th Editions can be found in the document entitled WCF GC Rules Rationale.
CA Golf Croquet Rules Committee
- The inner edge of any boundary marking (see Rule 2.2.2).
- An irregularity that occurs when a player plays a wrong ball, commits a fault, is guilty of overlapping play or plays after play has been forestalled (see Rules 10 to 13).
- Jammed ball
- A ball that is found to touch both uprights of a hoop simultaneously on some axis (see Rule 9.5).
- Loose impediment
- A small, moveable object on the court surface (see Rule 9.6).
- Offside opponent
- The side opposing an offside owner (see Rule 8.4.1).
- Offside owner
- The side that owns an offside ball (see Rule 8.4.1).
- Penalty area
- A semi-circular area on the court with a radius of one yard (see Rule 18.1).
- Penalty area continuation
- A method of continuing a game (see Rule 18.2).
- Previous stroke
- The stroke before the last stroke (see Rule 10.1.4).
- The player entitled to play an extra stroke in a handicap game (see Rule 19.1).
- The owner of the striker's ball (see Rule 1.2).
- Striker's ball
- The ball that follows next in sequence after the ball played in the last stroke (see Rule 1.2).
- Touching the boundary
- A ball placed on the court so that one point on its circumference would touch a straight edge raised vertically from the boundary (see Rule 6.5.3).
- Wind, rain and any other form of precipitation (see Rule 9.7).
Part 1 - Introduction
1. Outline of the Game
1.1 How the Game is Played
The game is played by striking a ball with a mallet. There are two opposing sides which play alternate strokes in successive turns (subject to exceptions set out in these Rules). The game can be played as either singles with one player on each side or doubles with two. One side plays with the blue and black balls and the opposing side with the red and yellow balls (but see Rule 17 for the use of alternative colours).
1.2 Colour Sequence, Striker's Ball and Striker
The balls are played in the sequence blue, red, black and yellow (but see Rule 17 for the use of alternative colours). Subject to Rules 10 (Playing a wrong ball) and 19.4.2 (Playing an extra stroke in handicap play), at the end of each turn, after whichever ball was played in the last stroke, the next ball in the sequence becomes the striker's ball for the next stroke and its owner becomes the striker.
Diagram 1: The Standard Court
1.3 Object of the Game
The object of the game is for each side to score points by causing either ball of its side to run hoops in the order shown in Diagram 1. A point is scored for the side whose ball first runs the current hoop in order in accordance with Rule 7. Both sides then contest the next hoop in the specified order. If one or more hoops is run out of order, Rule 7.5 applies.
1.4.1 A game is a contest for the best of 7, 13 or 19 points and ends as soon as one side has scored a majority of the points to be played. Alternative endings which may be used include playing to a two-point advantage or using a time-limit (see Appendix 3 for play subject to the Tournament Regulations published by the Croquet Association). If the players leave the court or start another game, having agreed which side has won, then the game has ended with the agreed result.
1.4.2 In a 7-point game the first six hoops are played and the seventh point is scored by contesting hoop 1 again. In a 13-point game the first 12 hoops are played and the 13th point is scored by contesting hoop 3 again. In a 19-point game the first 12 hoops are played, then hoops 3, 4, 1, 2, 11 and 12 are played again as hoops 13 to 18 respectively. The 19th point is scored by contesting hoop 3 again.
A match is a contest for the best of one, three or five games. A match ends as soon as one side has won the majority of games to be played in the match.
All dimensions in these Rules are stated in imperial units but metric units based on the equivalents stated in Appendix 1 are also permissible. Only one system of units may be used in respect of a court.
2. The Court
2.1 The Standard Court
2.1.1 The standard court is a rectangle measuring 28 by 35 yards. Its corners are known as I, II, III and IV. See Diagram 1.
2.1.2 The length and width of the court are each subject to a tolerance of ±6 inches.
2.2.3 Where more than one boundary marking is visible and it is not obvious which one should be used, the most recent defines the actual boundary or, if that cannot be determined, the innermost defines the actual boundary. If the boundary marking is not straight, the actual boundary at any point is the straight line which best fits the inner edge of the boundary marking in the vicinity of that point.
2.3 Peg and Hoops
2.3.1 Subject to Rule 2.3.3, the peg is set in the centre of the court.
2.3.2 There are six hoops which are set parallel to the north and south boundaries. Subject to Rule 2.3.3, the centres of the two inner hoops are 7 yards to the north and south of the peg; the centres of the four outer hoops are 7 yards from the adjacent boundaries.
2.3.3 The positions of each hoop and the peg are subject to a tolerance of up to 12 inches provided that the lines joining the centres of hoops 1 and 2, 3 and 4, and 5 and 6 remain visually parallel to the east and west boundaries, and that the peg lies on the lines joining the centres of hoops 1 and 3, 2 and 4, and 5 and 6.
2.4 Smaller Courts
If the available area is too small for a standard court, a smaller court may be laid out by retaining the court proportions of five length units by four length units but using a length unit shorter than the standard 7 yards. The appropriate organising body may approve other proportions and dimensions.
2.5 Missing or Misplaced Peg or Hoop
If it is discovered that a game is being played with a hoop or the peg missing or seriously misplaced, the item is to be correctly placed, and play is to continue from that point. All points already scored in otherwise valid play are counted.
3.1.1 Specification The peg is a rigid cylinder with a height above the ground of 18 inches and a uniform diameter of 1½ inches. The tolerance for the height is +/-1 inch. The tolerance for the diameter is ±¼ inch.
3.1.2 Colouring The peg should be painted white to a height of at least 6 inches above the ground and may have blue, red, black and yellow, and/or green, pink, brown and white, bands descending in that order from the top.
3.1.3 Proper state
(a) The peg is to be vertical and firmly fixed.
(b) If the peg is observed to be misaligned or loose, at any time during the game the striker is entitled to require that it shall be corrected. Any correction is to be carried out immediately under the supervision of both sides (or a referee, if present), except when a ball is in contact with the peg or would be brought into contact with it by such a correction, in which case the peg is not to be corrected until the ball has been played away from it. Following any such correction, the positions of the balls are to be adjusted if necessary to ensure that the striker gains no advantage thereby.
(a) Each hoop is made of solid metal and consists of two uprights connected by a crown. The crown is to be straight and at right angles to the uprights. A hoop is to be 12 inches in height above the ground measured to the top of the crown. The tolerance for the height is +½ inch / -1 inch.
(b) The uprights and the crown are to have a uniform diameter above the ground of between 5/8 inch and 3/4 inch, with a tolerance of 1/16 inch, although minor deviations at the top and bottom are permitted. Alternatively, the crown of the hoop may be of square cross-section with sides of between 5/8 inch and 3/4 inch, with a tolerance of 1/16 inch and with rounded edges.
(c) The inner surfaces of the uprights are to be approximately parallel and not less than 311/16 inches or more than 4 inches apart. However, in tournament and match play, the organising body may specify a narrower internal width either as the distance between the uprights or the gap between a ball and the inner surface of one upright when the ball is half way through the hoop and is touching the other upright. Each hoop on a court is to have the same width within a tolerance of 1/32 inch.
3.2.2 Colouring The hoops may be left unpainted or coloured white and, in addition, the crown of the first hoop may be coloured blue and that of the final hoop may be coloured red. It is also permissible for the hoops to be coloured as required for Association Croquet.
3.2.3 Proper state
(a) Each hoop is to be vertical and firmly fixed.
(b) If a hoop is observed to be misaligned or loose at any time, the striker is entitled to require that it shall be corrected. Any correction is to be carried out immediately under the supervision of both sides (or a referee, if present), except when a ball is in contact with the hoop or would be brought into contact with it by such a correction, in which case the hoop is not to be corrected until the ball has been played away from it. Following any such correction, the positions of the balls are to be adjusted if necessary to ensure that the striker gains no advantage thereby.
(c) The width and height of a hoop may be checked at the request of either side before the start of a game and, subject to Rule 9.5 (Interference by defective equipment), at the joint request of both sides during a game.
3.3.1 Specification A ball is to be 35/8 inches in diameter with a tolerance of ±1/32 inch and is to weigh 16 ounces with a tolerance of ±¼ ounce.
3.3.2 Additional requirements In tournament and match play, the organising body may specify additional requirements.
3.4.1 Structure A mallet consists of a head with a shaft firmly connected to its mid-point and at right angles to it for at least the bottom 12 inches, so that they function as one unit during play. Alternative but equivalent arrangements are also permitted provided the playing characteristics of the mallet do not depend on which end-face of the head is used to strike a ball.
3.4.2 Grip A grip of any material may be attached to the shaft, but neither it nor the shaft shall be moulded with an impression of any part of the player's hands.
3.4.3 Head The head is to be rigid and may be made of any suitable materials. It is to have essentially identical playing characteristics regardless of which end is used to strike the ball. Its end faces are to be parallel, essentially identical and flat, though fine grooves are permitted. The edges of each end face should be of a shape or material unlikely to damage the balls and, however they are shaped or bevelled, they are not part of the end face.
3.4.4 Aiming devices No mirrors, pointers or other devices intended to assist the aiming or playing of a stroke may be attached to any part of the mallet. However, the shaft need not be straight and the head may bear sighting lines.
3.4.5 Disabled players A disabled player may use a mallet with an appropriately modified shaft or artificial aids provided that no advantage is gained thereby compared to a player without that disability using a conventional mallet.
3.4.6 Exchange A mallet may not be exchanged for another during a game unless it is no longer available or its use is significantly affected by:
(a) accidental damage; or
(b) a mechanical or structural defect that occurred or was discovered during the game.
A damaged mallet may only be used if the player gains no advantage thereby. The playing characteristics of a mallet may never be changed during a game, except to restore its initial state following a change to it. If the head is detachable from the shaft, neither may be exchanged except as provided in this rule.
4. Outside Agencies and Accessories
4.1 Outside Agencies
4.1.1 An outside agency is any agency unconnected with the game except:
(c) a scoring clip from another game attached to a hoop.
4.1.2 Examples can include animals, spectators, a referee other than the players, the players or equipment of another game, accessories and other stray objects.
4.1.3 A ball of a game becomes an outside agency temporarily when:
(a) it leaves the court (see Rule 6.5.1); or
4.2.1 Purpose The accessories described in Rules 4.2.2 to 4.2.6 below may be supplied for guidance, convenience and decoration. Any accessory, including a scoring clip attached to a hoop, may be removed temporarily by either side if it might affect the playing or outcome of the next stroke.
4.2.2 Alternative colours post A post displaying alternative colour sequences may be located just off the court.
4.2.3 Ball restraints A check fence or other suitable equipment high enough to arrest the progress of balls may be placed around the boundary. If immovable, it should be set back sufficiently from the boundary to allow a player to swing freely at a ball on the boundary.
4.2.4 Corner flags Corner flags coloured blue, red, black and yellow may be placed in corners I, II, III and IV respectively. They are to be mounted on posts about 12 inches high, either up to 12 inches outside the court or on the boundary line but not intruding into the court.
4.2.5 Halfway markers White pegs, sufficiently prominent to be seen across the court, may be placed on or up to 12 inches outside the boundary to mark the ends of the halfway lines.
4.2.6 Scoring clips Two sets of scoring clips may be provided. One set is to be blue or black and the other red or yellow (or other colours if alternative balls are used). A scoring clip is not an outside agency when attached to a hoop or to a player or their clothing but is an outside agency when falling to or lying on the court surface. When attached to a player or their clothing, a scoring clip forms part of their personal property.
Part 2 - General Rules of Play
5. The Start
5.1 Order of Play
Subject to Rule 5.4.2, the sides decide the order of play by tossing a coin or by an equivalent procedure. The winning side plays the first stroke of the game with the blue ball or the equivalent alternative colour.
5.2 How and when a Game Starts
5.2.1 Each ball is initially played from a position on the court within 1 yard of corner IV or from an adjacent area determined by the organising body.
5.2.2 A game starts when the first stroke of the game is played.
5.3 Errors in the First Four Turns of a Game
5.3.1 If it is discovered before a stroke is played in the fifth turn of the game that a wrong ball has been played in any of the first four turns, Rule 10.5.3 applies.
5.3.2 If a player is penalised for committing a fault in one of the first four turns of the game, the ball they played has been played into the game. However, if the ball is replaced or left in a position in which it will impede the playing of another ball under Rule 5.2.1, it may be temporarily removed after its position has been marked.
5.4 Matches of More than One Game
5.4.1 Subject to Rule 10.5.2, the sides retain the same balls throughout the match and, in doubles, each player retains the same ball.
5.4.2 The losing side of one game starts the next game with either ball of their side. However, in tournament and match play, if there will be more than one game between the same players, the organising body may direct that the side starting the game will alternate between those games.
6. The Turn, Striking Period and Stroke
6.1.1 A turn is a period of time in which a single stroke is to be played, declared to be played or replayed.
6.1.2 The first turn of a game starts when the game starts (see Rule 5.2.2). All subsequent turns begin when the previous turn ends.
6.1.3 Subject to Rule 6.1.4, a turn ends when all balls moved as the result of a stroke have stopped or have left the court or when a stroke is declared to have been played.
6.1.4 If a player is required to replay a stroke under Rule 8.4.5 or, being so entitled, chooses to do so, the turn does not end until all balls moved as a result of the replayed stroke have stopped or have left the court or when the replayed stroke is declared to have been played.
6.2 Striking Period
6.2.1 Subject to Rule 6.2.2, the striking period starts when a player takes a stance with apparent intent to play a stroke and ends when they quit their stance under control. If the player does not quit their stance under control, the striking period ends when the turn ends.
6.2.2 If the player, having taken such a stance, quits it under control by clearly stepping away from the stance before playing a stroke or committing a fault, the striking period is annulled and will not start again until the player takes a new stance with apparent intent to play a stroke.
6.3.1 A stroke is an action by a player, usually intended to cause a ball to move by striking it with a mallet. Subject to Rules 8 to 12, a ball may move as the result of a stroke and cause another ball to move by either direct or indirect impacts between them or other balls, or by forces transmitted by hoops or the peg.
6.3.3 A stroke is played and a player plays a ball when:
(a) a player's mallet contacts the ball they intended to play during the striking period, whether deliberately or accidentally; or
(b) a player commits a fault under Rule 11; or
(c) a player declares their stroke to have been played, in which case the stroke is deemed to have been played with the ball they nominate.
6.3.4 If, during the striking period, a player accidentally contacts a ball with a mallet while intending to strike another ball, they have committed a fault under Rule 11.2.8 and played a stroke under Rule 6.3.3(b) with the ball they intended to strike.
6.3.5 A stroke is not played if a player misses or fails to reach the ball they intended to strike without committing a fault.
6.4 Positions of Balls
6.4.1 At the end of a turn, play continues with the balls in the positions they then occupy except for any ball which has become an outside agency.
6.4.2 The position occupied by a ball at the end of a turn is that in which it appears to have stopped for a period of at least five seconds or, if its position needs to be tested, the position that is agreed or adjudicated by the players (or a referee, if present).
6.4.3 If a ball moves or is moved after it has stopped or after its position has been agreed or adjudicated, it is to be replaced where it stopped or in the agreed or adjudicated position.
6.4.4 Both sides are responsible for ensuring that all balls other than outside agencies are correctly positioned before a stroke is played.
Rule 6.4.4 is to be interpreted as if it read: "Both sides are responsible for ensuring that all balls, other than an outside agency which will not be played in the next stroke, are correctly positioned before a stroke is played. There is no remedy if a ball is played from an incorrect position."
6.4.5 If it is discovered that a ball is incorrectly positioned but has not been affected by subsequent play, the ball is to be correctly positioned before the next stroke is played. There is no remedy if an incorrectly positioned ball is affected by subsequent play.
6.5 Ball as an Outside Agency
6.5.1 A ball becomes an outside agency when
(a) it leaves the court, which occurs as soon as any part of it would touch a straight edge raised vertically from the boundary; or
6.5.2 A ball remains an outside agency until it is next played into the game from where it left the court or from a penalty area.
Rule 6.5.2 is to be interpreted as if it read "A ball remains an outside agency until it is next played into the game or from a penalty area or, if has been temporarily removed from the game under Rules 5.3.2, 6.6.2 or 17.2.1, until it is replaced on the court."
This amendment removes the implication that a ball played into the game from an incorrect position on the boundary remains an outside agency and deals with the status of a ball temporarily removed from the game.
6.5.3 Subject to Rule 9.4 (Interference with the playing of a stroke), if a ball is to be played into the game from where it left the court, it is to be placed so that it is on the court and one point on its circumference would touch a straight edge raised vertically from the boundary. The ball is then said to be touching the boundary.
6.6 Placing Balls
6.6.1 A ball that has become an outside agency may be placed outside the boundary close to its replacement position, or have that position marked, at any time before it is next played. It is the responsibility of the player who wishes a ball to be placed or have its replacement position marked to do so. However, if the sides do not agree on the replacement position, the player who caused a ball to leave the court (or a referee, if present) is entitled to decide where it is to be placed or where its position is to be marked.
6.6.3 If a ball cannot be placed in accordance with Rule 6.5.3 because of the presence of another ball on the court, it is to be placed after the other ball has been played. However, if the ball to be placed will be played before the other ball, it is to be placed, as its owner chooses, touching the boundary and in contact with the other ball on either side.
6.7 Playing a Ball Touching the Boundary
A ball touching the boundary is to be played into the court when next played in a stroke. If such a ball is not played into the court, the stroke has been played but any ball moved as a result of the stroke is to be replaced in the position it occupied before the stroke was played and any points scored as a result of the stroke are cancelled.
Rule 6.7 is to be interpreted as if it read "If a ball touching the boundary is not played into the court but hits another ball, all balls moved as a result of the stroke are replaced in the positions they occupied before the stroke was played and any points scored as the result of the stroke are cancelled."
The purpose of Rule 6.7 is to prohibit playing a ball touching the boundary slightly out of court in order to strike and move another ball that is just inside the boundary. The rationale is that a ball touching the boundary is an outside agency until played and, if not played into court, remains an outside agency and therefore cannot lawfully move another ball. However, Rule 6.7 does not prohibit playing a ball touching the boundary so that it immediately leaves the court without hitting another ball or declaring that a stroke has been played with such a ball.
7. Scoring a Point
7.1 How a Point is Scored
7.1.1 In order to score a point, a ball must move as the result of a stroke, either directly or indirectly.
7.1.2 A ball scores a point for the side that owns it by passing through the correct hoop in the order and direction shown in Diagram 1. This is known as running a hoop.
Diagram 2: Running a Hoop
7.1.3 Running a hoop is illustrated in Diagram 2. A ball starts to run a hoop as soon as the front of the ball breaks the plane of the non-playing side of the hoop. A ball completes the running and scores the point, and the next hoop becomes the hoop in order, when the whole of the ball clears the plane of the playing side, provided that it stops at the end of the turn clear of that plane, either partly within the jaws or completely on the non-playing side.
7.2 Running a Hoop in One or More Turns
7.2.1 A ball may score a point by running a hoop in one or more turns. To score the point, the hoop is to be the hoop in order when the ball completes the running of the hoop.
7.2.2 If a ball first enters a hoop in order from the non-playing side, namely in the direction opposite to that shown in Diagram 1, it cannot score the point in the same turn. If it has so entered, it cannot score the point in a later turn unless, at some time after so entering, it stops at the end of a turn clear of the plane of the non-playing side, either partly within the jaws or completely on the playing side.
7.2.3 If a ball enters a hoop from the playing side and stops in the hoop, and is replaced in the hoop following an interference or error committed in a later turn, then the ball may complete the running of the hoop and score the point from that position.
7.3 More than One Ball Running a Hoop in a Turn
7.3.1 If more than one ball runs the same hoop as the result of a stroke, only the ball that was nearest the hoop before the stroke was played scores the point.
7.3.2 More than one point may be scored in a turn by either the same or different balls provided that, at the time when each hoop was run, it was the hoop in order in accordance with Rule 7.1.3.
7.4 Keeping the Score
Both sides are responsible for keeping the score. After each point is scored, the side for whom the point has been scored (or a referee, if present) should announce the score or, if in use, attach a scoring clip to the hoop or ensure that a scoreboard is updated.
7.5 Hoop Run Out of Order
7.5.1 No point is scored for a hoop that is run out of order except when the players have left the court, or started another game, having agreed which side has won the previous game.
7.5.2 If it is discovered before the end of a game that one or more hoops have been competed for by both sides and run out of order, then play is to stop, the last hoop scored correctly and the score at that stage are to be identified and any misplaced scoring clips are to be removed.
7.5.3 In time-limited games, time is not restored.
7.5.4 In handicap play, any extra strokes used after the last hoop scored correctly are restored.
7.5.5 Play then continues with a penalty area continuation.
8. Offside Balls
Diagram 3: Halfway Lines and Penalty Areas
8.1 Halfway Lines
The line between a hoop just scored and the hoop in order is called the halfway line.
8.1.1 The halfway lines for each hoop are shown in Diagram 3 and are defined as follows:
BG the line through the centres of 5 and 6
AF the line halfway between BG and the line through the centres of 1 and 2
CH the line halfway between BG and the line through the centres of 3 and 4
DE the line through the peg perpendicular to the east and west boundaries.
8.1.2 The halfway lines apply as follows:
|Hoop in order||Halfway line|
|7 or 17|
|3, 9 or 15|
|5 or 11|
|7th hoop in a 7-point game|
8.2 When a Ball is an Offside Ball
8.2.1 Subject to Rule 8.3, a ball is an offside ball if all of it is clearly beyond the halfway line for the hoop in order at the end of a turn in which a point was scored.
8.2.2 If a ball has left the court but has not yet been replaced on the court, its position for this purpose is the point where it left the court.
8.3 When a Ball is Not an Offside Ball
A ball beyond the halfway line (a "specified ball") is not an offside ball if it reached its final position as a result of:
8.3.1 the stroke just played; or
8.3.2 a stroke played or interference committed by the opposing side; or
8.3.3 contact with an opponent ball at any time in the last turn in which the specified ball moved provided that, if the only contact with an opponent ball was one from which the specified ball started in contact, the opponent ball was caused to move or shake when the specified ball moved; or
8.3.4 being directed to be played from a penalty area.
The exemptions under Rule 8.3 do not apply to a ball whose owner has declared a stroke to have been played with it since it reached its final position.
Example: Blue scores hoop 1 after Yellow, having hit Black, has stopped just north of hoop 3. Red plays into position and Black scores hoop 2. Yellow is not an offside ball under Rule 8.3.3 and may therefore attempt to score hoop 3 in its next turn. However, if Black stops in the jaws of hoop 2, Yellow will become offside with respect to hoop 3 if its owner declares that a stroke has been played with Yellow in its next turn and hoop 2 is then scored by Black.
8.4 Direction to a Penalty Area
8.4.3 Before an offside owner plays their next stroke, they are entitled to ask the offside opponent if they wish to give a direction. The offside opponent is to reply promptly (see Rule 16.2.8). A side that has given a direction or stated that no direction will be given is not permitted to change that decision.
8.4.4 When a ball is directed to be played from a penalty area, it becomes an outside agency and cannot become an offside ball again until it is next played. If an offside ball is not so directed, it may become an offside ball if another point is scored before it is played again.
8.4.5 If an offside owner plays a stroke with an offside ball before the offside opponent has given a direction under Rule 8.4.2, or after failing to act on such a direction which was given in a manner capable of communicating it to someone with normal hearing, and before the offside opponent has played their next stroke, the offside opponent may require all balls moved as the result of the stroke to be replaced in the positions they occupied before the stroke was played, any points scored in the stroke to be cancelled and the stroke to be replayed from a penalty area after Rule 8.4.2 is applied.
Part 3 - Irregularities
9.1 Interference with a Ball by a Player
9.1.1 Except during the striking period when playing or intending to play a stroke, a player interferes with a ball when they move, shake or touch the ball with their mallet or any part of their body, clothes or personal property, either directly or by contact with a hoop or the peg.
(a) the ball is an outside agency; or
(b) they move or touch the ball in accordance with these Rules; or
(c) they mark or clean the ball with the permission of the opposing side (or a referee, if present); or
(d) if a ball is clearly about to leave the court, they stop the ball shortly before it does so in order to save time provided that the position of the ball, when replaced touching the boundary where it would have left the court, will have no tactical significance.
9.1.3 Accidental interference by a player playing or intending to play a stroke which occurs during the striking period is a fault if it affects a ball which is neither an outside agency nor the ball they are playing or intending to play.
9.1.4 All other accidental interference with a ball by a player is treated as interference with a ball by an outside agency and Rule 9.2 applies.
9.2 Interference with a Ball by an Outside Agency
9.2.1 No point scored
No point may be scored for any ball as a result of interference by an outside agency.
9.2.2 Interference with a stationary ball
(a) If a stationary ball is moved by an outside agency, including a ball or player from another game, or by a moving ball which has been interfered with by an outside agency, the stationary ball is to be replaced in its original position before the next stroke is played.
(b) A player may lift a stationary ball at any time, with or without the permission of its owner, in order to prevent it being struck by an outside agency.
9.2.3 Interference with a moving ball by a stationary outside agency
(a) If a moving ball hits an outside agency, including a ball or player from another game, which was stationary from when the stroke was played until the collision occurred, the stroke is not replayed.
(b) The opposing side chooses whether to leave the ball where it stopped or to place it where they (or a referee, if present) judge that it would have stopped if there had been no interference.
9.2.4 Other interference with a moving ball
(a) If a moving ball is interfered with by an outside agency when, in the opinion of the players (or a referee, if present), the main intended outcome of the stroke was still in doubt, the ball is to be replaced in the position it occupied before the stroke was played and the stroke is to be replayed.
(b) Otherwise, the ball is to be placed where the sides (or a referee, if present) judge that it would have stopped if there had been no interference.
9.2.5 Interference and error in the same stroke
(b) If all balls affected by the error are replaced in the positions they occupied before the stroke was played, the interference is ignored. Otherwise, Rule 9.2.3(b) or 9.2.4(b) applies, as appropriate, and there is no replay.
9.3 Interference by the Court Surface
9.3.1 Before playing a stroke, a player is entitled to relief under Rule 9.3.2 from unevenness on the court surface due to:
(a) an immoveable outside agency (such as a sprinkler head); or.
(b) damage in the jaws or the immediate vicinity of a hoop; or
(c) damage which is not a widespread feature of that particular court nor a result of a ball being hit into the court surface if, in the opinion of both sides (or a referee, if present), it is likely to affect play.
9.3.2 If Rule 9.3.1(b) applies, the damage is to be repaired and no other relief is permitted. If Rule 9.3.1(c) applies, the damage is to be repaired if possible. In other cases, any ball likely to be affected by the stroke to be played may be moved by the minimum amount necessary to avoid the damage so as to give the player no advantage. A ball so moved but not affected by the stroke is to be replaced in its original position immediately after the turn has ended.
9.4 Interference with the Playing of a Stroke
9.4.1 An accessory or moveable outside agency that may interfere with the playing or outcome of a stroke may be removed by either side before the stroke is played. No other relief is available.
9.4.2 A player is entitled to relief before playing a stroke if a fixed obstacle outside the court interferes with their swing or if uneven ground outside the court prevents them from adopting a level stance. In such circumstances, subject to Rule 9.4.3, the player may move the ball they intend to strike ("the relevant ball") to a point on the line connecting the point where the ball lies and the intended target. However, the relevant ball may be moved only the minimum distance as agreed by the opposing side (or a referee, if present) to avoid the fixed obstacle or uneven ground.
9.4.3 If Rule 9.4.2 applies and:
(a) the player intends to cause the relevant ball to hit forcefully another ball which lies within 6 yards of the original position of the relevant ball, the other ball is to be moved subject to the consent of its owner so that its position relative to the relevant ball remains the same; or
(b) a ball lies within 1 yard of the original position of the relevant ball and is likely to interfere with its passage, such a ball is to be moved so that its position relative to the relevant ball remains the same.
A ball so moved but not affected by the stroke is to be replaced in its original position immediately after the turn has ended.
9.5 Interference by Defective Equipment
9.5.1 In this rule, a ball is a jammed ball if it is found to touch both uprights of a hoop simultaneously on some axis.
9.5.2 If a player suspects that the outcome of a stroke they have just played was affected by a ball being a jammed ball, they are entitled to have the hoop and ball checked and, if necessary, adjusted or exchanged. References in Rule 9.5.3 to all balls being replaced or left where they stopped are to be treated as applying to a ball exchanged for a jammed ball that did not comply with Rule 3.3.1.
9.5.3 Subject to Rule 9.5.4, if a ball is a jammed ball, the player is entitled to replay the stroke after all balls moved as the result of the stroke have been replaced in the positions they occupied before the stroke was played. Otherwise, subject to Rule 9.5.5, all balls moved as the result of the stroke are left where they stopped.
(b) A replay is not permitted under Rule 9.5.3 if the player committed a fault in playing the stroke unless it is agreed by the players (or a referee, if present) that the fault was only committed because the equipment was defective.
A replay is permitted if a ball becomes jammed when a player is attempting to cause it to pass through the hoop from the non-playing side. Accordingly, Rule 9.5.4(a) is to be interpreted as if the words "run the hoop" were replaced by the words "pass through the hoop in either direction".
A replay is not permitted if a fault is committed in a stroke which causes a ball to become jammed in a hoop above another ball unless it is agreed by the players (or a referee, if present) that the fault was committed only because the equipment was defective.
Accordingly, Rule 9.5.5 is to be interpreted as if the following sentence was appended: "However, if Rule 9.5.4(b) applies and no replay is permitted, all balls moved as the result of the stroke are to be replaced in the positions they occupied before the stroke was played."
9.6 Interference with a Ball by a Loose Impediment
9.6.1 In this rule, a loose impediment is a small, moveable object on the court surface. Examples can include worm casts, leaves, nuts, twigs, refuse or similar material.
9.6.2 A loose impediment may be removed from the court surface at any time.
9.6.3 If a moving ball is affected by a loose impediment, there is no relief.
9.7 Interference with a Ball by Weather
9.7.1 In this rule, weather includes wind, rain and any other form of precipitation.
9.7.2 If a stationary ball is moved by weather, it is to be replaced in its original position before the next stroke is played.
9.7.3 If a moving ball is affected by weather, there is no relief.
10. Playing a Wrong Ball
10.1.2 If any player (or referee, if present) believes that a wrong ball is about to be played, they are to forestall play and require that the correct ball is played.
10.1.3 If any player (or a referee, if present) believes that a wrong ball may have been played in the last stroke, they are to forestall play until it is established how play should continue in accordance with this rule.
10.1.4 In this rule, the previous stroke is the stroke before the last stroke.
10.1.5 Special situations
(a) Accidental contact when intending to strike another ball (see Rule 10.5.1)
(b) Exchange of colours in first four strokes of a game (see Rule 10.5.2).
(c) Wrong ball played in first four strokes of a game (see Rule 10.5.3).
(e) Same side plays successive strokes (see Rule 10.6).
(f) Wrong ball and fault in same stroke (see Rule 10.7).
10.2 Status of Earlier Strokes
When play is stopped after a wrong ball has been played in the last stroke:
10.2.1 all strokes before the last stroke are treated as valid; and
10.2.2 any points scored in those strokes are counted for the owners of the balls that scored the points.
10.3 Action after a Wrong Ball is Played
The non-offending side chooses whether to apply Replace and Replay (see Rule 10.4.1) or Ball Swap (see Rule 10.4.2). The non-offending side is to announce its decision promptly (see Rule 16.2.8) and may not then change that decision.
Replace and Replay applies (see Rule 10.4.1).
Replace and Replay applies (see Rule 10.4.1).
10.4.1 Replace and replay
(a) The last stroke is annulled and any points scored as a result of the stroke are cancelled.
(b) All balls moved as a result of the last stroke are replaced in the positions they occupied before the last stroke was played.
10.4.2 Ball swap
(a) The last stroke is treated as valid and any points scored in the last stroke are counted for the owners of the balls that scored the points.
(b) All balls moved as a result of the last stroke are left where they stopped, except that the positions of the ball played in the last stroke and its partner ball are swapped. A swapped ball takes the offside status of the ball with which it is swapped.
(c) The non-offending side then plays the ball next in sequence after the partner ball of the ball played in the last stroke.
10.5 Special Situations
10.5.1 Accidental contact when intending to strike another ball
If a player accidentally contacts a ball with a mallet when intending to strike another ball (see Rule 6.3.4), the accidental contact does not constitute playing a wrong ball.
10.5.2 Exchange of colours in first four strokes of a game
If, in all the first four strokes of a game, the balls are played in compliance with the sequence stated in Rule 1.2 but by the opponent(s) of the balls' owner(s), the first four strokes are treated as valid and, for the remainder of the match, the ownership of the balls is as played in those first four strokes.
10.5.3 Wrong ball in first four strokes of a game
Subject to Rule 10.5.2, if it is discovered before a stroke is played in the fifth turn of the game that a wrong ball has been played in any of the first four strokes, Rule 11 does not apply, the balls are replaced in the positions they occupied at the end of the turn in which the last valid stroke was played and the score at that stage is re-instated. Play then continues by the striker playing the ball that follows in sequence after the ball played in the last valid stroke.
10.5.4 Previous stroke played with opponent ball
Subject to Rule 10.5.3, if the previous stroke was played with a ball that did not belong to the side that played it and the last stroke was played by the other side, any points scored as a result of the last two strokes are cancelled and play continues by a penalty area continuation.
10.6 Same Side Played Successive Strokes
10.6.1 If the same side played the last two or more strokes, then a wrong ball has been played in the last stroke unless it was:
(a) immediately preceded by a stroke declared to have been played by the opposing side under Rule 6.3.3(c); or
(c) an extra stroke in handicap play (see Rule 19); or
(d) the first stroke of a penalty area continuation.
10.6.2 No points are scored for any ball as a result of any stroke played by the offending side after its last valid stroke.
10.6.3 The non-offending side chooses whether the balls are left where they stopped or are all replaced in the positions they occupied before any invalid stroke played by the offending side. The non-offending side then plays either ball of their side.
10.7 Wrong Ball and Fault in the Same Stroke
Subject to Rules 10.5.3, 10.5.4 and 10.6, if a wrong ball is played and a fault is committed in the last stroke, the wrong ball is ignored and Rule 11 applies. Play continues by the non-offending side playing the ball next in sequence after the ball that should have been played in the last stroke.
(b) If the last stroke was played by the non-striking side with any ball then, depending on which side played the previous stroke, either Rule 10.5.4 or Rule 10.6 applies. If the opponents of the non-striking side played the previous stroke, which is the most likely situation, Rule 10.5.4 applies. However, if the non-striking side also played the previous stroke, that side has played two strokes in succession and Rule 10.6 applies.
A fault is an act prohibited by Rule 11.2 which is committed by a player playing or intending to play a stroke during the striking period. Committing a fault also constitutes playing a stroke with the ball the player intended to strike (see Rule 6.3.4).
11.2 Types of Fault
Subject to Rule 11.3, a fault is committed by a player who, during the striking period:
11.2.1 touches the mallet head with a hand; or
11.2.2 strikes a ball as a result of kicking, hitting, dropping or throwing the mallet; or
11.2.3 strikes a ball with any part of the mallet other than an end face of the head either deliberately or accidentally in a stroke which requires special care because of the proximity of a hoop or the peg or another ball; or
11.2.4 strikes a ball with the mallet more than once in the same stroke or allows a ball to retouch the mallet; or
11.2.5 maintains contact between the mallet and a ball; or
11.2.6 causes a ball, while still in contact with the mallet, to touch a hoop, the peg or, unless the balls were in contact before the stroke, another ball; or
11.2.7 strikes a ball when it lies in contact with a hoop upright or the peg other than away therefrom; or
11.2.8 touches any ball other than the ball they intended to strike with the mallet or any ball with any part of their body, clothes or personal property; or
11.2.9 moves or shakes a stationary ball by hitting a hoop or the peg with the mallet or any part of their body, clothes or personal property; or
11.2.10 causes damage to the court surface with the mallet that, before the court surface is repaired, is capable of significantly affecting a subsequent stroke played over the damaged area.
11.3 Declaration of Faults
11.3.1 A fault is to be declared if the player (or a referee or other observer requested to watch the stroke) believes that it is more likely than not that the relevant event occurred.
11.3.2 A fault under Rule 11.2.1 is committed only if the mallet head is touched during the final forward swing of the mallet.
11.3.3 When the mallet strikes a ball that is in contact with another ball before the stroke is played, the following faults may only be declared if the observer, assisted by nothing more than spectacles , contact lenses or a hearing aid,
(a) under Rule 11.2.4, sees a separation between mallet and ball followed by a second contact between mallet and ball; or
(b) under Rule 11.2.5, sees or hears a contact between mallet and ball that is materially longer than that which necessarily occurs in a stroke of the same type.
11.3.4 In other cases, the commission of a fault may be deduced from other observations, including sound and the movement of balls.
11.4 Action after a Fault
11.4.1 If a fault is committed but play is not stopped because of the fault before:
(b) an extra stroke has been played by the offending side under Rule 19; or
(c) a stroke, whether valid or invalid, has been played by the non-offending side,
there is no remedy and play continues as if the fault had not been committed.
11.4.2 Otherwise, the non-offending side chooses whether the balls are left where they stopped or are replaced in the positions they occupied before the stroke was played. The non-offending side is to announce its decision promptly (see Rule 16.2.8) and may not then change that decision.
11.4.3 If the balls are left where they stopped, only a point scored for the non-offending side is counted. If the balls are replaced, no point is scored for any ball.
11.4.4 Play then continues by the non-offending side playing the next ball in sequence.
11.5 More than One Fault in a Stroke
If a player commits more than one fault in a stroke, there is no additional penalty.
12. Overlapping Play
12.1 Both Sides Play Overlapping Strokes
12.1.1 If two or more balls are caused to be in motion at the same time as the result of strokes played by both sides, the stroke played by the striker's side is valid subject to Rules 10 and 11 and the stroke played by the non-striking side is invalid.
12.1.2 If the striker played a valid stroke:
(a) all balls moved only as a result of the invalid stroke are replaced in the positions they occupied before that stroke was played; and
(b) the next stroke of the non-striking side will be treated as having been declared to have been played under Rule 6.3.3(c).
12.2 One Side Plays Overlapping Strokes
In doubles, if two or more balls are caused to be in motion at the same time as the result of strokes played by both players of the same side, no points are scored for any ball and the non-offending side chooses whether all balls moved as a result of the strokes are left where they stopped or are replaced in the positions they occupied before both strokes were played. Play then continues by the non-offending side playing either ball of their side.
13. Playing after Play has been Forestalled
If a player plays a stroke after the opposing side has justifiably forestalled play in a manner capable of conveying the request to a person with normal hearing and before the issue has been settled, the stroke is cancelled and any balls moved as a result of the stroke are replaced in the positions they occupied before the stroke was played. The issue is to be settled and the player entitled to play is then to play. See also Rule 16.2.9.
Part 4 - Other Matters
14. Information, Advice and Use of Markers
14.1 Information Requested by the Opposing Side
14.1.1 If asked and able to do so, a player is to inform the opposing side promptly about the Rules relating to any matter and anything relating to the state of the game, such as the score, which hoop is next in order, which ball was played last, the colour of any ball on the court, how any ball over the halfway line reached its position, how much time remains in a time-limited game or, in handicap play, how many extra strokes remain.
14.1.2 If a side plays a stroke acting on incorrect information given by the opposing side in a way that they would not otherwise have played and this is discovered before the affected side plays the same ball again, the affected side may choose to replace the balls in the positions they occupied before the start of the affected stroke and to replay that stroke. Any points scored in the affected stroke and any later strokes are cancelled. Otherwise, the affected stroke and any later stroke are valid. See Rule 19.9 for the restoration of extra strokes in handicap play.
14.2 No Reference to Written Information
During a game, players are not permitted to refer to information in the form of printed, handwritten, electronic or other prepared material except for the purpose of clarifying the Rules that apply to a circumstance that has arisen or may be about to arise.
14.3 No Tactical Advice to the Opposing Side
A side should not give tactical advice to the opposing side. However, the opposing side is entitled to act on such advice.
14.4 No Tactical Advice From Outside the Game
Tactical advice should not be given to either side by anyone from outside the game. However, the sides are entitled to act on such advice unless, in a team event, it was given by a member or official of their team.
14.5 Advice in Doubles
In doubles, partners may advise each other and a partner may assist in the preparation for playing a stroke, including indicating to the player the direction in which the mallet should be swung. However, when the stroke is played, the partner is to stand well away from the player or any position which might assist the player in gauging the strength or direction of the stroke.
14.6 Use of Markers
No mark or marker may be made or placed inside or outside the court to assist a player in gauging the strength or direction of a stroke except as follows:
14.6.1 the player's mallet or, in doubles, their partner or their partner's mallet, may be used as a marker before the stroke starts; or
14.6.2 ball markers used to mark the position of a ball that is to be temporarily removed.
15.1 Referees Involved in a Game
15.1.1 All the players in a match are joint referees of the game and responsible for the fair and correct application of these Rules.
15.1.2 A referee may be placed in charge of a match, or may be called on to assist, or may in specific instances intervene to ensure the match proceeds according to these Rules but the presence of such a referee does not remove the player's responsibilities under Rule 15.1.1.
15.1.3 Where a stroke is to be played that may result in the commission of a fault or a ball leaving the court in a critical position, the player should first request the opposing side (or a referee, if present) to watch the stroke. If the player does not make the request, the opposing side may forestall play and require the stroke to be watched.
15.1.4 In the absence of a referee, or if Rule 15.1.3 does not apply, if there is a difference of opinion on a matter of fact, the opinion of the player with the best view is to be preferred, but if the two views are equal, the opinion of the player who played the stroke prevails.
15.1.5 A player is to warn the opposing side (or a referee, if present) before playing a forceful stroke if a ball may travel towards them.
Regulations governing the appointment, powers and duties of referees are contained in the WCF Refereeing Regulations.
References in the Rules to "a referee (if present)" mean a Supervising Referee, a Referee in Charge, a Referee on Request who is already active or an inactive referee who intervenes in accordance with the WCF Refereeing Regulations.
15.3 Overriding Rule
If a situation does not appear to be adequately covered by these Rules, or their interpretation appears to be uncertain in relation to a situation, the issue shall be decided by the players (or a referee, if present) in a manner which best meets the justice of the case.
Players are responsible for maintaining good standards of behaviour towards other players, officials, equipment, courts and spectators.
16.2 Unacceptable Behaviour
A player contravenes Rule 16.1 by behaving unacceptably. Examples of unacceptable behaviour for which players may be penalised include, but are not limited to, cases where a player:
16.2.1 leaves the vicinity of the court during a match without permission from the opposing side or, in tournament and match play, from a referee (if present) or from the manager.
16.2.2 contravenes any part of Rule 14.
16.2.3 physically abuses their mallet or other equipment or deliberately or repeatedly damages the court surface.
16.2.4 disturbs other players during the match by talking, making noises, standing or moving in front of a player who is about to play a stroke, except as permitted or required by the Rules.
16.2.5 argues aggressively or continuously with or is aggressive towards another player.
16.2.6 fails to accept a decision of a referee on a matter of fact or shows lack of respect for a referee.
16.2.7 deliberately or repeatedly:
(a) interferes with a ball; or
(b) plays a wrong ball or tries to cause the opposing side to play a wrong ball; or
(c) commits a fault or tries to cause the opposing side to commit a fault; or
(d) plays a stroke with the wrong mallet.
16.2.8 fails to reply promptly to a request (see Rules 8.4.3, 14.1.1 and 19.5.3), fails to announce a decision promptly (see Rules 10.3.1 and 11.4.2), wastes time or fails to play their strokes with reasonable dispatch (see Rule 16.3).
16.2.9 plays after the opposing side has asked, in a manner capable of conveying the request to a person with normal hearing, that play is stopped to enable a stroke to be watched, a ball to be placed or an action to be investigated.
16.2.10 touches a hoop or the peg when a ball lies in contact with it or while a player is playing a stroke.
16.2.11 except with the permission of the opposing side (or a referee, if present), attempts to perform a physical test to determine whether a point has been scored or may be scored or whether a ball has left the court (see Rule 6.5.1).
16.2.12 attempts to repair damage to the court surface that may indicate a fault under Rule 11.2.10 before it is ruled on by the opposing side (or a referee, if present).
16.2.13 acts in a manner that may bring the game into disrepute.
16.3 Playing with Reasonable Dispatch
16.3.1 In tournament or match play, a match may be made subject to a requirement that each player is to play a stroke or declare that a stroke has been played within one minute of the end of the last turn, except when the game is held up while a ball is retrieved, or a referee is called or another example of justifiable delay exists.
16.3.2 If a requirement under Rule 16.3.1 is to apply throughout a match at the direction of the organising body, the players are to be informed before the match starts that such a requirement applies.
16.3.3 In exceptional circumstances, a referee in charge of a match or a referee called under Rule 16.5.2 may:
(a) impose a requirement under Rule 16.3.1 after the match has started; or
(b) in a time-limited game, increase the time remaining to compensate for time lost through breaches of Rule 16.2.8.
16.3.4 If a match is subject to a requirement under Rule 16.3.1, the existence of the requirement does not permit players to wait for one minute before playing.
16.4 Penalties when a Referee is in Charge
16.4.1 When a referee is in charge of a match and, in the opinion of the referee, a player has contravened Rule 16.1, the referee is to draw attention to the contravention and warn the player not to contravene Rule 16.1 in any way again.
16.4.2 If, in the opinion of the referee, a side contravenes Rule 16.1 for a second time in the same match, the referee is to stop the match and rule that the offending side is to lose their next stroke.
16.4.3 If, in the opinion of the referee, a side contravenes Rule 16.1 for a third time in the same match, the referee is to stop the match and award it to the opposing side. In this case the score in the match in progress is recorded as the winning total (4, 7 or 10) to the winner and the score already recorded by the loser when the game is stopped. Any subsequent games in the match are won to zero.
16.4.4 If the referee decides that a contravention of Rule 16.1 is sufficiently serious, even if it is the first contravention in the match, they are entitled to stop the match and either rule that the offending side is to lose their next stroke or award the match to the opposing side.
16.5 Penalties when a Referee is Not in Charge
16.5.1 In the absence of a referee in charge of the match, the players are responsible for monitoring behaviour during the match. If, in the opinion of the opposing side, a player has contravened Rule 16.1, the opposing side is to draw attention to the contravention and warn the player not to contravene Rule 16.1 in any way again.
16.5.2 If the players are unable to agree that the first player has contravened Rule 16.1, the game should be stopped until a referee has been called to rule on the situation. The referee should rule whether Rule 16.1 has been contravened and, if so, has all the powers of a referee in charge of a match set out in Rule 16.4.
17. Double-Banked Games
17.1 Alternative Colours
17.1.1 Two or more games may be played simultaneously on the same court, normally using alternative coloured balls or striped balls.
17.1.2 If the standard alternative colours are used, one side plays with the green and brown balls and the opposing side with the pink and white balls and the sequence is green, pink, brown and white.
17.1.3 If another set of colours is to be used, the colours to be played by each side and the correct sequence is to be agreed before play starts.
17.2 Avoiding Interference
17.2.1 If two games are played simultaneously on the same court, all players are to be aware of the other game and are to try to avoid interference with the other game. For that purpose, with the permission of the players of the other game, one or more balls of the other game may be temporarily removed after their positions have been marked.
17.2.2 A ball that is temporarily moved under Rule 17.2.1 becomes an outside agency until it is replaced.
17.2.3 If the same hoop is about to be contested by the players in more than one game, the game involving the player who first plays a ball into the vicinity of that hoop should normally be given priority.
17.2.4 Interference between balls in different games is dealt with by Rule 9.2.
17.3 Timed Games
In tournament and match play, if a time-limit is applied to two games played simultaneously on the same court, the organising body may direct that the timer of one game is to be stopped if play is held up by the other game.
18. Penalty Areas and Penalty Area Continuation
18.1 Penalty Areas
The two semi-circular areas on the court with a radius of one yard and centred on the points marked D and E on Diagram 3 are each known as a penalty area. A ball directed to be played from a penalty area (see Rules 7.5.5, 8.4.4, 10.5.4 and 12.1.4) may be played from any point within it.
18.2 Penalty Area Continuation
If play is to continue by a penalty area continuation (see Rules 7.5.5, 10.5.4 and 12.1.4), all four balls are to be next played from the same penalty area. The sides decide the order of play by tossing a coin or by an equivalent procedure. The losing side chooses from which penalty area the balls shall be played. Play then continues by the winning side playing a stroke with either ball of their side from the chosen penalty area.
19. Handicap Play
19.1.1 Handicap games may be played to allow players of different abilities to compete so that they will have more equal chances of winning.
19.1.3 Each player is allotted a handicap according to ability. The handicap range may extend from 20 to minus 6 although the extremes of this range need not be used.
19.1.4 In this rule, the receiver is the player entitled to play an extra stroke in a handicap game.
19.2.1 In singles, extra strokes are received by the higher handicapped player from the lower handicapped player.
19.2.2 In a 13 point game, the number of extra strokes received is calculated by subtracting the lower handicap from the higher handicap. This is the "handicap difference".
19.2.3 The handicap difference is adjusted downwards in a 7 point game and upwards in a 19 point game. The number of extra strokes received in 7, 13 and 19 point games is shown in Appendix 2, Table 1.
19.3.1 In doubles, extra strokes are received by the two highest handicapped players who may be on the same side or on opposing sides.
19.3.2 The player with the lowest handicap and the player with the higher handicap on the opposing side are identified.
(a) If two players on the same side have the same handicap and both will receive extra strokes, they are to announce before the game starts which of them will receive extra strokes based on the lowest handicap.
(b) If two players share the lowest handicap, either may be identified for this purpose because it will not affect the allocation of extra strokes.
19.3.3 In a 13 point game, the number of extra strokes received by the higher handicapped player is calculated by subtracting the lower handicap from the higher handicap and halving the difference. This is the "half handicap difference" and, if not an integer, is to be rounded upwards.
19.3.4 The half handicap difference is adjusted downwards in a 7 point game and upwards in a 19 point game. The number of extra strokes received in 7, 13 and 19 point games is shown in Appendix 2, Table 2.
19.3.5 The same calculation is performed for the two remaining players to determine the number of extra strokes received by the player with the higher handicap.
19.3.6 If both players of a side will receive one or more extra strokes based on a half handicap difference that is not an integer before rounding upwards, 0.5 is to be deducted from the half handicap difference of one player of the side. They are to announce before the game starts which of them will be affected by the deduction.
19.4 When an Extra Stroke May be Played
19.4.3 If a receiver is entitled to play more than one extra stroke, they may play them in succession.
19.5 Communication with the Opposing Side
19.5.1 A receiver considering whether to play an extra stroke is to warn the opposing side of their possible intention in a manner capable of conveying it to a person with normal hearing. The warning is to be given either before or immediately after the receiver has played the stroke that will precede the extra stroke.
Rule 19.5 is to be interpreted as if it contained a new Rule 19.5.5 which states: "A receiver who has indicated that an extra stroke will not be played, including revoking a decision to play an extra stroke under Rule 19.5.4, may not then change that decision."
19.6 Point Scored as the Result of an Extra Stroke
A receiver may not score a point for their side as a result of an extra stroke but may score a point for the opposing side.
19.7 After a Wrong Ball
19.7.1 An extra stroke may not be played after playing a wrong ball unless the non-offending side chooses to apply the Replace and Replay remedy (see Rule 10.4.1).
19.7.2 If it is discovered that an extra stroke has been played invalidly and play is stopped before the opposing side has played a stroke, whether valid or invalid, then the extra stroke is restored and any balls moved are replaced in the positions they occupied before the extra stroke was played. Play then continues by the opposing side playing the next ball in sequence.
19.7.3 However, if this is not discovered until after the opposing side has played a stroke, whether valid or invalid, there is no remedy and the extra stroke is treated as validly played.
19.8 After a Fault
19.8.1 If a receiver decides to play an extra stroke after committing a fault in their last stroke, Rule 11.4.2 does not apply and the balls are to be replaced in the positions they occupied before the stroke in which the fault was committed.
19.9 After Incorrect Information
An extra stroke is restored if it is cancelled under Rule 14.1.2.
The administration of the handicap system in the domain of a WCF Member is the responsibility of the WCF Member.
Tolerances and Metric Equivalents of Standard Dimensions
Dimensions Subject to Tolerances
|2.||The court||35 yards||±6 inches||32.0m||±150mm|
|28 yards||±6 inches||25.6m||±150mm|
|3.1||Peg||18 inches||±1 inch||450mm||±25mm|
|3.2||Hoops||12 inches||+½/-1 inch||300mm||+12.5/-25mm|
|16 ounces||±¼ ounce||454g||±7g|
|3.4||Mallets||12 inches||±½ inch||300mm||±12.5mm|
Other Dimensions Not Subject to Tolerances
Table 1: Extra strokes in singles games
Table 2: Extra strokes in doubles games
Unless published otherwise before the start of an event, CA Regulation T3 will apply to any event advertised in the CA Fixture Book. In exceptional circumstances, such as loss of court availability due to adverse weather, the Manager may vary these regulations to ensure that the event is completed.
Guidance to Referees
A4.1. Double-Tap Situations
A4.1.1 Ball Played Directly Into Another Ball
A220.127.116.11 Rule 11.2.4 provides that a fault is committed if the mallet hits a ball more than once (a "double-tap").
A18.104.22.168 High speed photography has demonstrated that, if two balls are separated by 4mm or less before a stroke is played along the line of their centres, a second contact is unlikely because the mallet and the ball that it struck will probably still be in contact when the first ball hits the second ball.
A22.214.171.124 However, Rule 11.2.6 provides that a fault is committed if a player causes a ball, while still in contact with the mallet, to touch another ball unless the balls were in contact before the stroke.
A126.96.36.199 if the separation distance is more than 4mm, a stroke in which one ball is driven directly into another should be declared a fault unless the second ball travels at least eight times as far as the first ball.
A4.1.2 Ball Played Into Another Ball at an Angle
A188.8.131.52 If a player plays a stroke in which a ball is driven into another ball which is separated by 4mm or less, a fault should be declared unless the mallet is swung at an angle of at least 60 degrees to the line of centres.
A184.108.40.206 If the separation distance is more then 4mm, a stroke played at an angle of less than 60 degrees may be lawful.
A4.1.3 Hammer Strokes
Guidance concerning the refereeing of hammer strokes and jump strokes can be found on the Croquet Association website at
A4.2. Damage to the Court by the Mallet
A4.2.1 If a stroke is played in which the mallet contacts the court surface, Rule 11.2.10 provides that a fault is committed if the damage caused to the court surface, before it is repaired, is capable of significantly affecting a subsequent stroke played over the damaged area. The inclusion of the word "significantly" is important.
A4.2.2 The referee should conduct a test in which a ball is rolled gently over the damaged area from various directions. If the path of the ball is not affected by the damage, the test is not met and a fault has not been committed.
References are to rule numbers.
agreement of position: 6.4.2
alternative colours: 1.1, 17.1
colours: 1.1, 17.1
exchange of defective ball: 9.5.2
jamming in hoop: 9.5.1
off the court: 6.5.1(a)
sequence of colours: 1.2, 17.1
wiping (see Ball, cleaning)
Bisque - see Handicaps, extra strokes
Extra turn (see Extra stroke)
ball jamming in: 9.5
order of hoops: 1.3
proper state: 3.2.3(a)
resetting (see Hoop, adjustment)
run out of order: 7.5
scoring a point: 7.1
best of 1, 3 or 5 games: 1.5
and double-banking: 17.3