The All England Croquet Laws and Rules

by Frances E. Slaughter

1897.

1. Mallets.—There shall be no restriction as to the number, weight, size, shape, or material of the mallets; nor as to the part of the handle held. The ball must only be struck with either end of the head of the mallet.

2. Size of Balls.—The balls used in match play shall be three and five-eighth inches in diameter, of even weight, each ball weighing not less than thirteen and three-quarter oz. or more than fourteen and a quarter oz.

3. Choice of Lead and of Balls.—It shall be decided by lot which side shall have choice of lead and of balls. In a succession of games the choice of lead shall be alternate, the sides keeping the same balls.

4. Commencement of Game.—In commencing, each ball shall be placed on the starting spot. The striker's ball, when so placed and struck is at once in play, and can roquet any other ball in play or be roqueted whether it has made the first hoop or not.

5. Stroke, when taken.—A stroke is considered to be taken if a ball be moved in the act of striking; but should a player, in taking aim, move his own or any other ball accidentally, it must be replaced to the satisfaction of the umpire or the adversary, and the stroke be then taken. If a ball be moved in taking aim, and then struck without being replaced, the stroke is foul (see Law 25).

6. Hoop, when run.—A ball has run its hoop when, having passed through from the playing side and ceased to roll, it cannot be touched by a straight-edge placed against the wires on the side from which it was played, after the hoop has been placed upright.

7. Ball driven partly through Hoop.—A ball driven partly through its hoop from the non-playing side cannot run the hoop at its next stroke, if it can be touched by a straight-edge placed against the wires on the non-playing side.

8. Points counted to Non-Strikers Ball.—A ball driven through its hoop, or against the turning peg, by any stroke not foul, of its own side, or by any stroke of the adverse side, scores the point so made.

9. Points made for Adversary's Ball.—If a point be made for an adversary's ball, the striker must inform his adversary of it. Should the striker neglect to do so, and the adversary make the point again, he may continue his turn as though he had played for his right point.

10. The Turn.—A player, when his turn comes round, may roquet each ball once before making a point, and may do this again after each point made. The player continues his turn so long as he makes a point or a roquet.

11. Croquet imperative after Roquet.—A player who roquets a ball must take croquet, and in so doing must move perceptibly both balls (vide Law 27 (h) (i)).

In taking croquet, the striker is not allowed to place his foot on the ball.

12. Ball in Hand after Roquet.—No point or roquet can be made by a ball which is in hand. If a ball in hand displace any other balls, they must remain where they are driven. Any point made in consequence of such displacement counts, notwithstanding that the ball displacing them is in hand.

13. Balls roqueted simultaneously.—When a player roquets two balls simultaneously, he may choose from which of them he will take croquet; another roquet will be required before he can take croquet from the other ball.

14. Balls found touching.—If at the commencement of a turn the striker's ball be found touching another, roquet is deemed to be made, and croquet must be taken at once, but if it be found touching two balls the striker can take croquet of which ball he chooses. But another roquet will be required before he can take croquet from one of the other balls.

15. Roquet and Hoop made by same Stroke.—Should a ball, in making its hoop, roquet another that lies beyond the hoop, and then pass through, the hoop counts as well as the roquet. A ball is deemed to be beyond the hoop if it lies so that it cannot be touched by a straight-edge placed against the wires on the playing side. Should any part of the ball that is roqueted be lying on the playing side of the hoop, the roquet counts, but not the hoop.

16. A rover can be pegged out by any stroke (not foul) of another rover, whether of the same or the adverse side. Players can, however, mutually agree before the commencement of the game that rovers shall not be pegged out by adverse rovers.

17. Rover pegged out by Roquet.—A player (rover) who pegs out a rover by a roquet loses the remainder of his turn because a rover when pegged out is out of the game and croquet cannot be taken from it. The law does not apply when there is no pegging out.

18. Balls sent off the Ground.—A ball sent off the ground must at once be replaced three feet within the boundary, measured from the spot where it went off, and at right angles to the boundary. If this spot be already occupied, the ball last sent off is to be placed in contact with the other, but no ball is to be placed less or more than three feet from the boundary, the player merely having option whether he place the second ball going off at the same spot to the right or left of the first ball. If a third ball go off on the same spot it must be placed touching the first ball.

19. Ball sent off near Corner. A ball sent off within three feet of a corner is to be replaced three feet from both boundaries. If more than one ball be sent off within three feet of any corner, the ball last sent off is to be placed in contact with the ball occupying the corner spot, and three feet from one of the boundaries at the option of the player. When a player roquets one of the corner balls he is entitled to place the balls in any order, provided one is on the corner spot, and the others touch it or some other corner ball; but he must take croquet off the ball he has roqueted.

If a player's ball be in a corner with two or more other balls the player is at liberty to choose off which ball he will take croquet, and previous to his doing so he may alter the position of the other balls to his liking, provided one is on the corner spot and the others touching it or some other corner ball.

20. Ball touching Boundary.—If the boundary be marked by a line on the turf, a ball touching the line is deemed to be off the ground. If the boundary be raised, a ball touching the boundary is similarly deemed to be off the ground.

21. Ball sent off and returning to Ground.—If a ball be sent off the ground, and return to it, the ball must be similarly replaced, measuring from the point of first contact with the boundary.

22. Ball sent within three feet of Boundary.—A ball sent within three feet of the boundary, but not off the ground, is to be replaced as though it had been sent off; except in the case of the striker's ball, when the striker has the option of replacing his ball, or of playing from where it lies.

23. Boundary interfering with Stroke.—If it be found that the height of the boundary interferes with the stroke, the striker, with the sanction of the umpire or the adversary, may bring in the balls a longer distance than three feet, so as to allow a free swing of the mallet. Balls so brought in must be moved in the line of aim, and placed at the same relative distance.

24. Dead Boundary.—If, in taking croquet, the striker send his own ball, or the ball croqueted, off the ground, he loses the remainder of his turn, unless (a) with the playing ball he make a roquet, or (b) the croqueted ball be caused to make a point in order (the striker's ball not passing the boundary).

25. Balls touched by Adversary.—Should a ball when rolling, except it be in hand, be touched, diverted from its course, or stopped by an adversary, the striker may elect whether he will take the stroke again, or whether the ball shall remain where it stopped, or be placed where in the judgment of the umpire or the striker it would have rolled to.

26. Balls diverted or stopped by Umpire.—Should a ball be diverted from its course or stopped by an umpire, he is to place it where he considers it would have rolled to.

27. Foul Strokes.—If a player make a foul stroke he loses the remainder of his turn, and any point or roquet made by such stroke does not count. Balls moved by a foul stroke are to remain where they lie, or be replaced at the option of the adversary. If the foul be made when taking croquet, and the adversary elect to have the balls replaced, they must be replaced in contact as they stood when the croquet was taken. The following are foul strokes:

(a) To strike with the mallet another ball instead of or besides one's own, in making the stroke.

(b) To spoon—i.e., to push a ball without an audible knock.

(c) To strike a ball twice distinctly in the same stroke (except in the case of rolling two balls together if only one player use india-rubber).

(d) To touch, stop, or divert the course of a ball when in play and rolling, whether this be done by the striker or his partner.

(e) To allow a ball to touch the mallet [or any part of the player's person] in rebounding from a peg or wire.

(f) To move a ball which lies close to a peg or wire by striking the peg or wire [i.e., to touch with the mallet a wire or peg in making the stroke].

(g) To press a ball round a peg or wire (crushing stroke).

(h) To play a stroke after roquet without taking croquet.

(i) To fail to move both balls in taking croquet.

(k) To croquet a ball which the striker is not entitled to croquet.

(l) To knock a wire of the hoop out of the ground when making a stroke.

(m) To move a ball in the act of taking aim without replacing it to the satisfaction of the umpire or the adversary before striking it.

(n) To hit a ball with any part of the mallet other than one of the ends of the head (vide Law 1).

(o) To improperly handle or touch a ball with foot or mallet (vide Laws 5, 34).

28. Playing out of Turn or with the Wrong Ball.—If a player play out of turn or with the wrong ball, no point made after the mistake can be scored unless as specified below. The balls shall be replaced by the umpire, or to the satisfaction of the adversary, where they were immediately before the mistake was made, and the player shall recommence or continue his turn as the case may be. But if the adverse side play without the mistake being discovered the turn shall hold good, and any point or points made properly (i.e., in order for the ball he is playing with) during the turn shall be scored. In the case when the error is not discovered the adversary cannot be penalised for playing with either ball (of his own side), provided that he can prove that a mistake was made in the turn immediately preceding.

29. Playing for Wrong Point.—If a player make a wrong point it does not count, and, therefore (unless he have, by the same stroke, taken croquet, or made a roquet), all subsequent strokes are in error, the remainder of the turn is lost, and any point or roquet made after the mistake. The balls remain where they lie when the penalty is claimed, or are replaced as they were immediately before the last stroke was made, at the option of the adversary.

30. Information as to Score.—Every player is entitled to be informed which is the next point of any ball.

31. State of Game, if disputed.—When clips are used, their position, in case of dispute, shall be conclusive as to the position of the balls in the game.

32. Wires knocked out of Ground.—Should a player, in trying to run his hoop, knock a wire of that hoop out of the ground with his ball, the hoop does not count. The ball must be replaced, and the stroke taken again.

33. Pegs or Hoops not upright.—Any player may set upright a peg or hoop, except the one next in order; and that must not be altered except by the umpire.

34. Ball lying in a Hole or on Bad Ground.—A ball lying in a hole or on bad ground may only be moved with the sanction of the umpire or with the consent of the adversary. The ball must be put back, i.e., away from the object aimed at, so as not to alter the line of aim.

35. Umpires.—The duties of an umpire are:

(a) To decide any questions that may arise during the game, if appealed to.

(b) To keep the score, and if asked by a player to disclose the state of the game.

(c) To move the clips or to see that they are properly moved.

(d) To replace balls sent off the ground or to see that they are properly replaced.

(e) To adjust hoops or pegs or to see that they are properly adjusted (vide Law 33).

(f) To inform the striker when he is about to play or has played out of turn, or with the wrong ball, or when he has made a wrong point.

With the exception of the instances named in clause (f), an umpire shall not draw attention to, or give his opinion on, any mistake made unless appealed to by one of the players. The decision of an umpire on a question of fact shall be final, but on a question of law, if required by a player, he must appeal to the referee.

36. Absence of Umpire.—When no umpire is present permission to move a ball or to set up a peg or hoop, or any other indulgence for which an umpire would be appealed to, must be asked of the other side.

PRIZE MEETINGS, HANDICAPS, ETC.

A committee must be appointed and a referee. They will issue a programme announcing the details of the matches, size of grounds, width of hoops, amount due for entry, date of the draw, hour of the match play.

ENTRIES.

No entry shall be valid unless the entrance money is paid by such date as the committee appoint.

THE DRAW.

This is now conducted as in lawn tennis, the byes being got rid of in the first round.

If the number of players should be 2, 4, 8, 16, 32, or any higher power of 2, there are no byes. If on the other hand the number of players is not a power of 2 (let us say 19) matters are arranged after this fashion. The names of the players are drawn out of a hat and written down in order. To ascertain how many of these shall be byes subtract the number of players from the next highest power of 2 (19 from 32), which gives us 13. Of these, half go to the top of the list, the other half with the odd one to the bottom.

This leaves six players, G, H, I, J, K and L, to play the matches of the first round. Let us suppose that G, J and K win. Sixteen players now are left in. Consequently there will be no more byes. The players are paired in order through the line for the remaining rounds.

HANDICAPS.

For handicaps the players are divided into classes by the referee, class 1 giving one bisque to class 2, two bisques to class 3, and so on. In partner handicaps the bisques of the partners are added together and then divided by two. Thus if Miss A. (class 6) and Mr. G. (class 2), eight bisques in all, play Miss B. (class 7) and Mr. F. (class 4), eleven bisques in all, the weaker side gets one and a half bisques, the half being always changed to a whole one. These may be taken by either partner.

TIME HANDICAPS.

These are often a necessity at croquet meetings. The All-England Club laid down that there should be not more than eight players for singles and sixteen for double matches. One third of the time should be allotted to each game. If a game be unfinished the side ahead in points wins, a player being allowed to finish his break and take a bisque if one remains. If the points are equal the first roquet decides the contest.

In time handicaps the side which receives more than one bisque can only take half its bisques, until both balls have passed the turning peg.