Guide To Croquet Etiquette
Updated for 6th edition Amended Laws
The aim of these notes is to indicate what conventions apply in matches between
clubs and at tournaments.
- You may only practise before the match with the manager's/organiser's permission.
- Conventionally the lower handicap (better) player tosses the coin at the
start of a game.
- Before the game starts confirm with your opponent the type of game, any
time limits and the number of bisques.
- You must stand off the court when the adversary is playing. (Law
- You must play with expediency (without undue delay); long trances or extended
discussions in doubles are unacceptable (Law
49). To play deliberately slowly in a timed game when it is to your advantage
is cheating - there are some viable tactics however.
- When replacing a ball on the yard line you should face out of the court
(Law 12e). There then can be no dispute
that the ball's position might be adjusted slightly left or right to your
advantage, e.g. avoiding a wiring.
- To summon a referee (see below) hold your mallet, head up, above your
head. A referee may witness and rule on strokes, explain the Laws and sort
out mistakes but not give advice.
- To summon an 'umpire' or assistant referee, hold your mallet horizontally
above your head. An assistant referee may witness and rule on strokes, but
may not interpret the Laws or give advice.
- Normally the winner offers to buy the drinks.
What's He Doing?
- You must not tell an opponent that they are about to strike the wrong
ball (Law 23b).
- You should not interrupt a player if you see them approach the wrong hoop
or appear to be about to roquet a ball for the second time. As a rule of
thumb, let them do the odd thing then, before their next stroke, query them
as to what is happening. They may be playing an advanced tactic that you
may not fathom, alternatively, they may have made a mistake and you should
stop them before their next stroke to sort it out.
- If you see a player about to take a croquet before they have actually
roqueted, take croquet from the wrong ball and similar omissions you should
stop them in the act and query the situation. Most of these acts of omission
just require the correct stroke to be played instead. If the balls are disturbed
by subsequent play it can be difficult to unravel the game and replace the
balls in their correct positions
- Your option to take a bisque (handicap turn) ceases when you step off
the lawn once all the balls have been replaced. Do not leave the lawn until
you have decided not to take a bisque.
- When you want to take a bisque you must indicate clearly and see an acknowledgement
from the opponent, e.g. they pull a bisque out of the ground or wave. If
you take an unacknowledged bisque and pull off a tremendous shot, then you
will have to take the ball back and do it all again!
- If you indicate you wish to take a bisque or half bisque you can change
your mind. If you indicate you will not be taking a bisque
you cannot change your mind.
- Unless you indicate otherwise it is assumed that you are taking a whole
bisque. Either say you want a half or make a '+' sign with your arms and
see that the half bisque is pulled out before proceeding.
- If you feel that a stroke may have a questionable outcome, then you should
have the stroke watched, preferably by a referee or assistant referee. In
their absence ask a player from another game, an old lady walking her dog
through the Park or finally, as a last resort, your opponent
to watch. If you say 'yes' and your opponent says 'no' you have a conflict.
- If you have a ball close to a hoop and there is the likelihood of a crush,
double tap, bevelled-edge fault, etc. (Law
28) you must have the shot watched. This removes the need for you to
observe the aftermath of your actions allowing you to concentrate solely
on the stroke. This includes balls just through the hoop.
- If you are shooting at a ball in the jaws of a hoop, unless it is an obvious
'dead cert', it should always be watched. It means that you do not have to
lift your head to witness the event. You may clip a wire and just graze the
ball, you may hit the hoop and cause the ball to shake but not roquet it.
In the latter case, a person who shakes a ball becomes responsible for its
position and hence may give a lift away (Law
13). The observer is only required to volunteer the information about
whether the ball moved if asked.
- If you are watching an attempted roquet of a ball in the hoop, stand close
and view it from above. It is pointless being 10 foot away, 3 foot or less
is appropriate. Be prepared to jump if the ball glances off towards your
feet. Remain available for a while to allow the opponent to query you about
whether the ball shook or not.
- In double banking if someone asks you 'just to watch a ball in case it
might get hit' always mark the ball. To do otherwise
- If players of different games get in each other's way, precedence of play
is normally given to the player with a break, or the one most likely to get
their manoeuvre over quickest. If one game is close to Time then that game
is normally given precedence.
- Avoid walking across the striking line of players, whether in your game
or the other.
- If a ball from the other game is likely to be struck by your play or is
a hindrance you should consider marking it. Before touching the ball you must get
both double banking players' permissions - it may be critically placed -
'can I mark red?' When you mark a ball use two markers across its
width, preferably pointing at a peg or a hoop. Thus if one gets displaced
by a ball you still have a good guide. You have a responsibility to the other
players to mark and replace the ball as accurately as possible.
- If a ball is critically placed a referee or assistant referee may, with
the agreement of the players from the other game, be asked to mark it.
- Do not leave the lawn for lunch if any balls are in critical positions,
e.g. wired or in the jaws of hoops, as they will obstruct people in the double
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