Rules of Ricochet 2009
Published February 2009 by Croquet Association of Queensland Inc., Sports House, 150 Caxton Street, MILTON, Qld 4064, Ph (07) 3876 5576, Fax (07) 3876 5513, Email firstname.lastname@example.org, Website: www.croquetqld.org.
[See also The Game of Ricochet on the Croquet NSW site - 2016]
Ricochet is played between sides. One side plays with black and blue balls, the other side with red and yellow balls. The sides play alternate turns.
The object of the game is for each side to compete to make both its balls score 12 hoop points and a peg point, a total of 26 points, before the other side. A side wins when it has scored maximum points or has scored more points than the other side when the game is ended. A ball scores a hoop point by passing through the correct hoop in the correct order of 1 to 12 (see Diagram 1) when it is then called a rover ball. It may then score a peg point. It is then said to be pegged out and it and its clip are removed from the court.
The game is played by striking the ball with the mallet. The player whose turn it is to play is known as the striker, and the ball that is struck during the turn the striker’s ball. By striking the striker’s ball, the striker may cause it or other balls to move and score hoop or peg points.
A handicap system may be used to allow players of different abilities to compete so that they have a more equal chance of success. The weaker side receives a number of extra turns.
Note: This edition replaces Rules of Ricochet 2008. This 2009 edition includes rules that were assumed but not stated in the previous edition, simplification or clarification of some rules, and re-numbering of rules.
a) The Court is a rectangle measuring 28 by 35 yards. (One yard is equivalent to 0.914 metres.)
b) The Boundaries are known as north, south, east and west boundaries. Boundaries must be clearly marked, the inner edge being the actual boundary.
c) The Yard-line is the perimeter of an inner rectangle whose sides are parallel to, and one yard from, the boundary. Its corners, the corner spots and the space between the yard-line and the boundary are called the yard-line area. The yard-line is not marked on the court.
d) The Baulk-lines are the parts of the yard-line that extend from the corner spots at corners 1 and 3 to a line extended through the centres of hoops 5 and 6, and they are known as baulk-lines A and B respectively. Baulk-lines are where a ball is to be placed before it is played into the game.
e) Standard Setting The peg is set in the centre of the court. Six hoops are set parallel to the north and south boundaries; the centres of hoops 5 and 6 are seven yards to the north and south of the peg; the centres of the four outer hoops are seven yards from the adjacent boundaries.
a) The Peg is a cylinder with a height of 18 inches above the ground and a uniform diameter of 1½ inches. It must be vertical, firmly fixed, and painted white to a height of at least 6 inches above the ground. It has an extension ½ inch in diameter and 6 inches long designed to hold the clips. (One inch is equivalent to 25.4 mm.)
b) The Hoops are solid metal of 5/8 inch diameter and consist of two uprights connected by a crown which must be at right angles, the top 12 inches in height above the ground. The inner surfaces must be approximately parallel and not less than 3¾ inches apart and each hoop on the court must have the same dimensions with a tolerance of 1/32 inch. The hoops are usually painted white with the crown of hoop 1 coloured blue and the crown of hoop12 coloured red. (In special events, or where advertised, the inner dimension may be 3 11/16 inch with an upward tolerance of 1/32 inch.)
c) Balls There are four balls in a game, coloured blue, red, black and yellow. Alternative colours, namely green, pink, brown and white, or other sets of four colours, are permitted. A ball must be 3 5/8 inches in diameter and weigh 16 ounces (0.45 kg).
d) Clips There are four clips made of plastic or metal whose colours correspond with those of the balls. They are used to indicate which hoop is next in order for that colour ball.
e) A Mallet consists of a head with a shaft firmly connected to its midpoint at right angles to it so that they function as one unit during play. The head is made of suitable materials, provided that they give no advantage over wood. The ends must have identical playing characteristics and the end faces must be parallel and be of a material unlikely to damage the balls. If the edges are bevelled they are not part of the end face. A mallet may not be exchanged during a turn unless it suffers accidental damage that significantly affects its use.
f) (Optional) Corner Flags and Pegs Flags, mounted on posts about 12 inches high, are coloured blue, red, black and yellow and are to be placed in corners 1,2,3 & 4 respectively. Corner pegs are 3 inches in height, painted white and are to be placed on the boundary one yard from each corner (see Diagram 2).
The game may be played as:
a) Singles where each player has two partner balls (blue and black, or red and yellow). If a second game is played on the same court, then the colours are green and brown versus pink and white. The players take alternate turns. In a turn a player may choose either ball of their side to be the striker’s ball for the duration of that turn. It is an error to change the striker’s ball during a turn.
b) Doubles where two pairs of players play each other. The players in each pair alternate in taking the turn for their side. As in singles, the player may choose either ball of their side as the striker’s ball for the turn.
c) Advice or Instruction The striker may request to be told the State of the Game at any time. Any other advice or instruction can only be received from the doubles partner. For example, an opponent must not warn a striker appearing to play a wrong ball or run a wrong hoop.
d) State of the Game includes: which ball the striker has elected to use, the correct position of the balls or clips, whether a fault, error or interference has occurred, whether a ball has been roqueted or hit, whether a ball has scored a hoop point or is clear of a given side of the hoop, and the amount of time or number of bisques remaining.
e) Court Etiquette At all times the player should play promptly, and exit the court directly after play. The out player should anticipate which ball they will play next so no time will be wasted before starting their turn. The outplayer must not distract the player in any way, except to forestall play when necessary. In doubles, discussion with the partner should be kept to a minimum.
a) Before play, a coin is tossed. The winner of the toss may either nominate which side is to play first, or choose which pair of balls to play with. The loser then makes the remaining choice.
b) The first stroke for any ball is played from any position on either baulk-line (see Diagram 1).Subsequent strokes are played from where the ball lies as a result of the previous stroke (or previous turn).
a) The person in play is known as the striker (or the player). The striker may choose to play either ball of their side and then that ball is known as the striker’s ball for that turn. The striker’s hoop is the next hoop to be run by the striker’s ball.
b) During a turn the striker’s ball is only measured in if it has left the court. Otherwise it is played from where it lies, including when it lies in the yard-line area.
a) At the start of a turn the player is entitled to one stroke. As a result of that stroke, the player may become entitled to further free strokes.
b) The player is entitled to one free stroke if the striker’s hoop is run, or two free strokes if the striker’s ball makes a roquet (hits a live ball).
c) In any stroke the striker’s ball may ricochet off any other ball to score its hoop, or peg itself out (if it is a rover ball); or cause another ball to run its hoop; or peg out another ball (if both balls are rover balls), or combine several of these - or the player may simply hit the striker’s ball to a desired position on the lawn, or run the striker’s hoop.
d) The turn ends when there are no further free strokes to play or a fault or error has occurred, or the game ends.
e) At the end of a turn the player measures in any ball that has left the court or come to rest in the yard- line area, places clips on their correct hoops or peg, and moves directly off the court.
a) To be able to run its hoop a ball must first be in a position that is clear of the non-playing side of its hoop. This includes when the ball is sitting in front of its hoop, and includes when the ball is sitting in the jaws of its hoop having entered the hoop from either side.
b) A ball completes the running of its hoop when it comes to rest clear of the playing side of the hoop (having started the hoop run from a position described above). A hoop point is then scored for the side that owns the ball. If it is the striker’s ball that ran its hoop, the striker is entitled to one free stroke.
c) A ball can complete the running of its hoop in one or more strokes, during one or more turns by either side.
d) If the striker’s ball leaves the court in its hoop running stroke it is measured in onto the yard-line. Otherwise it is played from where it came to rest. In either case, the free stroke applies.
e) If a ball completes the running of a hoop and in the same stroke hits a ball that was beyond the non- playing side of the hoop at the start of the stroke, hoop and roquet has occurred. The striker is entitled to two free strokes. (Hoop and roquet also occurs when the striker’s ball completes the running of its hoop and leaves the court in the same stroke without touching another ball, but is touching a ball when measured in. That ball is deemed to be roqueted and the striker is entitled to two free strokes.)
a) A roquet is made when the striker’s ball hits a live ball. All balls are live at the start of a turn, and all dead balls become live again when the striker’s next hoop is run.
b) A player is entitled to two free strokes after making a roquet.
c) Only one roquet can be made in any stroke, and that is made on the first live ball which the striker’s ball contacts.
d) If two or more live balls are hit simultaneously, a roquet is deemed to be made on the ball nominated by the striker and the other ball(s) remain live.
e) At the start of a turn
a) A dead ball is one that has been roqueted during a turn, and it remains dead until the striker’s next hoop has been run or a new turn begins (or a bisque taken).
b) The only significance of a dead ball is that no free strokes can be claimed as a result of the striker’s ball hitting a dead ball.
c) The striker’s ball is permitted to ricochet off any ball, live or dead, and as a result may score its hoop, or peg itself out if it is a rover ball; or may cause another ball (live or dead) to score its hoop, or be pegged out if both it and the striker’s ball are rover balls.
a) After making a roquet the striker is entitled to two free strokes.
b) Note that in any stroke if the striker’s ball leaves the court without making a roquet or running its hoop, the turn ends.
c) In the first free stroke it is not necessary to make a roquet or run a hoop. (Typically the first stroke is used to gain position ready for the second stroke.)
d) In the second free stroke the striker’s ball must either make a roquet or run the striker’s hoop, otherwise the turn ends.
e) Free strokes earned by making a hoop or a roquet cannot be accumulated. After making a roquet the striker is always entitled to just two further strokes. After making the striker’s hoop (unless it was hoop-and-roquet) the striker is entitled to just one further stroke.
a) A ball has left the court as soon as any part of the ball protrudes outside the boundary.
b) After any stroke, any ball that left the court is placed on the yard-line in the nearest lawful position to where it went out. Any ball other than the striker’s ball, which came to rest in the yard-line area, is then similarly placed on the yard-line. This is called measuring in.
c) If it is the last stroke of a turn and striker’s ball came to rest in the yard-line area, it is also placed on the yard-line as above.
d) If another ball (or balls) prevents accurate placement, the ball must be placed on the yard-line in contact with the preventing ball(s), on either side at the striker’s discretion. Once lawfully placed, the choice cannot be altered. (Note that the yard-line extends at right angles in two directions from the corner spot, see Diagram 2.)
e) After a roquet, if the striker’s ball leaves the court and is placed on the yard-line in contact with a ball that is still live, that ball remains live (only one ball can become dead as a result of any stroke).
f) The player must face the relevant boundary while measuring in.
a) A ball which has scored its last hoop is known as a rover ball, and its clip belongs on the peg.
b) If the striker’s rover ball hits the peg either directly, or after ricocheting off any other balls (live or dead), the striker’s ball is pegged out and the turn ends.
c) If the striker’s rover ball hits a live ball and the peg simultaneously, the striker nominates whether the ball is pegged out, or a roquet is made.
d) If the striker’s rover ball causes another rover ball to hit the peg, that ball is pegged out.
e) A pegged out ball and its corresponding clip must be removed from the court.
f) The game ends if both balls of a side are pegged out.
a) If the striker’s ball leaves the court without making a roquet or scoring its hoop, the turn ends.
b) If the striker takes a free stroke in error and this is discovered before the first stroke of theopponent’s next turn, the error is rectified, and the turn ends.
c) Rectification means that all balls are put back to where they were when the error began, and any points made in error are cancelled.
d) If a player starts a turn prematurely the error is rectified and the turn restarted.
e) If a striker plays a wrong ball (i.e. plays an opponent’s ball or changes the striker’s ball within a turn) and this is discovered before the first stroke of the opponent’s next turn, the error is rectified and the turn ends. If not detected in time, all points made are valid except a peg point which is cancelled.
f) If the striker plays an opponent’s ball into the court before all four balls are on the court, and this is discovered before the first stroke of the opponent’s next turn, that ball is retrieved and any other balls affected rectified, and the turn ends. No ball on the court can be played until both balls of the side are on the court.
g) When a ball is misplaced The opponent must forestall play if the striker is about to play when a ball is misplaced. If not forestalled, the stroke is valid. Any ball still misplaced must be replaced as soon as it is discovered, provided it has not been moved during play.
h) Playing out of turn in doubles It is an error for one side to play two turns in succession in doubles. If this error is discovered before the first stroke of the opponent’s next turn, the error is rectified. If not discovered, the error is condoned and the game continues in sequence.
i) Playing out of sequence in doubles It is an error for one side not to alternate players in doubles. If the wrong player of a side is playing, and this error is discovered before the first stroke of the opponents’ next turn, the balls are rectified and the turn is begun again with the correct player. If not discovered, the game continues in the changed sequence.
a) A fault can only occur during the striking period.
b) A stroke and the striking period start when the mallet head has passed or leaves the ball on the final backswing that the striker intends to make before striking the ball. If no backswing is used the striking period starts when the forward swing starts. The striking period ends when the striker quits their stance under control.
c) Note that an ‘air-hit’ (when a player clearly intends to strike a ball but misses it completely) is a stroke.
d) If a ball is disturbed outside the striking period, it is rectified and play continues normally.
Fault rules apply to all strokes without exception. A fault is committed if, during the striking period, the striker
a) touches the head of the mallet with a hand;
b) rests the shaft of the mallet or a hand or arm on the ground or an outside agency;
c) rests the shaft of the mallet or a hand or arm directly connected with the stroke against any part of the legs or feet;
d) moves the striker’s ball other than by striking it with the mallet audibly and distinctly;
e) causes or attempts to cause the mallet to strike the striker’s ball by kicking, hitting, dropping or throwing the mallet;
f) strikes the striker’s 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 the hoop or the peg or another ball;
g) maintains contact between the mallet and the striker’s ball for an appreciable period when the striker’s ball is not in contact with any other ball or after the striker’s ball has hit another ball (known as ‘pushing’);
h) strikes the striker’s ball more than once in the same stroke, or allows the striker’s ball to retouch the mallet (known as ‘double-tap’) except as a direct result of the striker’s ball being pegged out.
i) strikes the striker’s ball so as to cause it to touch a hoop upright while the ball is still in contact with the mallet (known as ‘crush’); and this also applies to the peg unless the striker’s ball is pegged out in the same stroke;
j) strikes the striker’s ball when it lies in contact with the hoop upright otherwise than in a direction away from it; and this also applies to the peg unless the striker’s ball is pegged out in the same stroke;
k) moves or shakes a ball at rest by hitting a hoop or the peg with the mallet or with any part of the body or clothes;
l) touches any ball other than the striker’s ball with the mallet;
m) touches the ball with any part of the body or clothes;
n) deliberately plays a stroke in a manner in which the mallet is likely to, and does, cause substantial damage to the court.
a) The striker must ask the opponent if they wish the fault to be rectified. If the opponent elects rectification, the balls are replaced in their lawful positions at the start of the stroke when the fault occurred. Otherwise they remain where they are, measured in if necessary. This is end of turn for the striker.
b) No point can be scored for either side as the result of a fault.
c) If a fault is not discovered before the first stroke of the opponent’s next turn, the fault is condoned.
a) If a moving striker’s ball hits a stationary ball from another game, the striker’s ball is placed where it would have come to rest (no replay is permitted), and any other balls affected rectified.
b) If a moving striker’s ball hits a moving ball or player from another game, it is placed where it would have come to rest, unless it had not reached its target, e.g. a hoop running event or a roquet attempt on a ball. In these instances, a replay is permitted.
c) If a ball is disturbed by the striker or other agency outside the striking period the balls are rectified and the game continues normally.
d) No point can be scored for either side as a result of interference in (a), (b) or (c).
e) If misleading information, misplaced clips, removal or non-removal of a ball is discovered before the end of a game, play is restarted from the time of the event with the balls replaced as at that time, and any points made after the event are cancelled.
f) If there is interference with a player’s stance or stroke when playing close to a boundary (e.g. a fence or wall, uneven ground), the striker’s ball may be moved a minimum distance along the line of swing to enable a fair stroke to be made. Any other balls that could be affected by the stroke are moved to maintain relative position, but if not affected by the stroke, are then replaced.
g) There is no ‘wiring lift’ if hoops or the peg impede a player’s stroke, or if they shield other balls from the striker’s ball in any way. This is normal play and the striker’s ball is played from where it lies.
a) A game ends when both balls of a side are pegged out, or in a time limited game when no further strokes can be lawfully played. The winner is the side with more points.
b) End conditions can be Stop on Time, or Turns after Time.
c) If conditions are Stop on Time play will cease when the time limit has been reached and all balls have come to rest. If scores are even, play continues until one side scores a further point.
d) If conditions are Turns after Time then play continues for an extension period in which the striker completes the turn being played and the opponent plays one subsequent turn. (No bisque may be taken during the extension period). If scores are even play continues until one side scores a further point (and any remaining bisques may be used).
e) There should be an independent person primed to inform players when the time limit has been reached (or failing that, one of the players can be responsible).
Games played for two hours or more are 26-point games using hoops 1 to 12 and the peg. Games shorter than this can be:
a) 18-point game: hoops 1 to 8 and the peg
b) 14-point game: hoops 1 to 6 and the peg
a) Bisques are extra turns given to a side in handicap play. A bisque is equivalent to a new turn (all balls become live).
b) A bisque may be played by a striker only at the end of that striker’s turn, and must be played with the same ball. One or more bisques can be played after any turn before end of game except during the extension period if end conditions for the game are Turns after Time.
c) At the end of a turn, a striker intending to take a bisque must give a clear indication of that intention before leaving the court and forestall the opponent from playing. A striker who indicated they were taking a bisque may revoke that decision before playing the bisque. A striker who indicated they were not taking a bisque may not revoke that decision.
d) After playing a wrong ball If in the first stroke of a non-bisque turn the striker plays a wrong ball (i.e. an opponent’s ball), and decides to play a bisque, the striker may choose to play either ball of their side.
e) Handicap difference for games with a time limit of at least two hours:
i. In singles play the handicap difference is the difference between the handicaps of the two players.
ii. In doubles play the handicap difference is half the difference between the combined handicaps of each side, rounded up to next whole number.
f) Time limited games handicap adjustment. When handicap games are time limited to less than 2 hours, the number of bisques is proportionally reduced as in the Table below.
Table 1: Time limited games handicap adjustment
a) Only refereed competitive singles games with a time limit of 1½ hours or more can be recorded on the Handicap Card.
b) All players in such events must record the results of all their singles games on their handicap card.
Ricochet event notices should include
a) Which edition of Rules of Ricochet applies
b) Event Manager and Event Referee
c) Event contact person if this is not the event manager
d) Whether level or handicap play
e) Whether singles or doubles (and if doubles partner is random)
f) Handicap range if not open
g) Whether games are 26,18 or 14 point
h) Length of time of games
i) Number of games played in a day
j) End conditions: Stop on Time or Turns after Time
k) Structure, e.g. block play
l) Draw, e.g. random; if public draw, time and place
m) Whether handicap cards are required
n) Whether games social or competitive (competitive games must be 1½ hours or more, and players must record the results of competitive singles games on their handicap card)
o) Hoop setting if non-standard
p) Lawn size if not full-size
q) Date(s), and closing date for entries
r) Start time
There can only be one winner for any block. This is:
a) The entrant with the most games won.
b) If a tie, the entrant with highest net points of those tied.
c) If still a tie, the winner of the game between the two tied, or most games won in games between those tied.
d) If still a tie, the manager decides a tie break.
The handicap range is 0 to 12.
Trigger points for change of handicap are shown in the table below.
Table 2: Handicap ranges and trigger points
All ricochet players must be given an initial handicap and index by their Ricochet Captain according to the guidelines below.
a) New players who have played no other code may commence on a handicap of 12 and index of 0. When this player is about to enter their first competitive event the Ricochet Captain will issue them with a Handicap Card and a handicap based on their current ability when compared with other competitive ricochet players.
b) Association Croquet players new to Ricochet are given a handicap using the conversion table below (or their Golf Croquet handicap, if this is lower).
Table 3: Conversion from Association Croquet to ricochet
c) Golf Croquet players new to Ricochet who do not play Association Croquet are given a handicap the same as their golf croquet handicap.
d) When a player is issued with their first Ricochet Handicap Card the player’s name, club, ACA Id (if known), handicap and index must be sent to the State Handicapper.
a) A player’s index changes after each competitive singles match. For handicap games the winner’s index increases by 10 and the loser’s index decreases by 10. For level games see Table 4 for index changes (the winner’s index increases by the amount tabled, and the loser’s index decreases by the same amount). The minimum index is 0 and the maximum index is 1000.
b) A player’s handicap changes when the index reaches a trigger point above or below the current trigger point (see Table 2). It is effective immediately.
c) The player records this information on their handicap card after each competitive game, and it is signed by their opponent.
d) If there is a handicap change the player must report this to the Event Manager before playing the next game.
e) The Event Manager must check, record and sign this change on the front of the player’s handicap card and inform the State Handicapper within a week of the event.
f) If a club is planning to record club championship games on the Handicap Card, first contact the State Handicapper.
Table 4: Automatic index adjustment for level games
a) The Ricochet Captain should re-assess non-competitive players’ handicaps annually.
b) Competitive players who rarely play singles matches should have their handicaps re-assessed at least annually by their Ricochet Captain, to ensure competition remains fair for all players.
c) If necessary for fairness, an Event Manager may change an entrant’s handicap.
d) The Ricochet Captain or Event Manager must record the change on the player’s card and the report the change to the State Handicapper.
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