The Simplified Laws of
Updated for the 6th Edition Amended Laws
This document is intended to go part way in filling the gap between the simple synopsis and
the Full Laws. In
any case of dispute the Full Laws always apply.
The court is a flat grassed area of measuring 35 by 28 yards
laid out according to the following diagram. Smaller courts can be used.
Diagram 1. The Standard Court. The corners are
depicted by roman numerals. The yard-line and baulk-lines are
not marked on the court and lie 1 yard in from the boundary. All distances
are in yards.
The peg is 18" tall above ground and 1½" in diameter
with a smaller dowel extension about ½" in diameter and 6" long
plugged in the top. The extension may be temporarily removed if it impedes
the striker. The peg is in the centre of the lawn.
Championship hoops are made of 5/8" diameter metal forming
a 12" high hoop with a straight top. The gape of the hoop is approximately
3-3/4" between the jaws (1/8" wider than the balls). Hoops are bare metal
or painted white with the first hoop having a blue top and the last hoop
(rover) having a red top.
Championship balls are 3-5/8" diameter, coloured Blue,
Black, Red and Yellow and weigh 16oz (454g).
Clips coloured to match the balls indicate which hoop
which colour ball is next for. Clips are placed on the top of the hoop
if the ball is for hoops 1 to 6, or on the hoop upright for the second
circuit. They can be temporarily removed if they impede the striker.
Mallets must have parallel and identical end-faces made
of wood or any other material giving similar properties.
- The Basic Game
- The Object of the Game
The game is a race around the circuit of hoops in the order and directions
shown in the diagram above. The Blue and Black balls play against the
Red and Yellow balls. The first side to get both of their
balls through the 12 hoops in order and hit the peg is the winner.
Once a ball has completed the circuit and hit the peg (is pegged
out) it is removed from the game.
- The Turn
The players play alternate turns. Once all four balls have been played on to the court, a player can start their turn by striking
either of their balls but must thereafter strike only that ball (the striker's
ball) during that turn. A turn consists of a single stroke,
after which the turn ends, unless in that stroke
When the striker's ball has been through the last hoop it is known as
a rover. It can then score a peg point by striking
the peg (pegging out) and be removed from the game.
It may also cause another rover to be pegged out.
- the striker's ball scores its next hoop in which case it earns
a continuation stroke, or
- hits another ball (makes a roquet) whereupon
it gains a croquet stroke then a continuation stroke.
- Scoring Points
The striker's ball scores a hoop point for itself by entering a hoop
from the correct direction and passing sufficiently through the hoop
so that no part of the ball protrudes from the side of the hoop it
entered by (runs a hoop). This may occur in one or
more turns. On running the hoop the striker gets an extra stroke -
a continuation stroke.
If the striker's ball causes another ball to run that ball's hoop, that
other ball is said to be peeled through the hoop and
it gains a point. You do not gain a continuation stroke for peeling a
ball. The owner of the ball which is peeled gets the hoop point.
The score is the sum of the number of hoops and peg points each side
- The Roquet
If the striker's ball hits another ball the striker gets two extra strokes.
The first extra stroke is the croquet stroke and is
played by picking up the striker's ball and placing it in contact with
the ball it has struck, the roqueted ball. The striker takes
croquet (see below) from the roqueted ball which then becomes
known as the croqueted ball. Following the croquet stroke the striker
has a continuation stroke on their own ball.
Summary: Roquet => Croquet => Continuation.
At the start of each turn the striker's ball may roquet each
of the other three balls once. However, every time the striker's ball
scores its next hoop point it may roquet each of the other three balls
again. The striker can roquet balls, run its next hoop and roquet the
balls again, etc., in one turn so making a break.
A ball can roquet another ball directly or after being scattered off
a hoop, peg or other ball which it has already roqueted. If at the start
of a turn the striker's ball is in contact with another ball and the
player chooses to play with that ball, a roquet is taken to have been
made and you must take croquet immediately. Should the striker's ball
dislodge a ball it has already roqueted, the balls remain where they
come to rest unless the striker's ball subsequently hits a ball it may
If a player completely runs their hoop and roquets a ball lying
completely outside the jaws of the hoop then this is taken to be hoop
run then roquet. Croquet must then be taken. A ball which has made a
roquet is still in the game and can cause other balls to be moved and
potentially peeled. Once it has made a roquet the striker's ball may
not score hoop points for itself in the same stroke, but may move other
- The Croquet Stroke
In the croquet stroke the striker strikes their own ball when it is in contact
with the roqueted ball. The roqueted ball must move or shake
in the stroke. If it does not move it is a fault and the turn
ends. After a fault the balls are either replaced as for the croquet
stroke, or left where they ended up at the opponent's option. The turn
also ends if either ball in the croquet stroke leaves the lawn.
If the croqueted ball is sent off the court after it is pegged out or
if the striker's ball roquets another ball, or runs its hoop before leaving
the court, then the turn continues without penalty.
- The Continuation Stroke
This is an ordinary stroke following the croquet stroke or hoop run in
which, for example, a further roquet may be made or a point may be
scored. Continuation strokes cannot be accumulated; for example if
you run your hoop and make a roquet in the same stroke you must take
- The Start of a Game
The game starts with the toss of a coin. The winner of the toss decides
whether they will take the choice of lead, i.e. which side plays first
or second, or which pair of balls (Blue & Black or Red & Yellow)
they will play with. If they take the choice of balls the adversary
has the choice of who plays first and vice versa.
At the start of a game, the side entitled to play first plays either
of its balls into the court from any point on either baulk-line (see
diagram). At the end of that turn their adversary does likewise. In the
third and fourth turns the remaining two balls are similarly played into
As soon as a ball is played on to the court it can immediately score
points and make roquets. Once all four balls have been played on to the
court the striker can start any subsequent turn with either of their
At the end of each stroke any ball in the yard-line area other
than the striker's ball, which is played from where it lies, is brought
back onto the yard-line nearest to its position. If at the end of a turn the
striker's ball lies within the yard-line it is brought back onto the
yard-line. Any ball which has left the lawn is brought back onto the
yard-line unless it is the striker's ball due to take croquet.
A ball goes off the court as soon as any part of it crosses a straight
edge raised vertically from the inside of the boundary. If a ball cannot
be exactly replaced on the yard-line because of the presence of other
yard-line balls, it is replaced on the yard-line in contact with those
- Miscellaneous Rules
At the start of a turn a ball is wired and eligible
for an optional lift when there are no open balls for it to hit and it
has been placed in that position by the opponent. A ball
is open when you have a clear shot with the striker's ball at all
parts of the target ball using any legal part of the mallet face. A lift allows
a player to lift and play a wired ball from either of the baulk lines
at the start of their turn.
Balls can only be wired by hoops and the peg, not by other balls. A
ball can be wired by a hoop upright ~1-3/4" away from its edge as this
could prevent the striker's ball from being able to clip the nearest
edge of the target ball. You can be wired if the peg or a hoop prevents
you from playing a normal backswing to hit an 'open ball' (the other
balls being of course wired). A ball with any part lying in the jaws
of a hoop is wired by definition from the other balls; again the opponent
must be responsible for its position.
A lift can be claimed many turns after the opponent became responsible
for a ball's position if the above conditions apply. If the opponent
causes a ball to shake by indirectly moving it, e.g. hitting the hoop
in which a ball lies, they become responsible for its position. Also
if any part of the ball lies within the jaws of a hoop it is eligible
for a lift provided that the opponent is responsible for its position.
If three or more balls are in contact then it is a 3-ball group or 4-ball
group. If the striker is taking croquet from a ball which forms
part of a 3-ball or 4-ball group all balls other than the roqueted ball,
which may not be moved, are temporarily removed and are replaced as follows;
The striker's ball is placed only in contact with the roqueted ball;
the other balls are placed in contact with the roqueted ball but not
the striker's ball. The striker then takes croquet by hitting their own
These are complex and the Full Laws should be referred to!
- Striking the wrong ball
If the striker strikes a wrong ball that stroke and any subsequent strokes
are invalid and no points are scored for any ball. The balls are replaced
and the turn ends.
- Playing the wrong ball into the game
If the wrong ball is struck in one of the first four turns of the game
the correct ball is placed at any point on either baulk-line as the
striker chooses and the turn ends.
- Playing when a ball is out of position
If any ball is out of position, e.g. has not been brought on to the yard-line,
play must be stopped and the position corrected. The turn then continues.
If the striker's ball has been struck the stroke stands, the balls
are moved to their correct positions and the turn continues.
- Taking croquet from a wrong ball
If this is noticed some time after the event the croqueted ball is swapped
with the correct ball and play continues. Otherwise the opponent can
elect a replay and the turn continues.
- Taking croquet when you should not
If noticed before two more strokes have been played the balls are replaced
and the turn continues, otherwise the play is taken to be valid and
the turn continues.
- Failing to take croquet when you should
These are complex and the Full Laws should be referred to!
All the following are encompassed in Law
28 in the Full Laws.
When striking a ball the striker may NOT:
- touch the head of the mallet with his hand, or slide the mallet along his foot or leg to guide it; touch the head of the mallet with his hand;
- rest the shaft of the mallet or a hand or arm on the ground or an outside agency;
- rest the shaft of the mallet or a hand or arm directly connected with the stroke against any part of his legs or feet;
- move the striker's ball other than by striking it with the mallet audibly and distinctly;
- causes or attempts to cause the mallet to strike the striker's ball by kicking, hitting, dropping or throwing the mallet;
- strike 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 a hoop or the peg or another ball;
- subject to Law 28(d), maintain 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;
- in a croquet stroke, or continuation stroke when the striker's ball is touching another ball, allow the mallet to contact the striker's ball visibly more than once; or
- in any other stroke, allow the mallet to contact the striker's ball more than once; or
- in any stroke, allow the mallet to remain in contact with the striker's ball for an observable period;
- allow the mallet to be in contact with the striker's ball after the striker's ball has hit another ball; subject to Law 28(d), strike the striker's ball more than once in the same stroke or allow the striker's ball to retouch the mallet
- strike the striker's ball so as to cause it to touch a hoop upright or, unless the striker's ball is pegged out in the stroke, the peg when in contact with the mallet;
- strike the striker's ball when it lies in contact with a hoop upright or, unless the striker's ball is pegged out in the stroke, the peg other than in a direction away therefrom;
- move or shake a ball at rest by hitting a hoop or the peg with the mallet or with any part of his body or clothes;
- touch any ball, other than the striker's ball, with the mallet;
- touch any ball with any part of his body or clothes;
- in a croquet stroke, play away from or fail to move or shake the croqueted ball;
- damage the court with the mallet, to the extent that a subsequent stroke played over the damaged area could be significantly affected, in a stroke in which either:
- his swing is restricted by a hoop, or the peg, or a ball not in contact with the striker's ball; or
- he is attempting to make the striker's ball jump; or
- the striker's ball is part of a group.
The penalty for all of these is that the turn ends, it is
the opponent's option as to whether the balls are replaced or remain where
they lie. In the event of a croqueted ball leaving the lawn and a
fault being claimed, the adversary may waive the fault and the balls remain
where they end up and the turn finishes.
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