OxfordCroquet Logo

Dr Ian Plummer

Donation Button

http://www.oxfordcroquet.com/equip/hoops/quadway/index.asp
Technical
Quadway Hoops

Andy Myers asked the Nottingham list:

At the risk of stirring up a global turf war I was wondering what people’s views were of Quadway hoops in the UK. I know this was discussed after the NZ Mac a few years ago but not since I believe.

Paraphrasing the responses (archived below):

In firm ground Quadways are an excellent hoop offering a challenge to the best players. In soft ground they have few advantages over other hoops.

Their principal advantages are:  non-rusting, easy to set to the pre-set upright spacings.

Their main disadvantages are:  cost, weight, low-visibility.

What are Quadway Hoops?

Quadway (QW) hoops are manufactured in New Zealand by Ray Atkins (web site) (hence are also known as 'Atkins hoops'). The hoop uprights and crowns are made from solid stainless steel (SS) and the carrots of varnished, zinc-coated medium tensile steel. The crowns are powder coated.

Quadway hoop

The carrots are square cross-section (inverted pyramids) also called 'parsnips'. The flat face of the parsnips is parallel to the crown of the hoop. The uprights are welded off-centre from the axes of the parsnips hence, depending on the rotation of the parsnips within a pair of square holes in the ground, different gapes between the uprights are obtained (see Appendix 1 for diagrams).  The square holes are made initially with a custom square pronged dibber.

Quadway hoop - top of parsnips

Once the hoop holes have been made the hoops are set to size by loosening the upright retaining screws in the crown.  The uprights can be rotated 180° and the carrots have dimensions stamped on the faces of the parsnips. When the dimensions face each other, this shows the setting of the gape.  The screws are then tightened resulting in parallel uprights at the correct spacing.

Crown of Quadway hoop

Additional pictures and instructions for use can be found on the Quadway info sheet.

Current prices (Sept. 2017) of the hoops from the manufacturer's website are:

Quadway Hoops - Set Of 6

Packed 17kgs

NZ$850

£468

Single Quadway Hoop

Packed 3kgs

NZ$145

£80

Dibber

Packed 4kgs

NZ$240

£132

6-Hoops + Dibber

21kgs

NZ$1090

£600

Summary of Points Raised

The following table lists the points raised on the Nottingham List.

Pro

Con

Comment

Readily adjustable to fixed settings

Limited range of settings, not evenly spaced. Time consuming to set.

One carrot is engraved 33/4 and 311/16 and the other '=' and '-'.  The '-' represents a 1/64" reduction of the measurement.  This yields:

33/4, 33/4 - 1/64, 311/16, 311/16 - 1/64 as the set gapes** .

Uniform width

With mild force the carrots can be squeezed in by ~2cm

By its mechanism the QW uprights are parallel. With fixed-width hoops the top of the hoop is generally wider than the base, especially in tournament conditions. This will affect the success of jump shots.
Although the mechanism sets the gape of the hoop at the crown, the uprights are springy and can be moved e.g. by a stone in the ground.

Difficult to run in firm ground

Average in soft ground

The hoops are perceived as the most difficult commercial hoops to run when set in firm ground. Unless the ground is firm then their advantage is quickly diminished.

Stainless Steel

 

More dense and harder than mild steel.  Will not corrode and hence does not require painting. Paint does not stick easily to stainless steel.
Stainless steel hoops are more difficult to run than epoxy coated hoops.  This has been attributed to a 'Teflon effect' due to the epoxy.  An alternative explanation might be that there is a high contrast edge for aiming with painted hoops (white/green) which is lacking on SS ones (green/reflected green).

Heavy

Heavy

There is currently poorly substantiated evidence that the mass of the hoop above the ground, especially near the crown, makes hoops more difficult to run. The mass resists an impulse from the ball and hence it does not move to allow balls through. This also increases the bounce-back. Heavy to carry and post. 

 

Low visibility

The stainless uprights reflect the surrounding colours and camouflage the hoop. Thus hoops are a trip hazard. The use of white masking tape on tops of the uprights has been advocated.

Expensive

 

Whilst less expensive (at £80/each) than the Hopewell hoop (£93/each), a standard welded-steel powder-coated hoop (e.g. Aldridge) costs £55/each. The comparison is £468 vs £285 for a set of six QW vs Aldridge, ignoring dibbers.
However once freight, insurance, duty (2.7%) then VAT (20%) are added then QWs become seriously expensive to obtain in the UK.

Appendix 1 - How the Gape Changes

The diagram below shows how square holes and an offset upright result in different gapes. The Quadways use the first method.

Setting gapes with Quadways
Exaggerated diagram showing the effect of having offset uprights to give different hoop gapes - two different approaches.

Quadway - top of uprights
Sketch showing principle of offset faces on the top of the uprights giving different gapes.

Depending on how the uprights are presented to the bar (crown) you get gapes of:

  • Bar - 2 units. (1 + 1, illustrated)
  • Bar - 3 units. (1 + 2)
  • Bar - 4 units. (3 + 1)
  • Bar - 5 units. (3 + 2)

Appendix 2 - Nottingham List Correspondence

Tobi Savage [mailto:tobisavage102788@yahoo.com]
Sent: Wednesday, August 2, 2017 10:45 PM
To: Andy Myers
Subject: Quadway hoops in the UK

Hi Andy,

I don't have experience from the perspective of a club committee member, or groundsman, or hoop setter, so can't really comment on Quadways from that perspective, but from the point of view of a player that has used them in their "optimal conditions", they're a bit of a nightmare! You're correct that the ground in which they're set needs to be firm and dry, otherwise they don't differ a great deal in comparison to any other available hoop. The firm and dry ground needed to get the most out of them is very difficult to create in the UK. If the tough conditions are created well, opening the hoops wide for Club Day players won't make them a great deal easier, and club & social players will find them tough to play with. If the ground is soft and spongy, setting them tight doesn't make them much tougher than conventional hoops.

The long and the short is that they need to be firmly set in dry, hard ground to make a real difference. Such conditions are so seldom achieved in the UK that I don't think Quadways will catch on as the standard croquet hoop here. That combined with the fact that the predominant function of the hoop is to be a challenging hoop in competitive AC play, and the bulk of Croquet played in the UK is social/club GC. A set or two may possibly be obtained by the CA for use at select top-flight competitions, but I shouldn't imagine every club will be expected to be using them all the time. The CA Currently has a set of "Pres" hoops that it sends to clubs hosting the Presidents Cup (Top AC Selection Eight event). When these are in need of replacement, the CA might possibly choose to use Quadways if they're deemed suitable and necessary.

I played in the GC British Opens this year, and Surbiton were able to create playing conditions that were among the toughest I have ever seen. If Atkins Quadway hoops were used there, I think we'd still be playing the competition now!

It is my personal opinion that, whilst great for International Championship AC, they're not a good choice at all for any form of Golf Croquet. From what I saw, they promoted defensive tactics, and games became very tippy-tappy. If Atkins Quadways are nationally adopted and used throughout the UK, it'll be bad for GC. There are often discussions about how to make Association Croquet tougher and more interactive. Harder hoops was always a suggestion. No such suggestion has ever been made about GC - the hoops are tough enough as it is from the distance International GC players run them from!

Thanks,
Tobi Savage.

 

Lester Hughes via croquet
Sent: Thursday, August 3, 2017 1:22 AM
To: croquet@nottingham-lists.org.uk
Subject: [Croquet] Quadway hoops in the UK

Hi Andy

We adopted quadway hoops at the Williamstown Club in Melbourne about a two years ago.
We have 50 members covering a wide range of skill levels, we run many social functions and school days as well as our club tournaments.

Interestingly we set them on the narrowest setting very early on and they have not been changed since.
And all the aforementioned activities run fine. 
Note: we are a very GC dominated club.

The question for you is, will you actually take advantage of the flexibility they offer, or just set and forget like we have?
The visibility of the Quadways is of greater concern for some of our members. The stainless legs in some conditions can be difficult for some members to locate.

How they perform is where things get more interesting.
While I don't wish to dispel the idea that they are more difficult to run, for me personally as a GC player, they have no more impact on the outcome of a match than powder coated hoops.

I enjoy playing the Quadway hoops, but for any players coming downunder for a major tournament they are still mucccccch more difficult to run than powder coated hoops. :P

I hope that helps.

Lester Hughes

 

John Prince via croquet
Sent: Thursday, August 3, 2017 2:11 AM
To: Lester Hughes; croquet@nottingham-lists.org.uk
Subject: Re: [Croquet] Quadway hoops in the UK

Some clubs have blue and red tape on the crowns of hoops one and rover, perhaps white tape on the crowns of the rest may help.

They certainly become more difficult to run on the narrowest setting if the ground they are in is very dry, e.g. United club in Christchurch.

Martin French via croquet
Sent: Thursday, August 3, 2017 9:35 AM
To: mail@campbellmorrison.co.uk; 'Notts List'
Cc: Campbell Morrison
Subject: Re: [Croquet] Quadway hoops in the UK

The CA hoop tests from 2014 can be found here:  https://www.croquet.org.uk/?p=tech/equipment/HoopTests2014

To be fair, these were aimed at answering the question “can we find a more challenging hoop for top class AC events in England?” rather than answering the more general question of what hoops a club should buy for everyday use.

It is evident that while unfinished uprights and square “parsnips” contribute to making a hoop more difficult to run than the normal powder-coated hoop with round carrots, the more important factors for everyday use are: how dry is the ground?; how fresh are the hoop holes?; how carefully are the hoops being set?  These will make more difference to everyday play than the small differences between the best of the hoops we trialled.

Campbell Morrison via croquet
Sent: Thursday, August 3, 2017 9:51 AM
To: 'Notts List'
Cc: Campbell Morrison
Subject: Re: [Croquet] Quadway hoops in the UK

In response to a number of requests, here is a summary of the hoop evaluations we did a couple of years ago.

We rejected Atkins hoops on the grounds that:

  1. They are very expensive to import into the UK.   I contacted HMRC and found that we would be liable to pay duty of 2.7% on the cost of the hoops (including freight and insurance) and then VAT of 20% on top of all that.    For example, if the hoop costs £10 and freight and insurance £2 then the total cost is 12*1.027*1.2 = £14.79.   You can only escape the VAT if you are a registered charity (being a CASC is not sufficient).     (For those that are interested, HMRC assigned a provisional commodity code of 9506999000).
  2. They offered no performance advantage in our soft damp soil (ex bowling greens) over the best performing UK hoops (eg Aldridge hoops).  We looked at both the results of the CA hoop tests and also carried out our own tests using volunteers who were asked to run a dozen different hoops repeatedly from different angles.   My feeling is that the soil type accounts for, say, 80% of the difficulty in running a hoop and the hoop only 20%.    So Atkins hoops at United may be difficult to run, but on a Scottish bowling green they were no better than other much cheaper hoops.

 

Other, more minor, factors were:

  1. The hoops are quite fiddly and time consuming to adjust from one setting to another.   You have to take the whole hoop out of the ground, loosen it and then replace it.    I know some people claim to be able to adjust an entire lawn in five minutes, but for us it was more like five minutes per hoop.
  2. The adjustment mechanism felt as though it could become worn and wobbly over the years
  3. We were slightly concerned about the increased risk of tripping over them as they are more difficult to see than white hoops.

 

Hope this helps,

Campbell

Andy Myers via croquet
Sent: Monday, August 7, 2017 7:22 PM
To: croquet@nottingham-lists.org.uk
Subject: Re: [Croquet] Quadway hoops in the UK

Just to close the loop on this…

Thanks for all the responses both on and off list. The general conclusion, as suspected, is that firm ground is required to get them really tight. Likewise, in firm ground it’s possible to get ‘normal’ hoops really tight as well – certainly in new holes. In the UK, the last time we had firm ground all summer was 1976 J.

Interestingly, I’ve heard from an above average minus player who has played with Quadways and really struggled even to keep a 4bb going. He finds it quite frustrating not being able to ‘do triples anymore’ but the point I suppose, they are meant to be for use at the very top level not the next level down.

Some who have them, don’t adjust them and just leave them on one setting.

So, in conclusion, it’s unlikely that we will be going for them at Aldermaston given the soft ground we have, especially given the increased cost but thanks again for your input,

Cheers Andy

Tim Murphy via croquet
Sent: Monday, August 7, 2017 11:10 PM
To: Andy Myers
Cc: Notts
Subject: Re: [Croquet] Quadway hoops in the UK

Quadways are very suitable for all levels of play.

As a very average minus player I can complete 4bb and even the occasional triple.

chris clarke via croquet
Sent: Monday, August 7, 2017 11:17 PM
To: Andy Myers; croquet@nottingham-lists.org.uk
Subject: Re: [Croquet] Quadway hoops in the UK

Hi Andy,
I think one of the key things about the Atkins is how much easier they are to set accurately than normal hoops. I know that I saw multiple normal hoops that were found to be too tight whilst I was in the UK this summer (one of which was in the Open final!!). We played 15 days of the 2014 Mac with only 1 hoop that was too tight despite setting them to 1/64" clearance.
It is impossible to get difficult hoops in soft ground - as I have said before, the Atkins make hoops about 20-25% more difficult in any type of ground.

For those of you looking for a challenge, please consider entering the NZ Open 20-28 Jan in Christchurch.

Chris

Patrick via croquet
Sent: Tuesday, August 8, 2017 8:56 AM
To: Martin French
Cc: croquet@nottingham-lists.org.uk
Subject: Re: [Croquet] Quadway hoops in the UK

Hmm, yes, of course

To my mind the big advantage of the Atkins Quadways is that if you are using one of the four standard widths you can achieve the same width from top to bottom - the width at the crown is no greater than at ground level. A big difference from our old 3 3/4 cast iron hoops.

Adjustment at ground level surely has to be done for any hoop.

cheers

Kate

Martin French via croquet
Sent: Tuesday, August 8, 2017 8:47 AM
To: Andy Myers; croquet@nottingham-lists.org.uk
Subject: Re: [Croquet] Quadway hoops in the UK

One aspect of the precision of adjustment being discussed is to realise just how flexible all hoops are.  See the two photos here: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/ech2z30e9iwrqcq/AADtYOu8azz7sjoednqrhIera?dl=0

The first is a hoop under no load – the width at the points of its carrots is about 4.5”.  The second is the same hoop being compressed by my (weaker) left hand while I take the photo with my right.  It is 3/4” narrower at the tip of the carrots!  Against this degree of normal hoop flexibility, being able to adjust the width at the crown by 1/64” doesn’t seem very relevant.  This is much the same for all the hoops I’ve tested, apart from the rather more rigid Egyptian hoops.  The hoop in these photos is an Atkins, but it could equally well have been an Aldridge, a Hopewell, etc.

As hoops are driven into the ground, stones and wet/ dry patches in the soil will cause the hoop to flex by significant amounts.  Even using a hoop clamp, it is common to find when you remove the clamp, the hoop springs either inwards or outwards, due to some stresses introduced by the soil.

regards
Martin French

All rights reserved © 2017-2017


Updated 11.ix.17
About, Feedback
www.oxfordcroquet.com/equip/hoops/quadway/index.asp
on www.oxfordcroquet.com
Hits: 245