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Conversion Course Slides

The law links in this document have been updated to the amended 6th Edition Laws, March 2008; the content has not been modified. Caveate Emptor.

Welcome and Introduction


To assist Referees and others familiar with the 5th edition (Red Book) of the Laws of Association Croquet to convert to using the new 6th edition (Blue Book).

The seminar is being given at a number of venues by members of the CA Laws Committee: Bill Arliss, Ian Bond, Richard Hoskyns, Colin Irwin, Bill Lamb, Stephen Mulliner and Ian Vincent.


Purpose of the Revision

  • Take account of changes in the game (e.g. casting)
  • Resolve known problems of interpretation (e.g. forestalling)
  • Make laws more accessible (e.g. indexing)
  • No intention to significantly change the game

Revision Process

  • Laws controlled by four governing bodies, who appoint representatives to ILM
  • Requests for revision from ACALC and CALC discussed at ILM in Bunbury in November, 1997
  • Internet discussion and Olsen's Revised Laws Jan 1998 - June 1999
  • Council Chairmen intervene: ORLC devised, July, 1999
  • Revised draft to ILM at Christchurch, February, 2000
  • Changes approved in principle, March, 2000
  • Detailed wording finalised, August, 2000
  • In force from Sept, 2000 in NZ and Jan, 2001 elsewhere.

Changes to Structure

  • Some reordering, but structure fundamentally unchanged: Law numbers 10-21 retained.
  • Old Part 5 merged into Part 3; Part 1 enlarged to contain old Law 4 and Definitions (e.g. old Law 31); new section on Interferences.
  • Cross references categorised into essential (but see, subject to) and helpful (see)
  • Subtitles and Index added
  • Bulk of Regulations moved to Fixtures Book

Court and Equipment

cf old 1(a)(1). Use innermost line if most recent can't be determined. Boundary is now local best fit straight line to inside of actual marking (occasional blobs should be ignored).
Yardline one yard in from local boundary, but if collinearity of yardline balls critical they should be adjusted.
Extension not part of peg for pegging out; is not an outside agency when in place, but should be removed if likely to interfere. Clips treated similarly (see 3(d)(2)).
& 53(b) for tournaments, hoop widths just in regulations.
Relatively lax: only head need be symmetric and mallet may still be changed between turns (but loophole in wiring law blocked).

Adjustment of Equipment

 See 2(b)(5), 3(a)(3), 3(b)(3), 14(d)(5), 35(b-d), R2(h).

  • Except for gross errors (e.g. missing peg!), locations frozen when game starts.
  • Either player may request restoration of previous state after material change (e.g. hoop moved by double bankers).
  • Striker can request correction of alignment and width at any time, but any test must be conducted first and balls must be moved so that the striker gains no advantage.
  • Referee can refuse request on grounds of impracticality or adverse effect on double banked game.
  • Striker may replay only if ball ends jammed in hoop and turn has not otherwise ended.


cf old 4(d)(3), 18(a)(4). Roquet now only gives entitlement to take croquet, not two extra stokes. Effect on error laws.
Start of game now defined for timing.
Game only ends when sides agree as to who has won(!).
Ennumerates reasons for turn ending: just summarises other laws.
Three cases: (1) the normal case, the turn has finished; (2)(A) the striker quits the court wrongly believing his turn has ended; (2)(B) the striker allows the adversary to get on with it. Note that in (2) turn only ends when stroke is played, giving more time for forestalling (but also that playing a stroke is not sufficient to end turn!).
By implication, allows strokes to overlap.
Soft line on casting.
Playing a stroke now defined as a point in time.
Striker must nominate after deeming or playing wrong ball.
Striking period now depends on type of fault and whether striker quits stance.
Ball comes to rest ((2)(A), (4), (5)) when it appears to stop moving, unless its position is critical (see 6(d)) in which case it must remain unchanged for 5 seconds and, if a test is required, its position has been agreed or adjudicated upon. Taking up stance or quitting court no longer sufficient.
Ball now ceases to be in hand when it is replaced (and can thus cause a fault), but if striker had a choice he may relocate it until start of next stroke or end of his turn.
Shorthand for ``ball which may (not) be roqueted''. Not to be confused with American rules. Ball becomes dead when croquet taken from it, not when roqueted.
Duty to remove outside agencies and (see 34(d)) loose impediments if they might affect play now explicit.

Ordinary Singles Play

Once made, choice cannot be changed.
Right to start by taking croquet from ball in or near baulk-line made explicit.
Moving a ball in contact with another no longer commits the striker to play it nor (see 19(c)) to take croquet from the ball remaining. ``Trundling'' permitted by (c).
Replacement on either side retained (nearest position agreed at Bunbury but reversed at Christchurch). Special status of corners removed. Indirect interference explicitly recognised.
Striker becomes responsible for balls affected or deemed to have been affected by his play, now including those replaced after errors, except balls replaced after interference.
Ball now wired from another if it has to pass through a hoop to hit it.
Provision to prevent mallet abuse!
Example of more explicit provisions.
Rewritten to avoid certain literalist mis-interpretations. Take hoop as you find it. Only some cases of becoming a ball in hand now require the ball to start to run the hoop again.
Ball pegged out can now cause other balls to score points after it hit the peg. Remains fully in play (except for leaving lawn in croquet stroke).
Striker permitted to leave pegged-out ball on court for one further stroke to legitimise common practice.
Includes all cases of striker's ball passing through its hoop in order and hitting another (old 16(b)(3) and (4) incorporated). (a) covers case where ball is clear of non-playing side, in which case both hoop and roquet are made; (b) covers the cases when it is not, in which case either hoop or roquet, but not both, are made (unless, (c) the striker's ball ends in contact with another ball). (a)(2) makes it clear that double tap caused solely by impact with ball is legal in hoop and roquet situation.

Errors - The Main Issue

 Forestalling and play following minor errors were the main area of contention. Two diametrically opposed camps, transcending national boundaries, crudely:

Players have a duty to play the game according to the laws. All errors should be punished by end of turn and Adversary should not warn.
Players have a duty to ensure that the game is played according to the laws. Play in error should be ignored as invalid and Adversary should warn.

Compromise: minor errors would not be fatal in themselves, and so should be forestalled, but turn ends if it would have done for other reasons before the minor error was discovered.

Errors - other general points

  • Clearer distinction between errors (Laws 25-28), of which faults (Law 28) are a subset, and interferences (Laws 30-35).
  • Limit of claims is generally first stroke of next turn for fatal errors other than faults, next stroke but one (if earlier) for others.
  • Restricted remedies dropped except that no peg point may be scored when playing a wrong ball (though hoop points can).

Errors - Specific Laws

Expanded version of old 26(b,c). ``Rectification'' and ``Strokes in Error'' defined more precisely; ``Condoning'' dropped. The striker must not deliberately commit an error (including a fault) and must immediately declare/announce any that he suspects he has committed.
Resolves conflict between old 26(a)/45(b)/49(b). Principle is that Adversary must not forestall if striker is about to do something fatal, otherwise he must do so immediately, unless he would interrupt him while striking unnecessarily. ``issues a request'' to clarify that the striker may be unaware of being forestalled. Playing when forestalled now an interference (see 32).
Not quite as clear cut as it seems because 27(j) indirectly invokes other laws.
Broken down into two cases for clarity.
Two provisions to mitigate effect of allowing points to stand: limit of claims is start of first turn to be started with the correct ball and reversal of colours.
General procedure. Note that either player may get relief under Law 33 if ball misplaced due to active interference rather than failure to place it properly.
New exemption for minor physical misplacement.
New term ``Purporting to take croquet'' covers both old 30(a) (from wrong ball) and 30(b) (when not entitled).
New fatal error, to prevent striker getting huge advantage in some situations.
Non-fatal, unless turn ends under 27(j). Interchange option dropped. Similarly 27(f).
and 27(h) Two new specific cases, to extend limit of claims. Note ``materially'' in (g) to avoid unverifyable claims.
What used to be the ``General Rule'' (old 29).
The heart of the compromise. Errors under 27(e-h) which are discovered before their limit of claims are always rectified, but the striker's turn ends if it would otherwise have done so during the stroke(s) in error.
Faults re-ordered into a more logical sequence. Dropping or throwing mallet now a fault. ``Pushes or pulls'' amalgamated into ``maintains contact''; both it and multiple contacts exonerated if caused by a ball roqueted or pegged out. Multiple contacts in croquet stokes under discussion.
Adversary has option as to whether balls go back; points always cancelled. See 37(h) for handicap play.
Under discussion, but I would imply ``solely''.


Introduces interferences, which may be committed by either or neither player. Both players must forestall play immediately on suspecting one. In general, the game reverts to the state it was in immediately prior to the interference; any previous errors within then within their limit of claims should then be dealt with.
Previously error 30(d). Play now only goes back to when it was first affected, rather than when the ball failed to be or was wrongly removed.
Previously error 35. ``Limit of claims'' now the end of the game; replay now available if clip misplaced, but not if false information given, by an outside agency.
Previously error 27, ``Playing when not entitled'', but a strict reading implied the turn ended.
Covers balls moving and being moved both during and between strokes (old 22, 33 and 34): in particular, ball moving during a stroke now covered. Replay now available if the outcome of a stroke is affected because a ball has been moved beforehand.
(a) is new; note the (a)(2) is restricted to physical interference only. (b-e) replace old 23 and 24; provision for replacing balls not moved more flexible.
These provisions are new, though (a) is strictly redundant, being covered by 4(e).

Other forms of Play

Options for changing mind now spelt out.
The ``Norfolk'' provision. Balls have to be replaced if a (full) bisque is taken. Beware advice and change of mind.
Restoration of Bisques changed in line with error laws.
Clarifies partner's liability to commit faults.
Points scored when playing with partner's ball cancelled.
(4) is kind to beginners!
Reg's 14-pt game regularised.


Some re-arrangement but principles unchanged.

Procedure after wrongful advice spelt out.
Promoted from Appendix 2.
``If available'' added to (c); (d) and (f) new.
ORLC incorporated and non-literal interpretation mandated. ``Adequately'' added in (b)(4). (c) expanded, but referee must act ``as best meets the justice of the case''


  • Few substantive changes, but many details clarified
  • Expedition regularised
  • Corners no longer special
  • Ball at rest redefined
  • Election of striker's ball relaxed
  • Treatment of Errors and Interferences rationalised
  • Consult adversary after a fault
  • Carry your law book and use ORLC if in doubt

Author: Ian Vincent
All rights reserved © 2004-2008

Updated 28.i.16
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