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Dr Ian Plummer

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Technical
Association vs US (6-wicket) Rules Croquet

The major differences between the two games are outlined below and references are given to the rule numbers in the respective rule books. The Association rules can be purchased from the Croquet Association and the US ones from the United States Croquet Association.

The notes below assume that you are familiar with one or other game and the terminology. A glossary of croquet terms can be found at the end of the Intermediate Coaching Notes .

These are my paraphrasings of the rules and the source rules should always be consulted. I am indebted to Kit Linton, of St. John's College, Maryland and Reuben Edwards from Croquet World Online Magazine for helpful comments.
The USCA rules sorely need translating into English and writing plainly :-)

USCA Rules

Association

1 THE START OF A GAME 

[USA] You start 1 mallets length directly in front of the first hoop, along a line defined by the length of a mallet's head (9") parallel to the hoop. [Rule 3b]. 

[ASSOC] You start play from either of the yard lines extending from corner 1 to the centre of the South boundary, or from corner 3 to the centre of the North boundary. The yard lines are a mallets length in from the boundary lines. [Law 6]. 

2 ORDER IN WHICH BALLS ARE PLAYED 

[USA] Balls play in the colour order Blue, Red, Black and Yellow. [Rule 3a]. 

[ASSOC] Either ball of a side can be played at the start of a turn once all four balls have been played onto the lawn. [Law 8]. 

3 WHEN ROQUETS MAY BE MADE 

[USA] Balls may only be roqueted once between each hoop and not before they have run the first hoop. Once a ball has been roqueted you become dead on it (it cannot be roqueted) until the next hoop has been run, whereupon you regain 'liveness' on all the balls. [Rule 27]. 

[ASSOC] All balls may be roqueted once each turn and, if the next hoop is run, all may be roqueted again, etc. [Law 16a]. 

4 PLAYING OUT OF TURN 

[USA] If a ball plays out of turn the balls are replaced, no points are scored and that side loses its turn. [Rule 5]. 

[ASSOC] Balls are not played in rotation (see above). Special rules deal with striking the wrong ball. [Law 28]. 

5 ROQUETING BEFORE RUNNING HOOP 1 

[USA] You cannot roquet balls before running hoop 1 nor roquet balls which have not been through hoop 1. [Rule 27d]. 

[ASSOC] You can roquet balls as soon as they are on the lawn. [Law 16a

6 RUSHING BALLS OFF THE LAWN 

[USA] Your turn ends if a ball leaves the lawn after the roquet. You however remain live on that ball. It does not matter if the striker's ball leaves the lawn. [Rule 35]. 

[ASSOC] Balls may be rushed off the lawn, whereupon they are brought back on to the yard line and croquet is taken. Only sending balls off court in the croquet stroke is a terminal fault. [Law 20]. 

7 WHEN A BALL IS OFF COURT 

[USA] A ball is off the court when its vertical axis crosses the boundary line. [Rule 36]. 

[ASSOC] A ball is off court when any part of a ball crosses the inside of the boundary line. [Law 10]. 

8 REPLACING A BALL OFF COURT 

[USA] Balls off the lawn are replaced 9" on to the lawn. [Rule 37]. 

[ASSOC] Balls off the lawn are replaced 36" on to the lawn. [Law 12]. 

9 BALLS LEAVING THE LAWN 

[USA] Your turn finishes on all occasions that a ball leaves the lawn unless it is the striker's ball after a roquet. [Rule 35]. 

[ASSOC] The only time your turn finishes when a ball leaves the lawn is when either of the balls directly involved in a croquet stroke leaves the lawn. [Law 20]. 

10 BALLS IN HOOPS 

[USA] You may not hit a ball on which you are dead which lies in the jaws of a hoop when attempting to run that hoop. [Rule 16]. 

[ASSOC] There are no especial rules. There is however a rule concerning roqueting a ball through a hoop you wish to run. If you roquet a ball completely on the non-playing side of a hoop through your next hoop in order, and your ball completes the running of the hoop, it is hoop run and roquet in that order. [Law 17

11 BISQUES 

[USA] Bisques are an extension of the striker's turn. There are two types of bisques. A replay bisque or a continuation bisque. The continuation bisque is an additional shot taken from where the striker's ball stopped following an earned continuation shot - post hoop or croquet shot. A ½ bisque may be used to position a ball, but no points may be scored. [Rule 69] 

[ASSOC] A bisque is a fresh turn, in which all the balls may be re-roqueted, but it must be played with the same ball as the turn which has just ended. Should the striker's ball lie within the yard line it is placed on the yard line before starting the bisque turn. [Law 37]. 

 

12 BLOCKING THE APPROACH ON A HOOP 

[USA] You may not block a ball's hoop for more than one turn. [Rule 20a]. 

[ASSOC] Balls may block other balls from running a hoop. 

13 BALL IN HAND MOVING OTHER BALLS 

[USA] Once a ball has made a roquet it may not influence the positions of other balls. If balls are displaced by a ball in hand they are replaced in their original positions. [Rule 27b]. 

[ASSOC] A ball which has made a roquet can still move other balls and for example peel them. The balls are not replaced. [Law 18a2]. 

14 HITTING A BALL YOU HAVE ALREADY ROQUETED 

[USA] You may not hit a ball on which you are dead unless it happens after a roquet or on the croquetted ball during a croquet stroke. [Rule 32]. 

[ASSOC] If you hit a ball which you have already roqueted there is no penalty - it is a scatter shot. The turn only finishes if the striker fails to run his hoop or roquet a ball he is 'live' upon.

15 HITTING OTHER BALLS IN THE CROQUET STROKE 

[USA] You may not hit a ball on which you are dead in the croquet stroke. [Rule 32]. 

[ASSOC] If another ball is hit by the striker's ball in the croquet stroke either a roquet is made if the ball has not already been roqueted or scattered if it has. There is no penalty and either the croquet or continuation stroke is played. 

16 FOOT ON BALLS 

[USA] The striker may not place his hand or foot on the ball during the stroke. [Rule 29g]. 

[ASSOC] The striker may not place his hand or foot on the ball during the stroke. [Law 28]. 

17 ON RUNNING 1-BACK 

[USA] Whenever any ball goes through 1-back the opposing team may at the start of their next turn clear the deadness on one of their balls. [Rule 34a]. 

[ASSOC] Unless the game is being played under advanced rules nothing special happens when running 1-back. In the advanced games an optional lift is forfieted on running 1-back and 4-back or a contact if 1-back and 4-back are run in one turn with the forward ball. [Law 36

18 PEELING OPPONENT THROUGH 1-BACK 

[USA] If the striker peels his opponent's ball through 1-back, the striker can clear the deadness on his or his partner's ball. [Rule 34b]. 

[ASSOC] Nothing special happens if the opponent is peeled through 1-back. Under advanced play no lift is given away if a ball is peeled through 1- or 4-back. [Law 36]. 

19 DIRECTION OF RUNNING ROVER 

[USA] Rover is run towards the peg. 

[ASSOC] Rover is run away from the peg 

20 PROPERTIES OF A ROVER BALL 

[USA] A rover ball may clear 2- or 3-ball deadness by running any hoop in any direction in one stroke, whereupon it receives a continuation stroke and may peg out other rover balls. 

A rover ball may roquet each ball, on which it alive, only once per turn.[Rule 44]. A rover ball must be dead on at least two balls before it gains relief from deadness by running a hoop in either direction.[Rule 44b] 

A rover ball remains "last dead" on the last ball it roqueted prior to clearing deadness. When a rover ball roquets another ball, the "last deadness" is removed. [Rule 44d]. A rover ball may be cleared of deadness with a 1-back clearing, but "last deadness" may not be cleared. [Rule 44f] 

[ASSOC] A rover ball can peg out other rover balls, but has no other special merits. [Law 15]. 

21 ROVERS AND ROQUETING 

[USA] A rover may only roquet the other balls once per turn. A rover having cleared its 2- or 3-ball deadness cannot hit the ball it last roquetted until it hits another ball. [Rule 44]. 

[ASSOC] As USA - A rover may only roquet the other balls once per turn. 

22 CONSEQUENCES OF PEGGING OUT A BALL 

[USA] Once a ball is pegged out the play continues in proper colour rotation, hence two shots to one side then the opponent. 

If another rover ball is pegged out on a croquet shot, that ball is removed and the remaining continuation shot is taken nine inches from the peg. [43b].

[ASSOC] No special laws apply unless under advanced play. The person who pegs out a ball is no longer eligible for advanced rules lifts. [Law 36c]. 

23 RUSHING A BALL ONTO THE PEG 

[USA] If a rover ball rushes another rover ball into the peg, the croqueted ball is taken out of the game. The striker's ball then plays its two stokes, the first nine inches in any direction from the peg.[Rule 43e] A ball may not become rover and stake out another rover on the same stroke. [Rule 43(2)].

[ASSOC] If a rover is rushed on to the peg by another rover the pegged out ball is removed from the game, the strikers ball remains where it comes to rest and the player's turn ends. [Law 18a3]. 

24 TIME FOR STROKE IN TIMED GAMES 

[USA] In a timed game 45 seconds is allowed per stroke. [Rule 59]. 

[ASSOC] There is no limitation on the time for a stroke, except that laws require expedition in play. For a timed game the duration or end time of the game is defined. [Law 53]. 

25 TIMEOUTS 

[USA] Two 1 minute time outs are permitted per side. [Rule 60]. 

[ASSOC] The concept of timeouts does not exist in the Association game 

26 WHEN TIME IS CALLED 

[USA] Once time is called all the remaining balls have one turn. [Rule 62a]. 

[ASSOC] Once time is called the striker finishes his turn and the opponent has a final turn. If the scores are then equal play continues until either side scores a point. There are special rules for the use of bisques after time. Timed games are covered in the regulations for tournaments. [Regulation T]. 

27 WIRING 

[USA] If a ball is wired from any balls on which it is alive and the opponent is responsible for the striker's position, the striker may take a lift to contact with any ball on which it is alive. [Rule 40a] 

If the striker passes their turn, they are then responsible for their ball's position and a lift may not be taken in the next (third) turn. [Rule 40a]. 

If a striker's ball is dead on all balls, the striker may not claim a wire. [Rules 41].

 If a ball is wired by an opponent a contact may be taken. [Rule 68]. 

[ASSOC] A ball is wired if it was placed there by the opponent and cannot see all parts of at least one ball. The striker must be able to strike the ball with all parts of his mallet face and not have an obstructed swing. [Law 13]. 

28 DURATION OF A WIRING 

[USA] If a wiring contact is not take in the first turn when it arises the player becomes responsible for that ball's position. [Rule 40c]. 

[ASSOC] A normal wiring (not advanced rules wiring) persists as long as the ball remains wired and the opponent remains responsible for its position. [Law 13]. 

29 WIRING - WHICH BALLS ARE CONSIDERED 

[USA] In a wiring decision only balls upon which the wired ball is live are considered. [Rule 39(1)]. 
[USA] If the next ball to play is 3-ball dead it is considered to be open to a ball for the purposes of a wiring decision. [Rule 41]. 

[ASSOC] All balls are relevant in a wiring decision. 

All rights reserved © 2007-2014


Updated 25.iii.12
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