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Dr Ian Plummer

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Technical
Laws Answers - Doubles Games

Stephen Mulliner provides answers to John Riches' questions. He uses the convention that Red and Yellow are played by Ray and Yvonne respectively.

1). Law 5f says, in part: "If the striker plays neither of his balls during a turn, he must state which of his balls is deemed to have been played so that he is then responsible for the position of that ball." If I play an opponent's ball on the first stroke of our turn, and my ball has been left on a hoop by the opponents, can I nominate my partner's ball as the ball we are deemed to have played, in the hope that I may be able to claim a wiring lift with my ball in the next turn?

SM: Four cases may be defined:

  1. Ray and Yvonne choose to play neither ball in a turn. They are obliged to nominate either R or Y as being deemed to have been played under 5f. It is clear that either R or Y can be nominated.

  2. Ray plays an outside agency (e.g. a ball from another game) and, once this has been realised, Ray and Yvonne decide as in A. I think the same answer applies because Ray has not played a stroke.

  3. Ray plays Y, a wrong ball under 26a1. Even if rectified, it is clear that Y has been played and that Ray and Yvonne are responsible for the position of Y. 5f does not apply.

  4. Ray plays K or B, a wrong ball under 26a1. Assuming that neither R nor Y was moved when K (or B) was played, neither R nor Y will have been played. I think this aligns with case A and hence either R or Y can be nominated. As a matter of policy, the laws could reasonably direct that R is deemed to have been played in such a case because Ray has played a stroke as the striker. However, express wording would be required to achieve this result.

2. Law 26a2 says, in reference to playing a wrong ball: "If the error is rectified and was committed in the first stroke of one of the first four turns of the game, the correct ball is placed on any unoccupied point on either baulk-line as the striker chooses and the striker is deemed to have played a stroke with that ball." In a singles game, if I hit an opponent's ball into play on the first or second turn of the game, it is clear that I can place either of my balls on the yard-line under Law 5f. In a doubles game, can we place my partner's ball on the yard-line and I take the next turn with the ball I have decided to play with?

SM: No. If Ray plays a wrong ball in turn 1 or 2, it is clear that he is the striker for that turn and the requirement of 26a2 that "the correct ball" be placed on a baulk-line can only be satisfied by placing R.

3. Law 43b referring to Handicap doubles, says: " If the striker plays a wrong ball in the first stroke of a non-bisque turn and the error is rectified, either player who could lawfully have played the first stroke of the turn may then play a half-bisque or bisque." In a handicap doubles game, if I hit an opponent's ball into play on the first or second turn of the game, can we decide to take a bisque or half-bisque and that my partner will play the turn?

SM: Yes. 43b is explicit.

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Updated 28.i.16
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