Based on an article by Dr. Ian Plummer, Oxford University, 2002
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
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 1Ĺ" in diameter with a smaller dowel extension about Ĺ"
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
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. A
player can start their turn by striking either of their balls but must
thereafter strike only that ball (the strikerís ball) during that
turn. A turn consists of a single stroke, after which the turn ends, unless
in that stroke
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.
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 rovers to be pegged out.
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 ballís 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
The score is the sum of the number of hoops and peg points
each side has obtained.
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 strikerís 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 strikerís 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 roquet.
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 strikerís ball may not score hoop points for itself in the same stroke,
but may move other balls.
The Croquet Stroke In the croquet stroke the
striker strikes their own ball when it is 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
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 croquet immediately.
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
At the start of a game, the player entitled to
play first plays either of their 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 the game.
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 balls.
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 strikerís 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 strikerís 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 balls.
Lifts 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 ballís 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.
Cannons If three or more balls are in contact
and one or more of which is on the yard-line 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 strikerís ball is placed only in contact with the
roqueted ball; the other balls are placed in contact with the roqueted ball
but not the strikerís ball. The striker then takes croquet by hitting their
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
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 bought on to the yard-line, play
must be stopped and the position corrected. The turn then continues. If the
strikerís 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 As
These are complex and
the Full Laws should be referred to!
rest the shaft of the mallet or a hand or arm on the ground or an
rest the shaft of the mallet or a hand or arm directly connected with
the stroke against any part of your legs or feet;
move the striker's ball other than by striking it with the mallet
audibly and distinctly;
cause or attempt 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:
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
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 otherwise
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 your body or clothes;
touch any ball, other than the striker's ball, with the mallet;
touch any ball with any part of your body or clothes;
in a croquet stroke, play away from or fail to move or shake the
deliberately play a stroke in a manner in which the mallet is likely
toand does cause substantial damage to the court.
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