HOME STUDY COURSE TO HELP YOU BECOME AN A.C.A.
This course is based on one produced by the Western
Australian Croquet Association. It has been modified by Croquet N.S.W.
to meet its requirements.
been revised to match the changes to the laws adopted in 2008.
The object of this course is to help you learn the Laws and to
explain difficult points.
Prospective referees are encouraged to sit with accredited referees to
watch procedures and gain knowledge of refereeing games.
Knowledge of the laws is an important part of refereeing, but it is not
the only part. Umpiring is just as important, and you must learn that
on the lawn.
This course will be in sequence of Laws as listed and will not
often refer to any law further on in the book. In instances when
"see law …" is stated in the Laws Book, we advise you not to do
so in your first reading.
1 (Laws 1 to 7): Deals with the court and its
equipment and some definitions
Part 2 (Laws
8 to 35): Is virtually all the laws of ordinary level singles
play, i.e., general laws of play.
Part 3 (Laws
36 to 46): Adapts certain laws in Part 2 to cover advanced,
handicap and doubles play. (Note : the word "advanced" play
is when lifts are given, and does not refer to standard of play.)
Part 4 (Laws
47 to 55): On the conduct of the game, tells how players should
conduct themselves and their duties and rights. These laws have
no fixed penalties, but this does not mean there are no penalties,
merely that they are applied under Law 55.
The last sections are
Appendices, Index and Regulations for Tournaments. However, new
regulations for referees have recently been adopted. For the time
being, they can found at the bottom of the home page at http://www.croquet-australia.com.au/
You are not expected to know all the laws. No one does. But it
is important to be able to find the law on any topic quickly. To help
you, the law book has a detailed table of contents at the start, and an
index near the end.
There are also many cross-references. You can skip most of them in your
first reading; otherwise they will slow you down. Their real purpose is
to help you during a game. If you can find one law on the matter in
hand, the cross references will help you find others quickly.
Cross references come in two types. Those that begin with "See Law xxx"
tell you where to find more information if you need it. Those that
begin with "but see Law xxx" or "Subject to Law xxx" give exceptions to
a general rule, and are more important. You must check them in
a more detailed reading.
Another place where you can read about the laws is the
O.R.L.C. Commentary, which you can find in the latter part of the
O.R.L.C. site at http://www.croquet.org.uk/?p=association/laws/6th/orlc.html
The O.R.L.C. was originally set up to show official rulings on the
laws, but most of these rulings are too specialised for beginners.
However the Commentary is an excellent guide to the laws and is written
by someone who took part in the last revision of the laws.
A. AN OUTLINE OF THE GAME.
Law 1 : This is more than an outline of the game,
because it contains material that you cannot find elsewhere, such as
the meaning of the words "striker" and "entitled".
Law 2 : THE COURT and Law 3 :
EQUIPMENT AND ACCESSORIES.
You have seen the court and equipment lots of times, but these
laws tell the details.
Make sure you know the names of all parts of the court. Look up how
many dimensions come in multiples of seven yards.
Before a tournament the Manager dresses the courts and the referee
checks that all is in order before commencement of the games.
(Sometimes no manager is present, and you should be prepared to do his
Law 2(b)(4) tells you what tolerances you can accept. (You will find
more tolerances in Appendix 1, but you need not bother with them unless
you are buying equipment.)
The Peg is set in the centre of the lawn, so that lines joining
hoops 1 and 3, 2 and 4 and 5 and 6 should pass through the peg.
The peg and hoops may be displaced up to 6 inches from their
standard positions, providing the above conditions still apply.
The baulk lines must still terminate on a line extended through
the centres of hoops 5 and 6.
In a tournament it is wise to check the hoop settings after each game.
Some items of equipment can be moved if they interfere with a stroke,
namely the peg extension, clips, corner flags and corner pegs.
Balls: Damaged balls may be replaced at any time
during a game, but not necessarily the whole set, so long as balls of
the same type are used. Read the rules on temporary removal
of a ball.
Mallets: The end faces must be identical. Read
the rules for replacing a mallet.
If there is more than one boundary, which one is used?
There are five laws dealing with adjustment of misplaced
equipment: Laws 2(b)(3), 2(b)(5), 3(a)(3), 3(b)(3) and 35(d). You are
not expected to memorise the differences, but you should know where to
find the right one.
Diagram 2 : Note the places where the corner
pegs and flags should be put. Note where the yard-line goes.
Law 4 : START AND END OF A GAME AND TURN.
Definitions make more sense if you know why they are used.
Law 4(a) tells when the clock is started
Law 4(b) tells who has won
Law 4(c): Once a game has ended, it is too late to claim an error
or a replay.
Law 4(d): In applying Laws 27(e) to (h), you need to know if a
turn ending event has occurred.
Law 4(e): If the adversary starts play before the previous turn
has ended, he is playing when not entitled.
Law 5 : A STROKE AND THE STRIKING PERIOD.
It is usually obvious when a stroke is played, but there are
special cases. If the striker tries to hit the ball but misses, he has
played a stroke. He can also play a ball by telling his opponent that
he will leave it where it is.
If the striker starts his swing but deliberately interrupts it before
he hits the ball or commits a fault, then he has not played a stroke.
If he accidentally hits a ball before the striking period starts, he
has not played a stroke, the ball is replaced and he plays on.
If the striker plays a ball from another game, he has not played a
stroke. So in a double banked game, if the player of blue hits green
with his mallet, he has not played a stroke. However, if his mallet
hits blue and the blue hits pink, he has played a stroke, but he has
not made a roquet.
The striking period is the period during which a fault may be
committed. You must be clear about when this period starts and ends
when you are watching for a possible fault.
Most of the time, the striking period starts when movement of the
mallet starts. However some players swing the mallet over the ball
several times before they try to hit it. In such cases, the striking
period starts when the mallet has passed the striker's ball in the last
The striking period ends when the striker quits his stance under
control, but there is a special rule for faults listed under Laws
28(a)(1) to (3).
Law 6 : STATES OF A BALL
Law 6(a) A ball not in play is an outside agency. If it
interferes with play, Law 33(b) applies.
Law 6(b) A ball that has come to rest will sometimes move
again. As a general rule, it is replaced, but there are two exceptions.
A ball in a critical position is deemed to have come to rest only when
its position has apparently remained unchanged for at least 5 seconds.
If, in addition, its position needs to be tested, it is deemed to
have come to rest only when its position has been agreed, or
Law 6(c) In ordinary speech, we sometimes talk of picking up a
ball. The laws use the term "ball in hand" in such cases. A ball in
hand is an outside agency.
Law 6(d): If a ball is in a critical position, special care
must be taken if it has to be wiped or moved away from a damaged spot,
or if its position needs checking. If possible, it should not be lifted
in a double-banked game.
A ball in a critical position does not come to rest until the
requirements of Law 6(b) are met.
Law 6(e): A dead ball cannot be roqueted.
If the striker purports to take croquet, the penalty and the limit of
claims vary according to whether a live or dead ball is involved.
A ball becomes dead when croquet is taken from it, not when it is
The words "live" and "dead" have meaning only for roquets and croquet
strokes. A dead ball can score points by being peeled or pegged out,
the same as a live ball.
Law 6(g): A rover ball can cause another rover ball to be
Law 6(h): A group of balls is involved in the definition of a
cannon in Law 19(b).
Law 7 : OUTSIDE AGENCIES.
7 If an outside agency interferes with the game, Law 33
or 34 applies.
The striker commits a fault if he rests the shaft of the mallet or a
hand or arm on an outside agency within the time period described in
ORDINARY SINGLES PLAY
A. GENERAL LAWS OF PLAY
Law 8 : THE START OF A GAME
At the start of a game the winner of the toss has the right of
choice and may choose to play first or second, or to choose ball
colours. If he chooses to play second his opponent plays first,
and also has choice of colours. When a match consists of more
than one game, the right of choice alternates after the first game.
In a doubles match, the first player of a side is allowed to play the
ball his partner had said he would use. If he does so, the ball he
played then becomes his ball for that game, and the partner uses the
remaining colour of that side.
Law 9 : ELECTION OF STRIKER'S BALL.
After all four balls have been played into the game, a player
normally chooses which ball will be the striker's ball in a turn by
actually playing it.
The exception is that he chooses the striker's ball if he lifts it
under Law 13 or 36, but there are exceptions to this exception:
1. If he lifts a ball by mistake when he is not
entitled to, he has not elected that ball as his striker's ball.
2. A ball is not elected if he lifts it when it is
already in contact with another ball.
Once the choice has been made, it cannot be changed in that turn, or
the penalty for playing a wrong ball will apply.
Law 10 : BALL OFF COURT.
A ball leaves the court as soon as any part of it would touch
a straight edge raised vertically from the boundary (inside edge of
thick marking lines).
It is critical to watch exactly when a ball leaves the court, because
if played at an oblique angle to the boundary it can be technically off
the court quite a distance before it is seen to be completely out. This
can make a difference if it may have to be placed in contact with
A ball, which leaves the court or overhangs the boundary and then rolls
back in is still an outside agency. If it rolls back onto the court,
any ball interfered with is replaced.
Law 11 : BALL IN THE YARD-LINE AREA.
If a ball ends up in the yard line area, it is replaced on the
yard line before the next stroke, except that there are special rules
for the striker's ball.
If the striker's ball is entitled to take croquet, it is placed next to
the roqueted ball. If not, any continuation stroke must be played from
where the ball lies. This can happen after running a hoop or after a
Law 12 : REPLACEMENT OF A BALL OFF THE COURT OR
IN THE YARD-LINE AREA.
Balls must always be measured in with player's back to the
It is important to see that all balls, other than the striker's ball,
are replaced onto the yard-line immediately after each stroke, as such
a ball may interfere with the next stroke, or the outcome of later
strokes could be affected.
If a ball off the court or within the yard-line area cannot be placed
on the yard-line because of the presence of one or more balls, it is
placed in contact with the ball already there on either side of it, at
the striker's option. If two balls are already there with very
little space between, then the striker has the choice of placing his
ball alongside either ball.
A ball that is already legally on the yard line must not be moved to
make way for another ball. If several balls have to be replaced
close to the same position, the order in which they are replaced is at
the striker's choice.
Law 13 : WIRING LIFT
There are three pre-requisites for a player to claim a wired
The player can only ask for a wiring lift at
the start of a turn.
The referee must ask if the adversary is
responsible for the position of the ball.
The ball must be wired from each of the other
balls on the court. If it is in the jaws of a hoop, it is assumed to be
wired from all other balls, so long as it is not in contact with
If the striker's ball in contact with another ball the striker cannot
claim a wiring lift.
The striker does not have to claim a lift. Instead he can play
the ball from where it lies or he can play with his partner ball. He
should not ask for a wiring test unless he intends to take a lift, but
after the test has been made, he can still change his mind and play his
The lift does not have to be taken at the first chance, but may be used
at the start of another turn, provided that the ball still remains
wired from all other balls, and the adversary is still responsible for
A ball is not wired from a target ball that is partially hidden by
another ball, if you would have a clear shot were the latter to be
removed. In other words, a ball cannot be wired by another ball, only
by a hoop or peg.
The striker is responsible for the position of a ball moved or
shaken as a result of his play. This includes a ball moved in an error,
whether the error is rectified or not. However he does not become
responsible for the position of a ball moved in an interference.
When testing for a wiring remember that the striker must be
able to roquet any part of the target ball (including both edges) in a
direct course. If the referee cannot determine if the balls are
wired by eye test only, it often helps to use a trial ball
alongside the hoop or peg, whichever is in question. The
line-of-sight test is best performed from a position as low as
possible. If you have trouble getting down on the court, you can use a
A ball can be wired because of an impeded swing. This can
happen if the striker is unable to strike the ball with any part
of the end-face of the mallet, so as to send his ball toward any part
of the target ball. Likewise if his normal back-swing is impeded, or if
he cannot strike the ball before his mallet comes in contact with the
hoop or peg. Note that the striker has no right to an unimpeded follow
Law 14 : HOOP POINTS.
Note diagram 3: running a hoop.
A ball starts to run a hoop when it breaks the plane of the
non-playing side when traveling from the playing side. (The
planes of a hoop are the surfaces constructed by sliding a straight
edge from the bottom to the top of the hoop.) The ball completes
the running of a hoop when it comes to rest where it cannot be touched
by a similar straight edge on the playing side. If the ball makes
the hoop, but rolls back within the jaws, the hoop is not scored.
It is only the position in which a ball comes to rest that
determines whether it has run its hoop. If in doubt, check by
using your gauge.
If a ball enters its hoop in order from the non-playing side,
it cannot score a hoop point for itself in the same stroke. It
must come to a position clear of the hoop, or in the jaws where it does
not break the plane of the non-playing side before it can score the
hoop point. Even then it can only score the hoop in a later stroke.
If a ball has been roqueted into the jaws of a hoop and the
striker's ball can be touched by a straight edge on the non-playing
side when placed in contact with the roqueted ball, it cannot run the
hoop from that position. A piece of fishing line used on the
non-playing side determines if the striker's ball has commenced running
the hoop. If the line touches the edge of the striker's ball in
the hoop, it has commenced running and has to start running the hoop
again in order to score its point.
Meaning of Peeling: Peeling
can occur in any type of stroke, not just a croquet stroke. The word
does not include causing a ball to be pegged out. The definition is
used in Law 43(c).
Law 15 : PEG POINT.
A ball that has made rover hoop is called a "rover",
and in a level play game can be pegged out, or cause another rover to
be pegged out, either a partner or adversary ball.
A pegged out ball is removed from the game after it comes to rest. It
is still in play until it comes to rest and so it may cause other balls
to move and score hoop or peg points. (Handicap play
is covered further on in the course.)
If, at the start of a turn, a rover is left resting against
the peg, the striker has the choice of pegging out the ball or hitting
it away from the peg, in which case it is not pegged out. A
referee should be called to watch the stroke, if hitting away from the
When watching any peg-out, stand as close as possible, but do not cast
a shadow on the ball, and watch carefully as sometimes the ball just
grazes the peg or barely reaches it.
Law 16 : ROQUET.
The laws distinguish between an actual roquet and a deemed
An actual roquet is made when the striker's ball
contacts a live ball, and hits it either directly or indirectly by
bouncing off a hoop, peg, or dead ball. If two live balls are hit in
the one stroke, only the first ball hit is roqueted. If it is
seen that this situation may arise, and the referee is close enough to
see, he should watch carefully and be prepared to name the roqueted
ball. If two live balls are roqueted simultaneously the striker chooses
which ball he roqueted by taking croquet from it.
A deemed roquet occurs when the striker's ball is
found to be in contact with a live ball at the start of the stroke.
This stroke must be played as a croquet stroke.
Group of balls. If the striker plays a ball that is a
member of a group of balls, a cannon stroke is played. (The term "group
of balls" is defined in Law 6(h).) It is no longer compulsory for one
of the balls to be a yard-line ball.
If this happens at the start of a turn, it may happen that both balls
belonging to the striker are members of the group. In that case, he
elects which ball he wants to play by taking croquet from it and the
balls are arranged accordingly. Until he actually plays his
stroke he may re-arrange the balls.
Law 17 : HOOP AND ROQUET.
This law confuses many people because they do not understand
why it was made, and this involves a little history.
If the striker's ball runs its next hoop in order and then hits a ball
that is well clear of the hoop, it is easy to see that it has scored
the hoop point and then made a roquet. If the target ball is closer to
the hoop, it may be impossible to see whether the striker's ball hit it
before or after it passed through the hoop. So it was decided long ago
that a hoop and roquet in the one stroke could be scored if the target
ball was clear of the hoop on the non-playing side, because it is easy
to make this test before the stroke is played.
The whole of the striker's ball does not have to pass through the hoop
before it roquets a ball on the non-playing side, provided the target
ball is clear of the hoop. So the referee must check the position
of a ball that is close to the hoop on the non-playing side to ensure
whether the striker is entitled to hoop and roquet. Remember
also, that if the striker's ball finally comes to rest in the jaws of
the hoop, even it has passed through and rolled back, the hoop has not
been scored, although the roquet can be claimed if the ball was live.
Law 18 : CONSEQUENCES OF A ROQUET
A referee should watch when a rover ball is roqueted by
another rover ball towards the peg, as should the first ball be
roqueted onto the peg, it is pegged out and removed, therefore ending
the striker's turn as he has no ball from which to take croquet.
Law 19 : PLACING BALLS FOR A CROQUET STROKE.
When placing a ball for a croquet stroke, the striker must not
move the roqueted ball, and when peeling must not change its rotational
When placing balls for a croquet stroke the striker's ball must be in
contact with only one ball. If two or more balls are in contact
inside the court the striker's ball may be placed alongside the
roqueted ball, as long as it is not in contact with another ball, and
no other ball can be moved.
To steady the roqueted ball the striker may apply such pressure by hand
or foot (but not by mallet), as is necessary to help hold its position.
If necessary, grass clippings may be used.
Law 20 : CROQUET STROKE.
Once a ball is roqueted, the striker then takes croquet from
it. In playing the stroke the striker is said to take croquet.
It is a fault if the striker does not move or shake the croqueted
ball, or does not hit into it. If the croqueted ball goes out in
that stroke, the turn ends unless the croqueted ball is pegged out. If
the striker's ball goes out, the turn ends unless the striker's ball
scores a hoop point or makes a roquet.
Law 21 : CONTINUATION STROKE.
After the striker's ball scores a hoop point for itself, or
after a croquet stroke, the striker is entitled to play a continuation
stroke, unless his turn has ended. (For example the turn might end if
he has committed a fault or pegged out a roqueted ball.)
If the striker takes croquet and runs a hoop in the same stroke, he
gets only one continuation stroke. He cannot accumulate
B. ERRORS IN PLAY
Law 22 : GENERAL PRINCIPLES.
An error is defined as a breach of Laws 25 to 28.
In other words, it is an error to play when not entitled, to play
with a wrong ball, to play when a ball is displaced, or to commit a
fault. There are special rules about errors; so it is important to
realise that breaches of other laws are not errors.
A player must not deliberately commit an error, and must immediately
declare any error he commits or suspects he commits.
Many errors are rectified. You will meet this word a lot. Read Law
22(d) carefully and make sure you know exactly what it means.
Rectifying can involve up to three steps:
1. All balls must be placed in their legal position at the
start of the first stroke in error.
2. Any points apparently scored since the start of the
first error are cancelled.
3. Each ball becomes live if and only if it was live at the
start of the first stroke in error. (This does not apply if the turn
There are extra rules about replacing the striker's ball in a croquet
stroke. As a rule, the striker may place it in any legal position where
it may take croquet. There are two exceptions. If the error was a
fault, the striker's ball must be replaced where it was. If the turn
ends and the striker's ball is in the yard line area, it must be put on
the yard line under Law 14.
The laws contain a "limit of claims" for each type of error. An error
can be rectified only if it is discovered within the limit of claims. "Discovered"
means discovered by either player. If an error is discovered after its
limit of claims, all points scored are kept, with only two exceptions
in Laws 22(f)(2) and 40(d).
Law 23 : FORESTALLING PLAY.
The non-striker must request the striker to stop play if
an error has been committed, or if the striker is about to play a
questionable stroke without having it watched. There are several other
reasons for forestalling, and they are listed in Law 23(c). The request
must be in a manner that the striker can see, or hear with normal
hearing. The striker must then stop play until the matter has
However, the adversary must not forestall if he becomes aware that the
striker is about to run a wrong hoop, play a wrong ball or purport to
take croquet from a dead ball.
Law 24 : COMPOUND ERRORS.
A compound error occurs when a player commits more than one
error in the same stroke, or commits several errors in more than one
stroke. Errors beyond their limit of claims are not considered.
When more than one error is committed in the same stroke, only the
first of the applicable laws in Laws 25 to 28 applies. An example
is if a player of red roquets yellow, but takes croquet with yellow
from blue. He has played with the wrong ball (Law 26 ) and
purported to take croquet (Law 27 (e).). Law 26 applies
because it appears before law 27.
If the errors occurred in different strokes, only the law applicable to
the earlier error applies.
A special case occurs if Law 27 is applied and the striker has also
committed a fault. The first error is rectified under Law 27, and the
turn ends under Law 4(d)(7).
Law 25 : PLAYING WHEN NOT ENTITLED TO DO SO.
The word "entitled" is explained in Law 1(e).
An example of playing when not entitled is when the striker has run the
wrong hoop and plays on. If this is discovered before the first
stroke of the adversary's next turn, the balls are replaced in the
positions they occupied before the first stroke in error, the turn ends
and no points are scored for any balls. If the error is not
discovered until after the first stroke of the adversary's next turn,
the limit of claims has expired and any points scored are kept.
Another instance is if the out-player thinks his opponent's turn has
ended and commences play. If this is discovered within the limit of
claims, any balls he has moved are replaced and the player who is
entitled to play carries on playing.
A special case occurs if two players play at the same time without
realising what the other player is doing. (This does happen, believe it
or not.) If the wrong player moves a ball and the correct player later
moves the same ball in a stroke, it is not replaced.
Law 26 : PLAYING A WRONG BALL.
If the striker plays a wrong ball and the error is discovered
within the limit of claims, the error is rectified and the turn ends.
The limit of claims for this error is unusual. It is the first stroke
of the next turn that is played with the correct ball. So if several
turns are played with wrong balls, the limit of claims does not occur
until a turn starts with the right ball.
If the player of the fourth turn of a game discovers that both his
balls have already been played into the game the game is re-started.
If it is discovered after the first stroke of the fifth turn that every
previous turn has started play with the wrong ball, the choice of balls
is reversed and play is deemed to have proceeded from the start of the
game accordingly. This means that the sides play with the colours
they hit in with, not the ones they originally chose.
Law 27 : PLAYING WHEN A BALL IS MISPLACED.
This law has been rewritten since 2000 because many people had
trouble with the former wording. There has been no intended change of
The term "purporting to take croquet" puzzles some people. The idea is
that croquet may be taken only from a ball that has been roqueted. So
if the striker places his ball next to some other ball and goes through
the motions of taking croquet, he is said to purport to take croquet.
If he does so, it makes a big difference whether he does so with a live
or a dead ball. If it is a dead ball, the penalty is tougher and the
limit of claims is longer. Remember that a ball becomes dead when
croquet is taken from it, not when it is roqueted.
Laws 27(e) to (h) have the same remedies. The basic idea is
that these errors do not in themselves cause the turn to end. However
sometimes another turn ending event has occurred at the same time. For
example in a Law 27(e) error, the croqueted ball may leave the court or
a fault may be committed. If any turn ending event has occurred, the
error is rectified and the turn ends. If there is no turn ending event,
the error is still rectified but the striker plays on.
Other errors with the same remedy are failing to take croquet when
required to do so, failing to play from a baulk line after taking a
lift or in the first four strokes of the game and playing from baulk
when not entitled to do so. In all these cases if the error is
discovered after the limit of claims, play continues, as it is too late
Law 27(c)(3) tells us that purporting
to take croquet from a
live ball has the same consequences as taking croquet from that ball,
except that Law 27(e) applies. So the turn ends if you leave a still
ball while purporting to take croquet. Likewise if a purported
croqueted ball leaves the court.
There are many other cases.
For example, in Law 4(d)(1) you find the words "In a stroke other than
a croquet stroke ..." This really means "other than a croquet or
purported croquet stroke".
You can read a more detailed account of Laws 27(e) to (h) at http://maxhooper.info/law27.html
Law 27(i) covers minor cases of playing with a ball displaced.
This error is not rectified. The ball is replaced only if it was not
affected by the stroke.
Law 28 : FAULTS
.A fault can only occur during the striking period. See Laws
5(d) and 5(f) for when that is. Law 28(d)(2) says that the striking
period ends earlier for faults under Laws 28(a)(1) to (3).
All the faults are listed in Law 28(a), but you must read Laws 28(c)
and (d) as well to understand the meanings fully. So a double hit is
not a fault if it is caused by a roquet or pegout or interference by a
ball that has been pegged out.
You must learn the faults thoroughly because you will often be called
to watch a stroke for a possible fault, and everything will happen fast.
Note that it is not a fault to kneel or lie on the ground. It is not a
fault for the mallet to hit a hoop unless this causes a ball to move or
shake. It is not a fault to break a hoop or peg.
If the striker commits a fault and it is discovered before two
further strokes of the striker's turn, any points scored in either the
first or second stroke in error are cancelled and the turn ends.
The striker must then ask the adversary whether he wants the fault to
If the adversary chooses rectification, the balls are placed where they
were before the fault occurred; otherwise play continues from where the
balls lay after the first stroke in error.
There are several special cases to remember:
1. If the fault is only discovered after the striker
has played another stroke, the balls cannot be left where they are. If
the opponent does not choose to rectify, the balls must be replaced to
where they were after the fault.
2. If the striker has committed another error, then Law 24
sometimes requires the remedy for the other error to apply. If so
the error must be rectified.
C. INTERFERENCE WITH PLAY
Law 29 : GENERAL PRINCIPLES
The laws distinguish between errors and interferences. For
An error is a breach of Laws 25 to 28. An
interference is a breach of Laws 30 to 35.
Many errors lead to end of turn. Interferences
A player becomes responsible for the position
of a ball moved during an error, whether it is rectified or not. This
is not true for most interferences.
The rules for restoring bisques are different.
Law 30 : BALLS WRONGLY REMOVED OR NOT REMOVED
This law applies if it is discovered before the end of the
game that play has been affected because a ball has been removed in the
mistaken belief that it had been pegged out, or because it has not been
removed when it had been pegged out. All play from, and including the
first affected stroke, is deemed not to have occurred, points scored
are cancelled, balls are replaced in their lawful positions before the
first affected stroke and the player entitled to play at that time
continues his turn without penalty.
The first affected stroke means the first stroke where play was
affected. This need not be the first stroke after the interference.
Law 31 : MISPLACED CLIPS AND MISLEADING
This law applies if it is discovered before the end of the
game that a player was misled into playing differently.
Only three types of misleading are considered:
(1) if a clip was misplaced by someone else, or
(2) if he is given false information on the state of
the game by the adversary, or
(3) if a ball is misplaced because of interference or
has been moved to avoid interference.
The misled player may claim a replay. If he does, the balls
and clips are put back where they were when he adopted the
different line of play. He must now adopt a different line of play.
Both players have a duty to make sure that all clips are
correctly placed, and must call attention immediately to any misplaced
Law 32 : PLAYING WHEN FORESTALLED.
A player must not continue playing after the adversary has
forestalled him. If he does, such further play is cancelled, the
point at issue must be settled, and play continues.
Laws 30, 31 and 32 are the only laws when time is restored
when an error is rectified.
Law 33 : INTERFERENCE WITH A BALL.
If a ball is interfered with by a player or an outside agency,
there are two possible remedies. Usually the affected balls
are placed where they would otherwise have come to rest. If
there is doubt where a ball would have gone, Law 48(f) gives
guidance. After interference, a ball cannot score a point or take part
in a roquet
The other possible remedy is to replay the stroke. This happens only if
several conditions are met:
A. The replay occurs before another stroke has been played,
B. The interference could have prevented a point being
scored, a roquet being made or a ball coming to rest in a critical
position. (Read Law 6(d) to see the meaning of "critical position",)
C. The interference was caused by a moving outside agency
or by the adversary.
A common outside agency is a ball from a double-banked game. If a
player of one game thinks a ball from the other game could be in his
line of play, he must ask a player from the other game if he may lift
the ball. It is the striker's responsibility to make sure there
are no balls in his line of play. So a replay is possible only if the
striker could not reasonably have foreseen the interference. He could
not have foreseen it if the ball was moving after he took up his stance.
If a ball moves because of wind or other natural forces, it is
replaced, but not if it has also been moved by a stroke. So if the wind
blows a ball in the way of the striker's ball, and the two balls
collide, a roquet occurs and play continues accordingly.
Law 34 : INTERFERENCE WITH THE PLAYING OF A
.If any fixed obstacle, such as a wall or fence close to the
boundary interferes with the playing of a stroke, the striker may move
his ball just enough to allow a normal stance and a normal swing of the
mallet. The striker must also move any other ball(s) that could be
affected by the next stroke so as to maintain their relative positions.
A ball in a critical position (near a hoop or the peg), should
only be moved to avoid inequity. Any balls so moved, which have
not been affected by subsequent play, must be replaced to their
original positions as soon as they are no longer relevant to the
striker's line of play or, if earlier, when his turn ends.
Law 35 : MISCELLANEOUS INTERFERENCE.
If the striker quits the court wrongly believing his turn has
ended and the mistake is discovered before the first stroke of the
adversary's turn, the striker's turn has not ended and he resumes play.
If the adversary notices the mistake, he must inform the striker
If a ball strikes a clip on a hoop or peg, this is not interference
with play and there is no remedy. However, an unattached clip or
peg extension, or a clip from another game is classed as an outside
agency and Law 33 applies.
OTHER FORMS OF PLAY
A. ADVANCED SINGLES PLAY
Law 36 : OPTIONAL LIFT OR CONTACT.
If a player has scored 1-back or 4-back with his own ball in
the previous turn, his opponent has the option of lifting a ball and
playing it from any point on either baulk-line. He may do so,
even if it is already in contact with another ball.
If the player scores 1-back and 4-back with his own ball in one turn,
and his partner ball had not scored 1-back at the start of that turn,
his opponent has the option of taking contact at the start of his next
turn. He does so by placing his ball in contact with any ball and
taking croquet forthwith. He may do this, even if his ball is already
in contact with one or more balls.
The above rules apply only if 1-back and 4-back are scored with the
striker's ball. Peeling a ball through a hoop does not allow a lift to
The striker is not entitled to a lift or contact if he has already
pegged out a ball, (either his own or the adversary's), during the game.
If the striker is entitled to a lift or contact in any of the first
four turns of the game, he may place his ball on either baulk-line, or
take contact, as this law overrides Law 8(b).
Change of decision. If the striker is entitled to a
lift and lifts a ball of his side that is not in contact with another
ball, he may not change his mind and play with his other ball.
(This is because the ball could not be returned to its original
place accurately after he changed his mind.) If the ball he
elects to lift is in contact with another ball he may change his mind
at any time until he actually plays a stroke.
B. HANDICAP SINGLES PLAY
Law 37 : BISQUES.
A bisque is an extra turn in a handicap game that can only be
played by the striker with his ball of the preceding turn. In a
half-bisque turn, he cannot score a point for any ball, either his own
or the adversary's, and even if it passes through a hoop in order that
point is not scored.
Bisques or half bisques may be taken at the end of any turn - even the
first turn - and may be taken in succession.
However, there is a restriction in time-limited games, under Regulation
15 (d). After the bell rings, the in-player finishes his turn and
the adversary has another turn. A bisque or half bisque
cannot be taken at the end of either of these two turns. If the
score is level after this extension period, play continues and bisques
and half bisques can be used at the end of any further turn.)
The player may change his mind after saying he will take a bisque, but
may not change his mind after saying he will not take a bisque.
The adversary must not come onto the court until the striker has
quit the court, or indicated that he is not going to take a bisque.
The number of bisques given by the lower-handicapped player to the
higher player is the difference between their handicaps.
See Law 43(a) for doubles play, where the rule is different.
If a fault is committed by a player who is entitled to a bisque or half
bisque, he does not have to make a choice until his opponent decides if
he wants the error to be rectified.
Law 38 : PEGGING OUT IN HANDICAP GAMES.
The striker may not peg out the striker's ball in a stroke
unless, before or during that stroke, the partner ball made rover, or
an adversary's ball has been pegged out. Remember that a rover
ball can peg out another rover ball in any form of game.
Law 39 : RESTORATION OF BISQUES.
If an error is rectified, some bisques may be restored. If the
first stroke in error was the start of a bisque turn, the bisque is not
restored, but any bisques taken after that stroke are restored.
There are special rules for when a game is restarted, or when points
are cancelled because they were scored out of order.
If play is cancelled under Laws 30 to 32, any bisques taken in the
cancelled period are restored.
C. DOUBLES PLAY
Laws 40 to 43
Most of the laws for singles games still apply.
When the first player plays his first stroke, the ball he uses becomes
his ball for the rest of the game.
A player may advise his partner, set up balls for a croquet stroke, and
show him how to aim, but when the stroke is played, he must stand clear
of any spot that may help his partner's aim.
A player may only peel his partner's ball through 4 hoops in a handicap
game. (Law 46(b) for shortened games is different.) Note that a
peg-out does not count as a peel.
If one player is absent at the start of a doubles game, play can start
without him. When it is his turn to play his first stroke under Law
8(b), his partner places his ball where he chooses on a baulk line and
announces that he will leave the ball there.
D. SHORTENED GAMES
Laws 44 to 46
You will not be examined on this section, but you should read
CONDUCT OF THE GAME
A. GENERAL LAWS OF CONDUCT
Law 47 : THE STATE OF THE GAME.
A player is entitled to ask the adversary at any time for
information on the state of the game, such as: which ball is he
playing, which player is responsible for the position of a ball,
whether it has been moved, etc. The adversary must give the
correct information; otherwise Law 31 may apply. A referee can
also be asked these questions, but if he is not in charge, he may not
know the answer. A referee in charge should know the state of the
game at all times.
If you have to peg down a game, this law is a guide to the matters you
Law 48 : REFEREES OF THE GAME.
The players are always referees of the game, and are sole
referees if no other referee is available. The striker must
immediately announce any error he suspects he may have committed, and
the adversary must be consulted when any testing is required for hoops,
wired balls, lifting balls for wiping, or moving balls because of
imperfections on the court. The player must give the adversary
any information concerning the state of the game upon request.
If the striker is about to play a questionable stroke, he must call the
adversary or a referee to watch the stroke. A questionable stroke
includes a long distance peg-out, an attempted roquet of a ball in a
hoop, or a stroke that might result in a fault.
If the players differ on their decision, they may ask a witness, but
only if they both agree to do so. Either player may request that
a referee (if available at the courts) adjudicate.
Law 49 : EXPEDITION IN PLAY.
Players must not waste time before going onto the court at the
end of the adversary's turn, and must play their strokes with
reasonable despatch. In doubles play partners should not
waste time with long discussions. (It helps if they sit together.) In
handicap play the striker must indicate promptly at the end of his turn
whether he intends to take a bisque. A player may ask for a wired
ball test only at the beginning of a turn, never during a turn.
Law 50 : ADVICE AND AIDS.
A player should not take advice from anyone except his partner
in a doubles game. If he does receive, or hear advice, he should
not take unfair advantage of it, but he may use advice from his
opponent under Law 51(a).
The striker may not make use of any written notes, or artificial aids,
such as coins, to assist him in placing a ball for a stroke. The
striker must not use a marker inside or outside the court to help gauge
the strength of a stroke, but may use a marker to mark the position of
a ball that must be temporarily removed. The striker may use his
mallet (or that of his partner in doubles), as a marker only before the
stroke is played.
A player's ball may not be used for testing a hoop, or rolled along the
court to test the surface. Balls are used when testing for a wiring,
but it is much better to use balls of a different colour.
Law 51 : MISCELLANEOUS LAWS OF CONDUCT.
The adversary must not interrupt, or interfere with the
striker, except to forestall play in accordance with Law 23. He
must not remain on the court while the striker is playing, or move onto
the court before the striker has finished playing. In handicap
play he must wait until the striker has indicated that he is not taking
a bisque or half bisque.
B. SPECIAL LAWS
Law 52 : DOUBLE-BANKED GAMES.
Doubled-banked games are frequently played, and the players,
balls, clips and mallets of one game are outside agencies with respect
to the other game. If a player strikes a ball from the other
game, that is not classed as playing a wrong ball: there is no
penalty, the balls are replaced to their original positions and the
striker continues, playing balls from his own game.
Precedence is usually given to the player who is making a break, to a
player who is most likely to clear the area first, or to a player who
will not require balls from the other game to be marked and moved.
If a ball is not in a critical position, it may be marked and
temporarily lifted, but only after permission from a player from the
other game. If the ball is in a critical position, it is better
for the player to wait until the ball has been played before continuing
Players should be aware at all times of the state of play in the other
game. Law 33 (b) and (d) refers to interference with balls
in doubled banked games, and how they are replaced.
Law 53 : TOURNAMENT AND MATCH PLAY.
In tournament games, all ordinary laws of croquet apply but
there are some extra ones.
The striker must call a referee or umpire before playing
any questionable stroke or if any test has to be applied (for example
whether a ball is out or whether it is through a hoop).
In time-limited games, if neither side has pegged out both
balls in the allotted time, the game is won by the side which has
scored the most points. (Further information on this subject is
referred to in Regulation 15 : Time Limits.)
Time is not restored following discovery of an error, but
time is restored if interference under Laws 30 to 32 is discovered
before the end of the game.
Law 54 : LOCAL LAWS.
This is self-explanatory.
Law 55 : OVER-RIDING LAW.
Law 55(a) tells what to do in situations that do not seem to
be provided for in the laws.
Laws 55(b) and (c) tell what to do if a player breaks a law
for which no penalty is prescribed. In most cases a warning is enough,
but heavy penalties are available for the rare cases of serious
You will not be examined on these.
The INDEX is a valuable addition to the new Laws book and
makes finding the laws much easier than in the past. In this Law
book the laws have been grouped together for ease of relating to
various incidents in play.
REGULATIONS FOR TOURNAMENTS
The same laws for association croquet apply everywhere in the
world, but each country is allowed to make its own regulations.
They include regulations for a variety of officials, including
referees, managers, handicappers, and time keepers.
New international regulations for referees came into force in 2011.
Regulations for other officials can still be found in your law book,
but they apply to Australia only.
In addition, each state has local regulations. You should know
the following ones, which apply in games under the control of Croquet
Fifteen minutes' grace is given to a player who is
late for the first match of the day.
A five-minute warm up is allowed before each game.
In your examination, you will be expected to know Regulations R1 to R7
(for referees and umpires), and 15 (for time keepers).
However you should read the other regulations, in case you ever become
a manager or handicapper.
You should also look at Regulation 3(d). It tells you that croquet is
subject to the same rules against doping as other sports.
4. THE TOURNAMENT REFEREE
The referee of a tournament nominates referees to act in
No matter how well qualified a referee is, he has no authority unless
he has been appointed by the tournament referee or his deputy.
If a player wants to appeal a decision given by the officiating referee
he can appeal to the Tournament Referee or his deputy, but he must do
so within the time limit of Regulation R6(d) and only on matters listed
There can be no appeal against a decision on fact, which includes
anything the officiating referee has seen, or believes he has seen.
TYPES OF REFEREES: There are now only two types of referee:
supervising referees and referees on request.
A supervising referee has wide powers to see that
the game is played in accordance with the laws.
A referee on request does not
intervene except under conditions that are laid down in the
5. SUPERVISING REFEREE
A supervising referee may look after one or more games. If he
looks after only one, he is called a "referee in
charge". He must draw attention to any breach of the laws that he sees,
and see that the proper remedy is applied. A referee in charge should
see most misplays if he is alert, but a referee supervising several
games cannot see everything, but does the best that he can.
He should be prepared to go out on the court without any requests from
the players to watch a questionable stroke. Even so, the striker must
still draw attention to any error he thinks he has committed, and the
adversary must still forestall if he sees a breach of the laws that the
referee has missed.
7. REFEREE ON REQUEST
This type of referee does not usually intervene unless a
player asks him to watch a stroke or rule on an event that has already
There are only three cases where he may intervene without being asked:
1. When one of the players has discovered an error or
interference, a referee on request should see that play is lawfully
continued, but even then he must not intervene if the players can
manage by themselves.
2. When he hears a player giving wrong information about
the laws, he should correct the mistake.
3. When he sees a breach of Law 38, he should intervene
Sometimes a referee on request will see an error that neither
player has noticed. If so he must keep quiet about it, even if he is
called to watch the game for some other reason. (This most often
happens when the striker is playing a wrong ball and neither player
notices, but it can happen with any error.) If a referee on request is
then called to watch for a possible fault, he must say nothing about
the wrong ball. However there are exceptions and special cases; so read
Regulation R4 carefully.
The new regulations do not use the word "umpire" because it
has a different meaning in different countries. In practice, everything
said about referees includes Australian umpires, but especially the
second sentence of R2(a)(1).
15. TIME LIMITS.
If an event is classed as unlimited time, the Tournament or
Venue Manager may impose a time limit of one hour on any game that has
been in progress for at least 2 hours. The referees should be
informed of the imposition of time.
When time limited games are played the players should arrange for an
independent person or themselves, to be responsible for announcing
audibly that the time has been reached. A referee sometimes performs
this task, but in some parts of Australia this is not allowed. To
determine when the striker's turn ends when time is called, it is
deemed that his turn ends as soon as his mallet hits his ball in the
final stroke of his turn, and the adversary's turn then commences.
If scores are level at the end of the extension period, play
continues until the next point is scored for either side, and that side
is the winner.
Use of bisques. No bisque or half bisque may be
played during the extension period. Therefore, the player in play at
the end of the extension period cannot immediately take a bisque or
half bisque. It is not until the end of the next turn that any
remaining bisques or half bisques may be used. The "extension
period" is the period immediately after time is called and extends
until each player has completed his turn after time was called.
If scores are level when players have completed all strokes to
which they are entitled in the extension period, play continues until
one more point is scored for any ball. When play continues after
the end of the extension period, any half-bisque or bisque may then be
Either during this referees course, or before taking the exam,
you will have to attend a workshop, to learn umpiring.
Before you sit the exam you will be given the exam papers to study
Referees exams are not written. There is one section of practical
situations on the court, without reference to the laws book.
There is another section, indoors, where you are asked questions to be
answered orally, also without the laws book.
The last section with your laws book, you are asked to find certain
laws, which refer to the questions asked.
The full examination should take about 3 hours, with a break after the
session on the court.