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Rules of American Croquet

PART 11. ERRORS IN PLAY

11.1 Out of Turn Play

a) A player has played out of turn if:

  1. in singles, a player plays the partner ball to start a turn (e.g., a striker plays blue when it is black to play),
  2. in doubles, a player plays when it is the partner’s or the opponent’s turn (e.g., the player of blue plays blue when it is black to play), or
  3. in singles or doubles, a player plays any ball during the partner’s or opponent’s turn (e.g., the player of blue plays black while red is in it’s turn).

b) If either side plays out of turn, play is stopped as soon as the error is discovered by any player or official, and all balls affected shall be replaced to where they were at the beginning of the out-of-turn play. No penalty is assessed, no deadness is incurred, no points are scored, and the correct ball resumes play.

c) Subject to rule 11.1d, if both sides play out of turn consecutively. Play is stopped as soon as the error is discovered by any player or official, and all balls affected shall be replaced to where they were when the first side played out of turn. No penalty is assessed, no deadness is incurred, no points are scored, and the correct ball resumes play.

d) If it is discovered by any player or official that three (3) or more out-of-turn plays have occurred consecutively, play is stopped at the time of discovery. All balls affected by the last out-of-turn play shall be replaced to where they were at the beginning of the turn in which the error was discovered. No penalty is assessed, no deadness is incurred, no points are scored, and the correct ball resumes play; however, any points scored, deadness, or faults incurred before the turn in which the error was discovered shall be valid.

Examples:

a) It is red’s turn, but yellow plays, then black plays. At this time the error is discovered. All balls are replaced; there is no penalty, no deadness incurred, and no points scored. The CORRECT ball (red) plays. Rule 11.1c applies, as there were two consecutive out-of-turn plays by yellow and black.

b) It is red’s turn, but yellow plays, black plays, red plays, and blue plays. At this time the error is discovered. All balls affected by blue’s play are returned to their positions at the beginning of blue’s out-of-turn play, and the CORRECT ball (black) plays. Rule 11.1d applies, as there were three or more consecutive out-of-turn plays; all play before blue is deemed valid.

c) It is red’s turn, but yellow plays, blue plays, and red plays. At this time, yellow’s out-of-turn play is discovered. In this case, no balls are replaced, and red continues its turn. Rule 12.1 (Limit of Claims) applies; although Yellow played out of turn, the error was condoned because it was not called before the first shot of the opponent’s next turn. Red is now the CORRECT ball in sequence.

11.2 Wrong Ball Faults

a) The striker has committed a wrong ball fault if:

  1. in singles, the striker plays an opponent ball to start a turn,
  2. in doubles, the striker plays a partner ball or an opponent ball to start a turn, or
  3. in singles or doubles, the striker plays an opponent or partner ball during a turn.

b) If a wrong ball fault occurs, the turn ends and all balls are replaced to where they were when the shot began (rule 12.2a).

c) A player can commit a wrong ball fault only when it is that player’s turn. Striking any ball when it is another player’s turn to play is an out-of-turn error (rule 11.1a(3)).

11.3 Dead Ball Faults

a) The striker has committed a dead ball fault if the striker ball hits a ball it is dead on, except that:

  1. after a roquet, the striker ball may hit any ball without penalty,
  2. during a croquet shot, the striker ball may hit the croqueted ball more than once, and
  3. while scoring its wicket, the striker ball may hit a dead ball lying beyond the wicket (but it is a fault if the wicket is not scored).

b) The striker has committed a dead ball fault if a rover ball hits any ball more than once during the rover ball’s turn, unless the second hit occurs because the rover ball runs a wicket to clear deadness and in the same shot hits a ball lying beyond the wicket.

c) If a dead ball fault occurs, the turn ends and all balls are replaced to where they were when the shot began (rule 12.2a), except that if a dead ball fault occurs in a croquet shot, only the striker ball and any stationary ball hit by the striker ball are replaced, while any other balls, including any moving dead ball hit by the striker ball, remain where they came to rest and receive credit for any points scored (rule 12.2c).

11.4 Interference with a Ball

a) If the striker interferes with a ball in any way during a shot, the striker has committed an interference fault. The turn ends and all balls affected by the shot are replaced (rule 12.2a).

b) If the opponent or an outside agency interferes with a ball during a shot, the ball shall be replaced in its probable finishing position. If the final position cannot be reasonably determined, the shot shall be replayed. In the event there is a dispute over the placement of a ball after interference or whether a shot should be replayed, a referee shall decide.

(An outside agency is anything not connected with the court. Examples include the players or equipment from another game, spectators, court accessories when not properly placed, balls not in play, animals, or other stray objects, but do not include any loose impediments on the court surface or the weather.)

11.5 Mallet Faults

a) It is a fault if during the striking period the striker:

  1. hits a hampered shot with the beveled edge or corner of the mallet striking face (The shot is hampered if the striker’s swing is interfered with by a wicket, stake, or other ball which inhibits a normal backswing or the striker ball is close enough to a wicket, stake, or other ball to be a possible “Crush,” “Double Tap” or “Push.”);
  2. touches the head of the mallet with a hand;
  3. touches another ball with a foot or the mallet;
  4. rests the shaft of the mallet, a hand, or an arm on the ground;
  5. rests the shaft of the mallet, a hand, or an arm against any part of the legs or feet or against a wicket or stake;
  6. “pushes” the striker ball by maintaining contact between the mallet and the ball for an appreciable period of time, or causes the mallet to accelerate while still in contact with the ball;
  7. “double taps” the striker ball by hitting the ball twice in the same shot or maintaining contact between the mallet and the ball after the ball has hit another ball, except that no fault can be committed under this rule if the cause of the second hit is the result of a roquet, hitting another ball lying beyond the wicket in a wicket shot, or a stake out;
  8. strikes the ball so as to cause it to touch an upright or, unless the striker ball stakes out in the shot, the stake while still in contact with the mallet (a “Crush” shot);
  9. fails to strike the ball in a direction away from an upright or, unless the striker ball stakes out in the shot, stake when the ball is lying in contact with the upright or stake (a “Crush” shot) (A “Crush” shot cannot be transferred to the striker ball from a second ball lying against an upright or the stake.);
  10. causes, or attempts to cause, the mallet to strike the ball by kicking or hitting the mallet with a foot, hand, or another mallet;
  11. causes a wicket or stake to move a ball at rest by hitting the wicket or stake with the mallet;
  12. places a foot or hand on the striker ball during a croquet shot to hold it in place;
  13. fails to cause the croqueted ball to move or shake on the croquet stroke;
  14. fails to shoot into the croqueted ball on the croquet shot; or
  15. fails to have the striker ball in contact with the croqueted ball at the beginning of a croquet shot.

b) When a fault is committed during the striking period the turn ends and all balls are replaced (rule 12.2a).

11.6 Misplaced Balls

a) If a player or official observes that a shot is to be played with any relevant ball misplaced, play shall be stopped and the misplaced ball(s) corrected.

b) If a player or official discovers (within the applicable limit of claims) that a shot has occurred with any ball relevant to the shot misplaced, play shall be stopped, all balls, clips, and deadness shall be corrected to the point immediately prior to the shot, and the player resumes play without penalty.

c) Misplacement of the striker ball includes:

  1. failing to take croquet when entitled to,
  2. taking croquet when not entitled to,
  3. taking croquet from a wrong ball,
  4. lifting to an incorrect position, or
  5. lifting a wrong ball after a roquet.

d) Misplacement of a ball does not include:

  1. taking or preparing to take croquet with the striker ball placed next to, but not in contact with, the roqueted ball (rule 11.5a(15)),
  2. moving the roqueted ball after placing the striker ball for the croquet shot, or
  3. continued play after a fault not called by a player or by a referee.

e) If a striker plays a shot:

  1. when the striker ball is misplaced, it must be called before the first shot of the opponent’s next turn, otherwise, the shot is condoned; or
  2. when another ball relevant to the shot is misplaced, it must be called before the next shot of the striker’s turn, otherwise, the shot is condoned.

f) If any ball relevant to a shot is misplaced and the striker commits a fault (rules 11.2-11.5), the shot is retaken without penalty.

11.7 Incorrect Information

If a striker plays any shot or shots as the result of any incorrect information concerning the state of the game supplied by the opponent or an official, the striker shall have the right to replay. If the right to replay any shot or shots is not claimed before the first shot of the opponent’s turn, the right to replay the shot or shots shall be forfeited. This shall apply to the deadness board and the placement of clips, provided the opponent or an official had confirmed the incorrect information verbally to the striker beforehand.


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