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Rules of American Croquet

PART 13. TOURNAMENT PLAY AND TIMED GAMES

13.1 Tournament Director

Each tournament shall have a tournament director who shall:

a) administer, interpret, and enforce the rules of the game,

b) appoint a committee to assist and provide referees and other officials as may be required,

c) arrange the draw,

d) assign handicaps to players who do not have official USCA handicaps,

e) choose the method of allocating bisques,

f) schedule matches and assign courts,

g) direct all aspects of the competition, including the disposition of any appeal not resolved by a referee, and

h) deal with any infringement of the rules for which no penalty is prescribed or any situation that does not appear to be covered by these rules in a manner which the director feels meets the justice of the case.

13.2 Referee’s Role

a) The role of the referee is to:

  1. resolve disputes between players by interpreting the rules in the rulebook and by making rulings on matters of fact (If a situation does not appear to be covered in the rules, the dispute shall be decided in the best judgment of the referee.), and
  2. observe and judge any questionable shot, when called upon by the striker or opponent.

b) If a player feels an opponent has committed mallet faults such as pushing, double tapping, or not moving the croqueted ball on the croquet shot, the player may summon the referee to observe subsequent shots.

c) A player may appeal a referee’s interpretation of the rules but may not appeal a referee’s ruling on a matter of fact (rule 13.6c).

d) A referee may appoint individuals to serve as umpires. An umpire’s powers are confined to deciding:

  1. whether a ball hits another ball,
  2. whether a ball is moved or shaken on the croquet shot, and
  3. whether a rover ball hits the stake.

13.3 Intervention

a) It is the responsibility of the players to monitor the progress of a game, and the referee shall not intervene unless asked by the players, except that the referee should, when it is observed:

  1. correct improper clip placement,
  2. correct the misplacement of balls,
  3. make time announcements,
  4. forestall an unearned continuation shot after a striker runs a wrong wicket,
  5. correct the deadness board,
  6. forestall any out of turn play, and
  7. forestall a striker mistakenly striking a ball in the other game (rule 14.2a).

b) If an official does not forestall an unearned continuation shot following the running of a wrong wicket, play shall be stopped as soon as the error is discovered and affected balls shall be replaced to where they were when the unearned continuation shot was taken. No out of turn error is called, no credit for wicket points is given, all deadness the striker had prior to the unearned continuation shot remains, and the next ball in sequence then plays. The tournament director, however, has discretionary power to let the game proceed with no corrections other than placing the incorrect clip back on the skipped wicket.

c) The tournament director may appoint officials, including boardkeepers and timekeepers, to intervene in all the same instances in which referees may intervene (rule 13.3a). These officials are not required to be certified USCA referees but should possess the confidence to carry out these duties.

13.4 Resetting Equipment

a) Any player may request that improperly set equipment used for their game be reset. If all the players on the court are in agreement they may reset the equipment themselves. In the event that there is not agreement among the players, any player may ask an official to make the changes. If the official believes resetting is unwarranted, the request may be denied. A denial may be appealed to the tournament director. The tournament director has final say as to whether the equipment is reset.

b) In the event that the striker ball has stuck in the wicket, the striker shall be allowed to retake the shot after the wicket has been reset. Either player may straighten the boundary line string when needed except during the course of a shot. No equipment may be reset during a game while a question of a wire exists in any game being played on the court and resetting the equipment might affect the possible wire.

13.5 Referee Not Available

a) In the absence of an appointed referee, players shall act as their own joint referees, but there is an obligation on the opponent to monitor the game, and if the opponent fails to do so, the striker is, during such period, the sole referee.

b) If a player fails to request that a striker call a referee to observe a questionable shot before it is taken, the player may appeal only for a dispute over rules interpretation but not the facts of the shot (rule 13.6).

c) If a player does have a referee observe a questionable shot before it is taken, but does not agree with the ruling of the referee, the player may appeal to the tournament director only for a dispute over rules interpretation and not the facts of the shot (rule 13.6).

d) In doubles, all players share the rights and duties of a referee, with the striker being the final arbiter.

13.6 Appeals

a) If a player fails to request that a striker call a referee to observe a questionable shot before it is taken, and a fault does occur, the player shall call the fault as required in rule 12.1 but may not appeal to the tournament director any ruling by the striker (who is the referee) on that shot.

b) If a player does have a referee observe a questionable shot before it is taken, but does not agree with the ruling of the referee, the player may appeal to the tournament director only as provided in rule 13.6d.

c) If, during the course of a tournament, there is a dispute over a matter of fact related to the striking of a ball or the movement of a ball on the court, the referee’s decision is final and may not be appealed to the tournament director.

d) If the dispute is over an interpretation of the rules, a player may appeal to the tournament director, who shall make the final decision. When a dispute over a rules interpretation is appealed to the tournament director and the tournament director was a witness and knows the solution, the players shall be informed that the matter will be resolved on that basis. If the disputed event was not observed, the decision may be based on the players’ arguments and, at the referee’s or tournament director’s discretion, accounts by others. If doubt persists, a compromise decision may involve adjusting clips, directing where balls shall be placed, requiring players to replay the disputed play, or by starting the game over.

13.7 Time Limits

Game and shot time limits may be set by a tournament committee before the start of the first tournament game. These time limits may be increased or decreased by the committee at the conclusion of each full round (e.g., first, quarter, or semifinal rounds) as overall time and weather conditions dictate.

13.8 Shot and Game Clocks

a) In a time limit game the striker shall have a maximum of 45 seconds to strike the striker ball following the completion of the previous shot. A shot ends when all balls set in motion by the striker have stopped rolling or have crossed a boundary (rule 3.2b). If the striker does not strike the ball before 45 seconds is called, the striker is considered to have played the turn. The timekeeper shall audibly announce when 15 seconds remain on the shot clock and shall call “time” if 15 seconds elapses following such an announcement and the striker has not struck the striker ball.

b) The game clock continues when a shot ends. The game clock shall be stopped only during official (referee) time-outs, player time-outs, for delays caused by double banked games (as stated in a tournament’s guidelines), and as stated in rule 13.8c.

c) Until the last fifteen minutes of a game, the timekeeper shall not start the 45-second shot clock for the next shot until all balls out of bounds are brought in bounds. During the last fifteen minutes, when a shot ends with ball(s) out of bounds, the timekeeper shall start the shot clock for the next shot immediately, however the striker may request that both the game clock and the shot clock be stopped until all balls are brought in bounds.

d) When a tournament official stops play at any time during a game to delay or postpone completion of a game due to inclement weather, court conditions, or darkness, the game clock shall be stopped until play resumes. If necessary, at the discretion of the official, time that elapsed before the game clock was stopped may be added to the game clock.

13.9 Time-Outs

a) Each side is allotted three one-minute player time-outs which may be used at any time during the game.

b) A side may call for a player time-out only during that side’s turn, but a time-out may not be called during a shot. In the case of a roquet, a time-out may not be called as long as the roqueted ball or any other ball, including the striker ball, is in motion on the court.

c) The game and shot clocks are stopped during player time-outs. A side’s time-out is over, and the game and shot clocks are resumed:

  1. when one minute has expired,
  2. the side calls “time in,” or
  3. when the striker makes an intentional shot.

d) The timekeeper shall announce when 15 seconds remain in the time-out and call “time in” when the time-out is over.

13.10 Match Time

a) The timekeeper should announce when fifteen minutes remain in the game, and again when one minute remains, and declare “match time” when that minute has elapsed.

b) Players may, at any time, ask the timekeeper how much time is remaining in the game.

13.11 Last Turn

a) When match time is called each remaining ball shall have one “last turn” in rotation. If the tournament’s guidelines so provide, when the side playing the final ball in the rotation of last turn is ahead during that ball’s turn, play shall stop and the match shall be declared over. For the sole purpose of determining whether a ball is the first ball in last turn, it shall be ruled as follows.

  1. If the striker has struck the ball when match time expires, the striker is not the first ball in last turn unless there are shots remaining in the turn.
  2. If the striker has not struck the ball or passed the turn before match time expires, the striker is the first ball in last turn.

b) After match time has been called and all balls in the game have played their last turn, the side scoring the most wicket and stake points is declared the winner. If the score is tied after all balls have played their last turn, play shall continue in full rounds, starting with the ball that started last turn, until the tie is broken or both balls of one side stake out.

13.12 Missing Player

a) In doubles tournaments, where one player is absent at the beginning of play, that player’s partner must place the absent player’s ball in the starting area and may then, and on any subsequent turn, either pass the turn or wait for the shot time limit to expire.

b) In singles tournaments, when one player is absent at the beginning of play, the referee shall place the absent player’s balls in the starting area and allow the shot time to expire then, and on any subsequent turn.


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