Synopsis of International Croquet
The Court and Equipment
The standard court is 105' by 84' (35 yards by 28 yards). Unless short grass is available (1/4" or less), the court should be scaled down, keeping the proportions from the standard court. On ordinary grass, such as a sports field or residential lawn, 50' by 40' is a good size. There are six hoops, one peg, and four balls. Each player needs a mallet, although these can be shared.
It is possible to play on an ordinary lawn and with an inexpensive croquet set such as can be found at department stores. However the game is much more satisfying when played with higher-quality equipment and on the flattest and smoothest lawn with the shortest grass that you can find. Look for a set that has sturdy hoops, mallets sized for adults (about three feet ), and heavy, solid plastic balls. Or, better still, find a nearby USCA croquet club.
An Outline of the Game
International Croquet is played between two sides - the blue and black balls versus the red and yellow balls. In singles each player plays two balls; in doubles each player plays the same ball throughout the game.
The object is to maneuver the balls through the course of hoops and into the peg, as shown in Figure 2, below. The side which first does so with both its balls wins the game.
Play is made by striking a ball with a mallet. The player who is playing a turn is called the striker, and the ball in play for that turn is the striker's ball. Turns alternate between sides. Once both balls of a side are in play, that side has the choice of playing either ball (but not both) during a turn. Each turn is initially one stroke, but extra strokes are earned when the striker's ball hits another ball or scores a hoop point. By making good use of these extra strokes it is possible to score many points in one turn.
The striker's ball may cause other balls to move and score points. However, the striker must never strike any ball other than the striker's ball. The striker must play using the mallet only, and must not play a stroke while touching any ball. The striker must strike the ball with one of the mallet's two striking faces, never with a side face or the shaft. The striker must strike the ball cleanly and only once during the stroke.
Starting the Game
The winner of a coin toss may choose whether to play first or second, giving the opponent the choice of ball colors. Or the winner of the coin toss may choose colors, giving the opponent the choice of lead. Each ball is played into the game from any point on either baulk line (see Figure 2, above). All four balls must be played into the game during the first four turns.
Scoring a Hoop
A ball scores a hoop point by passing through a hoop in the correct direction and sequence (see Figure 2, above). However, the striker's ball cannot score a hoop point for itself if it has first made a roquet (see below) on the same stroke.
Each ball has a corresponding clip, used to show which hoop the ball needs to score next. For hoops #1 through #6, the clip is placed on top of the hoop. For the remaining hoop points, the clip is placed on the side of the hoop.
A ball goes out of bounds as soon as any part of it lies directly over a boundary. When a ball goes out it is placed one yard in from where it crossed the boundary. A ball less than one yard from the boundary is also moved in, unless it is the striker's ball and is entitled to play an extra stroke.
Hitting Other Balls
If the striker's ball hits a live ball we say it has made a roquet, and the striker becomes entitled to play a croquet stroke. (All balls are live at the start of every turn.) The croquet stroke is played by picking up the striker's ball, placing it in contacted with the roqueted ball, then striking the striker's ball in such a way as to make both balls move. The croqueted ball is now dead, and remains so until the striker's ball scores its next hoop point or until the start of the next turn.
If the striker's ball hits a dead ball, it is not a roquet and no extra stroke is earned. However, if the striker is otherwise entitled to play an extra stroke, the turn continues.
The striker earns an extra stroke (called a continuation stroke) by scoring a hoop for the striker's ball or by playing a croquet stroke, so long as no ball went out of bounds during the croquet stroke. The continuation stroke is played as the balls lie.
If the striker's ball scores two hoops on one stroke, or scores a hoop during a croquet stroke, only one continuation stroke is earned.
No continuation stroke is earned if the striker's ball scores a hoop point and then makes a roquet on the same stroke, or makes a roquet during a croquet stroke, the roquet requiring that the striker immediately play a croquet stroke.
Rover Balls and Scoring the Peg
A ball that has scored all twelve hoop points is called a rover ball. If the striker's ball is a rover ball and any rover ball hits the peg, that ball has scored the peg point and is removed from the game. Turns still alternate between sides. The game ends when both balls of a side have scored the peg.
Peg and hit
The striker's ball cannot both score the peg and make a roquet on the same stroke. Whichever happens first takes precedence.
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