How Good a Referee Are You?

David Appleton - Issue 25 (2007)

How Good a Referee Are You?  (Answers Below)


Taken with the author’s permission from ‘The Lighter Side of Serious Croquet’ by David Appleton ISBN 0 9520246 16 (1996)


  1. Dan has a lift. He places his ball in corner 2 and makes a roquet on his partner ball about four yards away. His opponent points out that he has not played from baulk, and you are called on to determine how play should continue. What is your decision?
  2. You have been called on to attend the peg as Steve attempts to peg out his opponent from some distance. The opponent’s ball misses the peg and goes off the lawn; the striker’s ball hits the peg, but you are not sure whether this occurred before or after the other ball left the lawn. Should the striker’s ball be removed from the lawn?
  3. Ray roquets black with red and takes croquet from it, sending black off the lawn. Red ends up within the yard line area with a rush on blue. After replacing black on the yard line Ray indicates that he will take a bisque. May he play red from where it lies?
  4. In an advanced doubles game Bill and Ben, playing blue and black respectively, are entitled to a lift under law 36(a). After much discussion with his partner, Bill picks up black and plays it from the end of A baulk. He misses, and replaces the ball on the yard line beside red. His opponents then realise that Ben should have been playing black. Do the balls stay as they lie? Should Ben play the lift shot? Should Bill take the lift with blue? Or what?
  5. Syd misses a roquet in a corner. He takes a bisque and plays with the ball which was already in the corner. He makes two hoops with it, using two more bisques, before the error is discovered. What happens?
  6. Charlie clangs a hoop and takes a bisque. He effects a roquet, gets poor position with the croquet stroke and gives the situation earnest thought. At long last he attempts the hoop and fails again. He looks at the balls from all angles and eventually hits his ball into a corner. His opponent says “You have taken a bisque, you know.” Is this correct? If you have been observing the vignette can you do anything?
  7. At the end of a turn in which he took a half bisque, Vic ends up in the jaws of his hoop, having trickled there in taking position. Can he take a bisque and complete the running of the hoop? Can he run the hoop in a subsequent turn if he finds it still there?
  8. A referee is called to a distant court by Chris, who claims that Alex has committed a fault (a double tap) approaching a hoop. Alex disagrees. What are the powers of the referee?
  9. Dennis accidentally peels his partner ball (red) through hoop 1, but fails to notice and does not remove the clip. Senga sees it happen but thinks she is not allowed to interrupt Dennis to draw it to his attention because no fault has been committed. When, some time later, Dennis runs hoop 1 with red, Senga apologetically tells him he is not entitled to a continuation shot because red is actually on hoop 2. Dennis is a bit peeved. What should the outcome be?
  10. Jim sticks in 4-back, puts his clip on the hoop, and saunters back to his seat at the far end of the lawn. Before he has left the lawn his opponent, Bella, comes on from the north boundary and says “your ball is through 4-back, Jim”. What should the referee rule when he is called on the court, assuming he confirms Bella’s judgement?



How Good a Referee Were You?             


  1. David Appleton’s original answers, written before the new law book came into force, have been updated by Ray Ransom to take account of the changes.


  1. The error is rectified and the striker restarts his turn by playing the same ball from baulk

(Law 27g(1)). If the error was not discovered before the third stroke of the striker's turn, then the roquet stands.

  1. It is irrelevant whether the ball hits the peg before or after the other one left the lawn. Law 5i defines the end of a stroke as the moment when all balls moved have come to rest or have left the court; the peg point may therefore be scored even if the other ball has left the court, though the turn, of course, ends under Law 20c(1). However, the decision whether to remove the striker’s ball from the lawn depends in i) whether the striker’s ball is a rover (law 15) and ii) whether the game is being played under the laws of handicap play, in which case the striker’s partner ball must also be a rover (law 38) – unless Steve had a brainstorm and was trying to peg out his opponent’s only remaining ball!! Nothing must be taken for granted, and the referee must make himself aware of all relevant facts.
  2. Red must be replaced on the yard line as the turn has ended under law 20c(1); see laws 12a(2) and 11b.
  3. Although one could say that this is a case of the wrong player playing the right ball, it must be treated as playing the wrong ball. Nothing irregular took place until Bill played the black – he was allowed to place it for his partner (law 40b by implication, or laws 36a(2) and 40c(1) – so black is replaced where he placed it (law 22d(1)).
  4. The corner ball is replaced in the corner; Syd’s ball in any legal position to take croquet from the corner ball, but not in the yard line area (law 22d(1)). The two bisques he took after playing the wrong ball are restored, but not the one before he played it (law 39a(1)). He can take another bisque to play with the correct ball (law 37a), in which case his ball is in hand (law 16c(1)) and may be placed anywhere in contact with the corner ball for the croquet stroke.
  5. The opponent is wrong. Charlie has played when not entitled to do so, and the ball is replaced (law 25a applies, see law 37d(1)).A spectator referee may intervene if he hears a player giving erroneous information on the Laws to his adversary (regulation R5b).
  6. Yes to both questions; law 37a only says a point may not be scored in a turn following a half bisque; law 14c allows the point to be made, since the ball has not become a ball in hand (unless in the subsequent stroke it is touching another ball law 16c(1)).
  7. Such a referee is a referee on appeal. He may not decide that a fault has been committed (regulation R4d) unless he is satisfied of the fact by personal observation or by the evidence of the striker or a Spectator Referee who personally observed the fault (regulation R5d).
  8. Both players have a duty to ensure that the clips are correctly placed and must call attention immediately to any misplaced clip (law 31e). Senga was at fault in not notifying Dennis but Dennis was responsible for the misplacement and is not therefore entitled to a replay (law 31a(1)).
  9. Whether he has left the court or not, Jim had judged that his ball had come to rest without completing the running of the hoop and law 4e(1) had been satisfied. The ball is replaced where Jim believed it had stopped (law33d).