The ladder competitions, to which all playing members are eligible to participate at no charge, were introduced to help members improve their game (and handicap) by giving the opportunity for competitive play through the year, including the winter season. Prizes are awarded to the winners of the GC and AC Ladder Competitions, as described below.
Ladder games offer an alternative to playing friendlies, and as all the match results are entered on handicap cards they help to keep handicaps up to date.
The following rules apply equally to the AC and GC ladders, except for the 'Type of play' paragraph. All matches must be played in accordance with the latest laws, rules and regulations governing each code and the provisions of the Automatic Handicapping System (AHS).
Type of play
Association Croquet: Full bisque (Base 10) Handicap Singles (Ordinary or Advanced, by agreement); no time limit, but the Bray system is used to determine the length of each game.
Golf Croquet: Handicap singles; no time limit; single 13 point game.
Getting the ladder going
Both competitions use a physical ladder with participants' names arranged vertically. Initially all the names are off the ladder (or located at the bottom). Anyone not on the ladder can challenge anyone else not on the ladder to a game. At the end of that game, both names are added to the bottom of the ladder, with the winner's name above the loser's. If someone never accepts a challenge they will never get onto the ladder. Alternatively, once there are some names on the ladder, a player can add their name to the bottom of the ladder, and proceed as described below.
Normal ladder operation - Challenges
Once your name is on the ladder, you can challenge any of the four names immediately above you on the ladder. You cannot play the same person in consecutive games. A challenge must be responded to in three days, or as soon as any ladder game has been played. The game must then be played within ten days (preferably sooner*). If the challenge is declined, the challenger is considered to have won the game. If the challenger wins, their name goes above the member they challenged, and the loser and anybody between moves down one rung. If the challenger loses no names move on the ladder.
After each game is played
After any game is played, the winner is responsible for adding the result to the appropriate list on the notice board. Both players fill in their handicap cards.
The winner of each competition (AC and GC) will be the player with the highest number of net wins (wins minus losses) at close of play on the last day of the Club Competitions, subject to having played a minimum of four games. If two or more players are tied, the winner will be the one highest up the physical ladder.
A consolation prize will be awarded to the player, other than the competition winner, who is highest up each ladder when the year's competitions end.
Subsequent Years' Competitions
As soon as one year's competitions end, the next year's competitions start. Players' names stay on the ladder as they were at the end of the previous year. Any new members or other members wanting to join the ladder can add their names at the bottom and start to work their way up.
* A separate list on the notice board will enable members to list periods in excess of two weeks when they will be absent from the area (illness, extended holidays, etc) and not available to be challenged. These periods should be kept to a minimum especially during the summer croquet season.